The 2021/22 academic year

Postgraduate Research Students

Key information for our postgraduate research students.

Returning to campus

The Scottish Government restrictions do not alter the information we are providing to postgraduate research students and essential research work may continue.

While the current advice is to work from home where at all possible, essential research work may continue in University laboratories and other research facilities if it cannot be undertaken away from campus. If you cannot work from home because the environment makes it impossible, then you are permitted to work in the University in a safe location.

Please speak with your supervisor for further information if you are unsure how the Scottish Government restrictions may impact your work.

Please note that international postgraduate students who have not yet arrived in the UK should continue with their existing plans to arrive when they have secured their visa and made travel arrangements. Students who may need the dates on existing CAS or visas changed should contact for help.

Facilities and building access

Access to University Buildings

The University has taken a phased approach to opening buildings and access is being managed locally by relevant management teams.

You will hear from your School, Institute  or Supervisor about the process for gaining entry to buildings and detailed instructions about staying safe when you are able to have access.

Further details can be found here

Access to the Library

The Library’s webpages have up to date information about access to Library and University Collections facilities and services. Current information on the Centre for Research Collections can be found here.

Working remotely

Information Services have a detailed webpage with links on remote working guidance, how to set up your remote desktop and access to tools for working remotely.

Supervisory meetings should take place regularly and you should discuss with your supervisor how this can work best, taking into consideration technology, mutual expectations and caring responsibilities (if applicable). Expectations for the supervisory team and postgraduate researchers are set out in the Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students

Working remotely can be challenging but there are many opportunities for connecting with others virtually. Ensure that you are aware of what is available at local level by making sure you are connected with your Graduate School, Deanery or Institute.

The Doctoral College

The University of Edinburgh Doctoral College is a coordinating structure for all postgraduate researchers, supervisors and relevant staff at the University. The webpages link to support, training and information for PGRs. There are monthly updates on central University training, support and opportunities for PGRs on the Doctoral College Sharepoint site.

The Doctoral College can also be followed on Twitter @UoE_Doc.

Support services

Institute for Academic Development

The Institute for Academic Development (IAD) has an extensive programme of professional and personal development training for postgraduate researchers. The Careers Service, Digital Research Services, Digital Skills and Training and Edinburgh Innovations also have a wide range of support available. There are monthly updates on central University training, support and opportunities for PGRs on the Doctoral College Sharepoint site. The Doctoral College can also be followed on Twitter @UoE_Doc.

Other student support services

Our 'Accessing support' pages will provide more information on the student support services available to all of our students.

Accessing support

PGR parents and carers

If you are a parent or carer, your circumstances may have an impact on your ability to continue with your research to your usual standard or at your usual pace. Please discuss the impact this has on your research with your supervisors and use the concessions process to take account of the impact of exceptional caring responsibilities.

Measures to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus

  • Students can apply to interrupt or extend their studies where their progress has been negatively affected by the pandemic, especially where this is due to caring or employment commitments;
  • Research students taking taught courses can make use of the Special Circumstances provisions, described on our Exams and Assessment webpage
  • PhD and MPhil students can make the Board of Examiners aware of the impact the pandemic has had on their research when they submit their thesis.

Fees and funding 

The University is working with governments and external funders to provide financial support to all students who may require it to be able to complete their research. Be assured that enabling and supporting you to successfully complete your degree is our highest priority. 

Additional Financial Support is available. Please follow this link for details of the application process. 

Fieldwork and Placements

Fieldwork and placement activity options should be discussed with your supervisor, programme director, Postgraduate Director and local contacts. UK and local government advice should be followed and monitored regarding travel and physical distancing. The usual risk assessment processes must be followed for research students.

Advice about returning to research, produced by the Edinburgh Research Office, can be found here: 

Restarting research 

Assessments, completion and graduation 

Thesis submission and vivas

All PGR students should submit their thesis electronically. Students should consult the relevant College Office guidance: 

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences 

College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine 

College of Science and Engineering

PhD and MPhil students can make the Board of Examiners aware of the impact the pandemic has had on their research when they submit their thesis.

At the current time Vivas will continue to be conducted remotely and guidance will be provided by your local PGR support team.

This IAD blog post includes links to resources which may be useful if you are preparing for an online viva and the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) has a guide for online viva candidates.

PGR students working as tutors  

PGR students who will be working as guaranteed hours tutors will receive training in their Schools, but can find additional guidance on training via Institute of Academic Development (IAD):

Tutors and demonstrators

Contact us

If you have further questions about postgraduate research programmes, please get in touch.

Contact us about PGR programmes