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In January, UCL introduced a series of measures providing support for PGR students across the university, designed to help address the major disruption you will have faced to furthering or completing your studies over the past year.

On the issue of student status, any student who was registered as of 1 March 2020 will automatically be given 18 (for Full Time students) or 36 months (for Part Time students) of Completing Research Status, giving you more time to write up your thesis. UCL may extend this further if necessary, but at the moment are only doing so on a case by case basis.

Regarding financing your studies, UCL is underwriting final year student stipends at the minimum UKRI rate for up to three months in the first instance, with an option to extend for a further 3 months where necessary (for stipend ends between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021). UKRI students have undergone a separate process for stipend extensions.

For self-funded PhD students, we are working hard to get UCL to extend the instalment deadlines for tuition fees, just like we did last year. We will keep you posted as we work towards this.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties as a PhD student, you can also apply to the new Financial Assistance Fund for PGRs (FAF-PGR) for a grant of up to £3,000.  We have worked with UCL to make sure this fund is topped up and maintained. 

Changes have also been announced to the format of various aspects of your studies. Vivas and theses have been moved to online formats and UCL has made online vivas a permanent option moving forward, with hardcopy theses available for examiners by request only, and for the library services by opt-in (rather than opt-out) for the final copy. Upgrades and other progression meetings have moved online wherever possible.

For more information and updates on Covid-19 and how this will affect PGR students, you can check out the Doctoral School Webpage.

As ever, if there is anything we can help with or raise on your behalf, just get in touch