This section has guidance on the academic year for PG research students, including access to campus and travel arrangements, online support, registration, milestone and funding extensions, assessment delivery, tuition fees and financial support.

Frequently asked questions

I’m a current MRes/Doctoral student, when can I return to campus to continue my research?

Safety of both our students and staff is our highest priority.  
 
Many MRes and Doctoral students have already made a limited return to campus and have been provided with access to labs and study space. We intend to increase that number over the coming weeks and months.  
 
You can find out more on our restarting research pages. Please do not be concerned if your Department is not mentioned here – many Departments are working to re-open their labs and study spaces in a safe fashion and your Supervisor will be in touch with you directly about how that will work. 
 
It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance for the foreseeable future, the balance in the ‘multi-mode’ offering may be subject to change. We will do our best to provide you increased on-campus training and research activities as we progress throughout the year. 
 
We advise you keep in contact with your Supervisor and Department for the latest updates about access to campus.

I’m an MRes/Doctoral offer holder, how will campus work when I join the College?

We look forward to you joining us at the College, whether you have studied with us previously or are a newcomer. 

Safety of both our students and staff is our highest priority. Many MRes and Doctoral students have already made a limited return to campus and have been provided with access to labs and study space. We intend to increase that number over the coming weeks and months.  
 
You can find out more on our restarting research pages. Please do not be concerned if your Department is not mentioned here – many Departments are working to re-open their labs and study space in a safe fashion and your Supervisor will be in touch with you directly about how that will work. 
 
It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance for the foreseeable future, the balance in the ‘multi-mode’ offering may be subject to change. We will do our best to provide you increased on-campus training and research activities as we progress throughout the year. 
 
We advise you keep in contact with your Supervisor and Department for the latest updates about access to campus.

I’m an MRes/Doctoral student/offer holder and I think I may not be able to travel to campus for my programme.

If you can’t travel to campus in time for the start of your MRes or Doctorate you should immediately contact either your Departmental contact, or for a Doctorate, your Supervisor and Funder. It may be possible to plan to modify your research studies, but it is important we know as soon as possible. While we will do everything possible to allow you to begin your programme on schedule please be mindful that this may not be possible in a small number of cases.

What online support resources are available to MRes and Doctoral students?

The Student Support Zone is for all students and provides helpful support and information about staying healthy and maintaining good wellbeing.   

The Doctoral Success Guide is specifically for Doctoral students and provides you with the College’s top ten tips for starting your Doctorate, information on developing your skills as a researcher, professional development opportunities delivered by the Graduate School, wellbeing and your progression.

I’m a Doctoral student wanting to apply for a registration or milestone extension.

We understand that the current situation will likely have adversely impacted your plans to progress with your training within the original timeframe you had intended. The following information relates to registration/milestone extensions, not the separate process of applying for a funded extension. 
 
Full guidance for all students on the impact of COVD-19 and appropriate registration adjustments is available on the Registry webpages
 
We have identified three different scenarios which may apply to you, which we detail below.

Students who are not in their Writing Up Period  

If you are not in the Writing Up Period, and you have been prevented from continuing with your research due to COVID-19, you will receive an automatic no-cost extension to your registration and all future assessment milestones. 
 
Milestones are defined as:  

  • Early Stage Assessment 

  • Late Stage Review 

  • Progress Review 

  • Examination Entry  

  • Thesis Submission (including Thesis Re-submission, for those required to re-submit their thesis subject to additional research or experimental work).  

The extension process will be handled by your Department and your Department may have specific guidance for you in order to take this forward.  If you have any concerns, please talk to your Department.   
 
If you were due to enter the Writing Up Period from 16 March 2020 onwards you can proceed as normal and be considered for entry at the appropriate point. No adjustments will be applied to your milestone deadlines and you will be expected to submit within 12 months of entering your Writing Up Period (or by the given submission deadline, whichever is sooner).  
 
However, if you found that you have been prevented from finalising your experimental work and data gathering due to COVID-19, the automatic no-cost extension is also available to you. You should let your Department know whether you wish to proceed as normal or whether you require a no-cost extension to your milestones. 

Students currently in their Writing Up Period 

If you had already progressed to writing up prior to 16 March 2020 you are not expected to have been impacted by the closure of laboratories and research facilities and, as such, no automatic registration or milestone extensions will be applied.  
 
However, if you have been affected by circumstances beyond your control in the lead up to thesis submission you will be able to request an extension to your thesis submission deadline. You should liaise with your Supervisor to determine a reasonable new submission deadline, which should then be requested in accordance with the College’s Late Case Procedure.  

Students wishing to apply for an Interruption of Studies  

Upon consideration of the above options, you could choose to interrupt your studies.  However, if you interrupt, please note there will be visa implications and financial implications which arise from losing your student status. Further guidance on interrupting your studies is available at the Changes to Registration Status webpage

I’m a Doctoral student wanting to apply for a funded extension.

Having explored a registration or milestone extension, you may also require additional funding to enable you to continue studying with us. It is important to recognise that these are separate processes and are determined by your funding source. Funding sources for Doctorates differ significantly. If you are unsure of who your funder is, your Supervisor should be able to help you identify them.  
 
We have identified two different scenarios which may apply to you, which we detail below. 

UKRI or Wellcome Trust-funded Doctorates 

The Wellcome Trust has stated that it will pay an additional six month's funding to pay for stipends for studentships where the training grant is due to end 1 March - 31 December 2020, and an additional three months stipend where the training grant is due to end in 2021. This will happen automatically. 

UKRI has provided a route for training grant holders to apply for costed extensions for up to six months for final year students and on a case-by-case basis for non-final year students. This is happening through a series of surveys. If you are unsure if your case has been included in a survey you should contact your Supervisor and ask them to raise this with the training grant holder. 

The College Scheme 

You are eligible to apply to the College Scheme if:   

  • Your Doctorate is funded by a fixed term grant that was competitively won (e.g. a scholarship from the College, or a national, international or industrial funder) and your funder is unable to extend your stipend 

  • You are a full-time student who has progressed beyond first year 

  • You are a part-time student who has progressed beyond first and second year 

You cannot apply to this scheme if you are: 

  • Currently interrupting your studies 

  • In the Writing Up Period (completing research status (CRS) or writing up away from College) 

  • Funded by UKRI or the Wellcome Trust 

  • Self-funded 

  • A full-time first-year student 

  • A part-time first or second-year student 

I’m eligible for a funded extension, how do I apply?

The College’s second round of stipend extension funding is now open for eligible students. The deadline for students to submit their application is 5pm 20 July.  You will find out the outcome of your application by the end of August. 

The process is open to eligible students whose: 

  • Funding is due to finish 1 March 2020 – 30 September 2020 and who missed the first round of funding 

  • Funding is due to finish 1 October 2020 – 28 February 2021. 

I’m not eligible for a funded extension, what additional support is available?

The College’s Student Support Fund remains a source of support if you are not assisted by existing policies. There may also be support available to you via Departmental Funds or external discipline-based organisations.

Will I be charged tuition fees during an extension?

No, the College will not charge any tuitions fees during any extension, irrespective of your funding. The College anticipates that this tuition fee waiver will be applied at the end of your programme.

I’m a first-year Doctoral student, which part of these extension policies apply to me?

The College has taken the position that although all students have been impacted by the pandemic, students in later years of their training are likely to have considerably less time and options to adjust their research plans compared to first-year students. Therefore, please be aware that although you are eligible for an extension to your registration or milestones, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for a funded extension.  
 
Funding sources for Doctorates differ significantly and your funder will have made their own decision regarding funded extensions for first-year students. If you are unsure of your funding source you should check with your Supervisor. If the College is your funder then please be aware that we have decided our policy to provide limited stipend extensions is available only to later-year students, not first-year students.  
 
However, it is still important for you to log any disruption to your training as a result of COVID-19.  Please be reassured that the College, your Department and your Supervisor will be doing everything we can to support you to progress.

I’m a Doctoral student needing further information on remote supervision, exams, and my research plan.

We have developed Remote PhD Supervision & Exams guidance to support effective remote supervision and provide information on taking remote exams (ESA, LSR and Viva).  

You should talk to your Supervisor about your return to experimental research and discuss whether your research plan needs to be adjusted.  The ‘Mutual Expectations for the Research Degree Student Supervisor Partnership’ document has been updated and you are strongly encouraged to re-visit this with your Supervisor.

How is COVID-19 impacting research funding at the College?

The Research Office has provided further information on the wider impact of COVID-19 on research funding at the College.

Will the Professional Development and the Coaching Programmes still be on offer?

Yes. The Graduate School will continue offering postgraduate students a range of professional skills and development opportunities to develop your abilities.  Delivery of these programmes will be remote for at least the beginning of the academic year.  The Graduate School will continue to review the mode of delivery for its workshops scheduled for later in the year, in the hope that multi-mode delivery will be possible. 

Please visit the Graduate School webpages for further information on the professional skills development programmes.

What if I need a visa?

If you have questions about obtaining or renewing a student visa or ATAS certificate, read the FAQs from the International Student Support team or contact them via email for detailed information and advice.

What if I’m from the EU, do I need a visa?

The UK leaves the European Union on 31 December 2020.  If you are from an EU national country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and you are coming to study in the UK or are currently a student in the UK, please look at the latest information on the dedicated EEA/Swiss nationals visa advice page.