Coronavirus advice to doctoral students
As the impact of Covid-19 continues among changing advice from the UK Government, here you'll find the latest guidance to doctoral students.
Guidance from the University
This page focuses on doctoral specific issues and will be updated on a regular basis.
If you're an incoming student and have any concerns about starting your research or about travel to the UK, please speak to your supervisor or contact the Doctoral Admissions team. You can also read our pre-arrival emails for more information.
Please tell us if you're self-isolating. If you're a student and are self-isolating - because you've got symptoms of Coronavirus, have tested positive for Coronavirus or you live with someone who has - you must let us know so we can support you and look after the University community.
The following information has been recently added:
- 30 April: Return to in-person meetings between students and DC programmes administrators.
- 11 February: Updated guidance on working on campus. This guide is written for staff but contains useful information for doctoral students.
- 14 January: Update on working on campus for January 2021.
- 8 January: Government guidance for students in January 2021 and Student FAQs from the University on the 2021 lockdown, including specific guidance for PGR students on access to campus.
- 20 November: Watch this video about the national coronavirus testing programme at the University of Bath.
- 12 November: Update about reviewing your research plans, in light of the UKRI announcement on funding extensions.
- 23 September: Update on funding support for University-funded students.
- 23 September: Full responses to questions from the Doctoral Town Hall.
- 14 September: Guidance on how to report symptoms of Covid-19.
- 22 July: Returning to campus for doctoral students.
Please be reassured that we want you to succeed as doctoral students and we will do everything we can to support you and to accommodate any changes that need to be made.
As well as the advice from the Doctoral College (below), other key sources of information include:
- Student Services for advice and resources on looking after your mental health and wellbeing
- Guidance at the University's Coronavirus page, which we strongly recommend that you check regularly for updates
- Archive of all emails sent to students from the University about Coronavirus, including a message from the Minister of State for Universities on accommodation, finals, finances and visas.
Returning to campus for doctoral students
Read the latest information on staying safe on campus, including the use of face coverings, quarantine and access to study spaces.
Guidance if you experience any symptoms of Covid-19
There is advice from Student Services on the process you must follow if you develop any symptoms of Covid-19, along with a link to the current symptoms on the NHS website.
Plan, monitor and record the impact on your studies
Read our guide to working with your supervisor, monitoring performance and recording the effects of the pandemic on your research at recording how Covid-19 has affected your research activities. This evidence will be crucial if you later apply to extend your registration or funding.
Funding and fees support options
Our page Covid-19 funding support for doctoral students provides guidance on the many sources of financial support for doctoral students, recognising that everyone's circumstances are different. Examples include:
- If you're unable to continue working you may choose to suspend your studies or apply to extend your registration period.
- If you are a Tier 4 visa holder and cannot suspend.
- If you've completed your minimum period of study you can apply for a temporary change in registration to Writing-Up and pay a much lower Continuation fee.
- If you have not yet completed the minimum period of study and can't transfer to writing up.
- The three-month extension of registration, for all students in their final year of registration on 1 April 2020.
Tier 4 visa holders
Student Immigration Services has provided Coronavirus information for Student visa and Tier 4 visa holders.
Further information is being sought from UK Visas and Immigration, so check this web page regularly.
If you have any issues please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Your research progression
We have guidance on your Doctoral academic milestones during Covid-19 that covers the changes in the standard academic process due to the current circumstances. This includes the taught phase of your studies (if you have one), and your research phase, including advice on carrying out interviews and focus groups online.
The international travel ban has now been lifted. If you need to travel, as you're planning to undertake fieldwork or research off the campus (including internships) you must get approval from your Head of Department and complete the risk assessment process. Details are on our academic milestones page.
Resources and IT
Working from home
You can borrow unused departmental equipment for you to work from home. If you're planning to borrow an office-based PC, please submit a request for repurposing to IT before you take it away from campus. You'll need the Hostname/Asset Tag for the particular machine you want to use.
If you have funds such as Bench Fees or Research Training Grants, you may also look at using these to purchase equipment, subject to the funder’s requirements and future research-specific needs from the same grant. UKRI Research Council-funded students may be able to purchase equipment to support home working.
If you have any specialist equipment on campus then contact your department to collect your belongings.
The University has guidance on working from home as well as resources on Safe use of computers at home and Flexible working with laptops. There is also guidance on accessing systems remotely. If you need more guidance after following these documents you can contact email@example.com for further advice.
Further IT guidance can be found at Top Desk (Working from Home).
If you need to access specific research software installed on your campus PC you will need Remote Access to your PC, which must be switched on in your office. Contact the IT Service Desk to set this up. Most of the lab PCs (with specific licensed software) have been set up for students to use remotely; see Wake up my computer.
If you are on campus, check the University's latest information on Campus Facilities to see what is available to you. You can also book your study space on campus - including space reserved for specifically for doctoral students in 8W - if you're unable to work remotely.
If you're preparing for your online viva, 10W includes a number of small rooms that are available for private use. You can book one of these for your viva meeting where you won't be disturbed; you'll need to use your own IT equipment and laptop.
Your professional development
All our face-to-face training courses and workshops have been transferred online. We have many free webinars, along with new online resources in development.
Visit our Professional Development programme on Moodle to browse what's coming up. Make sure you register in good time, so we can send you the joining instructions for your course.
In addition, our DoctoralSkills: Extra resource on Moodle, signposts online training from external providers, in communication, IT and digital skills, personal effectiveness, research methods, entrepreneurship and more.
Where possible, doctoral students are still expected to engage in the equivalent of at least 10 days of skills development activities per year (pro-rated for part time students, for example five days for 0.5 FTE).
Doctoral College events
We have transferred our Writing Wednesdays, Doctoral Exchange and Slice of Research events online. Find out details on our Doctoral College page.
Support and wellbeing
In-person meetings between students and DC programmes administrators
The move to virtual meetings with students, which was necessitated by the Doctoral College Programmes team having to work from home, has worked well and we continue to connect with students via Teams to help answer their queries or to provide advice. However, we realise that there may be some situations where an in-person meeting would be more beneficial, and as Covid restrictions have started to relax we have begun to look at ways to make this possible.
To that end, although the Doctoral College offices remain closed to visitors, and we continue to work from home, we are now able to arrange a booked in-person meeting with a student if that is required. The meetings can take place on campus in 10 West (in room 4.11, where the capacity is three people) or, if necessary, at another University premises such as the Virgil Building (space and safety restrictions allowing).
If you would like to have an in-person meeting with a member of staff from the Doctoral College Programmes team, please contact your administrator to arrange a suitable date and time. It may not be possible to meet with the specific person you would like to talk to, but you will be able to meet someone from the team. All current Covid restrictions will be observed, and you'll be advised on the safety processes for you and our staff.
It is our hope that as restrictions continue to relax, we will be able to offer you more opportunities to meet with DC staff.
The rest of the Doctoral College staff continues to work from home but we shall maintain full support as far as is possible. Please contact us via email; if you would prefer to call, please contact the staff member through Teams Telephony.
You can find details of all our support for doctoral students, including the Talk Now service, The SU Advice & Support Centre, Wellbeing Advisers, and Student Services' Counselling and Mental Health team.
It's important to look after your mental health and wellbeing, and there are several things you can do to support yourself and others:
- Take breaks from watching and reading the news, including social media.
- Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Take care of your body, take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Make time to unwind, try to do some activities you enjoy.
- Try to keep up with regular routines where you can.
- Connect with others, talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Student Services is continuing to provide many of its services virtually, and from 21 September they are also offering a limited number of Covid-safe, in-person sessions. Please call 01225 383838 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. You can also read Student Services FAQs on the Coronavirus.
You can also find useful advice and practical tips on coping with isolation and looking after your mental health from Mind.
And at the bottom of the page is a guide from Dr Zoe Ayres on working on your PhD remotely.
Read advice from the BBC on Coronavirus: Five ways to work well from home and BBC Science Focus on successfully working from home in lockdown, as well as advice from My Whole Self on looking after yourself while working from home.
Try practising the APPLE technique from Anxiety UK and visit their website for more advice on relaxation.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety there are a number of places you can turn to for support:
Other University providers
As well as the university’s key Coronavirus information page, several teams have issued updates as a result of the current situation. These include: