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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

April Communication

Postgraduate Researchers and iPhD Students - Research

Communication from Prof Chris Howls, Director of the Doctoral College

08 April 2020

Dear Doctoral Researchers,

The University is closing for its Easter break tomorrow until Thursday 16 April. This will mean different things for each of you, with some of you welcoming the time to relax, refresh and recuperate from the recent upheavals, and others of you finding additional pressures from the change in whatever routine you have managed to establish.

You may have seen other communications from the University over the past week. As a University we continue to engage at a national level with Research Councils, funding bodies, the Russell Group, UniversitiesUK and the UK Government. I want to reassure you that if or when a major change relevant to PGRs occurs, I will certainly communicate it to you, so please do not feel you have missed something critical.  

I hope that many of you have also seen the message from our Doctoral College Manager, Aline Giordano, found here, which contains sentiments that I echo.


A reminder once again that guidance for research students is available on the Doctoral College webpages and that we are updating these as quickly as possible as events change. Please bookmark the pages and refer to them frequently. Please also keep checking the University Coronavirus updates and guidance. If it applies to you check out the student's visa information.


If you have questions about your research project, your doctoral progression, or any other query related to your doctoral programme, please contact your supervisor and/or Faculty Graduate School, details of which may be found below. Please bear in mind that there may be a delay in responding due to the Easter break which will last until colleagues return online on the Thursday 16 April.

Details of how to access the library and online software can be found on the iSolutions pages. 

The University and Doctoral College have useful resources to support you, here, at the Doctoral College website and through other University-wide mechanisms.

The Student Life team is dedicated to supporting student wellbeing and enhancing the student experience. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (even over Easter!) and can be reached by emailing at 

If you need additional pastoral support over Easter here are two links that may be helpful: 

More details on the the University of Southampton's Student Support fund is also open to applications from research students, explore more details and FAQ's. 

As always, wishing you and your families all the very best,

Professor Chris Howls

Director of the University of Southampton Doctoral College

iPhD Students – Taught

Communication from Prof Alex Neill, Vice-President (Education)

08 April 2020

Dear Students,

I hope that you and your friends and family are safe and well. As we enter the third week of nationwide lock-down in the UK, I want to thank you for your support and continuing patience as we all adjust to these unprecedented and challenging circumstances.

Particular thanks to those of you who are involved on the healthcare frontline, whether as volunteers or as health care workers in the NHS from the School of Health Sciences. Congratulations as well as thanks to our final year medical students, who graduated last week and will shortly be joining the NHS. We’re proud of all of you.

I know that many of you have questions about next term, and indeed about the longer-term future. We are working with SUSU to address your Coronavirus questions and we are working on releasing the latest information on Coronavirus for current students. We will be updating this page regularly with answers to your questions relating to topics such as online teaching, assessment and graduation.

For some, the following does not apply. You will receive direct updates from your Faculty. This includes, Health Sciences, Postgraduate Researchers, PGCE students (unless otherwise notified) Army ETS and MOffStat/MDataGov students.

We’re focusing our attention at the moment on issues concerning assessment. As such, we are working through the detail of how to apply the principles that I outlined in a previous message to you in each Department/School – for example, the detail of how our ‘no detriment’ promise will work in particular circumstances, and of how we will award and classify degrees. This is complex work that we need to do carefully in order to preserve the value of your degree, and we want to do it with the full involvement of student reps. We’ve been working hard on this, but it does take time, and we want to share the results with all groups of students at the same time, so that no one group feels disadvantaged. We are therefore planning to give you these details during the first week of next term, which begins on 20 April.

Staff and students will continue to work and study from home during this period until the Government lifts its current restrictions and the University announces otherwise. In the meantime, please stay engaged with your studies and continue with your coursework; and please do channel questions and concerns through your academic representation.  

Please be aware that the University will be closed for the extended Easter break between Thursday 9 April and Wednesday 15 April 2020. Essential services will of course continue to be delivered, not least in University accommodation and Student Life.

These are difficult times, and I wish you and your families the very best. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

With best wishes,

Professor Alex Neill 
Vice-President (Education)





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