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Student Support and Guidance


The University has a wealth of resources, support and advice on Wellbeing [1] for postgraduate researchers ranging from online resources on reducing stress and tension through to talking to counsellors at times of greater need.

These resources and support are there for you to use – if you feel well, you will do well. We are always looking at ways to improve and the University will be working on a project over the next 18 months which will aim to identify ways to improve the provision and support for the wellbeing and mental health of our postgraduate researchers.

In General…

Based on research by the New Economics Foundation, the University has identified the six ways to wellbeing: six actions to build into your day-to-day life in order to feel good and function well.

Being well doesn’t need to be hard work, it could be taking a walk, meeting a friend for a coffee or simply smiling at someone. Have a look at these pages to see how you can implement these was into your daily life, you may even be doing some of them already.

We need PGRs to be closely involved and inform the work and outcomes of the project so over the next few months we will be asking you to join group discussions and provide us with your ideas and opinions on wellbeing and mental health.

Discrimination, Bullying, and Harassment

Discrimination, bullying and harassment come in many guises, all of which are unacceptable to the University and which have no place in a civilised working and learning environment.

Any cases of harassment, discrimination and bullying will be taken very seriously by the University and, where necessary, the appropriate procedure will be used to investigate complaints. The documents below outline the roles and responsibilities of the University, staff and PGRs in constructing a non-discriminatory learning environment.

Support for trans students

The student support team are the point of contact within the Department for confidential support and advice to all trans students - we realise that for some students, it may be the first time they contact anyone. We can help you communicate a new name and your pronouns (he/she/they/other) to teaching staff, support staff and your tutorial group. We can also advise on how to update your university records and final degree certificate to reflect your gender identity, and arrange for a new student card, pictures and email address. If you’d prefer to speak to somebody outside of the Department, you can contact:

Extensions and Interruptions

If you become unable to function as a PGR for any reason, the first thing you should do is to make sure your main supervisor knows. Alternatively, you may choose to talk with your advisor, the PGR tutor or PGR director, someone from the counselling service, or your GP, as appropriate. If you need to interrupt your studies for a period of time, you can request an interruption. The relevant policy is also in Circumstances Leading to Changes to Postgraduate Research Study Policy.

You need to apply to FSE Faculty Graduate Panel and some documentary evidence may be required. This may be due to your own ill health, illness or death of someone close to you, or similar types of issues which prevent you from carry on with your research for a time. It cannot be for reasons associated with your research not going well and cannot be used just to extend the time to get the degree.

It is best to apply for an interruption as soon as you recognise the problem and are able. Retrospective applications are less likely to succeed, unless the nature of the mitigating circumstance made it very difficult for you to apply at the time. Once you pass through an End of Year progress point, you cannot apply for a mitigating circumstance which took place before the progression.

Currently the Department can approve:

  1. Interruptions for internships and field work
  2. Interruptions for maternity*/paternity leave (or Extension of submission pending due to maternity leave, if the PGR is in the SP period)
  3. ATAS-related interruptions
  4. Interruptions due to hospitalisation
  5. Failure of research equipment

(* except retrospective requests for maternity leave - such cases must be considered by the Associate Dean)

There are also circumstance where is may be appropriate to extend the 4 years. This could happen, for example, if you have a breakdown of equipment or are unexpectedly awaiting for delayed equipment which is essential to your research. In these circumstances, an extension can be requested to EPS Graduate Panel. Again, look at the policy document for more details.