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Advice for new starters: doctoral and postgraduate researchers

The University has introduced Covid-19 safe measures to allow access to research facilities on campus and within Colleges. However access is restricted in order to maintain social distancing and safe working practices. Your College will inform you of the relevant working practices that are in place. Home or remote working is encouraged where possible.

Starting your studies and registration

The normal expectation of starting your PhD or MPhil degree studies on-campus in Uxbridge, London, for this year has been removed. If you do start your studies from home or remotely, you can register online. Your supervisory team, led by your Principal Supervisor, will guide you in planning tasks to be completed remotely. 

For the majority of you, we do not expect this to adversely affect your ability to start your studies but understand that some of you may wish to revise your project plan or consider postponing your start date. Everybody’s situation is different, and it is important that you discuss with your Principal Supervisor and if approporiate, your wider supervisory team, what will work best for you. This is especially important if your research involves access to specialist equipment, laboratories or fieldwork. You can contact the Admissions team if you wish to change your start date or have any questions about the registration process. 


We recognise that finance may be a key factor in your decision on when to start your studies and fees and funding information is published on our website. If you are funded by a University or College funded PhD studentship, your College PGR Office can advise on the support provided by your award.


If you are planning to move to the UK, or relocate closer to Uxbridge, London, you can access information about living on or off campus on our accommodation webpage. 

Orientation (Induction) 

Our orientation (induction) event will be delivered online. Our Graduate School and Colleges are also arranging events to support continued interaction among our Doctoral and Postgraduate Researcher community, providing opportunities to interact with academic staff and your peers. In addition, your supervisory team, led by your Principal Supervisor, will maintain regular online contact with you.

Engagement and contact with your supervisory team

If you are working from home, it is important that you stay in regular contact with your supervisory team. University policy requires you to formally record one supervisor meeting every six weeks and we expect these meetings will take place online, i.e.: via Skype, Zoom, MS TEAMS or other media platform. It is, however, likely that you will be in more not less regular contact with your supervisory team and you should make contact as regularly as you may need. 

If you are an overseas Doctoral Researcher and studying as a Student Visa holder, UK immigration policy allows you to study off-campus provided you engage with your supervisors and make progress with your studies in accordance with University policy. 

Personal and professional researcher development

Our Researcher Development training programme will be primarily delivered online, and incorporates a range of online activities and courses. Some small group face-to-face participation on campus might also become available in due course, but only when safe to do so and with social distancing and protective measures firmly in place. Research training organised by your College will also be delivered online. 

Support, travel and other Covid-19 advice

Before travelling to Uxbridge, London please refer to the latest UK Government and travel advice. Information about travelling safely on public transport can be found here. Please do not visit the campus without checking with your supervisor(s) first to ensure you are expected. Our Student Services team provides wide-ranging welfare, immigration and wellbeing services to help you through your journey from registration to graduation.

If you are applying from overseas, additional useful advice can be found here including applying for visas, what happens after you have applied and how to connect with us in your home country. 


Disclaimer: We have used our best endeavours to plan for the coming academic year and to ensure the information on this page is correct at the time of publication. The information provided here is intended for the general guidance of students studying the University’s doctoral and postgraduate research degree programmes in the academic year 2020/21. The University will deliver the degree programmes as described unless there are changes outside of our control related to Covid-19. In such circumstances, the University will adjust the delivery of the programmes accordingly, and use its best endeavours to ensure equivalence.

Date of publication: 03/12/2020