Information for new PhD students

General information

How to find the Postgraduate Office

  • Please note that staff are currently working remotely and can be contacted via phone, email or Microsoft Teams.
  • We are based in Room 311 of the ACEX Building on the South Kensingston campus map.
  • Enter via the walkway from the College Main entrance and you will see the glass atrium with the chemical symbols on your right
  • Enter the building via the walkway entrance
  • Go up to level 3
  • The office is at the end of the corridor directly in front of the lifts.

Level three ACEX Building



Blackboard is the College's 'Virtual Learning Environment', an online portal where you can find a great deal of useful information and resources.

You can self-enrol on the RAFT course (a pre-requisite Health and Safety requirement) by following the PhD Student Blackboard Enrolment Instructions

If you don't have access to the Chemical Engineering PhD student resources, please contact Susi Underwood providing your user name. If you need access to any undergraduate course materials, please contact Susi Underwood providing your user name, the course code and name of the course to which you need access. Course codes and information on undergraduate lectures can be found in the document entitled "Attending Chemical Engineering Lectures" under "Essential Links" in the Chemical Engineering PhD student resources.

PhD symposium

The PhD symposium has been established as an annual event, which takes place on the first Monday after the summer term. The symposium is a great opportunity for PhD students to share their research with the Department and representatives from Industry.

All third-year PhD students are expected to give either an oral or a poster presentation.

Attendance of the symposium is compulsory for first-year PhD students.

PhD student-staff committee

The PhD student-staff committee gives the PhD students in the Department a voice and has been very active in organising events for PhD students, including an annual barbecue and monthly breakfast events and drink gatehrings.

Start of session events

Induction events at the start of the academic year

The following events are essential departmental induction events during the first week of term plus a welcome reception for new PhD students to give you the opportunity to meet other students, departmental staff over some free food and drink.Times and dates will be confirmed by the Postgraduate Office Manager closer to the start of term. Events include:
  • Welcome talks by Professors Nilay Shah, Head of Department, and Serafim Kalliadasis, Director of Postgraduate Studies, followed by Introduction to Postgraduate Welfare by Professor Paul Luckham, Senior Tutor (PG) and a Wellbeing Talk by Faith Marsh, Student Wellbeing Advisor
  • PhD welcome reception
  • Departmental safety induction

An email outlining start of term details and where to find more information will be sent to each new student.  If you don't receive anything, please contact the Postgraduate Office Manager.

Full details on College-wide activities for new students can be found here.

You may find our online calendar with PhD events useful - you can subscribe to the calendar via this link.

Key stages during registration

Upon arrival

  • Registration with the College (online and in person, if appropriate) and with the Department (Postgraduate Office)
  • Attend any relevant safety inductions, familiarise yourself with the departmental safety documentation and take all necessary tests
  • If you are a non-native speakers of English, you will need to fulfil the Postgraduate English Requirement as soon as possible after enrolling onto your PhD.

Research plan (Month 1)

  • Title and objectives of your research project
  • A more detailed plan for the first year
  • A detailed plan of the first nine months
  • Appointment of assessor for ESA and LSR
  • To be submitted to the Postgraduate Research Student Administrator within one month of initial registration

Early stage Assessment (Month 9)

  • PhD confirmation report to be submitted to assessor with copies to supervisors and Postgraduate Research Student Administrator (Dionne Alexander) in month nine of registration
  • Oral presentation and exam (30 mins presentation followed by oral exam assessed by the assessor appointed in the research plan)
  • Two professional skills courses plus the online plagiarism awareness course
  • Risk assessment (if PhD project involves experimental work)
  • Summary of three seminars in the Distinguished Seminar Series
  • Further English test if required after initial test

Late stage review (Month 21)

  • Report of about five pages to be submitted to assessor with copies to supervisor(s) and Postgraduate Research Student Administrator (Dionne Alexander) in month 21 of registration and to include:
  • Overview of achievements to date
  • Research plan (including objectives that have already been accomplished, thoses that are yet to be met, those that will be achieved prior to submission)
  • A list of papers/ presentations/ posters that you have given as part of your PhD thus far
  • Two additional professional skills courses
  • Summary of three more seminars in the Distinguished Seminar Series
  • If there are no concerns about your progress, the LSR can be completed by e-mail, otherwise there may be a mini-viva of about one hour

Full details of the various stages during the PhD can be found in the Chemical Engineering PhD Handbook.

Registration after October

Induction events for PhD students who join the Department after welcome week

If you start your PhD after welcome week, please come to the Chemical Engineering Postgraduate Office (ACEX 311) and arrange a suitable time for a brief induction with Dionne Alexander, the Postgraduate Research Student Administrator. In order to obtain your ID card, you will need to complete the Day One Health and Safety Induction, if you are new to the College. This induction should be arranged by your supervisor and carried out by someone in your research group.

You will also need to ensure that you fulfil all the necessary safety requirements as soon as possible. Full details of the safety requirements can be found on the Chemical Engineering Safety Pages.