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The University of Southampton
Doctoral CollegePGR Handbook

Degree Candidature

Attendance

The University’s expectations of your time commitment to your studies is outlined in paragraph 46 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision. The University’s general regulations on Attendance and Completion of Programme Requirements also outline the University’s general expectations of attendance.

Holiday and Absence Due to Ill-Health

Information on holidays and absence due to ill-health can be found in paragraphs 59 and 60 of the Code of Practice for Research Degree Candidature and Supervision.

External Factors Affecting your Attendance or Performance and Special Considerations

We expect you to take responsibility for your studies to ensure that your full academic potential can be realised. However, sometimes difficulties can arise that can affect you.

If you are absent from an assessment or have other grounds for believing that your studies have been affected by a situation that is outside of your control that you could not reasonably have foreseen, you must bring this to the attention of your Faculty Graduate School Office immediately. Whilst we recognise that students can sometimes be reluctant to discuss cultural, sensitive or personal issues, it is essential that you bring problems that are affecting you to our attention immediately so that we can determine how best to help you.

The Regulations Governing Special Considerations and Suspension of Candidature for Postgraduate Research Students set out the procedure to be followed should you wish to request:

  • a suspension of candidature;
  • an extension to candidature;
  • an extension to the deadline for the submission of a Progression Review Report;
  • that a Progression Review or a viva voce is rescheduled;
  • an extension to the deadline for the submission of minor or modest amendments to a thesis following a viva voce;
  • an extension to the deadline for the submission of a revised thesis following a viva voce;
  • special consideration to be given to the outcome of an assessment;
  • that extenuating circumstances are logged where the situation does not warrant an immediate request for special consideration.

For more information, please see the Special Considerations section of this handbook.

 

Parental Leave

If you become a parent during your studies, you are entitled to a period of maternity or paternity leave, suspended from your studies. You will need to submit a request for a suspension of candidature in accordance with the Regulations Governing Special Considerations and Suspension of Candidature for Postgraduate Research Students

With regards to suspension of candidature, the University will comply with its obligations under the relevant immigration legislation which may be updated from time-to-time.

If you are concerned about your entitlement to remain in the UK as a result of suspension of candidature, you should seek urgent advice from the Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service.

 

Suspending your Studies

Periods of authorised suspension are not included as periods of candidature. Information on suspension of candidature can be found in paragraphs 42-43 of the Regulations for Research Degrees. You may be granted a period of suspension for:

  1. A situation that is outside of your control that you could not reasonably have foreseen and that have (or may in the future have) a negative effect (also see the Special Considerations section of this handbook)
    OR
  2. A situation such as attendance at a fixed-term work placement that supports the research degree; parental leave; or employment commitments (where an employer requires more time than usual to be dedicated to employment.

All requests should be made in accordance with the procedure set out in the Regulations Governing Special Considerations and Suspension of Candidature for Postgraduate Research Students and submitted to your Faculty Graduate School Office as soon as circumstances are known to you but normally not more than five working days after any assessment or deadline may be affected. Only in exceptional circumstances, and only where there are compelling reasons why the request was not made in accordance with these requirements, will a request be reviewed.

The SC1 - Special Considerations Request Form should be used for requests made in category 1.
The SC2 - Suspension of Candidature Request Form should be used for requests made in category 2.

Extension to Candidature

Extension of candidature may be granted only where there is a good cause and on your specific application. Requests for extension should be made well in advance of your original thesis submission date. Information on extensions to candidature can be found in paragraphs 44-45 of the Regulations for Research Degrees. Applications for extension should be made in line with the Regulations Governing Special Considerations and Suspension of Candidature for Postgraduate Research Students. Also see the Special Considerations section of this handbook.

Nominal Registration

Nominal registration is an enrolment status that may be requested following a minimum period of supervised candidature.  It is not an automatic right, but a privilege that must be earned through the satisfaction of specific criteria.

Full details of the criteria that must be satisfied in order to transfer to nominal registration can be found in paragraphs 37-41 of the Regulations for Research Degrees. Details on nominal registration can be found in paragraph 11 of the University’s Fees, Charges, and Expenses regulations.

Please note: full tuition fees are payable throughout your period of candidature until your transfer onto nominal registration has been confirmed.

Student Support Review Regulations

The Student Support Review Regulations applies to enable the University to respond appropriately to situations where visible signs of illness, mental health difficulties, psychological, personality or emotional disorders may have a profoundly disturbing impact on the functioning of an individual student and/or the wellbeing of others around them. The University has a positive attitude towards those with impairments and is committed to maintaining students’ wellbeing. The policy identifies the procedure and support available to both students and staff when a student becomes unwell and/or presents a risk to self and/or others.

Resolving Issues

In the first instance, you should raise the issue informally with the most relevant member of staff involved. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved, or for any reason you feel unable to speak to the staff member involved, you should discuss the matter with a member of your supervisory team or your Doctoral Programme Director. You may also talk to:

  • Your Faculty student representative*
  • The SUSU PGR Officer
  • The SUSU Advice Centre
  • The Faculty Director of the Graduate School*
  • The Faculty Senior Tutor*
  • The Doctoral College

* Contact details available in the Faculty section of the Handbook

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