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COVID-19 Advice for PGR Staff and Supervisors

We recognise that the evolving situation of COVID-19 is a concerning time for all and are working with staff and students to provide support to our community. Please note that the following is subject to change as further advice and guidance comes from the University, funding bodies and the UK government. Up to date advice can be found at https://warwick.ac.uk/insite/coronavirus. Additional support can be sought from Wellbeing Support Services. Please also see advice from UKRI.

During the COVID-19 outbreak funded PGR stipends will continue to be paid, unless a break is specifically requested by the student (i.e. by taking temporary withdrawal).


Expectations of Supervisors
  • Monitoring points for PGRs 20/21
  • For the duration of the restrictions we face, we will continue to support PGR as they research and write their doctoral theses and dissertations through all means available.
  • PGRs should continue to be proactive in seeking advice from their supervisor(s) on their projects and continue to maintain a good progress of work in accordance with the stages agreed with the supervisor(s) and in accordance with the department’s monitoring procedures (e.g. upgrades and progress reviews).
  • In practice, this means:
    • PGRs maintaining email contact (using their Warwick email account) with supervisor(s), personal tutors, directors of graduate studies etc. regarding feedback and arranging supervisions by videoconferencing and/or telephone appointments.
    • Ensuring as much as possible the usual rate of supervisory interaction (as described in the PGT and PGR handbooks).
    • PGRs and supervisor/s maintaining the Tabula log of supervisions, noting any necessary adjustments that have had to be made in light of the epidemic (e.g. the unavailability of library sources for which there is no online equivalent, cancellations or postponements of events).
    • PGRs discussing with their supervisors and upgrade- or progress-review readers what arrangements can be made for the conduct of the review; (for PhD vivas, please contact the School DGS).
    • PGRs submitting dissertations and assessed work online as instructed by advertised and agreed deadlines.
    • PGRs notifying the department of any persistent or serious difficulties with online access.
Disruptions to PGR Research Projects
  • The necessity to adapt to unforeseen circumstances is almost to be expected during a PhD project, although continued disruptions due to the pandemic are likely to have far longer-reaching deleterious effects than we would usually see.
  • Supporting your students to find a positive, proactive solution to enable them to continue their research to a satisfactory (if not originally intended) conclusion is the best that you can do.
  • Because of the unique nature of each student’s situation, it’s not possible to provide detailed general guidance on lab/archive/fieldwork plans. You will know best how to advise your student according to where they are in their research, their needs and the impact of Covid-19.
  • Central advice on travelling overseas is available here.
  • Cotutelles
    • The main condition of a cotutelle is that the student spends a min. of one year at the host institution. This year can take place at any time subject to the agreement of the supervisors. It can also be done in blocks (e.g. two lots of six months).
    • So long as the student has time to complete their 12 months before the end of registration then the agreement is unaffected.
    • If you have any specific queries please contact Rhiannon Martyn martyn@warwick.ac.uk.
PGR Examinations
  • Information about thesis submission and examination being provided to PGRs
  • Noting that many examiners remain working remotely, we are currently sending all theses electronically.
  • A viva can take place by video conference if all parties to the examination agree. For further information see viva by video conference - guidance for staff and examiners. Any video conferences held should be conducted on a secure platform as recommended and supported by the University’s Audio Visual Services department. ‘Domestic’ Skype is not considered to be a sufficiently stable platform for the conduct of vivas.
  • If any parties to the viva (student, either examiner or examination advisor, if appointed) are not happy for it to go ahead by video conference, you will need to consider postponing the viva. Please let us know if you are planning to postpone the viva for longer than four months so that we can update the student’s record to ensure access to all University facilities is maintained for the full period.
  • We will continue to process the payment offees and expenses. Please submit all claims via email. We will accept electronic evidence of expenditure. We ask external examiners to submit claim forms even if no expenses were incurred as this triggers the payment of fees to both examiners.
  • Will there be a Summer Degree Congregation?
New Starters
  • Please encourageapplicants to think in terms of starting their PhD as planned. We remain unable to confirm what that might mean in terms of accessing campus facilities, but it should be possible for new starters to engage with the preliminaries of their research wherever they are based.
  • The Doctoral College will be running an online extended induction from October and welcomes discussions with departments about how best to achieve this for their students.
  • What guidance is there for Warwick sponsored Student visa holders and international PGRs?
Supporting PGRs
  • Funded COVID Extensions
  • Unfunded Registration Extensions
  • If your PGRs are feeling isolated due to the current reduction of access to campus spaces and colleagues, please do encourage them to take up the opportunities laid on by the Doctoral College(Events) and the Library.
  • PGRs are able to develop their academic research and transferable skills remotely. Many courses are signposted from Warwick SkillsForge, however information can be also be found via: Researcher Development / Academic writing skills / IT skills training
  • If a PGR isill with Covid-19 we are directing them in the first instance to the University pages and informing them they should also let their departments and supervisor/s know. There is more information for Funded PGRs.
  • PGRs who feel unable to study due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but who are not currently in self-isolation or unwell, are able to take a break from studying by requesting a period of temporary withdrawal for personal reasons through student records online. Subsequently the PGR would receive a funded extension to the end of the studentship of the same length as the unfunded temporary withdrawal.
    • PGRs on student visas must seek advice from the International Office prior to requesting a period of temporary withdrawal.
  • Advice for PGRs who with additional caring responsibilities during the COVID pandemic can be found on the student webpages
Supporting Supervisors
Other Resources