Temporary Policies due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have had to implement some temporary policies during this time. Below are the changes we have implemented, however please be aware we are continuing to update policies and once ready will be added to this page. 

Please note that aside from policies specified on this webpage the requirements set out in the TQA Manual and the Calendar should still be followed as normal unless an exception has been approved by the Dean of Faculty in writing. Exception requests must be sent to dcqualitydevelopment@exeter.ac.uk and are normally requested by the PGR Support Teams and put forward on the recommendation of the relevant College DPGR.

Updated: 12/06/2020

Under normal circumstances, the submission of assessed work in the taught faculty would be spread over a long period, allowing the recruitment and selection of postgraduate research students as part-time teaching assistants (PTAs), and the marking work they do, to be conducted over an extended period. As a large volume of assessed work will now be submitted at the same time, there is a need for a rapid allocation of additional PTA contracts. Below you can find a link to the temporary Employment of Postgraduate Research Students as Part-time Teaching Assistants. This policy will remain in effect until the end of June 2020, at which time it will be reviewed.

Policy Document:

‌The purpose of the fee scholarship is to enable students to complete research which was due to be undertaken during the student’s normal period of study and which has been disrupted due to the impact of COVID-19.

To be eligible for the fees scholarship you will need to be one of the following:

  • Those who are wholly self-funded.
  • Those who were funded directly by an external sponsor (i.e. funding that is not administered by the University of Exeter) but that funding has now expired.
  • Those whose programme end date falls between 1 March 2020 & 31 December 2021.

The maximum period of fee scholarship you can apply for is 6 months.  For full-time students the scholarship period granted will be added to the end of the 3rd year for MPhil/PhD students and the end of the 1st year for Masters by Research students.  For part-time students, the scholarship will be applied pro-rata and at the corresponding point in the programme of study.  

At the end of the scholarship period, normal fee liability will resume.  You will also be able to apply for continuation status, as normal, at the appropriate stage of your programme.  Full information on transfer to continuation status can be found in section 8, Chapter 5 of the Teaching Quality Assurance manual.

If you have any questions about eligibility, your funding, how to complete this form or the application process, please feel free to contact the PGR Support team for guidance on pgr-extensions@exeter.ac.uk.

Forms:

PGR Fees Scholarship Application Form

Following the announcement made in May 2020 regarding funding extensions we are now in a position to begin considering applications for extensions to postgraduate research studentship funding for students whose scholarships are administered by the University and are funded by any means other than research councils (UKRI).  In order to ensure the most urgent cases are considered first and that all students are notified of an outcome to their applications in a timely manner, we will be inviting applications from specific groups of students at one time.

If you’re unable to apply in your specific group, or you miss the application deadline, you will be able to apply with the next group. 

This call for funding extension applications applies to you if you fulfil either of the following criteria:

  • Your studentship funding end date falls any time from 1 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 and you are not funded by any of the UKRI research councils.
  • You are partly or wholly funded by a non-UKRI external partner, such as a company or charity, and your funding end date falls any time after 1 March 2020. 

Funded postgraduate research students who do not fall into either of these categories will be considered at a later date, to be advised soon. The process for self-funded students to seek a fees scholarship for any COVID-19 related extension period will also be confirmed soon.

How to Apply

Please download the application form here- Funded Extension Form 2020

Complete the form in full, giving careful consideration to illustrating how your progress within your funded period has been impeded by the Covid-19 public health crisis. 

Return the form by email to your PGR Manager (see below) by no later than 12 noon on Monday, 22 June 2020. If you are unable to obtain input or a signature from your supervisor by the deadline, please go ahead and submit your form (supervisor review and approval will still be sought subsequently).

Submit your funded extension form to: pgr-extensions@exeter.ac.uk

Outcomes

Where we are able to make an immediate decision on your application for additional funding, we are aiming to communicate this decision to you early in July.

At this time we are only in a position to make funding extension decisions on the element of your funding that is provided by the University or College. That means that if you are jointly funded by your College and an external partner on a 50:50 basis, for example, you will receive an outcome based only on the 50% of your studentship that is funded by your College. 

If you are wholly funded by an external partner, then you will not yet receive an confirmation of extended funding, unless we have already received notification from your partner that extended funding is available.  We are gathering data about additional funding needed by this category of students in order to determine how we can best support you.  This might include the University approaching your funder regarding additional support once we have determined what your needs are. 

If you have any questions or problems, please refer them to your PGR Manager in the first instance.

Policy Guidance

These policies are not applicable to extensions to your overall period of study for your programme. Consult the FAQs for more information with regard to extensions. Students on professional doctorate programmes should consult their programme administrator in the first instance.

Students who first registered for their programme of study during the 19-20 academic year, who wish to apply for a deferral to a deadline related to upgrade from Mphil to Doctoral Study should read the information set out in part A below, in all other cases refer to the information set out in part B below.

A – Deferral of Upgrade for Entrants registering from the 2019-20 academic year – Temporary Policy in Response to Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak

Please read the policy carefully before completing the deferral form.

Students should ensure that are aware of all programme specific information related to how the upgrade process is being managed in their College, which may have been communicated to them via email.

If you are considering applying for a deferral please start the process of application as early as possible. Please contact the PGR Support Team if you have any questions.

B- Applications for Deferral of Internal Programme Deadlines – Temporary Policy in Response to Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak

Please read the policy carefully before completing the deferral form.

Students should ensure that are aware of all relevant programme specific information, which may have been communicated to them via email.

If you are considering applying for a deferral please start the process of application as early as possible. Please contact the PGR Support Team if you have any questions. 

For the purpose of this guidance reference to the thesis also constitutes reference to the dissertation where this is the pertinent requirement of the programme in question.

Submitting your Thesis/Dissertation for Examination

For full details of the form in which your thesis should be presented please read the Presentation of theses/dissertations for degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Research: statement of procedures
 
Due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) your thesis must be submitted in electronic format as a PDF file.  Supporting material such as datasets, visual or audio material, if applicable, may be submitted as supplementary files in any standard file format. You do not need to make arrangements for a hard copy of the thesis to be printed.
 
Your thesis may be printed and sent to your examiners by the PGR Administration Office as a hard copy document if requested by an examiner.  Please ensure that your electronic thesis conforms to the formatting requirements outlined in our Presentation of theses/dissertations for degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Research: statement of procedures in order that we may print a standard A4 copy for an examiner upon request. 
 
If you wish to have a hard copy of your thesis yourself, you will need to make your own arrangements for printing it. Print Services may be able to do this for you.
 
Please note: the following submission process applies to all PGR students across our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses, and all enquiries should be sent to pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk.
 
When you are ready to submit your thesis:
  • Please email a completed E-Thesis Submission Form to pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk.  Where signatures are required in Parts A and B please include either scanned signatures or provide accompanying emails from the relevant signatories to be accepted in lieu of a scanned signature.  Please advise if your thesis will comprise multiple files.

  • You will receive an email from the PGR Administration Office acknowledging receipt of your submission form.   A submission folder will then be created in your name, and you will receive an explanatory email containing a link to the folder where you can submit an electronic copy of your thesis and any supplementary files. You will not be able to upload your thesis until you receive this link.

  • When you receive the email containing the link to your submission folder, please upload your full thesis in PDF format (where possible) to the Submission Portal.  Please also upload any supplementary files. 

  • The PGR Administration Office will check your submission and contact you if there are any problems with your submitted document(s).  Please note, that we will check whether the file opens and is legible. Your submission will not be checked for completeness or proof-reading.

  • Once your electronic thesis has been checked and accepted for examination your submission folder will be locked and you will be notified by email.

  • If your Board of Examiners has already been appointed, your thesis will be sent to your examiners immediately and your Internal Examiner will contact you in the following weeks to discuss the arrangements for your viva voce exam. 

  • If your examiners have not yet been appointed, or your External Examiner has been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to receiving your thesis, there may be a delay between the submission of your thesis and the date it is sent to your examiners for examination.  You will be informed if this is the case.

Resubmission of a Thesis

If you are re-submitting your thesis for a second examination, please follow the submission process above.  You will also need to pay a resubmission fee to either the SID Desk or the Student Finance Office in Cornwall.  Details of the amount to be paid will be confirmed separately after your first examination.

Please note, this does not include submissions for minor or major amendments or for outstanding amendments, none of which constitute a ‘resubmission’ and for which there is no fee to pay.  Submission information for these categories will be sent to you with your list of amendments.

Submitting Minor or Major Amendments (not including Resubmission of thesis)

  • Notify the PGR Administration Office at pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk that your amended thesis is ready for submission.

  • You will receive an email from the PGR Administration Office acknowledging your message.   A submission folder will then be created in your name, and you will receive an explanatory email containing a link to the folder where you can submit an electronic copy of your thesis and any supplementary files. You will not be able to upload your thesis until you receive this link.

  • When you receive the email containing the link to your submission folder, please upload your full thesis in PDF format to the Submission Portal.  Please also upload any supplementary files. 

  • The PGR Administration Office will check your submission and contact you if there are any problems with your submitted document(s).  Please note, that we will check whether the file opens and is legible. Your submission will not be checked for completeness or proof-reading.

  • Once your electronic thesis has been checked and accepted for approval by your examiner(s) your submission folder will be locked and you will be notified by email.

  • Your amended thesis will be sent to your examiners for review.

Examination Regulations

For full details of the examination regulations please refer to the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes and the temporary virtual viva policy.

Policy & documents

Electronic Thesis Submission Temp Policy

E-Thesis Submission Form

Concerns about electronic submission

Students who have any concerns with regard to electronic submission of their thesis should discuss these with their supervisory team, and may also seek more information from the PGR Support Team via pgradmin@exeter.ac.uk.  Students  are  not  required  to  submit  their  thesis  electronically,  but  should  note  that  as  electronic  submission  is  the  only  option  currently  available  this  will  delay  their  thesis  submission.  If  delaying  the  submission (for  first  examination) or resubmission of their thesis means that they will not be able to submit their thesis within their required time-frame it is important that they seek advice from their College PGR Support Team with regard to applying for an extension as appropriate.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the University has adopted a policy intended to support postgraduate research students to continue with their research and academic progress, as far as reasonably possible. It is acknowledged that progress might be impacted by an individual’s personal circumstances such as illness (physical or mental health issues), or caring or childcare responsibilities, or project-specific issues such as access to facilities or the inability to conduct fieldwork or data collection.  

In addition to policies that are already in place to enable students to apply for deferrals, extensions and interruptions, this statement identifies how the procedures for Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement will be applied within these circumstances where deferrals and extensions are insufficient to address a student’s progress.

Policy Documents:

Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement Temporary Policy

Arrangements for Upgrade vivas via  a multi-way video-link (using MS Teams)

Students:

  • As a part of the process of upgrade from Mphil to doctoral study, your College Upgrade Committee will ​engage you in a verbal examination of your work, called a viva (from viva voce). 
  • ​We consider this an important milestone in your studies, providing you with the opportunity to explain your work to the committee and receive feedback. It is a process which will help you prepare for your final thesis examination.
  • Arrangements are being made for upgrade vivas to take place via a multi-way video-link (using MS Teams), to support students to continue with the their studies, where this is possible, ​whilst travel to our campuses is not possible.
  • Final thesis viva examinations are already being successfully carried out using this technology, and arrangements for upgrade vivas closely parallel those used for final viva voce examinations.  There is a useful entry on the Doctoral College blog from a student who undertook her upgrade viva remotely, which may be of interest for students who wish to hear from someone who has already undertaken an upgrade viva in this way.
  • A viva will not proceed in this way without your agreement, and if you have any concerns you may change your mind ​at any time prior to the viva.
  • ​College DPGRs are responsible for ensuring that upgrade vivas are conducted fairly and with minimal disruption. Approval to proceed in this way is normally given by your College PGR Support Manager or the Head of PGR Support. Before giving approval to proceed, they will need to:
    • make sure that all participants are willing and able to proceed in this way, and have appropriate communications technology access.  This must be satisfactorily tested in advance to minimise the likelihood of any disruptions to communications during the viva;
    • make sure that any necessary adjustments to the viva can still be made for students with an ILP.

If it is not possible to adjust arrangements to allow your viva to proceed in this way it will be delayed.

  • A member of the PGR Support team will contact you ahead of your viva date to check whether you are able to proceed in this way. This will give you the opportunity to ask any questions or raise any concerns with the PGR support team. 
  • The Chair of your College Upgrade Committee will have additional responsibilities that include determining whether to halt the viva if it is disrupted due to technological problems, and you should feel able to flag any issues you are having to them.
  • You will retain the option to make an application to defer your viva because  of coronavirus (COVID-19), however the implications of deferral will vary depending upon each student’s individual circumstances.  As such, it is important that you carefully consider your circumstances and the implications of deferral.  This may include reviewing any terms and conditions attached to studentship funding.
  • Even if you have received confirmation that appropriate arrangements are in place to allow your upgrade viva to proceed, you will retain the option to apply for deferral up until your viva date.
  • You may find reference to the wider Doctoral College Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages useful, as well as other sources of support open to you including the PGR Support team, Wellbeing Services and Pro-Counselling.

Policy:

Due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures introduced in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it has been necessary to put in place a temporary policy on the conduct of multi-way vivas by electronic means. Below are some helpful documents which should explain the new policy and give some helpful tips on this new way of working. 

Students:

  • There is a temporary policy in place for the Doctoral College to allow viva voce examinations to take place via a multi-way video-link (using MS Teams), to support students to continue with the examination of their thesis, where this is possible. Please do not travel to our campuses for a viva examination until further notice. A viva will not proceed in this way without your agreement, and if you have any concerns you may change your mind prior to the viva;
  • In order to agree that an examination may proceed in this way your College DPGR needs to:
    • make sure that all participants are happy to proceed in this way, and have appropriate communications technology access, which must be satisfactorily tested in advance, to minimise the likelihood of any disruptions to communications in the viva;
    • If you have an ILP: make sure that any adjustments to the viva required can still be made.
  • In order to support examinations proceeding in this way, if a Non-Examining Independent Chair has not already been appointed for your examination, one will be appointed now. Their responsibilities will include determining whether to halt the viva if it is disrupted due to technological issues, and you should feel able to flag any issues you are having to them;
  • Each virtual viva also has a PGR Support contact helping to manage the arrangements for virtual vivas, and it will usually be this person who will get in contact with you to check whether you are able/wish to proceed in this way.
  • Reading this summary is not a substitute for reading the full Viva Temporary Policy
  • You may find reference to the wider Doctoral College Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages useful, as well as other sources of support open to you including the PGR Support Team, Wellbeing Services and Pro-Counselling.
  • Read all about Ahmad Alfaraj's experience of conducting a viva virtually on the Doctoral College blog.

Staff:

If you have any questions relating to the new viva process please contact your local PGR support team.