Postgraduate research coronavirus FAQs

Student on laptop

Advice for PGR students

See answers to our frequently asked questions from postgraduate research degree students

The priorities of the University and the Graduate School are the safety and wellbeing of students and staff and the continuation of our research and education activities.

We appreciate that the current Coronavirus outbreak may be causing feelings of concern and anxiety. The University has set up a general Information line – +44 (0)23 9284 5588 and – to help manage queries.

Further details of how we support PGRS and their research during the Covid-19 pandemic can be found on the Graduate School Covid-19 moodle page.

Please email the Graduate School at or the Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) at if you have any further questions.


Postgraduate research students

Both PGR students and staff should work from home if they can, but if PGR students cannot work from home because they need to access specialist facilities to undertake critical research they will still be able to come on-site as long as the appropriate risk assessment, permissions, and mitigations are in place (please see our 'Conducting Research During the Pandemic' moodle page for further guidance). Campus-based PGR rooms will be open from 8th March 2021 for PGR researchers who have undertaken the relevant risk assessment and have the appropriate mitigations and permissions in place. Please contact your supervisor or head of department for further information.

There is also some helpful guidance from the department of United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) for researchers in general, as well as DTP and other research council-funded students.

All supervision meetings at this time should be held using electronic means.  The University’s Work Anywhere page can help with setting this up, and more help and advice, on setting up such meetings in Zoom and other formats is being added to the Main Graduate School Hub Moodle page.

Annual reviews, major reviews and vivas should be conducted online. If this is not possible for any reason, a safe alternative will be arranged which may require the date to be deferred. Where the outcome of a meeting is to undertake more work, candidates will be supported by their First Supervisors.

You can submit work and relevant forms for annual reviews, major reviews and theses electronically. You'll receive email prompts in advance of your deadlines.

Completed theses should be submitted to, unless an alternative email address is provided. When submitting a thesis, please copy in your first supervisor.

If you have problems with submitting work electronically, an appropriate methodology must be agreed by the Faculty Research Degree Coordinator (FRDC). Your supervisor or Departmental Research Degree Coordinator (DRDC) should also be able to advise.

Where a student is experiencing difficulties in meeting deadlines to complete post-viva thesis corrections, the First Supervisor (or if necessary the FRDC) may be able to approve extenuating circumstances and set a revised deadline.

If an interim examination is required, First Supervisors will work with students to resolve the situation and organise examinations in liaison with FRDCs and DSAA as necessary.

Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on reviews, vivas and interim examinations.

Although the vast majority of students have been able to continue their research without delays, some students, particularly those who need access to laboratories may have had to pause their work. In such cases, our advice (and that of the UKRI) has been to encourage students and their supervisors to change their research designs if possible, and if not to consider interrupting their studies.

PGR students and other researchers who are expected to come in close contact with human participants should, where possible, adopt online research methods instead. Where face to face interaction is necessary, information, checklists, and risk assessment forms for undertaking or restarting research during Covid-19 should be followed. Please note, UK based fieldwork and research visits can now take place subject to approval through the conducting research during the pandemic procedure, although all placements involving face-to-face contact remain suspended until further notice.

If you think your research timeline has been seriously affected by COVID-19, you'll be able to apply for an extension or interruption in the normal way which can be found in the Research Degree Operational Handbook. Any COVID-19 related issues will be taken into account when assessing delays and changes to thesis research through the annual review process. 

Where the research is simply paused for a number of months research ethics committees will not require notification, but if significant changes of research design are required a project amendment will need to be submitted in the normal way.

Your FRDC, DRDC, departmental ethics advisor, or supervisor should be able to offer further guidance.


You should talk to your supervisor if the Covid-19 events have meant you cannot continue your studies and wish to take a period of interruption. The university has agreed that during the Covid-19 situation, interruptions may be granted beyond the normal 1 year limit (2 years for PT) by the FRDC in exceptional cases. The extended interruption should not be in excess of that which is proportional to the nature of the interruption and time required.

You should talk to your supervisor and funder to consider any financial implications. Please see the Research Degree Guidance page for further details, or contact

International students who interrupt their studies would normally then have their leave to remain in the UK withdrawn. International students who are considering interrupting should first explore whether taking an authorised absence is more appropriate. Please discuss with your supervisor or an international student advisor in the first instance:

If you are a Health Sector worker and are required elsewhere, please talk to your supervisor about an interruption of studies to consider any financial implications.

To find out how to apply to interrupt your studies, please go to the section ‘How do I interrupt my studies’ on the Graduate School Covid page in moodle.


Updated guidance has been provided on extension arrangements for fees and bursaries for university, research council and other funding sources. Please see the Graduate School Moodle page for further details on registration, fees and funding.

The University has agreed to offer a 3-month no-fees extension to all current final year PGR students (as of February 2021) to help support students dealing with Covid-19 related problems and delays where it was not possible to redesign or interrupt their studies. The deadline for applying for this extension is 30 June 2021. For more information about this scheme, please refer to the Graduate School moodle page ‘University of Portsmouth No-Fee Extension Policy for PGR Students’. The UKRI and some other PGR bursary sponsors, including the University of Portsmouth, previously announced that students who have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 situation can apply for funded extensions to their degree submission deadlines. 

If it becomes impossible to actively pursue your research, you'll need to discuss this with your supervisor(s).

PGR students who are experiencing exceptional financial hardship arising from the Covid-19 situation can apply for financial help through the University Support Fund.

The University Support Fund may be able to help with emergency costs such as urgent bills and food supplies (subject to availability of funds). For more information please see the MyPort student finance Hardship Fund page and the associated University Support Fund guidance article.

Graduate School Events

All Graduate School and related events have moved online since March 2020.

Graduate School Development Programme (GSDP) Sessions

GSDP sessions will be delivered online. If you're booked on a session or on the waiting list you'll be contacted with instructions for accessing the session. You also have access to a suite of GSDP online modules.

GSDP online modules will accrue the same hours as the face-to-face equivalents and you can record this in SkillsForge using a Certificate of Completion.

Up-to-date information about the current situation, working away from home and online training opportunities (such as LinkedIn Learning) is available on Moodle

GProf Sessions

GProf is now available online for any new students or those wishing to complete remaining sessions. Please see the Graduate Professional Development (GProf) page on moodle for links to all sessions.

Research Supervision Events (RSE)

Most Graduate School workshops for supervisors have good resources online, including videos of previous sessions, links, and for mandatory/required sessions we have full online training packages.

Please see the Graduate School research supervision events page for more information.

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