Students on postgraduate research programmes
Information relevant to students registered on postgraduate research programmes and affected by COVID-19 can be found below.
Registration and deadline extensions
I’m writing up my research – will I get an extension because the College’s campuses are closed?
No. If you are in the writing up stage, you should not be significantly affected by the closure of labs and other facilities, and you should be able to submit as planned. Your viva examination may take place remotely.
I can do my research remotely – will I get an extension because the College’s campuses are closed?
No. If you don't use labs or other facilities for your research, you should be able to progress as planned. Your Early Stage Assessment, Late Stage Review and viva examination may take place remotely.
I can’t do my research remotely – will I get an extension because the College’s campuses are closed?
In the first instance, please discuss with your supervisor whether there is work that you can complete remotely, for example further reading or writing up work that has already been completed.
However, we know that the closure of labs and other facilities has a significant impact on research students who are using them. Your milestone due dates, including your thesis submission deadline, will be extended by the duration of the closure period once the College reopens – ie, if the College is closed for three months, all future assessment milestones (including your submission deadline) would be postponed by three months.
Your department should discuss the funding implications of this extension with you.
You may also find the information published by the Research Office on the impact of Covid-19 on research funding helpful.
Students on Tier 4 visas
If your submission date is extended beyond your visa expiry date, you will need to make a new Tier 4 application at some point in the future to ensure you have enough time on your visa to complete your course. The International Student Support team will assist you with a visa extension application nearer the time.
If you have any queries relating to your current visa status and the impact of COVID-19, please contact the International Student Support team.
I need an extension because of a reason not related to lab closures. What should I do?
If you have any concerns about your ability to submit on time, please speak to your supervisor as early as possible.
We have an existing process in place for students who have been unable to progress as expected because of circumstances outside their control. This could include health problems, caring responsibilities, or financial issues.
If you need to seek an extension to your thesis deadline, you will need to liaise with your supervisor and submit a Thesis Deadline Extension Request Form to the Registry for processing. Please refer to our guidance on the College's thesis deadline extension procedure.
Interruptions of study
I’m currently on interruption of study – what do I need to do?
You don’t need to do anything.
Your student record will be updated 4 weeks before you are due to return to your studies, which will enable to you re-enrol via My Imperial. If you cannot access My Imperial, please contact the Registry systems team who will be able to help you.
If you are due to return from an interruption that was taken for health reasons, or you are due to return from a suspension, then your department will be in touch with you to discuss this as we may need evidence to show that you are fit to resume your studies.
If you haven’t heard from your department by 4 weeks before your planned return date from a health interruption or a suspension, please contact your departmental administrator.
I can’t do my research remotely – should I go on interruption?
We do not recommend that research students interrupt their studies. If you are affected by the closure of a laboratory or other research facility, your milestone due dates will be extended by the duration of the closure period once the College reopens. Please see section on registration and deadline extensions for more information.
I want to take an interruption of studies to work on a research project related to COVID-19 or to return to clinical practice – what do I need to do?
Please speak to your personal tutor, postgraduate tutor, senior tutor, or other member of department staff to discuss this in the first instance. An interruption of studies needs approval from your department. If the department approves the request they will need to notify the Student Records team within Registry.
Doctoral assessments and examinations
While the use of telephone or video-conferencing is not normally permitted at doctoral assessments and examinations, appropriate adjustments can now be considered to ensure the assessment is able to proceed as planned.
For further information, please refer to the College's Guidance regarding doctoral assessments and examinations affected by coronavirus
COVID-19 Impact Statement
If you wish to add a statement to your thesis, setting out the impact of Covid-19 on your research, you are able to do so using the Research Degree Covid-19 Impact Statement. This is optional and not a mandatory requirement. This form will be available for you to use even if restrictions ease and you are no longer disrupted but have been disrupted previously by the pandemic.
If you would like to do so, please read the guidance below and discuss your statement with your Main supervisor. You are both required to sign the completed form. If you do not wish to disclose personal information to your supervisor, your Senior Tutor (PGR) can sign the form instead. Electronic signatures will be accepted.
The completed form should be added at the start of your thesis (alongside the originality and copyright statement) and submitted to the College as part of the usual thesis submission process through MyImperial. Following your examination, but prior to submitting your final thesis to Spiral, you should remove the form - it should not appear in the final version of your thesis.
Please also note that regardless of whether you choose to submit your own Covid-19 impact statement, the Registry will provide all research degree examiners with a statement from the College on the impact of Covid-19 on research degrees. You can access a copy of this statement here: Research Degree Examiners: COVID-19 Impact Guidance Note.
Guidance on completing Section B of the form (student statement)
It is suggested that your statement is approximately 300-500 words and that it should cover some or all of the following:
- A summary of work that you were planning to do prior to Covid-19 restrictions and how you altered the framework/balance of your final thesis in response to Covid-19
- Any adjustments you made to your research project, such as:
- Changes to the scope of the research question
- Adjustments/adaption/cancellation of experimental work (please say if this was linked to any external or central facilities or sites)
- Any difficulties accessing laboratories, facilities, data and/or specific colleagues/collaborators
- Postponement/cancellation/restrictions to fieldwork, placements, site visits and collections
- Any other challenges encountered
- If appropriate, any changes to your personal circumstances (e.g., ill-health, caring responsibilities), any difficulties relating to underlying disabilities, return to clinical service or voluntary Covid-19 related work, that you wish to bring to the attention of the examiners.
A note of reassurance
It is important to note that both the UK and European criteria for the award of a PhD, EngD, MPhil or MD[Res] are based specifically on the quality rather than the quantity of research produced.
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has recently published a reminder of this in its document: Advice on Doctoral Standards for Research and Supervisors (qaa.ac.uk)