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University of Bath

Doctoral academic milestones during Covid-19

Due to the restrictions resulting from Covid-19, we have made the following changes to your research progression and academic process.

Your research progression

Taught phase elements of your studies

Arrangements for Professional Doctorate programme residentials, Integrated PhDs and other taught elements are governed by the University’s cessation of face-to-face teaching from the end of 17 March 2020 – see Coronavirus update: learning and teaching to go online. However, reflecting the gradual return to campus over the summer, residentials from September 2020 onwards are being considered. If you have any queries please contact your Programme Administrator.

Research phase elements of your studies

Local Departmental/Faculty/School policies will apply e.g. office and laboratory procedures, attendance requirements, and whether or not to continue with ongoing research activities. Please check with your Supervisor or Director of Studies.

Guidance on carrying out interviews and focus groups online

Based on the University of Bath Data Protection Policies, the various ethics committees have developed guides for changing from face-to-face interviews to use telephone or online interviews:

Travel, including those already on fieldwork or on placement

Students planning to undertake fieldwork or research off the campus (including internships) must complete and submit the standard Fieldwork Risk Assessment form. Students should also observe the Doctoral College’s Health and Safety Guide for Doctoral students, including completing the Off-Campus Activities Notification form and returning it to your Doctoral Programme Administrator.

The international travel ban has now been lifted. Any member of staff or doctoral student who wishes to travel abroad must seek formal approval from their Head of Department, must book their travel through the approved university travel agent, Clarity, and must complete the risk assessment process operated by Clarity.

In the ever-evolving situation, however, we need to be mindful of the UK Government advice and so this may well change.

Updated information on your key academic milestones

The information at Guidance and forms for doctoral students lists the standard academic process. The points below cover the current changes.

  • Registration: induction
    If you are a new student then you should receive some local support from your Department or School, as well as a central induction. Please discuss any local requirements with your Supervisory team. All new doctoral students are required to attend the central induction session Starting Your Doctorate.
  • Approval of candidature
    It is possible that the current crisis may lead you to delay your start date but if you do start your doctorate during this crisis, you will still need to complete your Candidature form with your supervisor within one month of your start date if you are full-time, or within three months if you are part-time. Candidature forms will continue to be submitted to the Faculty Doctoral Studies Committees for approval in the normal way.
  • Confirmation (not required for Professional Doctorates)
    Students who are unable to submit their confirmation report by their expected deadline, because of the Covid-19 crisis, can request an extension to their confirmation deadline. The process is not difficult as all we need is an emailed rationale from the student and evidence of their supervisor’s support – emailed to the Doctoral Programmes team. Please include your department, programme and student number in the email.
    It is not currently possible to hold face-to-face confirmation examinations. You may prefer to delay your examination until these can be safely resumed, but there are no clear indication of when this might be possible. The University permits confirmation examinations to be held via video conferencing, and if you are happy to proceed in this manner, discuss this with your supervisor. See Appendix 3 of QA7 Research degrees for guidelines on how to plan, set-up and conduct a video conference confirmation examination.
    It is not currently possible to submit a paper copy of your confirmation report to the Doctoral College office because the staff are working from home. This requirement has been temporarily suspended. Please submit your confirmation documents to the Doctoral College Submission page in Moodle by your deadline.
  • Writing up
    You can still apply to transfer to writing up status in the normal way. In addition, any student who has completed the minimum period of study for their programme (see Regulation 16), and who has lost time using University resources due to disruption caused by the Covid-19 crisis, may now request a temporary transfer to writing-up status in order to pay fees at a reduced rate for an agreed period of time.
  • Notice of intention to submit thesis or portfolio
    You are still required to give at least two months’ prior notice to the Doctoral College, of the intended date of submission of your thesis. Give notice using form HD1, which is accessed via your SAMIS in-tray.
  • Submission of thesis or portfolio
    If you are unable to submit by your registration end date because of the Covid-19 crisis, should contact the Doctoral College to request an extension.
    All thesis submissions have to be made via the Doctoral College Submission page in Moodle. It is not currently possible to submit a paper copy of the thesis, and this requirement has been temporarily suspended. The Doctoral College will explain this to your examiners. Do not attempt to send a paper copy of your work directly to the examiners.
    Extension to submission deadline
    A three-month registration extension was automatically applied to all students who had entered their final year of registration by the 1st April 2020. This change to submission deadline will help accommodate delays caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
    Any student who had not yet reached their final year of registration by the 1st April 2020 but who experienced disruptions to their studies due to the Covid-19 crisis will be able to apply for an extension to their registration period; keep a record of the nature of the delays, and how much time was lost. See our guide to Recording the impact of Covid-19 on your studies. If you are unable to submit your thesis by your submission deadline contact the Doctoral College for advice.
  • Examination (Viva Voce)
    It is not currently possible to hold face-to-face viva examinations. You may prefer to delay your examination until these can be safely resumed, but there are no clear indications of when this might be possible.
    The University permits viva examinations to be held via video conferencing, and if you are happy to proceed in this manner your internal examiner will need to make the appropriate arrangements. See Appendix 3 of QA7 Research degrees for guidelines on how to plan, set-up and conduct a video conference viva.
    First submission of thesis
    A hard copy will not be required, please submit your thesis via the Moodle submission points by your deadline dates. Arrangements for vivas and confirmation examinations will be forwarded to you in due course.
    Archive copy of thesis
    It is not currently possible to take a hardbound copy of the thesis to the Doctoral College because the staff are working from home. Instead we will accept a receipt from Print Services showing that your thesis has been submitted for hard binding in order to process your viva paperwork for graduation. We will be happy to collect hard bound thesis from Print Services when we are next on campus. Please email your Programmes Administrator, at the email addresses below, when your thesis is ready for collection, and include your programme and student number in the email.
    Faculty of Engineering and Design: doctoralprogrammes-eng@bath.ac.uk
    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: doctoralprogrammes-hss@bath.ac.uk
    Faculty of Science: doctoralprogrammes-sci@bath.ac.uk
    School of Management: doctoralprogrammes-som@bath.ac.uk
  • Graduation
    The Graduation Ceremonies have been postponed until further notice.