On this page you’ll find general information about what to expect from your experience as a postgraduate research student. Offer holder and returning students can find more detailed information by browsing their programme details for academic year 2021-22.

Degree award documentation issued upon successful completion of programmes delivered remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic will not contain any reference to online delivery. If you have any queries, please contact the Registry Assessment Records Team at certificates@imperial.ac.uk

Research culture and environment

This section tells you what the research culture and environment will be like in three scenarios:

  • under minimal COVID restrictions
  • under partial COVID restrictions, which allows students to be on campus whilst following guidelines
  • under full COVID restrictions, which means a return to lockdown, should there be another outbreak of coronavirus.

Student-supervisor partnerships

Under minimal COVID restrictions: The mutual expectations for research degree student-supervisor partnerships document should be used to establish how partnerships will work and should be discussed at the first meeting between a supervisor and their student(s).  It is suggested that the document is re-visited at various points throughout the partnership. 

Under partial and full COVID restrictions: The mutual expectations for research degree student-supervisor partnerships document contains helpful points to consider when working remotely.

Supervisory meetings

Under minimal COVID restrictions: There should be regular in person, on-campus meetings with your supervisor, but you may find that some meetings also take place remotely.  You should follow any guidance given to you by your supervisor and department to ensure Covid-safe working and social distancing.

Under partial COVID restrictions: There may be a reduced number of in-person, on-campus supervision meetings, with the balance being towards remote supervision meetings. You should follow guidance provided by your supervisor on how you will meet for your supervision meetings (remotely or on-campus). 

Under full COVID restrictions: There is guidance for students and staff on remote supervisory meetings 

Examinations: (ESA, LSR and Viva)

Under minimal COVID restrictions: We will plan for on-campus, in person exams, where possible.  However, some exams might take place remotely or you may find that external examiners join the exam remotely where it is not practical for them to travel.  You should follow any guidance given to you by your supervisor and department to ensure covid-safe working and social distancing.

Under partial COVID restrictions: We will plan for on-campus, in person exams, where possible.  However, the balance may be towards remote exams especially when travel restrictions are in place.  You should follow guidance provided by your supervisor and/or department to ensure covid-safe working and social distancing.  

Under partial COVID restrictions: There is guidance for supervisors and internal examiners arranging remote vivas. There is guidance for students on preparing for remote examinations. 

Graduate School workshops

Under minimal COVID restrictions: The Graduate School has responded to feedback from students which asked for a multi-mode approach to delivery to be maintained as business as usual.  This will ensure accessibility for all students, wherever they are in the world.

Under partial COVID restrictions: The Graduate School has responded to feedback from students which asked for a multi-mode approach to delivery to be maintained as business as usual.  This will ensure accessibility for all students, wherever they are in the world. The School will switch between on-campus and remote teaching, in the event of further lockdown or restrictions.   

Under full COVID restrictions: The Graduate School will deliver its programme of professional skills workshops fully remotely.

Graduate School presence on campus

Under minimal COVID restrictions:  Graduate School staff will begin returning to campus during the summer transition period, with gradual ramping up from September onwards.  A staff rota will be in place to support this.  All students can continue to contact the Graduate School through our generic email address:  graduate.school@imperial.ac.uk 

Under partial COVID restrictions:  Graduate School staff will begin returning to campus during the summer transition period, with gradual ramping up from September onwards.  A staff rota will be in place to support this but there may be a reduced number of in-person, on campus presence of Graduate School staff.   All students can continue to contact the Graduate School through our generic email address:  graduate.school@imperial.ac.uk  

Under full COVID restrictions: Staff within the Graduate School will work from home.    

All students can continue to contact the Graduate School through our generic email address:  graduate.school@imperial.ac.uk  

Postgraduate Student Coaching and Research Degree Mediation

Under minimal and partial COVID restrictions: The postgraduate student coaching programme and research degree mediation programme can be delivered either remotely or on-campus.  This mode of delivery is for the parties to discuss and agree.  

Under full COVID restrictionsThe postgraduate student coaching programme and research degree mediation programme will be delivered remotely.  

Maintaining productivity and motivation

Under minimal and partial COVID restrictions:  You should follow guidance provided by your supervisor and department.  There will be a range of activities to help you to maintain your productivity and motivation. Your department will have activities in place to support this, but you can also attend Graduate School workshops:   We also have available specific workshops on motivation and independence which will be running remotely. 

Under full COVID restrictions: Guidance for students available here.  This includes information on working without a lab.  Our guidance on remote supervision meetings also places importance on the supervisor and student establishing a research plan which takes account of remote working.

Office space

Under minimal COVID restrictions:  For non-lab based students, the ability to access office space is important in terms of supporting students who may have a poor working home environment, for wellbeing purposes and to develop PGR communities within the department.

Under partial COVID restrictions:  For non-lab based students, departments should prioritise their return to campus, where possible.  Access to office space should be arranged through established departmental procedures.  This is not only to support students who may have a poor working home environment, but also for wellbeing and to develop PGR communities within the department.

Under full COVID restrictions: Access to PGR office space is unlikely to be available in the event of full restrictions. Where access to office space is not possible, departments should ensure that they have in place alternative ways in which to develop their community of PGRs. 

Graduate School Events and Induction

Under minimal and partial COVID restrictions: We will deliver our Welcome and Induction activities remotely. We will plan for an on-campus in person 4Cs competition and PhD Summer Showcase – these will take place in Spring and summer 2022. Students are able to access the Postgraduate Community Fund to apply for resource to support cohort building and other community development activities.

Under full COVID restrictions: All Graduate School Welcomeinduction and events will take place remotely. Students are able to access the Postgraduate Community Fund to apply for resource to support remote cohort building and other remote community development activities. 

Graduate School UK Residential Retreats

Under minimal and partial COVID restrictions: The Graduate School is planning UK-based residential retreats for late autumn and the spring and summer terms, provided satisfactory COVID-safe ways of working and social distancing measures can be maintained and subject to national and College guidelines.  

Under full COVID restrictions: Should further restrictions or lockdown be imposed a remote version of the Thesis Writing Retreat will be delivered. It is not possible to deliver remote versions of the Teams and Communication or Research Impact Retreat.  Alternative workshops covering similar content are available remotely through the professional skills development programme.   

International Global Fellows Programmes

Under minimal COVID restrictions:  The Graduate School will work with the International Relations Office to explore which of our international global fellows partners are able to deliver a residential programme in spring/summer 2022. This is subject to national/College guidance and any travel restrictions.  It will also depend on any restrictions in place in the host country.

Under partial COVID restrictions: The Graduate School will work with the International Relations Office to explore which of our international global fellows partners are able to deliver a residential programme in spring/summer 2022. This is subject to national/College guidance and any travel restrictions.  It will also depend on any restrictions in place in the host country.  We have developed a remote version of the programme which could be used (subject to international partner agreement) should travel restrictions be imposed. 

Under full COVID restrictions: Should further lockdown or travel restrictions be imposed (either within the UK or at partner institutions abroad), we will explore which of our partners are able to work with us to deliver a remote version of the programme.