Postgraduate study

Student Engagement

Responsibilities of PhD students on engaging with their programme of study.

The University regulations specify that the student and supervisor will maintain frequent contact and meet at least twice in every three month period. The student can initiate meetings, but the supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the requirement for the minimum number of meetings is met.

The University requires students and supervisors to back up guidance and decisions with written (or emailed) communication. The student and supervisor will keep a record of their key meetings. The student will produce a record of the meeting and forward it to their supervisor for agreement. This record is an essential part of the University’s quality assurance and enhancement process and will include:

  • Date of the meeting
  • Purpose of the meeting
  • Any specific problems identified
  • Action points.

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures - Contact Point Schedule

The Graduate School office will monitor the engagement of PhD students using 10 contact points:

By Mid September Attendance must be confirmed on the student's record
By End September Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By Mid November Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By End December Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By Early February Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By Mid March Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By End April Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record
By End May Student completes and submits Annual Review form before review meeting takes place
By End June Annual Review meeting to have taken place
By Mid August Meeting with supervisor and notes recorded on student's record

The dates for the above contact points will be adjusted for those students who are part-time, or started their studies in January rather than September, or who have had an interruption of studies.


School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures – Escalation Policy

The Graduate School will regularly review your engagement using the Contact Point Schedule, if we find cause for concern then we will take the actions outlined below, these actions are known as ‘escalation points’. If your levels of engagement improve over subsequent reviews then we may not take all of the steps outlined:

  • Escalation Point 1: An email from the PGR Senior Administrator offering assistance if needed and a reminder of your responsibilities to attend and engage with your studies.
  • Escalation Point 2: An email from the PG Academic Services Coordinator, with a requirement to respond.
  • Escalation Point 3: A compulsory meeting with the Postgraduate Director or Deputy Postgraduate Director.  Failure to attend this meeting will result in immediate progression to the next Escalation Point.
  • Escalation Point 4: A compulsory interview with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science PG Dean. This may result in exclusion as per the following policy:  


Tier 4 students

As a Tier 4 student visa holder, it is your responsibility to comply with the conditions of your visa.  Failure to follow these conditions will result in the University reporting you to the UKVI, a consequence of which will be the cancellation of your visa and withdrawal from the University of Edinburgh. The University has a number of legal responsibilities, including monitoring your attendance on your programme and reporting to the Home Office where:

  • you suspend your studies, transfer or withdraw from a programme, or complete your studies significantly early;
  • you fail to register/enrol at the start of your programme and there is no explanation;
  • you are repeatedly absent or are absent for an extended period and are excluded from the programme due to non-attendance. The University must maintain a record of your attendance and the Home Office can ask to see this or request information about it at any time;
  • you do not meet with your supervisor (physically or virtually) or have regular email contact with your supervisor at least twice in every three month period;
  • you do not complete the annual review form within one month of it being opened up for you;
  • you do not attend your annual review meeting within 9 months of the anniversary of your registration.

As a student with a Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, the terms of your visa require you to (amongst others):

  • Ensure you have a correct and valid visa for studying at the University of Edinburgh, which, if a Tier 4 visa, requires that it is a visa sponsored by the University of Edinburgh;
  • Attend all of your University supervision meetings where required.  Students on a Tier 4 visa must also attend Tier 4 Census sessions when required throughout the academic session.
  • Make sure that your contact details, including your address and contact numbers are up to date in your student record.
  • Make satisfactory progress on your chosen programme of studies.
  • Observe the general conditions of a Tier 4 General student visa in the UK, including studying on the programme for which your visa was issued, not overstaying the validity of your visa and complying with the work restrictions of the visa.

Please note that any email relating to your Tier 4 sponsorship, including census dates and times, will be sent to your University email address - you should therefore check this regularly.

Further details on the terms and conditions of your Tier 4 visa can be on the webpage: