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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

QAA publishes new advice on doctoral standards for research students and supervisors

Date: March 8 - 2021

QAA has today published new advice on doctoral standards for research students and supervisors, as part of its ongoing COVID-19 support and guidance for the UK higher education sector. This advice was produced in response to concerns expressed by PhD students about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their ability to carry out research and complete their studies on time.

The advice clarifies national expectations for doctoral academic standards and aims to reassure students who have had to replan and reschedule their research to accommodate the obstacles they have encountered. It also makes it clear that PhDs awarded during or in the aftermath of the pandemic will still be of the high standard that we come to expect from UK higher education.

The resource includes a series of questions and answers that can be used both as a basis for personal reflection and to inform discussions between doctoral students and their supervisors. While recognising that each PhD project is unique, and that each student will have approached the problems caused by the pandemic in their own way, we hope that understanding the national standards for doctoral qualifications will be of use to all PhD students when considering the adjustments they have made, or will need to make, to their projects.