Doctoral College


**Updated 30th March 2020, 13:00**

Please see below list of FAQs relating to the current Covid-19 situation. If you have any questions not covered by these please contact us on  

I have been recalled to clinical work in the NHS

Queen Mary recognises that medically qualified PhD students may be asked to return to duties within the NHS to support the current Covid-19 efforts. We are aware that this will mean interrupting your research studies at short notice.

Should you need to interrupt your research studies to return to clinical NHS duties please follow the guidance outlined below:

  1. Please inform your research supervisor and your Institute PGR research degrees administrator immediately. A list of research degrees administrators can be found here: Key Faculty Contacts
  2. Please keep copies of any documentation you are sent by the NHS to confirm your recall – this should be either by letter or by email, this should confirm the date your recall starts. If you have not received any written documentation please ask for something in writing confirming the date your recall starts.
  3. Research degrees administrators can complete the Queen Mary interruption of studies application form on your behalf and obtain the approval of the institute Director of Graduate Studies. They should send the interruption form and the document confirming your return to clinical duties (with work dates if possible) to the Research Degrees Office email account with the email title ‘CLINICAL WORK INTERRUPTION’
  4. Research degrees administrators should keep a log of all students who have returned to NHS duties locally.
  5. Queen Mary will interrupt your research studies initially for a period of 6 months. This will extend your thesis submission date by 6 months. Should you require a longer or shorter interruption than this we can update this when required.
  6. When you are able to return to study you should contact your supervisor and Institute research degrees administrator two weeks before your return, who will inform the Research Degrees Office. Queen Mary will prepare your student record for you to complete re-enrolment to recommence your research studies – your thesis submission date will be updated if necessary.

Queen Mary will continue to pay your stipend for the time being to ensure that you are not without pay.  Please ensure that you keep a record of time spent in  clinical work so that payments made to you by Queen Mary and the NHS can be reconciled at the end of this period.   

If you have any questions please contact 
Thank you for your work during this period.

What Mental Health and Wellbeing support is available to me?

This unsettling time due to the impact of the coronavirus, can be an emotionally and mentally challenging period for PhD students. For guidance and support around mental health and wellbeing at this time, please consult the following services.

Queen Mary Student Health:

Queen Mary Advice and Counselling Service:

The Wellbeing Thesis:

Student Minds Blog:

Big White Wall:

Please utilise Big White Wall if you need support. This is available 24/7 and allows students to communicate with PhD students from other universities for peer support.

I am a new research student. When can I enrol?

Students holding offers with a start date of 1 April 2020 will be contacted by Queen Mary to defer their start date and we will arrange a new enrolment date.   

We will keep the position under review. If you have any questions please contact the school/institute that you will be working in or  

When is the next PhD induction event?

The PhD induction in April is cancelled.  This will be re-convened in line with the next PhD enrolment date. 

Do I need to attend Queen Mary?

Queen Mary expects students studying from home to continue to work on their research studies, to engage in regular contact with their supervisory team and to complete Supervision Logs on MySIS. 

Students on placement or internship at external organisations should discuss attendance with their mentor/line manager and Queen Mary supervisor, and follow the guidance about attendance issued by that organisation.

I want to go home because of the Coronavirus outbreak. What is Queen Mary’s policy on this?

We understand that some students, especially those from overseas, may be anxious, and that you may be considering returning home.  In these cases, please contact your school or institute, and email

If you do decide to return home, it is important that you let your school know, both for visa requirements and so that we can support you appropriately to continue your studies. Before you leave, you must notify us at and receive acknowledgement.

Further information for students studying at Queen Mary on a Tier 4 visa can be found on the UKVI website and on the QMUL central FAQ website for international students.  

For further advice, the Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education on 0800 046 8687
The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

International students wishing to go home

Some international students have asked if they can return home. We understand that some of you may be feeling very anxious about future possible travel restrictions, and may prefer to go home. At this point, if you wish to go home you should do so. If you choose to go home please let your school or institute know, and if you are in University-owned accommodation please also let residential services know. We will guarantee you will not be disadvantaged in relation to any assessment.

Please be assured that we are putting in place all the support needed for all our students, including those that are staying within our halls of residences.

Please note there is more information for international students on the Queen Mary FAQ pages. 
For information regarding Internation Student Vias please see:

I am on a Tier 4 Visa – what should I do?

This is a constantly changing situation – for most up to date advice please see:

I have a studentship. Will I be paid?

Student stipend payments due to be paid by 1 April 2020 that are co-ordinated by Queen Mary are being processed. The payments are for the three month period 1 April to 30 June 2020. Payments will be made into student bank accounts by 31st March 2020.

If you have any questions please contact the Research Degrees Office 

Will I receive supervision during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Students and staff have been asked to consider ways in which they can work from home.  If you or a member of your supervisory team are working from home you can continue to engage in research discussions by telephone and online meetings. Email conversations are not supervision meetings.

There should be a minimum of ten supervisory meetings per academic year for full-time students (pro rata for part-time students) held at regular intervals up to submission of the thesis for examination. This is broadly equivalent to one meeting per month for full-time students and one meeting every two months for part-time students, taking into account holiday periods. Supervision meetings may be held with any member of the supervisory team.

Will I be able to continue my research/access lab resources and the library if the university closes?

We are aware that there a number of concerns about access lab and research facilities should the university fully close to all students.  Information on how we are managing this and what will remain accessible can be found on the JRMO website:

Many library resources can be accessed online and students should continue to do so. 

PhD students should copy vital files to their ‘one drive’ in order to ensure that they can access their files remotely. 

Should the university close to students we will assess where students at a critical stage in their research should be able to continue to access lab and work space on a case by case basis.

I need to travel to undertake essential research/data collection/attend a conference – should I do this?

All field trips and research trips have been cancelled until 1st July 2020, this is also the case for all PhD student trips. 

We will regularly review this situation and update our guidance regularly. 

Within the UK you should follow the advice of Public Health England and the local guidance in place in the area to which you are travelling.  Outside the UK please follow FCO advice. 

The university is in the process of collating a full list of students already abroad to ensure that they are up to date with current advice.  If you would like to return to the UK and QMUL and are able to do so this is recommended.  Please ensure that you follow local guidelines and guidance. 

Will my annual assessment of progression take place?

Alternative arrangements can be made by your school/institute. For example you could attend the progression meeting online.

If the progression panel is unanimous in its decision that your work and progress are satisfactory then your school/institute may decide that you have passed the annual progression assessment without a formal meeting.

If you need to do more work an online meeting should be held to discuss this with you and your school/institute will advise you about further work you need to do and the deadline for submission of new material.

If the panel raises concerns about your academic progress and considers that your progress is not satisfactory, a formal assessment meeting must be held in person with you. No decision to de-register a student at annual academic progression may be made unless a meeting has been held in person. After that meeting, if the outcome is referral for a second attempt you will be given advice on what you need to and a deadline.  

If appropriate the conclusion of first year progression may be delayed beyond the usual 12 months deadline.

Will I be able to apply for an interruption of study if access to research facilities is restricted or closed?

While Queen Mary campuses and facilities are closed you should try to keep up with your studies as far as possible and keep in touch with your supervisor.

We recognise that students may find themselves unable to complete essential tasks and/or experiments in order to make progress with their research studies for a number of reasons for example due to illness or caring responsibilities To avoid unnecessary pressure on students, stipend payments co-ordinated by Queen Mary are being paid to students for the period 1 April to 30 June 2020.   

We will communicate the position regarding the payment for the quarter beginning 1st July 2020 in May following further government guidance. 

Now many Queen Mary facilities are closed please liaise with your supervisors every two weeks, to record how long your studies have been impacted by the Covid-19 situation, and to share this information with your School/Institute. These regular updates will enable us to handle eventual requests for extensions and interruptions much more quickly. 

We will contact all research  students and supervisors once we are allowed to resume working on campus and ask for submission of requests due to Covid-19 for extensions to the date of thesis submission and for interruptions of study. The record of time lost due to Covid-19 should be attached to the application form.

If you are unable to leave an affected area, or you have to go into self-isolation, or you have the Coronavirus or other health issues where you cannot see a GP to obtain medical certification you must email with your name, student ID and programme of study. This will help us keep an accurate record about who is affected and to give you further guidance.

. will send you a special form and a unique reference number.


The standard process for applications for interruption of study for non COVID-19 reasons continues to operate.
Please see

I am on interruption of study which ends soon. When will I be able to re-enrol?

If Queen Mary closes, current interruptions will be rolled forward until Queen Mary re-opens. If a student needs to re-enrol before then, for example to resume funding or because they can work on their studies from home, please contact your school/institute or the Research Degrees Office

Can I apply to extend my registration period and thesis submission deadline?

We recognise that students due to submit their thesis in the next few months may find themselves unable to make progress in drafting the thesis and completing essential tasks  in order to be ready to submit their thesis by the deadline, for example due to illness, caring responsibilities or departmental or institution closures. Students in this position are asked to submit an application  for an extension to their thesis submission deadline in order to avoid unnecessary pressure. Students should ensure they keep a good record of how much time has been lost due to the closure of the university and external resources to support your research. Keeping good records will enable us to handle eventual requests for extensions and interruptions much more quickly.

We will ask students to submit requests for interruptions and extensions due to Covid-19 at the end of this period. 

Information about the process for applications for extensions is available at

How should I submit my thesis?

The Research Degrees Office will close to students at 4pm on Wednesday, 18 March 2020.  

During the closure period the thesis may be submitted by email to  or you may use the QMUL File Exchange Service at  
If the File Exchange Service is used an email must be sent to including the collect weblink on or before your thesis submission deadline. 
The email must be sent before 23:59 hours on the thesis submission deadline. Please copy all emails to your supervisor and school/institute research degrees manager.
If possible please download and complete the thesis submission form at and attach this to your email to RDO.

The two bound copies of the thesis will not be required. The thesis must be submitted as a single combined document, preferably PDF. Appendices must not be submitted as separate documents. If you have any questions or need to submit additional material with your thesis, e.g. digital material, please contact  

Over this period only, the date of thesis submission recorded on MySIS is the date on which the electronic copy of the thesis is submitted to RDO.

Can I or an examiner attend my viva online?

Following UK Government advice and Queen Mary guidance on working from home, limiting non-essential travel and social distancing measures the oral examination of research degree candidates may be conducted by video-link and several or all participants may attend online. The term online vivas is used in this document.

Requests must be sent to the Research Degrees Office to arrange approval by the appropriate Faculty Deputy Dean for Research Degrees Programmes.

For further information please see the full policy on video link vivas here:   Policy on remote vivas 19032020 [PDF 393KB]

How can I request an online viva?

Requests for online vivas should be made to the school/institute and require the approval of the school/institute Director of Graduate Studies and the Faculty Deputy Dean for Research Studies.  Once everything has been agreed within the school/institute they will submit the request to the Research Degrees Office to obtain the approval of the Faculty Deputy Dean.


For queries regarding PhD submission and examination please contact the Research Degrees Office:

For any other queries please contact the Doctoral College:

If you need to speak with someone directly, please do not hesitate to contact us via email we can arrange skype/phone meetings if needed.