Research students (PGR)

This page contains Covid-19 FAQs focusing on supporting our research student community.

You will find general advice and guidance from the University on this site as well as information from the Government. 

FAQs for PhD and MRes students

It is vital to keep in touch with your supervisory team members online via Skype/Zoom/Teams (or other online conferencing tools), phone calls or by email. Your monthly supervision meetings should continue as normal and be recorded on the SDS. If you are unable to continue with your research due to Covid-19 either through illness or caring responsibilities please record this on the SDS at your following Supervision meetings.

Progression review meetings can and should continue to take place online. Your supervisor or postgraduate administrator will be your first point of contact for setting up these reviews. These should be recorded on the SDS. Any difficulties you are experiencing as a result of the current situation should be discussed and recorded at these reviews and actions adjusted accordingly.

All PGR students are entitled to apply for a 3 month fee-free extension, irrespective of where they are in their studies. This will be applied as you approach the end of your research or studies. It can also be applied for within the continuation year.

This is a blanket ruling for everyone.

In response to feedback and your views, you can also apply for a further maximum fee-free 3 month extension if you have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. This includes those researchers who have been unable to access resources/ research base/ labs/ clients, those who have caring duties, who are home schooling or have faced serious illness etc.

The process is explained in the Covid-19 Further Extension Application Process form.  

For more information, visit the Graduate Researcher College website – Information for PGR Students.

We appreciate that the pandemic has had a significant impact on Postgraduate Researchers.

In recognition of this, the Graduate and Researcher College Board has agreed that all research students submitting their thesis can also submit an optional Covid Mitigation Statement. This will alert examiners to any objective or material impact that Covid has had on your research. This may include limiting data collection or smaller interview groups.

Further information about this process is available on our Academic Regulations page under 'Instructions to Examiners/ Candidates'. 

During the extension, there will be no change to the level of support you receive from your current supervisory team or access to facilities and resources where these are available or accessible in the current circumstances.

No. Following a completed Notice to Submit, your school will take forward the process to appoint your Internal and External Examiners in the usual way.

You should submit your thesis to Moodle and Turnitin in the normal way. Copies of the thesis will be circulated by your school to the Examiners in PDF format.

All research students submitting their theses can also submit an optional Covid Mitigation Statement along with their theses.

This can alert your examiners to any objective/material impact Covid might have had on your research such as limiting data collection, smaller interview groups.

Details about this process are on the Academic Regulations webpages under Instructions to Examiners and Candidates.

If you think this might be useful for you, then please do discuss this with your supervisors in the first instance as they will need to sign off and approve the statement.

The Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College (formerly known as the Graduate School) has agreed that all PhD vivas can be conducted by video link via Skype, Zoom or other online video technology without the requirement for an independent observer. Students will be asked by the school to give their permission for their viva to take place via video link. Students can also make a request via their supervisor to have an independent supporter in the room with them at the viva exam. This person can be a colleague, member of staff or a friend.  This person CANNOT participate in the viva and is there only to support the student. Where a viva cannot take place due to illness of the student or the examiners, an alternative date should be arranged for a video viva.

If you wish to have a complete break from your studies due to the effects of Covid-19 (or other reasons) your school or division’s Postgraduate Administrator will provide you with the appropriate form and guide you through the process. Intermission requests will be approved in the normal way and you will be notified of this by your school.

Yes. For more information about the training and resources available visit the Graduate and Researcher College Skills and Development site. If you have any specific training or 1:1 coaching needs, please contact

If the Graduate and Researcher College can help with anything that your supervisor or School/Centre cannot, please do ask. We might not be in the office but we are still very much at work. Please contact us on

Students who are unable to continue with their research due to childcare responsibilities or school/nursery closures should inform and discuss any implications with their supervisor and record this in the notes of their next Supervision Meetings. Refer to the extension FAQ if you feel you are unable to progress at all in your work.

Further information for Graduate Teaching Assistants

There will be no disruption to your normal GTA salary or stipend payments due to the University’s move to home working/online delivery, as long as you remain fully registered at the University of Kent. Since the University has moved to online delivery of teaching, where possible GTAs should still be able to fulfil their teaching commitments (lectures, seminars etc) remotely. Where this is not possible, your School may assign you other duties commensurate to a GTA contract. There will be no expectation that teaching which is cancelled is rolled over to the next year, beyond the maximum specified already in your GTA contract. Please contact HR or your school for more information and do read your contract carefully.

FAQ list

Training, resources and guidance are available on Moodle for all staff to deliver digitally-enhanced education and these are available for GTAs.  

Small groups are timetabled in large teaching spaces, so that social distancing is possible. Hand sanitiser is available at the main entrances to buildings. Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings in busy areas where social distancing is difficult.   

If you become unwell or unable to conduct your GTA duties due to caring responsibilities, the University will follow the sick leave policy as laid out in your Terms and Conditions document. If after a maximum of 8 weeks of sick leave you choose to intermit from your PhD, your funding will be paused until you are able to return to study. Contact the Scholarships team if you have any questions about your funding

Further information for Research Council Funded students

The UKRI and Research Council Consortia have confirmed that that there will be no disruption to your normal Research Council studentship funding while you remain registered at the University. Please see the UKRI website for more information and announcements and contact the Geaduate and Researcher College if you have any questions.

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