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Your questions answered – postgraduate research students

Updated: 11 June 2020

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Can I continue my research? | Thesis submission deadline | Funding | Financial support | Recording disruption to progress | Upgrade and viva examinationInterruption | Recruitment and scholarships | International travel | Researcher development and training | King’s response to COVID-19


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.

Please read all the information on this page, which includes guidance on how to record any disruption to your progression.


 

 

Thesis submission deadline


 

Automatic thesis submission deadline extensions

We have extended the thesis submission deadline for current PGRs by three months. You do not need to apply for this extension – it has been automatically applied to your student record. There are a small number of situations in which this extension has not be applied automatically – see details below. You will not be charged further fees for this extra period of registration. Please note this extension of time is not a guarantee of additional stipend funding.


 

For which degrees does the three month extension apply?

The following research degrees are included: PhD, MPhil, MPhilStud, MDRes and Professional Doctorates.

For trainees studying for a professional doctorate in Psychology, different arrangements for progression may apply and DClinPsy team will contact you separately about necessary adjustments as they apply.


 

Who is being granted the three month extension?

All current/active research degree students who have not submitted their thesis, have not gone beyond the expected submission deadline and have registered before 1 April 2020 will automatically receive a three month extension to their submission deadline. A few exceptions to this rule are described below.


I am on writing up status already . Will I receive the additional three month extension automatically?

Yes, students who are already on writing up status will receive the additional three month extension. 


 

I am a funded student. What is the impact of this extension on me?

As a funded student (e.g. those on UKRI programmes) you should follow the terms and conditions of your funding body and seek advice from your supervisor and the relevant programme manager.

This extension does not guarantee additional stipend payments. It is just an extension of the submission deadline.

Please see further information in the funding section below.


 

I have interrupted my studies. Will I receive the additional three month extension automatically?

Yes, students who are currently on interruption or a break will receive the additional three month extension.


When do I need to submit my RD1 form now that my expected submission deadline has changed?

The RD1 form should be submitted minimum of four months before your intended submission date.  The RD1 from can be downloaded from here.


 

In what situations will an automatic extension not be applied?

In some situations, the three months extension will not automatically apply. Details are provided below and information on the exemption application process can be found online. If you are in one of these categories and require an extension, please discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible.


 

I have previously been granted an exemption to extend my submission deadline. Will I receive the additional three month extension?

Exemption requests are usually very individual and dealt with on a case by case basis. Therefore it is not appropriate, in this situation, for us to assume you need the additional three months. However, if you and your supervisor agree you will not meet your current deadline due to the current situation, please apply for a further exemption and we will consider your request.


 

I have already missed my submission deadline. Will I receive the additional three month extension automatically?

If you have missed your expected submission deadline and have not applied for an exemption, you will not receive the automatic three month extension. If you are still hoping to submit your thesis, please apply for an exemption to permit a late submission.


 

I am already in the process of completing my thesis corrections. Will I receive the additional three months to complete my corrections?

If you are in the process of completing your thesis corrections you will not receive an automatic extension. Submitting corrections is a critical point involving a number of individuals such as external examiners. Students are therefore encouraged to complete and submit corrections within their current deadline if at all possible. However, if you absolutely cannot complete your corrections due to COVID19, please apply for an exemption. Upon approval, the research degrees team will communicate this decision to your examiners.


 

I am a visiting research student. Will my visit get extended automatically by three months?

We are not automatically extending such visits.


 

Does the three month extension affect upgrade deadlines?

No, it doesn't. The vast majority of PGRs successfully complete the upgrade process well within the timeframe of 9-18 months, as set out in the academic regulations. We have therefore decided that there is no need to institute a blanket extension to the upgrade process at this point. If PGR work cycles are disrupted for longer than we currently anticipate (i.e. libraries and laboratories stay shut all summer), we will revisit the issue accordingly. 


 

I am an international student. Do I need to extend my visa because of this extension?

Please get in touch with the Student Advice & Guidance Team for help and support.


 

Do I have to use this extra time?

No. For example, if you are a full-time PGR student, you can still submit your thesis within four years. The extra three months, which extends your deadline to four years and three months, just gives you more time if you require it.


 

Will I have to pay extra fees for this three month period?

No extra fees will be applied.


 

Funding


I need more time to pay my tuition fee, can I access any help ?

If you need more time to pay your fee, please complete and submit the following form.


 

I have received the 3 months submission deadline extension. Does this mean my stipend payments will automatically be extended by 3 months?

Unfortunately not. This is dependent on your PhD funding body. The extension of submission deadline does not guarantee additional stipend payments. See questions below and the Financial support section.


 

I am currently funded. Does this mean I will receive additional stipend payments?

The fact you are currently funded is not a guarantee of extra stipend payments. If you are in the final year of your funding and funded by UKRI, you should already have been contacted. If not, please contact your programme manager. We are contacting all other final year students whose stipend is paid by the Centre for Doctoral Studies, to outline the process for applying for additional stipend payments from King's. If you are funded by another source, please contact the relevant funding body. If your funding body is not able to provide additional support, you may be eligible to apply to the PGR financial aid scheme.


I am funded by UKRI, who do I contact?  

If you are part of the Doctoral Training Centres or Partnerships please contact your CDT or DTP Director or Manager, or your PGR faculty contact. 

For general UKRI queries please contact ukri-studentships@kcl.ac.uk

The latest open letter from UKRI to funded students can be found here.


 

My funding does not come from UKRI or King’s. Will I be offered extra stipend payments?

This depends on your funding source. Please contact your funder to ascertain if they can fund you further to account for the extension period. If your funding body is not able to provide additional support, you may be eligible to apply to the PGR financial aid scheme.


 

Financial support


Can I access any financial support?

If you have been directly affected financially by the COVID-19 crisis, you may be eligible for financial support through the PGR Financial Aid scheme.

You can find information, guidance on eligibility criteria and how to apply here.


Can I access any financial support for my visa extension?

Yes, PGR students whose Tier 4 (General) student visa expires on or before 31st July 2021 can apply for assistance with their visa extension. See the PGR Financial Aid scheme guidance for further details.


 

Can I make a claim for additional stipend payments through this scheme?

The scheme will not replace or provide additional stipend payments (see questions in the ‘Funding’ section for more information). The PGR Financial Aid scheme is designed to help those currently directly affected financially by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. If you are in this situation, we encourage you to apply to the PGR Financial Aid scheme and also to seek advice from the Advice & Guidance team. 


 

Recording disruption to progress 


What records will I need to keep in order to apply for funding extension in the future?

In order to make a case for additional funding in the future, all funded students are advised to:

  1. Keep a record of how your project is being impacted, including copies of any supporting evidence. Examples of supporting evidence include notes of cancellation of a scheduled research visit, cancelled experiments abroad/field trips. 
  2. Working with your supervisors, review your progress objectives on the online progress reports. 
  3. Depending on what stage you are on the PhD trajectory, consider what you can practically and constructively do towards your PhD right now, to minimise the impact caused by COVID-19, and to continue to make progress. You might adjust objectives accordingly, to include new tasks which can be more easily carried out in your current working environment.
  4. In your online progress reports, record any impacts and time delays which are unavoidable (evidenced as per (1) above), and provide a description of what you have done to continue to progress (as described in (3)). 

Where do I record my lack of progress due to COVID-19?

If your progress has been disturbed by this the current situation we ask you to record this your online progress reports. 

We are expecting you to record your delays in:

  • Question 1.2b – Briefly describe any issues/problems which have prevented you from achieving your targets  
  • Question 1.2c – Explain how these have been addressed and your plans to meet any unmet targets

Upgrade and viva examination 


 

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 researchdegrees@kcl.ac.uk.

Is there any guidance for online viva examination?

Yes, the Research Degrees Examination Team have provided a guidance document for everyone who is involved in setting up, conducting, participating, and managing the online oral examinations for research degrees. You can find this document here


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.


 

Interruption


 

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? 

Yes, students who are returning to clinical settings should interrupt their studies. We are fully committed to facilitating such transitions and will ensure that you are not disadvantaged in the future progress of your degree. Please contact your Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies (Faculty PGR lead) if have a query about your registration status. 


 

I am a clinician and have gone back to the clinical environment, will my stipend stop?

No, we will not stop your stipend during this period.


 

I want/need to volunteer during the COVID-19 situation but have already had a number of interruption during my studies. Can I interrupt my studies again?

Yes, if you are spending the majority of your working week volunteering, e.g. working in testing labs or working for the NHS, you should interrupt your studies. If this further period takes you beyond the maximum interrupted period of 24 months, we will approve an exemption request.


Recruitment and scholarships


 

I am enrolling in April 2020, what is the guidance from King’s?

Information on April enrolment, obtaining ID cards and Confirmation of Study Letters is available here.


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?

King’s has extended its suspension of international outward mobility beyond the summer and through to the end of 2020. This is with student safety and both physical and mental health in mind. Further updates regarding PGR international travel will be published here in due course.


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.


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

Please see advice on visas.


 

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


 

King’s response to COVID-19


How is King's helping in the fight against COVID-19?

The King’s community of nurses, midwives, academics, scientists, medics and researchers are focusing on supporting the country’s response to the pandemic. Learn how King's is helping in the fight against COVID-19.