PhD Researchers

All staff, students and PhD Researchers are asked to consult the University advice which will be regularly updated regularly on this site.

As it is possible that issues relating to Covid-19 could cause setbacks to research, this section is intended to highlight specific factors that occur more frequently in a research context and to aid planning as an individual PhD researcher.

Setbacks could range from minor delays through to the irrecoverable loss of significant work.  It is recommended that you proactively consider the likely impacts with your supervisory team and develop contingency plans.

All researchers are reminded that there may be a delay in accessing the emergency services in the event of an incident or accident at work, as such, essential research must be of a low risk basis.

If we don’t answer your question

If you have a question which is not answered here, please submit a query and a member of staff will be in touch.

Go to enquiry form  

Continuing your research work and extensions of time

Researcher Development

  • How will the Researcher Development Programme be delivered?

    In response to the new ways of working in the coming weeks, the Doctoral College is delighted to announce that we have commissioned an Online Training Series with colleagues in the University of East Anglia for Ulster PhD Researchers.

    The online training series will provide you with LIVE TAUGHT, WEEKLY RESEARCHER DEVELOPMENT SESSIONS on Thursday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm.  These will start on Thursday 2nd April and run through to the end of June. There will be 90 places available per session.  These online workshops will be delivered by Dr Simon Watts, Postgraduate Training Coordinator and Deputy Head of the Graduate School, University of East Anglia.

    You can book now on PhD Manager:

    There are a number of webinars on topics such as LinkedIn and Commercialising Your Research.

    You will find full details on PhD Manager.

    We will continue to enhance our online training provision in the coming weeks and will keep you informed via the Weekly Update on Researcher Development Programme every Wednesday afternoon.

    Questions and suggestions relating to the Researcher Development Programme can be sent to Lisa Thompson, Doctoral Development Manager,

  • What will be the impact to other Doctoral College events planned for the coming months?

    The PhD Festival and 3MT events have been postponed.

    If you have registered for these, you will kept informed of new arrangements in due course.

    All campuses closed for teaching and social activities

International PhD researchers on Tier 4 Visa

PhD submission and examination

  • The University is closed and I am due to submit my thesis over the coming weeks, what will happen?

    You may submit your thesis electronically (in lieu of a soft copy submission).

    Please submit your e-version along with the Turnitin output report to Kate McMorris ( for Jordanstown / Belfast based PhD researcher and Sarah Stewart (

    Please copy into this email submission.

  • I am due to have my viva in the near future - will it go ahead as planned?

    Our first preference is for a viva to be postponed until we can return to business as normal, however we understand this may not be the preferred option.

    For PhD examinations (vivas) which have already been arranged (panel appointed and date agreed), we have issued guidance to all UoAs on the possibility of an external examiner, internal examiner, chair and candidate joining the exam remotely by Skype or a similar videoconferencing platform.

    If all parties consent, then a remote viva may be available.

    If your scheduled PhD oral examination cannot take place then we may need to postpone until the next date that the panel can be convened.

    Please contact your supervisor and postgraduate tutor to discuss. For candidates who submitted very recently or intend to submit in the next few weeks, we are considering what arrangements can be put in place for their oral examination and we will provide updated guidance from this web page when it is available.

  • The University is closed and submission of my final thesis is due – what should I do?

    Please submit an electronic version of your final thesis to Kate McMorris ( for Jordanstown and Belfast based PhD researchers and to Suzanne O’Kane ( for Coleraine and Magee based PhD researchers.  Please also copy in

    Please also submit the following three forms by email:

    • e-Thesis Deposit agreement form
    • RS16 form (Deposit of Samples and Data Form)
    • RS17 form (Reassignment of Student Intellectual Property Rights)

    These forms can be found at

    When campuses re-open the Doctoral College will be in contact with you about accepting your hard copy to provide to your first supervisor.

  • I have an assessment coming up within the next few months, will this go ahead as planned?

    The Doctoral College has discussed assessments with the Associate Deans (Research & Impact) and while we hope it will be possible to proceed remotely with initial, confirmation and final assessments, it will be up to individual Research Directors and Postgraduate Tutors to decide if this is possible and when it is appropriate.



Other UU Services

Campus Queries

  • I have paid for a parking permit and can no longer use it. Can I get a refund?


    You can request a refund by filling in the student cancellation of permit form available from the policy document on the car parking website

    A refund will be based on an end date of April 1st 2020 and Finance will credit the refund as detailed on the form.  This can take up to a month to process depending on when the request is submitted.

  • Can I access the campus at all, and if so how?Can I access the campus at all, and if so how?

    In line with government guidance, the aim is to reduce the number of individuals on campus as much as possible and only essential access will be granted. However, it may be possible for you to apply for ‘ad hoc’ access to pick up items or information which are necessary to allow your research/work to be undertaken remotely (research on campus is not generally permitted).

    Please note that your supervisors MUST request this on your behalf using the campus access form:

    Please also note that it will take around 48 hours to arrange access and your supervisor will need full details such as date of visit, time, duration, campus purpose etc to complete the application.


  • I did some teaching (or demonstrating) before we went into lockdown, how can I ensure that I am paid promptly for these hours

    Please contact your subject level/Research Unit administrator for advice on how to ensure that payment is made without delay.

    Should you experience any difficulties, please contact your Head of Doctoral College, who will assist in resolving the problem.

  • As a PhD researcher, can I help in any way with marking for our undergraduate students?

    We appreciate the team effort that colleagues may wish to make to support academic progression.

    In the event of staff absence due to illness, PhD researchers who have been through confirmation, or who have a Masters in a cognate subject area, and who have taken or are registered for the First Steps to Teaching and Learning in HE module, will be permitted to mark work up to and including level 7. Moderation arrangements must avoid all moderation or double marking of any assessment item being conducted solely by PhD researchers.

  • As a full-time PhD researcher, can I undertake part-time work alongside my PhD to assist with the COVID-19 effort?

    Given the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19, your supervisors may agree that you can work up to 6 hours per week assisting the COVID-19 effort, such agreements should be recorded in PhD Manager.

    Taking up paid employment of more than 6 hours per week whilst in receipt of a Department for Economy (DfE) or Vice Chancellors Research Scholarship (VCRS) PhD studentship is not permitted under current Terms and Conditions.

    If a PhD researcher wishes to work more than 6 hours per week then a leave of absence (LOA) should be sought. Although pursuing an LOA to undertake paid employment would not normally be a valid reason for approval, given the current exceptional circumstances we will expedite such LOA requests.

    During the LOA, stipend payments would be paused and then, once the LOA is over, resumed for the remaining time - i.e. the stipend payments will still total 36 months.

Questions and Updates

If you have a question which is not answered here, please email (copying in your Postgraduate Tutor and Research Director) so we can both respond to your query and update these FAQs.

Please be assured that we are working on your behalf to consider the challenges caused by COVID-19 to PhD progress and we will update our FAQs to reflect any progress we make or any change in our advice to PhD researchers, Please check back on this site regularly for updates.

We encourage all PhD researchers to remain in touch with fellow PhD researchers using email, Yammer and other social media networks and, keep up to date with Twitter @UlsterUniPhD account.