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research students

At UWS we have a vibrant community of postgraduate research students and we understand that some will have faced particular challenges in continuing research work due to the impact of COVID-19 while our new cohort of research students who commenced at the start of Academic Year 2020/21 will have questions about how their studies may be affected. We are here to support and help you get the most out of your studies with us.

You can find answers to a range of frequently asked questions below.

FAQs for research students

Q: Will I be allowed on campus?

A: Yes, our campuses will be open in line with government guidance. Your supervisory team, the Academic School you belong to and the Doctoral College will be in touch with you on a regular basis to let you know their specific plans for research students’ access to our campuses. You can find out the latest information on how we are ensuring our campuses are safe and welcoming here.

Q: What mitigations are in place due to COVID-19?

A: Please be assured that the Doctoral College will approve additional time for any student directly affected by Covid-19 or the current restrictions. Any student unable to complete work remotely should consider interrupting their studies, but if possible we encourage you to continue writing and analysing data and to note in the next progress report if data collection was disrupted by the pandemic. This will ensure the delay is recorded should you have to apply for an extension at a later date. Every student will be facing different challenges during these difficult times so we will consider the requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure we respond in the most appropriate way possible.

In June 2020, the Scottish Government announced the additional support available to PhD students. To align our approach with the funding bodies (e.g. UKRI stipend support) and where possible approaches taken by other Universities in Scotland, UWS support in the form of extension of time, interruption of studies and additional funding support, is to be made available for all enrolled PhD students in Scotland.

While all enrolled postgraduate research students can apply for extension of time and interruption of studies, the additional support by the Scottish Government is to assist enrolled PhD students whose studies are affected by COVID-19.

Q: How do I request an extension of time?

A: The extension of time applies when COVID-19 disruptions lead to adjustments of originally planned studies, requiring additional time in order to recover the research plan.

Enrolled students should submit requests for the extension of time through MyPGR platform, explaining in detail the applicable eligible circumstances. Email to request an extension to registration form.

Q: How do I request an interruption of studies?

A: The interruption of studies applies when, due to COVID-19 disruptions, the studies and studentship funding have to be completely stopped and restarted at a later date.

Enrolled students should submit requests for the interruption of studies through My PGR platform, explaining in detail the applicable eligible circumstances. Email to request an interruption to registration form.

Q: How do I request a funding extension?

A: The funding extension applies to enrolled UWS-funded postgraduate research students in Scotland who have applied for the extension of time due to COVID-19 disruptions.

All postgraduate research students in Scotland who receive a UWS studentship and are within the normal period of registration and whose studies have been significantly disrupted by COVID-19, are eligible to apply for an extension of funding in addition to the extension of time.

Enrolled students should submit requests for the funding extension jointly with their request for the extension of time through My PGR platform, explaining in detail the applicable eligible circumstances. Email to request an extension to registration form.

Q: What additional financial and funding support is available to me?

A: All students requiring additional financial support should first review other financial support information and COVID-19 related information on the UWS website and for any further information contact the funding and advice team (

Additional support announced by the Scottish Government in June 2020 has enabled us to offer enrolled PhD students the opportunity to apply for financial relief subject to COVID-19 PhD Hardship Fund Criteria (including self-funded students).

Enrolled students should submit the completed application for the financial relief to 

Please read the Covid-19 PhD support procedure in full here before applying.

Q: What support is available to me while the campuses are not fully operational?

A: We understand how challenging this period has been for all of our students and we are here to support you in all the ways that we can. Our Student Services have been and continue to be open and operational and you can access these from anywhere. The Doctoral College team have been in touch with the PGR student community throughout the coronavirus pandemic and are on hand to provide any support you require with your academic progression – contact them at

Our Careers and Skills team can provide help with developing learning and study skills, including those that are important for working and studying remotely. The team have also created a short video explaining each of their top five tips for studying at home. You can access each of these at the links below:

Create a workspace

Build a study community

Study actively

Manage your distractions

Look after your health

Q: Will the library be open?

A: Campus opening times which relate to the library are available from the Academic Hub 2020/21 homepage and you can also find out more about campus access, guidance and protocols on the safe and welcoming campuses pages of our website. 

UWS Library has an extensive collection of online resources that support teaching, learning and research. For more information about our online resources, please visit our Finding Books, Articles & More page of the Library website. You can search our library collection 24/7 using One Search. If you require library support, including 1-to-1 online appointments with our Academic Librarians, you can access this online via email ( or via the Self Service Portal (

Our staff will be available remotely to assist you. We also offer a number of online guides, videos and FAQs which you can access at #uwslibTalks Padlet. Find out more about library resources here.

Q: I am using my own laptop: how can I get access to the basic software I need?

A: Students can visit, to download the Microsoft Office suite for free, using their University login details. For those students who require access to Microsoft Creative Cloud or specialist computing software, Schools will be in touch directly to make necessary arrangements where possible.

Q: Will I be allowed to access labs for my research?

A: Controlled access to many of our labs is now in place and will continue to be in line with government guidance. Your Academic School (and specifically your supervisory team) will remain in contact with relevant details for your own specific access. Contact your Lead Supervisor in the first instance if you need more information.

Q: What is the best way for me to stay in touch with my Lead Supervisor and supervisory team?

A: During this period we would still recommend virtual interactions for meetings with your supervisors. Where this cannot be done speak to your Lead supervisor and they will advise on the most appropriate way to keep in touch.

Q: I support teaching and learning as part of my research studies – how will I be supported to deliver this?

A: Being involved in teaching and learning during your research studies is important for your skills development and we greatly value the contribution that our research students make to our teaching. The University has moved to a hybrid model of learning for our programmes that combines on campus engagement with an interactive, technologically-supported experience, in line with national guidance.

Your Academic School will remain in touch with you to advise on the implications this will have on your involvement in supporting teaching and learning. There is a range of support available across the institution for our academic staff and this will be made available to you through your Academic School. 

Last updated: 08/10/2020