Regardless of whether you are funded or not, you will no doubt have questions about the support that is available to you to help you mitigate some of the disruption caused by Covid-19. The answers to these questions are likely to vary depending upon your funding arrangements and your personal circumstances, and you may be better contacting the Doctoral College at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for more tailored guidance. However, the following general guidance may be a useful place to start.
Summary of options
|Funded extension to UKRI studentship||If you are funded by UKRI, there have been various funding calls designed to enable you to access a funded extension to your studentship.||Not automatic – must make a case. These calls have now closed.|
|Funded extension to University studentship||If you are funded by the University, there have been various funding calls designed to enable you to access a funded extension to your studentship.||Not automatic – must make a case. These calls have now closed.|
|Funding support for those unable to access a funded extension through other sources||If you have been unable to apply for a funded extension from other sources, you may be eligible to apply to the Research England funding call.||Not automatic – must make a case. These calls have now closed.|
|Research Interruption scheme (Covid-19) - Fee-free period||If your data collection has been delayed by Covid-19 and you want an agreed fee-free period, equivalent to that lost due to Covid, you can apply to this scheme.||Form to complete. Not available to students who qualify for other support.|
|3-month fee-free extension of registration||Available to all doctoral students.||Applies at end of registration period – which may be a year after funding has ended, but students can make a case for it to be applied sooner.|
|Suspension of studies||Provides a temporary halt to your studies (and any fee payments for that period). Time lost to studies is effectively added to your end of registration / submission deadline.||Funded students would not receive their stipends during this period. Not normally possible for Tier4 visa-holders (see latest Student Immigration guidance).|
|Transfer to writing up||If you have completed your minimum period of study, and the data collection phase of your research, you could transfer to writing up status (with the approval of your supervisor), which would incur a lower fee.||Continuation fee (£624 p.a.) - minimum supervision and access to the Library. Admin fee (£104 p.a.) - no longer require supervision and access to the Library. Students on Tier 4 visas can only switch to a Continuation fee.|
|University Hardship Fund||For those experiencing financial difficulty who are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support, and for those who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events.||Cannot be used for tuition fee payments.|
Research Interruption Scheme (fee-free period)
On 24 September 2020 the University announced a new Research Interruption scheme (Covid-19) for those who have lost time using University resources due to Covid-19. With this scheme you are permitted access to labs or other facilities for an agreed fee-free period, equivalent to that lost due to Covid.
You must have completed your minimum period of study for the fee-free period to begin. If you haven’t done so at the time of applying, the fee-free period will be implemented once you have completed the minimum period. You will retain full access to all resources (including facilities such as Laboratories, which are not normally available when transferred to Writing-Up) without changing your status. Once that period is passed, you will either revert to paying full fees or transfer to Writing-Up, whichever is appropriate.
If approved, this arrangement can be put in place to take effect when your funding ends or, if you're self-funded, when the data collection phase of your programme would normally be complete.
You cannot apply for this scheme if you qualify for any other support. If you want to take advantage of this facility you'll need to apply and provide evidence to demonstrate that you cannot expect to benefit from other measures to mitigate the impact of the disruption on the progress of your active research. Your application will also need to include appropriate evidence of the nature and level of disruption experienced.
3-month fee-free extension to registration period
In June 2020, University Senate approved a proposal that all doctoral students should be given a 3-month fee free extension to their registration period, to help alleviate some of the impact of Covid-19. Many students have already had that extension applied and others will be able to take advantage of it as they approach the final year of their doctorate. In exceptional cases, the extension can be applied earlier than a student’s registration end date.
You do not need to apply for this extension to be applied, applied as you start your final year of registration but if you want to know more about how it can be used to help mitigate the disruption caused by Covid-19, or if you would like to make a case for it to be applied earlier, please contact your Doctoral College Administrator.
Suspension of studies
If you are unable to continue working at all such that you feel that you will need a suspension of studies or an extension of your registration period, you should talk to your supervisor and contact the Doctoral College in the normal way. If you are receiving studentship funding, your studentship payments will stop during a suspension of studies after a period allowing for sick leave. If you are not in receipt of funding support, you will not be required to pay fees during a period of suspension.
Transfer to writing up
If you have completed your minimum period of study, and the data collection phase of your research, you could transfer to writing up status (with the approval of your supervisor), which would incur a lower fee. You will ned to complete a form to request a change to writing up status. If you want to know more about this process, and what options are available to Home and Overseas students, you can contact your Doctoral College Administrator.
If you are experiencing hardship issues, you should contact the University Hardship Fund, which is for those students who are experiencing financial difficulty and are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support, and for those who have experienced a change in financial circumstances due to unforeseen events.