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Degree Committee for the Faculty of Physics & Chemistry

 

We understand this is an uncertain time and you may be worried about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on your studies. The University has worked hard with Departments and Colleges to minimise the disruption to your studies and examination, and measures have beeen taken to mitigate risks to health.

The latest University advice, including a section specifically for research and taught postgraduate students, can be found here. Do regularly check the page as it is frequently updated in response to the developing situation. Guidance on living and studying safely in Cambridge during the pandemic can also be found on these University pages. 

Your supervisor, Department Postgraduate teams, Degree Committee and College remain dedicated to giving you the support you need over this challenging period. Do get in touch if you need any assistance.

Additional advice to postgraduate students in this Faculty follows. It should be read in conjunction with the University's advice, and anything provided by your College or Department. Contacts for further help and advice are also available below.

 

Teaching, learning and supervision online

  • The Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning has developed guides for teaching remotely, including sections on supporting postgraduate students, online supervisions, and lectures, classes & seminars. They also offer a Technology-Enabled Learning Service to assist in the design and delivery of excellent teaching and learning.
  • Cambridge University Press Online Learning Services have recorded Remote Teaching webinars available. Topics include maintaining student engagement remotely, communicating ideas online, keeping the conversation going, planning your course, and creating and managing your learning community.
  • Supervisors should continue to submit termly reports through PFRS as usual, even if their students are working away from Cambridge.

 

MRes and taught MPhil students

Study in Lent Term 2021 and the Easter vacation

  • You should expect all teaching and learning to be conducted online for the entirety of Lent Term;

  • You should remain where you are currently staying whether this is your out-of-term address or in Cambridge accommodation. You do not have to apply for leave to work away to work remotely during Lent Term.

  • If you are currently in Cambridge you are expected to remain here over the Easter vacation. You should not travel unless it is for one of the exceptional reasons listed here.

Study in Easter Term 2021

  • Arrangements for Easter Term study should be announced in April 2021.

  • The University has agreed the following package of assessment mitigation measures which will operate as a safety net to safeguard student achievements from the impacts of the pandemic. Any changes to examinations and assessments should be communicated to you by your Course Administrator or Senior Examiner by the end of Lent Term 2021.

  • If you feel your study and performance was affected by COVID-19, whether it be issues with study, revision, technical problems or your working environment, then you should contact your College Tutor as soon as you realise there is a problem, whether this is before, during or after your exams. Advice on individual mitigation can be found here.

 

PhD and MPhil by thesis students

Study in Lent Term 2021

  • See the University's Lent Term, Easter Vacation and Easter Term guidance for postgraduate students for more information. The key message is that if you are able to work from your out-of-term address, or your Cambridge address if it is your primary place of residence, you should do so. If you travel to Cambridge, or are already in Cambridge, you should remain here for the duration of the national lockdown;

  • If you are not currently in Cambridge and can work remotely from your home, you should notify your supervisor, Department Postgraduate Ofice and College by email, copying in recordsandexams@admin.cam.ac.uk. Your email should include details of your location.  You do not need to apply for leave to work away;

  • If you are unable to do any work on your studies please discuss intermission with your Department Postgraduate Office;

  • If you need to conduct essential fieldwork or research work outside of Cambridge (not study from home), and it is safe to do so, you should apply in advance for leave to work away through your CamSIS self-service as usual. Your risk asessment should include information on contingency planning in the event of coronavirus disruption, insurance arrangements (not all trips will be covered by University insurance) and take into consideration latest FCO guidance on safety/travel restrictions.

Study in Easter Term 2021

  • Arrangements for Easter Term study should be announced in April 2021.

Supervisor guidance

  • University guidance for supervisors of research students who have permission to work remotely can be found here. It includes guidance on maintaining contact, student progress and support, first year assessment, final examination and other forms of support.

Health

  • If you are self-isolating you should use the time to work on your research. If this is not possible you should investigate other activites related to your research, such as courses offered by the University's Researcher Development Team. You are not required to take the period of self-isolation from your annual holiday allowance;

  • If you contract COVID-19 you can apply for medical intermission until you are well enough to resume study (you don’t need to submit medical evidence).

Funding

  • UKRI funded doctoral students who have been impacted by COVID-19 may be able to apply for a costed extension. See the UKRI Coronavirus Guidance pages for further information.

 

Submitting your thesis

If your progress has been impeded by coronavirus and you need additional time to complete your thesis, you may apply for an extension to your submission deadline through your CamSIS self-service. Please do this before your final submission deadline. We will be sympathetic to extension requests but before applying please do consider how an extension may affect your personal circumstances (financial, visa, future plans).

PhD

  • Student Registry are unable to receive soft-bound theses. Until normal operation resumes the Degree Committee will accept electronic thesis submission through a dedicated Moodle course. You will be sent a link by the Degree Committee Office on receipt of your 'Intention to submit' form;

  • In recognition that COVID-19 may have impacted on your research, you will be invited to submit an optional Research Impact Statement  form with your thesis. Full details can be found in the Research Impact Statement guide for students and the form for you to complete can be downloaded here;

  • You do not need to upload a loose/separate copy of your thesis abstract;

  • The Student Services Centre is not open to receive hardbound theses but arrangements have been made with JS Wilson Bookbinders to bind and store theses, and record a date of hardbound thesis submission. See University guidance for more information.

MPhil by thesis

  • ​The Degree Committee office is closed and therefore is unable to receive soft-bound theses. Until normal operation resumes the Degree Committee will accept electronic thesis submission through a dedicated Moodle course. You will be sent a link by the Degree Committee Office on receipt of your 'Intention to submit' form;

  • In recognition that COVID-19 may have impacted on your research, you will be invited to submit an optional Research Impact Statement form with your thesis. Full details can be found in the Research Impact Statement guide for students and the form for you to complete can be downloaded here.

 

 Examination

  • While face-to-face contact is restricted vivas may take place by video conference if all parties agree, or be delayed until an in-person examination is possible. Additional arrangements may be required for revised examinations;

  • Examiners will be sent information about viva by video conference when they are appointed;

  • All parties must understand that in the event of any failure with the technology, before or during the viva, it will not be possible for the examination to continue and it will be necessary for the viva to be rescheduled. If the video conferencing link fails during a viva, the viva should not be resumed until the video link is up and running.  This is the case even if this means deferring to another day.  The viva should not be resumed via telephone;

  • The Internal Examiner will make arrangements for viva using a mutually convenient platform. If Microsoft Teams is preferred, the internal examiner will need to have migrated their Hermes email to Exchange online in order to invite participants who do not have an @cam.ac.uk email account (i.e. the external examiner). Users who have migrated will be able to arrange the viva by through the 'calendar' option in the Teams left-hand menu, creating a new meeting, and inviting the candidate and the external examiner; 

  • Queries about research degree examination be directed to the Degree Committee office.

 Confirmation of outcome of examination

  • The Degree Committee will continue to conduct its business according to our published meeting schedule;

  • Confirmation of approval of thesis corrections will continue as normal.

 First year assessments

  • If you started up to and including ET2020, you should have received information about submission arrangements for your first year report from your Department Postgraduate Office. If you are in any doubt of your submission deadline please contact them directly.

 

Help and advice

  • Questions about pastoral care, welfare, finance and counselling should be addressed to your College. If you find yourself in unexpected financial need due to coronavirus you can apply for University Hardship Funds;

  • Questions of academic support should be directed to your Department Postgraduate Office;

  • Questions about examination should be directed to the Degree Committee office.

If you can't find the page you are looking for or find a broken link do let us know (please use the 'Contact us' link below).

Office closures

The DC 'remote' Office will be closed from 2pm on Wednesday 23 December 2020 for the Christmas Holiday. We reopen at 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.

Research degree theses should still be submitted by your submission deadline even if that falls over the Christmas holiday period.

Meetings schedule

Meetings of the Degree Committee and Degree Ceremonies:

2020-21

2021-22