Coronavirus

City has published updated advice for its students and staff on the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Latest information for students and staff

Last updated: 19 Oct 2020 10:41am

Covid-19 FAQ

Covid-19: Frequently answered questions for doctoral researchers (updated on 3rd April 2020)

Registration/Enrolment – Can I start my PhD programme at City now?

We recommend all students holding an offer for a City MPhil/PhD programme defer their enrolment at City until September 2020 to provide you with the best possible start to your doctoral research. However, possible exceptions to this will be considered by Departments on a case-by-case basis where funding/research cannot be delayed.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer

Supervision – How will I continue supervision remotely?

You should continue to have meetings with your supervisors with the same frequency as prior to the disruption (e.g. monthly formal meetings), with meeting records maintained in RaP as usual. The University recommends Microsoft Teams as its preferred videoconferencing software, but you are free to agree with your supervisor your preferred form of communication.

If one supervisor is unwell, normal procedures should follow about other supervisors covering for them. If all of your supervisors are unwell, you should ask your department to nominate temporary support from elsewhere, such as a Departmental Senior Tutor.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your supervisors

Access to Research Facilities – Am I able to work on campus? What do I do about fieldwork?

All of City’s buildings closed on Monday, 23rd March; access to research facilities is therefore not possible.

All fieldwork, either in the UK or Internationally, involving face-to-face interactions with participants has been suspended. Where a change of mode of data collection is possible (i.e. online) an application for revision should be submitted via Research Ethics Online.

Note also that the library has made a sustained effort to digitise resources and increase our digital holdings, as well as increase access to a number of databases. If you have a particular need which is presently unavailable remotely, please contact your subject librarian.

For further support in this area, please visit the ethics page and the library guides.

General Progress – I am currently unable to make progress with my MPhil/PhD

You should make your supervisor(s) aware if you feel that you are unable to progress your research at this time as a result of COVID-19. Your supervisor will support you to review and consider if there are other aspects of your project that you can be progressing (e.g. desk-based research, reading, drafting chapters, undertaking online training).

Nevertheless, we recognise that many researchers will have their progress slowed by the current disruption. Accordingly, all doctoral researchers registered at the University during this period will be entitled to a three-month extension of candidature at the end of their normal period of registration, if needed. This will not be added automatically but will need to be applied for via RaP (so that the University can keep accurate records). Nevertheless, no documentary evidence will need to be supplied, simply a brief explanation of the impact of the disruption on your work. In essence, the extension need only be claimed. There is no time limit within which this additional extension must be claimed.

To request an extension, please ask your Course Officer to add the Extension of Candidature (Coronavirus) Form to your RaP record and complete the form; once authorized, this will add three months to your period of registration. Where possible, please provide evidence of the impact of Coronavirus, but this is optional and will not determine your entitlement to the extension.

This allowance is in addition to any other periods of extension (or suspension of studies) that may be granted under normal University policies.

Please note that we cannot guarantee an extension to any studentship funding. This issue is still under discussion within the University.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your Supervisor

MPhil to PhD Transfer and other Progress Checkpoints – What will happen to my upgrade examination and my annual progress review?

All MPhil to PhD transfer assessments will be undertaken using videoconferencing until further notice. Your School has been provided with guidance on how to do this and your course officer or supervisor will be in contact with you to discuss the arrangements. Where it is not possible to undertake the transfer in this way it will be delayed until the period of disruption is over.

No researchers will risk non-progression through not being able to complete their transfer process at the normal time.

There are no changes planned at present to the completion of annual progress reviews. These will proceed according to the timetable normally prevailing in your School. However, the assessment of your progress will take into account the impact of the current disruption in terms of the progress that might reasonably have been expected over the current academic year.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer or supervisor

Transfer to Writing-Up status ¬– What will happen if I am shortly due to transfer to writing up?

If you are due to transfer to writing-up status between March 2020 and October 2021 you will be permitted an additional three months beyond the date normally expected for you to transfer. No additional fees will be payable during this additional period.

To request an extension to your writing-up period, please ask your Course Officer to add the Extension of Candidature (Coronavirus) Form to your RaP record and complete the form; once authorized, this will add an additional three months before you need to transfer or submit for examination, as appropriate. Where possible, please provide evidence of the impact of Coronavirus, but this is optional and will not determine your entitlement to the extension.

Please note that we cannot guarantee an extension to any studentship funding. This issue is still under discussion within the University.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your supervisor and course officer

Submission of Thesis – How do I submit my thesis for examination/to the Library?

If you are submitting your thesis for examination during the COVID-19 disruption period, the requirement to submit softbound copies of your thesis is waived; an electronic copy provided to your course officer will suffice. The date that the course officer receives the e-thesis will remain the date of submission.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer

Viva Voce Examination – What will happen to my viva examination?

All viva examinations will take place via videoconferencing (i.e. Microsoft Teams, Skype etc.) until further notice, providing that all examiners and the candidate consent in advance to this arrangement. Your School has been provided with guidance on how to organise this and your course officer will be in contact with you to discuss the new arrangements.

If consent is not given, or if the format/content of the thesis means that it is inappropriate to be examined using videoconferencing, the examination will be delayed until the current closure ends. The decision on whether the format/content of the thesis lends itself to examination in this fashion is an academic judgement and will be made by your External Examiner(s).

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer

Thesis Corrections/Amendments – How do I undertake corrections or amendments requested by my examiners?

We expect that in most cases, you will be able to complete your corrections or amendments remotely. However, there may be some instances, such as amendments requiring further recourse to University facilities, when this will not be possible. If this is the case, please email your course officer to inform them so that alternative arrangements can be made and/or an extension can be granted.

Note that, although the campus is presently closed, most administrative offices are working remotely, and confirmations of awards will continue as normal.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer

Final Version of Record – How do I submit the final version of my thesis to the Library?

Prior to the current disruption the University had already waived the requirement to provide a hardbound copy of your finalized thesis to the library; you should therefore continue to send electronic copies of the final approved version to your course officer.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your course officer

Personal Illness – I am feeling unwell due to COVID-19 or need to self-isolate because I have been in contact with an infected person, what should I do?

If you are personally affected by COVID-19, then please notify your supervisors and course officer and take sickness-related absence as with any other illness. This will help us keep an accurate record about who is affected and give you further guidance.

Note also the extension opportunities available to you under the ‘General Progress’ section above.

If you are a Tier 4 visa holder, you should also complete an authorised absence form and submit to your School.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your supervisor and course officer

Family Illness/caring responsibilities – I have to look after other people who are ill and I can’t work on my thesis. What should I do?

If progress on your thesis is delayed because of illness to those for whom you are responsible or because of unforeseen caring duties or similar, or because you have unforeseen work commitments arising from the current situation (e.g. those working in the NHS), you have a number of options. You can either take advantage of the three-month extension to your period of registration that we are guaranteeing for all students who need it (see ‘General Progress’ above) or consider suspending your studies for a short period if this option suits you better at this time (naturally you can use both these options in due course if this is the best way of managing your situation).

You should discuss with your supervisor initially what they think is the best option for you in order to manage the situation according to your needs.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your supervisor and course officer

Financial Support – I am in financial hardship

The City, University of London Hardship Fund provides discretionary financial assistance for students who are in financial hardship or who face an unexpected financial emergency whilst they are studying. The amount of hardship funding available for PGR students has been notably increased in light of the current situation and you are strongly encouraged to apply for this funding should you need it.

For further support in this area, please visit the City, University of London Hardship Fund page.

Studentships – I am on a City/Research Council studentship, what happens to my funding?

Please note that if you are on a City-funded studentship, the University regrets that it can give no guarantee that this funding will be extended to cover any extension you might feel obliged to take. This issue remains under discussion within the University.

If you are funded by a UK Research Council, the Research Councils have advised that extensions to submission dates should be awarded where possible and students should continue to receive their stipends during this period where grant monies allow. It is possible that you will need to provide information/evidence to the Research Council to justify any extension.

For further support in this area, please contact: Your Senior Tutor or Associate Dean with responsibility for Postgraduate Research.

Conference Funding – I have applied for Doctoral College conference funding, but my conference is now cancelled; what should I do?

We are aware that most academic conferences in Spring/Summer 2020 have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19. As such, we regret that the Doctoral College Conference Attendance Fund advertised in February/March has been suspended. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause, however these funds have now been converted into hardship funding for PhD students.

For further support in this area, please contact: doctoralcollege@city.ac.uk

Visa Compliance – I am worried I am in breach of my visa conditions

Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning courses. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office will not consider it a breach of your immigration duties if you continue your research, and your supervision, online.

Tier 4 students still in the UK or those who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies can do so without detriment. Your visa will not be withdrawn, and you can continue as a City-sponsored student.

If you are a Tier 4 student visa holder and have returned to your home country as a result of Coronavirus, and cannot continue with your studies whilst abroad, you should complete an authorized absence form via the University’s Visa Compliance team; this will cover the first 60 days of absence from the University.

Students whose visas are about to expire can now apply for a new visa from within the UK without traveling back to their home country, during this period of disruption.

If you are a Tier 4 student visa holder in the UK, and your visa is due to expire shortly and you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions, illness or self-isolation, please note that your visa can be extended to 31st May 2020. However, to extend your visa you must contact the Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Team via email to advise them of your situation.

The Coronavirus Immigration Team contact details email is: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

You should include the following in their email:

  • Full name (include any middle names)
  • DOB (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • Nationality
  • Existing visa details

Reason that has required you to extend your stay

Further information on this subject can be found on the UKCISA website.

For further support in this area, please contact: visacompliance@city.ac.uk

City Emergency COVID-19 Fund for students affected by Coronavirus – Where can I get support if I am in financial difficulties?

City understands the impact that the Coronavirus outbreak may be having on our students and have set up the City Emergency COVID-19 Fund for those affected by Coronavirus.

If you are struggling financially or facing hardship as a result of the current situation related to COVID-19 you may be able to access some short-term emergency financial support from the City Emergency COVID-19 Fund page.

Please note that our City Emergency COVID-19 Fund is available for short-term support only, and awards will be allocated on a case by case basis. The fund is limited and should not be viewed as a form of funding to replace long-term loss of income or meet all additional costs, however we will seek to support those who are facing unexpected hardship as best we can.

Note also that the Doctoral College conference fund has this year been switched into the emergency hardship fund and these monies have been ringfenced for doctoral researchers.

Student Support and Wellbeing – How can I access support during this time?

Full details of how you can continue to access support from our services during this time can be found on this page.