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Your questions answered – Postgraduate Research Students

Updated: 27 March 2020

Can I continue my research?

Please speak to your supervisor(s) about your research, in particular, to discuss what research you can continue to undertake given the current situation. It is important to emphasise that many research activities can continue, accessing King’s systems remotely where needed. However, all lab-based research must now be paused, from Monday 23 March until at least the end of May 2020. Changes must now be made to how participant interactions are conducted as part of research studies. Participant interactions must be conducted remotely from Monday 23 March: if this isn’t possible the research must be paused. Please see guidance from the Research Ethics Office.

Exams, assessments and progression

Can my viva voce examination go ahead?

If you have a viva voce examination coming up in the next couple of months, you may have questions, specifically about whether and how your viva can proceed, especially if you have examiners who are based abroad. There are two options:

  1. Reschedule your viva for a later date - please discuss this with your supervisor. You do not need to report this to the research degrees team.
  2. Consider whether a remote viva is desirable and/or practical for you (via videoconferencing or equivalent).
    Please discuss this with your supervisor, who should complete a remote examination request form and email it to

Will my upgrade viva or MD presentation go ahead? 

Yes, these are essential assessments. They can be conducted virtually. Please discuss with your supervisor and see local faculty or department advice.

Recruitment and scholarships

I am due to start my PhD within the next few months. Can I still start?

Yes, you can start your PhD. If you are part of a funded programme, you should contact the relevant programme manager. Whilst the research you can undertake over the first few months may be impacted, in discussion with your supervisor, you should be able to devise a plan to start working.

Are current recruitment and scholarship application processes still going ahead?

Yes. Recruitment is not impacted.

International travel

Can I travel abroad for fieldwork or a conference?

From Monday 16 March 2020, all international travel on King’s business is suspended until further notice, but at least until the end of April.


I am currently abroad (for fieldwork, a placement, conference etc), do I need to return to the UK? 

On 23 March, the UK Government advised all British travellers abroad who are usually based in the UK to return now. We therefore advise all students travelling abroad to return home, whether that it is to the UK or to your home country.

Can I return home?

Please see advice about remote study.

I am worried about my visa – what should I do?

Please see advice on visas.


Do I need to interrupt my studies if I am ill and self-isolating with symptoms?

Students who are not well, self-isolating with symptoms of Coronavirus, should apply for an interruption of studies, even if they are close to submission.

Do I need to interrupt my studies if I am self-isolating without symptoms?

We acknowledge that this situation will be disruptive and engagement with your studies may be difficult. If you are self-isolating without symptoms we would not anticipate that you interrupt your studies. However we recognise that individual circumstances may vary and, if you feel your studies will be impacted by self-isolation, we encourage you to discuss this with your supervisor. 

I am a clinician returning to the NHS: do I need to interrupt? 

Please contact your Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies (Faculty PGR lead) if you are a clinician who has returned to clinical duties and you have a query about your registration status. We are fully committed to facilitating such transitions and will ensure that you are not disadvantaged in the future progress of your degree.


Student funding and submission deadlines

What will be the impact of a delay or pause in research to my submission date and/or funding?

Please discuss your research and studies with your supervisor. There should be many activities you can get on with, even if some research is delayed. Funded students (e.g. those on UKRI programmes) should follow the terms and conditions of their funding body and seek advice from the relevant programme manager.


Researcher development and training

What training and development opportunities are available to me? 

Whilst no workshops or training courses are running on site during this time, the Centre for Doctoral Studies (CDS) and other training providers are working hard to make sure that development opportunities are still available to our PGR community. Where possible, we are working with training providers to deliver courses virtually, via platforms such as KEATS or Zoom. Where this is not possible, we may have to postpone courses until the situation changes.   A large number of online courses are already available to PGRs. If you are booked onto a course via SkillsForge, someone will be in contact to confirm what will happen on a course-by-course basis.


Can I access careers courses and appointments?

King's Careers & Employability are open to support doctoral students. Appointments, webinars and online courses are available as usual and can be booked via the King's Careers portal