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Information for doctoral students on Covid-19

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and that many of our doctoral students will be experiencing altered ways of working and will each be facing different challenges at this time. We would like to assure our doctoral students that the University has put in place a number of measures to support our doctoral students.

Maintaining positive health and wellbeing at this time of remote working is essential.

In addition to making sure that you stay in regular contact with your supervision team, please also take a moment to review the various support services which can be accessed by contacting during this period of disruption. If you are feeling anxious about Covid-19 you can find advice and tips for looking after your wellbeing on the Solent Mind website.

Further resources are available at:

  • Mental Health UK website blog posts on how to look after your mental health when working remotely, as well as looking after children while working from home and other useful information.
  • The Headspace app, Weathering the Storm offers meditations, sleep advice and movement exercises.
  • NHS website, Every Mind Matters advice and tips for maintaining your mental wellbeing.

Many of you will be facing new challenges as you work with your supervision teams to review your project plans. While there is ongoing uncertainty about the length of this disruption to our normal ways of working, it is prudent to scope out how you may achieve or adapt your research goals to meet these new circumstances. This may include using remote means to conduct your research. We have gathered together here some resources around good practice in remote data collection to assist with these discussions.

Some doctoral students are coming up on key milestones of Transfer or final submission of their thesis for Viva. Some will also be approaching the end of their maximum registration period. The University understands that these students will have concerns around completing scheduled work to meet their deadlines.

Where doctoral students have been affected by exceptional circumstances related to Covid-19, the University is working to ensure they experience no detriment arising from this. Issues may involve new demands on their time such as childcare, or returning to clinical roles, or be related to restrictions on access to facilities or resources such as laboratory work.

In these circumstances the University will provide reasonable flexibility around such deadlines and has developed an exceptional application form for doctoral students to request any necessary extensions. Doctoral students can find the ‘Temporary Covid-19 Extension Form’ (RD4C-19) in the ‘Change of Circumstances’ forms below.

Each doctoral student will be considered on a case by case basis and in discussion with supervision teams to ensure that there will be no detriment to a student’s ability to respond to these exceptional circumstances.

Doctoral students who are approaching a Viva will be given the opportunity to choose whether they wish to go ahead using online technology or to postpone until it is possible to reconvene the Viva on location and face to face.

The University has issued an interim, exceptional set of regulations and guidance to outline the conduct of online Vivas. These pertain to Vivas for final thesis examination, but the protocols and principles will also apply to online Transfer panels.

Download the supplementary regulations on exams and guidance during Covid-19


Doctoral student handbook and research degree forms

The doctoral student handbook has been compiled with guidance notes for doctoral students and supervisors to help them gain a practical knowledge of the key principles, processes and milestones relating to the research degree programme at Solent University. The doctoral student handbook explains when and how to use all the procedural forms which can be found on this page.

Doctoral student handbook and guidance notes

Forms directory

 Explanatory note Form Guidance note 
Appointment of supervisory team  To appoint the DoS and supervisors for a new student  RD1S #4 
Instruction to offer To offer an MPhil / PhD opportunity to a prospective student RD1ITO  #4 
Sponsor full-time bursary agreement Completed between the sponsor and the University RD1BF #14
Student full-time bursary agreement Completed between the student and the University RD1BF-S #14
Sponsor part-time bursary agreement Completed between the sponsor and the University RD1BP #14
Student part-time bursary agreement Completed between the student and the University RD1BP-S #14
Stage Explanatory noteForm Guidance note Full-time Part-time 
Doctoral student supervision record  To record student-supervisor meetings  RD2SSM  #2 and #7  Min. 9 x per year  Min. 7 x per year 
Annual monitoring forms  Independent review of student experience RD2AMIR  #7  Annually (May deadline) Annually (May deadline)
Annual monitoring forms Progress review; evaluation of academic progress RD2AMPR  #7  Annually (May deadline) Annually (May deadline)
Annual monitoring forms Doctoral review panel; annual monitoring outcome RD2AMPRC  #7  Annually (June deadline) Annually (June deadline)
Training and development application Apply for the £500 doctoral training and development allowance RD3TD  #6  Annually (1 August - 31 July) Annually (1 August - 31 July)
Transfer  To transfer registration from MPhil to PhD RD2T  #8  12-18 months from start date 24-36 months from start date
Application for writing up status To apply for a reduction in fees while writing up the thesis for submission RD2WU  #9 and #6  24-36 months from start date 60-84 months from start date
Circumstance Explanatory note Form Guidance note 
Change to supervisory team  To change the composition of a supervisory team  RD4S  #5 
Change of registration mode  To apply to change registration mode (adjust to part-time or full-time)  RD4MS  #5 
Application for suspension  To request a suspension from studies  RD4SU  #5 
Withdrawal  To withdraw registration of a student at Solent  RD4WD  #5 
Extension  To request an extension to the maximum registration period  RD4E  #5 
Temporary Covid-19 extension form To request an extension to a research degree milestone RD4C-19 n/a
 Explanatory noteFormGuidance noteFull-timePart-time
Examination arrangements Completed by the DoS / supervisory team to nominate examiners for the Viva RD5E #10 30-42 months from start date 66-90 months from start date
Thesis submission Completed by the student to accompany the thesis at the point of submission RD5DEC #10 36-48 months from start date 72-96 months from start date
Preliminary examiner report (MPhil) Completed by each examiner supplying an independent provisional preliminary recommendation RD5M #10 Minimum 1 week prior to Viva Minimum 1 week prior to Viva
Preliminary examiner report Completed by each examiner supplying an independent provisional preliminary recommendation RD5P #10 Minimum 1 week prior to Viva Minimum 1 week prior to Viva
Examiners' decision Decision of examiners following Viva for MPhil / PhD RD5DEX #10 On date of Viva On date of Viva
Examiners' decision (PhD by Prior Publication) Decision of examiners following Viva for PhD by prior publication only RD5DEX-P #10 On date of Viva On date of Viva
Examiners' decision (re-examination) Decision of examiners following amends and re-Viva for MPhil / PhD RD5R-DEX #10 On date of re-Viva On date of re-Viva
Independent Chair report Completed by the Independent Chair RD5I #10 On date of Viva On date of Viva
Re-examination amendment log Completed by student to accompany re-submission of thesis for further examination RD5RAL #10 By resubmission deadline By resubmission deadline

Policies and regulations

The University has policies and guidance in place to ensure the environment and experience of research students is supportive for their research and learning. 


The environment for postgraduate research degrees is underpinned by the Research and Knowledge Exchange Sub-Strategy 

Research and Knowledge Exchange Sub-Strategy 2025 


The University reviews and updates its regulations annually. The current regulations are published at the beginning of each academic year and can be read here. Students are advised to always consult the regulations for the year in which they are currently registered.
Regulations for Postgraduate Research Students 

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Postgraduate researchers must consider their responsibilities for their research data in relation to the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

Solent's ethics policy

Intellectual property

The Intellectual Property Office

For Solent University intellectual property rights policy please contact

University research committees

The University Academic Board retains responsibility for the effectiveness of the arrangements for safeguarding the academic standards of awards and enhancing the quality of postgraduate research provision. It delegates responsibility for overseeing the University’s research degree provision to the Research Degrees Committee (RDC) and for the University’s research strategy to the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (RKEC)

RDC Terms of Reference

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