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. The following information has been recently added:
- 23 September: Update on funding support for University-funded students within Funding and fees support options ).
- 14 September: Guidance on how to report symptoms of Covid-19 (within Guidance from the University).
- 22 July: Returning to campus for doctoral students (within Guidance from the University).
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 working on campus, safety precautions and risk assessments.
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 email@example.com
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 should carry out a workstation self-assessment. If an issue is identified you should seek advice from either the Computer Workstation Assessor or your Departmental Coordinator. If you have any specialist equipment on campus then contact your department to collect your belongings. UKRI Research Council-funded students may be able to purchase equipment to support home working.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
The Doctoral College staff is continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future but we shall maintain full support as far as is possible. We would encourage students and staff to use email to contact us; if you would prefer to call please contact the staff member through Teams Telephony.
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 email@example.com 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: