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Guidance and forms for doctoral students

Here you will find guidance and links to the forms that you will need to complete during the course of your doctoral studies.

You can find general information about your doctoral degree in the QA7 Research Degrees. We have also produced a quick reference guide to academic milestones, which you may find useful. Please contact your supervisor or the Doctoral College Programmes Team for further information.

Your department/Faculty/School will also provide you with further specific information about what is required at certain points for progression through your degree. You can find links to your Faculty / School web page here:

You should also refer to the Regulations for Students (specifically Regulation 16) for the latest regulations and conditions for the award of higher degrees.

Your registration period

When you register as a doctoral student at the university you are allocated a registration start and end date that reflect the length of your programme (PhD or professional doctorate) and your mode of study (full-time or part-time). Full-time doctoral students are normally given a 4-year registration period unless they are on an integrated programme where they may have 5 years (including a taught MRes/MSc first year). Part-time doctoral PhD students normally have a 6-year registration period unless they are on an integrated programme or a professional doctorate programme where the registration period could be up to 8 years.

When you start your doctorate, these dates may seem a long way off, but they are very important and, for those of you who receive funding, the registration end date is often different to your end of funding date. For PhD and IPhD programmes, the registration start date will be used to calculate your confirmation deadline, and your registration end date is the date by which you must submit your thesis (unless you are granted extensions or suspensions of study during your registration).

While some students may be more focused on an earlier end date (e.g., their funding end date) as the natural finishing point for their doctorate, it is a fact that all doctoral students must submit by their registration end date, or risk having to seek permission from Board of Studies to re-register as a student.

Your registration end date can be found on your SAMIS page or you can check this with your Doctoral College Programme Administrator.

To apply for an extension to your registration, please contact your Doctoral College Programme Administrator.

This can only be requested before your registration has ended, and cannot be applied for retrospectively.

To seek permission from Board of Studies to re-register as a student, please contact your Doctoral College Programme Administrator.

First meeting(s) with your Supervisor

You are expected to make contact with your supervisor when you first start. In order to make sure that you and your supervisor are clear about expectations of the supervisory relationship, as well as arrangements for meetings, and initial information about important progression points, a Checklist is available which recommends what might be covered during those first few initial meetings. You may also wish to consider the Responsibilities of the Supervision Team as well as the Responsibilities of the Doctoral Student, both of which are appendices of QA7.


As a doctoral researcher at the University, you must ensure that your research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. Ethics: A Guide for Doctoral Students sets out your responsibilities and the process you must follow.

Using the Library

The University’s Library has a number of resources which you might find useful as a doctoral student, including a guide to using the Library, information on study areas and bookable work rooms, good practice for attracting citations, a guide to citing references and information on submitting your thesis.

Using Pure and the University of Bath's Research Portal

Pure is the University's research information system which is used for internal and external reporting, performance review and benchmarking.

The University's Research Portal draws data from Pure, and aggregates the information at an individual and organisational level in order to raise the visibility of the University’s research and provide open access to our publications.

You are automatically set up with a Pure account as well as a profile in the University's Research portal when you join us. Please do keep your account and profile up to date. You can access guidance on using Pure and some Pure user guides to help you do this.


Candidature is usually completed within one month of starting your full-time research degree or three months for part-time. If you are on a programme with a taught phase, Candidature must be completed after starting the research stage.

You will need to complete a PGR1 form as part of this process. This is held in SAMIS and there is guidance on how to complete the PGR1 form. You will receive an email requesting that you go to the task in your SAMIS in tray when it is time for you to fill it in.

Progress Reports

Progress Reports are completed every six months through SAMIS using the PGR2 form. This process is initiated by your Supervisor and you will be notified by email once it is your turn to complete the task.


Most doctoral students are required to undertake Confirmation, apart from those on a Professional Doctorate. Confirmation is a formal examination that serves to check progression. The examination must be successfully passed in order to confirm that a PhD/EngD registration may continue.

PhD students will be prompted when it is time to fill in form PGR3 in SAMIS. Research Engineers undertaking an EngD will continue to use the PGR3 form as part of this process, which can be obtained directly from your Doctoral Programme Administrator.

The Doctoral College provides comprehensive guidance to students about the Confirmation process. This guidance provides useful links to resources for all areas of the Confirmation process, including information about writing a data management plan as well as guidance from the Library on citing references. Information on what to do if your research has ethical implications is also included, as well as links to mandatory training in areas such academic integrity, research integrity and research ethics.

All students undertaking Confirmation will be required to submit an electronic copy of their report and associated documents through Moodle. A Board of Examiners will be appointed to examine the report and a viva voce (verbal) examination will take place.

Should you wish to use space in the University for your confirmation examination, there are three rooms in 10W – 4.08, 4.10 and 4.13 – that are reserved for doctoral students to use for either vivas or Teams/Zoom calls. These can be booked from book your study space on campus – remember to select ‘One-to-One’ category at the top of the page.

Further guidance about the Confirmation process is available at department/faculty/School level, please contact the Doctoral College or your supervisor for further information.

Change of Circumstances

There may be instances throughout your degree where you need to seek formal approval for changes to your circumstances, for example:

  • to change your mode of study, complete PGR4 form
  • to suspend your registration to attend a work placement or internship, please complete PGR16 form.
  • to suspend your registration for reasons other than to attend a work placement or internship, please contact the Doctoral College to request a pre-populated PGR5 form to complete. You can find further guidance on suspending your studies from Student Services
  • to apply for an extension to your registration, complete PGR6 form
  • if you are ineligible for a further extension to your registration and your registration will lapse before submission, complete PGR17 form
  • for approval for a restriction of access to a thesis, complete PGR7 form
  • to change your Supervisor, complete PGR8
  • to withdraw from your degree, your supervisor will be required to complete PGR9 form with your input, where possible.
  • to request to transfer to writing up, complete PGR10 form
  • to make a change to your thesis title, complete PGR11 form
  • to transfer to MPhil, you will need to complete PGR12 form

Please note - any changes proposed are subject to approval by Board of Studies (Doctoral), which meets every four/six weeks:

If you are in receipt of funding for your degree, you are strongly recommended to seek advice from the Studentships team and Student Money Advice (Student Services) to discuss any financial implications arising from any change in your circumstances. If you are a Tier 4 visa student you will also need to contact the Student Immigration Service.

If you wish to make a change, you can either complete the appropriate form and submit it to the Doctoral College, or you can request a pre-populated form directly from the Doctoral College.

The University has a policy on Maternity, Paternity and Adoption leave for Research Students, which provides further advice and guidance.

Health and Safety Guide

Under Health and Safety law, when you are carrying out research or associated study activities as a doctoral student, you are required to follow University health and safety policy, standards or guidance. Our Health and Safety Guide for Doctoral students has been put together to raise awareness of the types of health and safety matters that you will need to be aware of whilst carrying out your research and study, and the way that you should be supported by the University.

It includes relevant policy, standards and guidance, available support and the contacts you should talk to if needed.

Off-Campus Activities

There may be instances where you are required to undertake activities off-campus, such as fieldwork, data collection and attendance at conferences. You are required to notify the University before you intend to undertake such an activity by completing the Off-Campus Activities Notification Form. You may also be required to complete a Risk Assessment.

Further guidance can be found in our Guide: Off-campus research activities: guidance for doctoral students. You can also find information about Health and Safety considerations in our Doctoral College Health and Safety Guide.

Undertaken a placement or other work experience during your doctorate

You may want to consider undertaking some kind of work experience opportunity or placement during your doctorate, particularly as the majority of doctoral graduates will work beyond academia longer term.

This guide is intended to help you think about the potential benefits of work experience, things to consider, how to get the most from work experience and the impact on your doctorate.

Approaching the end of your studies

This Guide for students approaching the end of their studies gives step-by-step advice on the different stages that you need to go through.

You can also find information for purchasing goods and services as a doctoral student.

Thesis/Portfolio Submission for Examination

The University has developed guidance to detail the specifications for the presentation of Higher Degree Theses or Portfolios. You may also be interested in submitting an alternative format thesis and can find out further information through the Alternative Format Thesis FAQs. You can find out further information about word limits for your submission in the Guidance on word counts for final thesis/portfolio. The Library has also published a guide to citing references.

All students are required to complete the HD1 form to provide notification of your intention to submit your thesis or portfolio. This can be done through SAMIS by going to your In-tray and clicking on the HD1 task. You will receive notification by email of this task around six months before your end date and you are required to complete it at least two months in advance of submitting your final thesis/portfolio. Doctorate of Clinical Psychology students will not receive an email notification. They will be notified by their Programme team how and when to complete a form version of the HD1.

If you wish to submit your HD1 form earlier than six months before your end date, please contact your programme administrator in the Doctoral College.

All students are required to submit an electronic copy of their thesis/portfolio for examination through Moodle. Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and Doctorate of Business Administration in Higher Education Management students will be notified by their programme team regarding how to submit. When you submit your final thesis/portfolio, you are then required to complete HD2 form and submit it to the Doctoral College.

Viva Examination

All doctoral students are required to undertake a final Viva. Your Supervisor, Director of Studies or Doctoral College Administrator will be able to provide you with support and guidance in preparation for this examination. Your Supervisor will nominate the examiners for your examination and you might find it useful to consider the Guidelines for Examiners for further information about how the examination will be conducted.

Currently, due to COVID19 restrictions, most viva voce examinations are taking place through video conferencing. QA7 Appendix 3 provides further information about this. Should you wish to use space in the University for your confirmation examination, there are three rooms in 10W – 4.08, 4.10 and 4.13 – that are reserved for doctoral students to use for either vivas or Teams/Zoom calls. These can be booked from book your study space on campus – remember to select ‘One-to-One’ category at the top of the page.

Final Thesis/Portfolio Submission

Once the examination has been successfully completed, the final version of your thesis/portfolio should be submitted in hardbound copy to the Doctoral College, along with a completed HD3 form before the outcome is approved by the Board of Studies (Doctoral). Your hardbound thesis/ portfolio will be deposited in the Library. The electronic copy will need to be made publicly available by being uploaded to the University’s research information system Pure. The library provides guidance on submitting your final thesis/portfolio.

Academic Appeals

You may wish to make a complaint about an academic decision made by the Board of Studies about, for example: the outcomes of the taught element of your degree (where applicable); the outcome of Confirmation; or your final award. You are advised to read the University’s guidance about Student Academic Appeals and Reviews as well as Regulation 17 for further information and support.


The University holds its award ceremonies twice a year, in winter and summer. Please contact the Doctoral College to determine which ceremony you will be eligible to attend. This will be dependent on when your viva outcome is approved by the Board of Studies (Doctoral) and when you submit your hard-bound and electronic copies of your final thesis.

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