Doctoral College frequently asked questions

Common questions asked when studying for a postgraduate research degree with the University of Plymouth

What are my main sources of support?

There are linked up local and institutional level structures in place to support you. Your main point of contact is your Director of Studies (DoS) and at least one other supervisor who are together responsible for helping you to develop and complete your chosen project. You may also work closely with the leader or co-ordinator of your programme of study (if this is a ResM or professional doctorate) or training partnership or 'node' director. If they are all unable to help you, then you should contact your School PGR Coordinator or else the Deputy Director of the Doctoral College for your Faculty.

For more administrative matters, the professional staff within the Doctoral College (email doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk) or else the Student Hub are available. If you require it, online counselling and mental health services are available to ALL University students including PGR. Our Researcher Development Programme is available to support your skills and career development. There are also pages for PGR students on the University's DLE (Digital Learning Environment) with a wide range of resources for you (email researchskills@plymouth.ac.uk if you are having trouble accessing this).

I need to book a holiday, how do I do that and what am I entitled to?

Full time research degree students are entitled to 8 weeks leave per year, including public holidays. Part-time students are entitled to pro-rata number of days based on 0.5 FTE. You need to agree periods of annual leave with your supervisory team and request this on GradBook.

Further information on annual leave can be found in the Research Degrees Handbook.

I need to make a claim for extenuating circumstances, what do I need to do?

If you wish to claim extenuating circumstances, please download the application form from the Extenuating Circumstances webpage and submit via email to the Doctoral College at doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk, accompanied by independent corroborating evidence if required. Please make sure you read the Extenuating Circumstances policy and apply with the correct form, depending on the assessment. If an extension to either your Project Approval (RDC1) or Confirmation of Route (RDC2) submission is being requested for methodological (rather than personal) reasons, it is your Director of Studies who needs to submit the Extenuating Circumstances form.

I need to interrupt my studies, what do I need to do?

Where you can show good reason for not making progress with your research programme, you may apply via GradBook to have your registration interrupted (suspended) for a period of not normally less than one month and not more than 12 months. In exceptional circumstances, you may request a further additional interruption up to a period of 12 months maximum.

I need to withdraw from my studies, what do I need to do?

If you decide to withdraw from your programme of study, then you should notify the University of the reason for withdrawal and date of departure, preferably via GradBook. Alternatively, please send an e-mail to the Doctoral College. Your withdrawal will be reported to the Doctoral College Quality Sub-committee.

I need to switch from full-time to part-time study or vice versa, how do I do this?

If you wish to change your mode of study (that is, from full time to part time or vice versa), this request must be made via GradBook.

I wish to submit my thesis, how can I do this?

Submission of research degree thesis are done electronically via GradBook; a thesis submission link will be available for students who are within the submission of thesis registration period. It will still be possible to submit ‘non-traditional’ elements of theses (e.g. creative practice) in other forms; please liaise with your School PGR Coordinator and Doctoral College in these cases.

A TurnItIn report will also be a requirement to accompany the thesis submission. Further information on TurnItIn can be found in the PGR Students Moodle Page (University of Plymouth login required).

How do I get a confirmation of enrolment letter?

If you require an updated letter this can be done for you; please fill in the Letter Request form.

How do I get a letter for council tax purposes?

The University will provide all councils in the South West with a list of those full time students eligible for council tax exemption. You should direct your council to that list if you are contacted by them to prove your eligibility. Please fill in the Letter Request form. Please visit the University’s council tax policy web page for further information.

What do I need to do to claim council tax exemption?

You will need to request an exemption for council tax from the relevant council for the academic year. It is for the local council, not the University, to decide you are eligible for council tax exemption, although the University needs to confirm whether you meet its particular criteria.

How do I get my CAS number for my student visa?

If you are a new student who has not yet started on your programme, we will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) Statement when we have received a signed copy of your offer letter and all the conditions have been met, you have paid your deposit (if applicable) and you have completed the Pre-CAS checklist which is mentioned in your offer letter.

If you are a current student and you need a CAS to renew your visa, please complete the online form. Please note this should be done a minimum of 1 month prior to your current visa expiring.

How will I know when my PG loan has been confirmed?

Doctoral College staff will confirm your registration for your PG Loan once you have enrolled for your programme. This confirmation may take up to a week.