Research students (PGR)

We are planning a mix of online and on-campus teaching/supervision. This page contains 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. 

Information for PhD and MRes students

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. 

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, caring responsibilities or because you no longer have access to your lab or University facilities please record this on the SDS at your next Supervision meetings.

Progression review meetings can and should continue to take place online. Your supervisor or postgraduate administrator will be your first point of contacts 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.

If you are unable to progress with your PhD or MRes at all either through caring responsibilities or because you no longer have access to your lab or University facilities but do not wish to have a complete intermission, you will be able to request an extension.

The University will waive the tuition fees for up to three months of an extension. This can be applied for at (i) the time of or approaching submission, (ii) during your 4th year if you are on full fees, or (iii) during your continuation period (where you are on reduced fees). The appropriate fee waiver will be applied at the time of your extension. Make sure you update your SDS record with how the current situation has affected your studies and any conversation you have with your supervisors about requiring an extension.

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.

The Dean of 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’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 recourses available visit the Graduate School Skills and Development site. If you have any specific training or 1:1 coaching needs, please contact

If the Graduate School 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

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, 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) 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.

FAQ list

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 us if you have any questions.

FAQ list

If you become unwell or unable to conduct your studies due to caring responsibilities, the Research Council will continue to pay your stipend as per the UKRI sickness absence rule (up to 13 weeks’ sickness absence in any 12 month period), after which you may choose to intermit from your PhD and your funding would be paused until you’re able to return to study.

If you believe that your studies have been significantly disrupted due to coronavirus (such as access to labs or archives), you will be able to apply for a submission extension. You should notify your Academic School and the Graduate School so that we may apply for a Submission Extension from the appropriate Research Council.

If you are currently on fieldwork or an Overseas Institutional Visit which has been impacted by a travel ban, please inform your School and the Graduate School immediately. The Research Councils are committed to fully supporting students that may have been affected in this circumstance. If you had planned an OIV or Fieldwork, please work with your PhD supervisor to revise your plans as needed to be able to continue your research. The Research Councils will be unable to reimburse any travel which is against FCO guidance. Please contact the Scholarships Office with any queries you might have regarding these restrictions.

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