COVID-19 FAQs for PGRs and supervisors
This blog post is intended to provide specific information for PGRs and research degree supervisors about the impact of COVID-19. We will update it as advice changes and we will add new FAQs when it seems necessary.
Q: Where can I find out updates from the University about COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’)?
A: The University of Northampton’s Situation Updates page is the primary source of information and updates for colleagues and researchers at the University of Northampton: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/about-us/situation-updates/
Q: Is the Graduate School open from 20th March to 20th April 2020?
A: Although the Senate Building will be closed, all members of the Graduate School will still be working remotely. You can email or phone us as usual. Most questions about the PGR process, enrolments, expenses, etc are answered in the Student Toolkit and Supervisor Toolkit.
Q: Can supervision continue during this period?
A: Yes, as long as you and your supervisors are well you can continue supervision by virtual means. Supervisors have access to Webex and Collaborate as well as telephony and email. You must continue to log supervision in Gateway.
Q: I am unwell or self-isolating or caring for others who are affected. What should I do?
A: If you think you will need to take a break from your degree you can request a suspension of studies. That means that you would lose your access to UoN resources. Those on Tier 4 visas must consult International Student Support Services to find out the implications of a suspension of studies on their visa.
Q: My research/data collection/lab work/fieldwork/studio work will be disrupted. What should I do?
A: In negotiation with your supervisors, you might be able to amend your plan of work to accommodate the disruption. If that isn’t possible and your progress is delayed, you can request an extension to your registration period. You can do that once you know what the impact has been and how much extra time you might need to request.
Q: I am due to submit my application for transfer. What should I do?
A: Transfer vivas and seminars should be organised to take place online and should go ahead as planned. The substantial piece of written work and case for transfer can be discussed with the supervisory team by electronic means. If you are unable to progress your transfer application your Director of Studies should refer the matter to the Chair of your Research Degrees Board as part of the PGR Satisfactory Progress procedure.
Q: How should I submit my thesis for examination?
A: As a temporary measure during the closure period, you should submit a pdf of your thesis electronically to Laura Pereira (Laura.firstname.lastname@example.org). You might need to share a Onedrive link with her. You can contact Laura or David Watson (email@example.com) if you are unsure of how to submit your thesis.
Q: I submitted my thesis and it’s pending Senate approval of my examiners. What should I do?
A: Laura will ask you to submit an electronic copy (see above).
Q: Will vivas go ahead?
A: Yes. During the period of the shutdown, we have temporarily amended our regulations to allow vivas to proceed on a fully remote basis via videoconferencing. If you would prefer not to do this, you have the option of postponing until the viva can be conducted in a conventional way. If you are expecting a viva in the near future, Laura Pereira will be in touch with the details.
Q: I’m due to have a mock viva. What should I do?
A: Your mock viva can go ahead by virtual means. Supervisors have access to Webex and Collaborate as well as telephony.
Q: Will Graduate School Workshops and events go ahead?
A: We have postponed all workshops planned up to 20th April 2020. We’ll be reviewing the situation in the coming weeks and advertise workshops when they have been rescheduled. Plans are progressing for the Annual Research Conference scheduled for 18 and 19 June.
Q: How can I look after my mental health and wellbeing during this period?
A: We will set up some online get-togethers so you can log in, see friendly faces and have a chat. Mental Health First Aid England have developed a webpage to support people working at home and advice on looking after our mental health and wellbeing during this situation.
Q: What should I do if I need to change the ethics approval for my research?
A: During this difficult period, if you need to amend your planned research, the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee and Faculty Ethics Committees will provide an expedited process to review changes to previously-approved projects. Please contact the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly with a summary of proposed changes.