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Code of practice for postgraduate research degrees

Foreword

Postgraduate research students are a key component of the University of Manchester's strategic vision. The University is an internationally distinguished centre of research. The University of Manchester - as expressed in the Our Future: Vision and Strategic Plan - is a world-leading university recognised globally for the excellence of our people, research, learning and innovation, and for the benefits we bring to society and the environment. We endeavour to provide students with opportunities to excel in an environment that provides outstanding supervision, training and facilities.

This Code of Practice for postgraduate research degrees constitutes the central reference document for policies, procedures and good practice at the University of Manchester. It defines the minimum requirements for postgraduate research through full-time and part-time modes of study. It has been designed to ensure a high-quality framework is implemented and maintained consistently across the University. It sets out the responsibilities of the University, faculties, schools and supervisors so that students know what they can expect from the University. In return, it details the responsibilities of research students so that students know what the University expects of them. 

This code is an evolving document that will grow in line with national and international developments in graduate education and with the ever increasing levels of best practice in postgraduate research at the University of Manchester. Staff and students are encouraged to become actively involved in improving and extending the code. All feedback is welcome and should be directed to the Research Degrees and Researcher Development team in the Research Office.

Professor Melissa Westwood
Associate Vice President for Research
Director of the Manchester Doctoral College
University of Manchester

The Code of Practice

The Code of Practice sets out the University of Manchester's framework in relation to the management and coordination of postgraduate research degrees both full-time and part-time.  The University is committed to ensuring the quality of every student's research experience and as such the code of practice defines minimum requirements to safeguard high standards of postgraduate research degree activity.

The Code of Practice should be read in conjunction with the University's Ordinances and Regulations   and faculty and/or school handbooks as appropriate.

This Code is intended for use by academics, administrators, full time and part time postgraduate research students and is revised on a regular basis in consultation with its users and the University's Manchester Doctoral College Strategy Group (MDCSG). MDCSG is responsible for strategic and policy matters in relation to all aspects of graduate education and identifying and sharing good practice across faculties in graduate education work.  The group meets monthly.  

COVID-19 Information and Resources

Thesis Impact Statements:

 Financial Assitance

  • PGR COVID-19 Expense Fund - Refer to this guidance if you wish to make an application to help cover unexpected research related expenses incurred due to COVID-19.  
  • The Living Cost Support Fund is a University scheme that exists thanks to generous donations from alumni and friends who want to ensure that no Manchester PGR is left struggling. If you are experiencing financial hardship, either as a result of the COVID-19 crisis or otherwise, you can apply to the LCSF for support. 
  • Submission Pending Fees - Submission Pending fees have been waived for all PGRs who registered on their programme before September 2022. 

Generative AI - a Guide for PGRs

The following guide has been produced in order to support University of Manchester PGRs in becoming AI literate whilst we wait for national guidance and sector (research councils and other funders, regulatory bodies, universities, and academic publishers) consensus on this issue.

Supporting AI literacy is one of five University of Manchester AI Principles:

  • Support PGRs and staff to become AI-literate.
  • Equip staff to support PGRs to use generative AI tools effectively and appropriately.
  • Adapt teaching and assessment to incorporate the ethical use of generative AI and support equal access.
  • Ensure academic rigour and integrity are upheld. Specifically, AI use by staff and PGRs should be open and attributed.
  • Work collaboratively to share best practice as the technology and its application in education evolves.

What is Generative Artificial Intelligence?

Machine learning and other forms of AI have been widely available for many years’ e.g. predictive text, spelling/grammar checkers and social media algorithms. However, new tools such as Chat GPT, Microsoft Bing, and Google Bard (among others) have heralded a new era of generative AI.

Generative AI allows users to ask a computer system to perform a task that previously required human intelligence. They allow users to create new content without specialist skills and/or knowledge.

Futurepedia is the largest directory of AI tools and is updated daily, many of the tools are free to use.


Understanding the Limitations and Risks

Generative AI presents huge opportunities with respect to learning and research. However, choosing to use these tools is not without limitation and risk. These need to be considered and discussed with your supervisor(s) before you use them.

Limitations:

  • Accuracy and reliability: data and information contained within generative AI tools is garnered from a wide range of sources, including those that are poorly referenced or incorrect.
  • Fabrication of facts: AI generative tools have the potential to fabricate facts or generate false information.
  • Data cut-off: AI generative tools have a knowledge cut-off point, meaning they were trained on data up until a specific date.
  • Creation of fictional sources and bibliography: AI generative tools can generate content that includes fictional sources or references.
  • Perpetuate and generate bias and stereotypes: generative AI tools produce answers based on information generated by humans which may contain societal biases and stereotypes which, in-turn, may be replicated in the generative AI tool’s response.
  • Favour towards Western perspectives: AI generative tools may exhibit a bias towards western perspectives due to the majority of training data being from western sources.
  • Prone to user ability to form an input: The quality of the output generated by AI tools can be influenced by the user's ability to provide clear and concise input. If the user does not effectively communicate their intentions or the desired outcome, the generated content may not meet their expectations or requirements.

Risks:

As PGRs, you are responsible for maintaining a high standard of academic integrity and if you use generative AI you could be running the risk of committing academic or research malpractice.

Academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or otherwise – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research.

For example:

  • Plagiarism / misrepresentation - if you present generative-AI produced research or incorporate generative-AI produced (third-party) material as your own . You should not present content/text fully generated by AI in any assessed material as your own work. Your work must be original and authentic. 
  • Fabrication or falsification - if you use generative AI to create or manipulate data/imagery/consents/references for your research.
  • Proofreading – if you use generative AI as a proofreading tool, you should be mindful of the university proofreading policy and ensure that the tool is not used to change the content and meaning of your work.
  • Cheating -  if you use generative AI as support in an viva examination or during an online or invigilated exam (where your programme includes taught courses)  

PGRs should refer to the University of Manchester’s Code of Good Research Conduct, the Academic Malpractice Procedure and the Guidance to students on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice.


Appropriate Use of Generative AI

The appropriate uses of generative AI tools are likely to differ between academic disciplines and so engagement and dialogue between you and your supervisor(s) is important in establishing a shared understanding.[1]

Given that technology continues to evolve this dialogue should be regular and ongoing.

At a basic level generative AI tools could help you to generate ideas, explore key research themes and plan research projects. For example, generative AI could be used:

  • To enhance accessibility and inclusion e.g. through captioning and audio description, text-to-speech and speech-to-text and assistive technologies.
  • To help improve writing skills, for example by correcting spelling/grammar mistakes e.g. Microsoft Word spell/grammar checker and Grammarly.
  • To revise your own knowledge on a topic e.g. asking it to summarise key information on a topic you have already researched or asking it to summarise a longer piece of text to check your interpretation.
  • To support critical thinking skills; for example, you could ask it to challenge your key points to help you identify potential gaps and strengthen your arguments.
  • To develop understanding of complex concepts or apply discipline knowledge in new contexts.
  • To generate initial ideas; for example, if you’re struggling with writer’s block, it can be used to draft ideas, plans, or structures that you can adapt based on your own understanding of the topic.

Mitigating Risk when Using Generative AI

If using generative AI tools it is important that you use them safely. Listed below are some things to consider that will help you to avoid committing academic malpractice when using AI.

  • Apply Critical Thinking: Always evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the output.
  • Ethics: Ensure that your research adheres to ethical guidelines and be mindful of GDPR laws and Intellectual Property. Avoid inputting personal information or data when using AI tools. Respect privacy, obtain necessary permissions, and handle sensitive data responsibly.
  • Transparency: It is important to be transparent about your use of generative AI in your research papers and presentations. You should correctly cite the AI tools that you used and provide the link(s) to the documentation for these tools. 
  • Keep Records: Keep careful records of how you have used generative AI in your research and ensure that your supervisor(s) are aware of your use of generative AI. You should record any discussions in eProg.
  • Seek Collaboration and Feedback: AI is a rapidly evolving field, collaboration with peers, mentors, and experts in the field can greatly enhance your understanding of AI tools and techniques and enable us to share best practice.  
  • Keep up-to-date: This is a fast-paced domain and new tools and models are released almost on a daily basis. Keep reviewing the documentation and release notes of the tools you are using for any changes and improvements in the models used.


[1] We acknowledge that some PGRs will already be conducting research on or with generative AI, and will have already gained the necessary approvals (including ethical) for their research topic and methodology. Please check with your supervisor(s) if you are unsure.

Research Culture and Environment

Postgraduate researchers thrive when immersed in a stimulating and challenging research environment, but only when this is set in an open, inclusive and supportive community that places PGR wellbeing and development at its core. The Royal Society defines research culture as “…encompassing the behaviours, values, expectations, attitudes and norms of our research communities. It influences researchers’ career paths and determines the way that research is conducted and communicated.”

UoM and the Doctoral Academies are committed to delivering a healthy and positive PG research culture across our Institution, and throughout our postgraduate programmes and activities. We define Research Culture as encompassing the environment in which all research is designed, conducted and communicated, and set as core goals:

  • To promote a healthy research and learning environment that is founded on clear expectations, values and behaviours between PGRs and their academic networks;
  • To provide training, opportunity and support, which maximise inclusion, equality, and development of PGRs across our institution;
  • To place strong emphasis on the wellbeing of PGRs and broader academic activities including social and societal impact and career development;
  • To embed our PGRs in a community that values respect, collegiality and collaboration and which empowers PGRs to excel and succeed.

PGRs will only be offered a place on a research degree where they can be provided with a fully supportive research environment. Doctoral Academies should ensure that the following criteria are met when assessing the research environment:

  • Supervisory arrangements specified within this code of practice are met or exceeded and that prospective supervisors have the relevant experience and related record of published research. 
  • Evidence at discipline level of appropriate national and international excellence in research.
  • Appropriate access to library and computing facilities which as a minimum will include individual access to a computer with email and internet access and printing facilities.
  • All PGRs in attendance at the University should where possible be provided with a designated study area with appropriate desk space, computing resources and experimental equipment to embark on and complete the research degree. Split-site / joint / dual award PGRs should where possible expect the same facilities as on-campus PGRs when in Manchester.
  • PGRs should have appropriate access to facilities regardless of mode of study.
  • PGRs are provided with the appropriate skills training. 
  • Research groupings should be fostered with a critical mass of researchers and research students in the same or related disciplines that enable PGRs to interact with peers.
  • An active research environment should be developed internally which enables PGRs to participate in research seminars, participating both as listeners and presenters. PGRs should be encouraged to participate in external symposia, conferences and workshops and publish within respected, and where possible refereed journals and publications.
  • Where appropriate, clear policy and guidance on publication rights, including joint authorship, which encourages students to publish their work should be communicated to PGRs.
  • Research equipment and funding available to the student should be sufficient to allow the PGR to complete their research degree.
  • PGRs are expected to respect the research environment and ensure their research within this environment does not lower standards for other research students.
  • Access to sufficient and appropriate support and wellbeing services.

Applications and Admissions

The University policy on postgraduate applications and admissions can be found on the recruitment and admissions policy and good practice website. Any queries in relation to the admissions process may also be directed to:

The Postgraduate Admissions Office
The University of Manchester
Oxford Rd
Manchester
Tel:  +44 (0) 161 275 4740
Email: pg-admissions@manchester.ac.uk

Registration and Induction

Registration is a two-step process.  Students must first register with their school or faculty (academic registration) and then pay their tuition fees (financial registration). From September 2006, students will be able to complete both registration processes online.  Alternatively, Schools or Faculties should advise students of their allocated time to attend a central registration venue for financial registration.

Every student must register on their research degree at the beginning of their studies. For as long as a student is following their research degree they must remain registered with the University and pay the appropriate fees.

Further information relating to the registration process and a registration guide is provided by the Student Services Centre.

Induction

 

Professional and Career Training and Development

Postgraduate researchers (PGRs) make a significant contribution to the University’s research excellence and reputation and the University is committed to creating an environment that allows all PGRs to strive for excellence and develop to their full potential. The provision of the highest quality professional and career development, training and opportunities supports PGRs to complete their research degree and successfully transition to the next stage of their career.

The University's Postgraduate Researcher Professional and Career Training and Development - Statement of Expectations provides information on the following:

  • Professional and career training / development expectations
  • Intitutional responsibilities
  • Supervisor responsibilities 
  • PGR responsibilities 
  • Typical core training / training and development timeline

Postgraduate Researchers and Teaching 

PGRs are encouraged to engage in professional and career development training and opportunities during their research programme and teaching is one type of such activity that PGRs may consider.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are an integral and valued part of the teaching community, but it should be noted that their primary role is research and their GTA activities should therefore not take precedence over the requirements of their research programme.

The following guidance outlines our key principles, the expectations upon those involved in teaching activity and provides information about teaching opportunities, training and support.

Guidance on Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

 

Supervision

The University's Supervision Policy for Postgraduate Research Degrees contains information for postgraduate research students and academic and administrative staff in Schools and Faculties to inform on procedures and policy relating to the supervision of postgraduate research students. This supervision policy document relates to all research degrees across the University, not just doctoral degrees, and also includes collaborative research degrees.

The supervision policy document provides information on the following:

  • Supervisory Teams
  • Appointment of Supervisors
  • Supervision Responsibilities
  • Supervision for collaborative research degrees
  • Absence or Change of supervisor
  • Staff Development for Supervisors

Revisions to Supervision Policy for Postgraduate Research Degrees

Supporting information

Progress and Review

The University Policy on the Progress and Review of Postgraduate Research Students  provides information on policy and procedural issues in relation to the progress and review of postgraduate research students throughout their degree. The policy document provides information on the following:

  • Meetings with supervisors
  • Formal progress meetings
  • Reports and presentations
  • Progress record
  • Continuation and transfer
  • Unsatisfactory progress

Revisions to Policy on the Progress and Review of Postgraduate Research Degrees:

Related Documents:

Changes to Degrees

Change of Circumstances Policy for Postgraduate Research Students - previously the Policy on Circumstances Leading to Changes to Postgraduate Research Study, July 2012.

This policy should be considered alongside the following:

Procedural Documents

Associated Guidance Documents

Revisions made to the Policy and to the former supporting procedural documents: 

Submission and Examination

Electronic Thesis Submission

All postgraduate research students are required to submit electronic versions of their thesis or dissertation (examination and final corrected versions) via eThesis submission

Theses Presentation

Nomination of Examiners and Independent Chairs

PGR Examinations

PGR External Examiners - Payment Process and Guidance Documents

PGR External Examiners - Employment Status and Right to Work Guidance Documents

For enquiries in relation to EE RTW and Visas for Overseas External Examiners please contact People & OD

Academic Malpractice and Plagiarism

Posthumous and Aegrotat Award Postgraduate Research Degrees Policy


Summary of changes to policy documents

Revisions to Thesis Presentation Policy:

Changes to PGR Examination Policy:

 

Supporting Wellbeing and Mental Health

The wellbeing and mental health of our postgraduate researchers (PGRs) is of paramount importance to the University. We are committed to providing an environment in which postgraduate researchers can thrive, enjoy their experience and develop to their full potential.

The University recognises that during their research programme, PGRs will face a wide range of experiences and challenges and this may lead to the need for support and guidance for a variety of non-academic or wellbeing and mental health issues.

The aim of this section of the Code of Practice is to direct PGRs, PGR supervisors and professional services to the wide range of support, from suggestions on how to maintain wellbeing to specialist mental health support, that is available through the University.  

Resources for PGRs

New to Postgraduate Research

Starting a postgraduate research programme can be daunting, the online resource aims to lessen concerns and give postgraduate researchers ideas on where to go for help and support.

https://www.welcome.manchester.ac.uk/starting-pgr

Six Ways to Wellbeing and Mindfulness for PGRs

The University’s Six Ways to Wellbeing are actions which all members of the University are encouraged to incorporate into their daily life, to help them feel good and function well. For ideas on how PGRs can use this framework please see Six Ways to PGR Wellbeing and the wellbeing for PGRs resources on Student Support. Developed by a PGR the Mindfulness for Postgraduate Research resource applies mindfulness to the day to day challenges of postgraduate research. 

The Wellbeing Thesis

Recognising the distinctive challenges that PGRs can experience, the University of Derby, King’s College London and Student Minds have developed an open access web resource to support postgraduate researchers’ wellbeing, learning and research. It is free to use and can be accessed here.

Protecting your mental health: A practical guide for postgraduate research students in STEM

This guide is designed to help STEM PGRs develop the skills to protect their mental wellbeing as they navigate their journey as a research student.

Researcher Development Training

The Researcher Development team, and the Library’s My Research Essentials programme, offer a range of training and support on topics such as ‘shut up and write’, overcoming imposter syndrome, perfection and mindfulness. Please check the Researcher Development website.

Student Support

Additional information and support on issues such as housing, finances, visas and a A-Z of all University Services please see the University’s student support pages.

PGR Carer's Policy

The University recognises that some Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) have, or will take on, caring responsibilities, and wishes to support those PGRs balancing research and care. Read the policy

The Counselling Service

The Counselling Service is open to all students, including postgraduate researchers. The Service is aware of the unique nature of the issues that PGRs experience and the support they offer takes into account the distinct experience of PGRs; this is applicable to individual appointments as well as other resources such as workshops and online tools. Workshops are open to all and some cater specifically to PGRs, for example, Managing PhD Stress. The service signposts to wellbeing apps of most relevance to PGRs and there are useful interactive resources on relevant topics such as procrastination.  

Disability Advice and Support Service (DASS)

The Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) provides an accessible and inclusive service for all students, including postgraduate researchers, who have a disability to access the support they need. The type of support ranges from assistive software to specialist equipment. You can book a quick query appointment to access the support you need.

24 Hour Mental Health Helpline

Mental health support from trained counsellors and advisors who are ready to listen and provide help on everything from emotional and physical health, mental health, relationships, managing stress and anxiety, money issues and more. The confidential helpline is available 24/7 on 0800 028 3766. More informaiton is available at this link

QWell

QWell provides free, safe and anonymous online mental health and wellbeing support any time, any day.

Help in A Crisis

Text - Shout is the UK's first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It's a place to go if you're struggling to cope and you need immediate help. TEXT Shout to 8528.

Phone - The Samaritan: Freefone 116 123 or 0161 236 8000 charged at a local rate. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to talk confidentially about any problem, however big or small.

Online - Manchester Nightline Nightmail is available 24/7. All emails are scrambled as they arrive to keep anonymity, email nightmail@nightline.manchester.ac.uk.

Resources for PGR Supervisors

PGR Supervisor Toolkit

Supervisors play a vital role in supporting the wellbeing of PGRs. The PGR Supervisor Toolkit has a dedicated section on wellbeing and student support which contains useful signposting information for supervisors. Supervisors can also watch the Supervising Stressed Students video and refer to the guidance on how to spot the signs of stress

Two online modules, originally developed by the University of Durham have been adapated for supervisors at the University of Manchester. 

Supporting PGR Mental Health and Wellbeing for PGR Supervisors - An overview of mental health within the context of postgraduate research and guidance on how supervisors can identify, respond to and support PGRs in distress.

Case Studies for PGR Supervision in the Context of Mental Health Difficulties - Case studies are used to examine the process of PGR supervision when a supervisee is experiencing difficulties. 

Supervisors Flowchart

This flowchart guides supervisors through different levels of support that PGRs may need and includes questions to ask along with signposting to training and resources. 

Counselling Service Training for Staff

There are two online resources for all staff. Supporting Students will help you understand how to support wellbeing and Identifying and responding to student mental health problems uses short videos to take you through a number of scenarios to help you think through what might be helpful responses, including when to refer to other sources of help and support. 

In addition to the online resources, regular face to face training sessions are provided.

Student Mental Health Matters: spotting the signs, knowing what to say and what to do is an interactive session held via zoom. Further information and booking can be found via the staff training catalogue.

Crisis Pathway

If you have significant concerns about someone then please refer to The Crisis Pathway Poster

Resources for Professional Services 

The model of student support, including support for PGRs, is structured in to a stepped model of care, moving from prevention through support to more formal intervention. You can access the Counselling Service interactive presentation on the Stepped Care Model to find out more.

The Counselling Service’s online resources for all staff are aimed at helping you to understand how to support wellbeing - Supporting Students and at helping you to think through what might be helpful responses, including when to refer to other sources of help and support - Identifying and responding to student mental health problems.

The PGR wellbeing project developed an online resource for professional services colleagues services colleagues outlining the distinctiveness of the postgraduate research experience and how that may impact on the type of support that PGRs need.

Please ensure The Crisis Pathway Poster is prominently display in professional services offices. 

Research England/Office for Students Catalyst Fund Project Update - University of Manchester PGR Wellbeing Project 

A short video update on the progress and impact of our project as presented to the UKCGE Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference May 2021.

Intellectual Property

The University of Manchester Innovation Factory is the managing agent of The University of Manchester for intellectual property commercialisation.  The Innovation Factory is responsible for the University's IP and Confidentiality Guide and further support and guidance on intellectual property, including information on copyright, can be found on the website.

The following links also provide some useful supporting information to help you understand intellectual property and copyright:

Collaboration

Collaborative Postgraduate Doctoral Research Programmes (Split-Site, Joint and Dual Awards)

Policy

Procedures 

Forms 

Templates


Pure Awards Management Guide - PGR

  • guide explaining how PGR Teams can record studentships on Pure

Research Security

Our international engagement is academically driven, allowing collaborations to flourish; at the same time, we are facing a complex international environment and therefore new and changing potential risks. While we encourage international partnerships and open research, we want our PGRs to be risk aware, with access to processes to help minimise threats, and therefore empowered to make informed decisions.

This work goes across all areas of our University and is aligned with Universities UK and UK Government guidance. It includes our new Policy on Responsible International Research.

For full guidance please refer to the Research Security - Gudiance and Support webpage. 

Visiting Research Student

The Visiting Research Student Policy [October 2019] provides guidance for students and staff on how to manage and administer research students who visit the University of Manchester on a short-term basis for more than 1 month and less than 12 months.

 The policy document provides information on the following:

  • Definition of a Visiting Research Student
  • Attendance requirements of a Visiting Research Student including guidance for students who may have visa restrictions
  • Information for students who wish to take taught units whilst attending the University of Manchester as a Visiting Research Student
  • The application and induction process for a student attending the University as a Visiting Reseach Student
  • The responsibilities of the supervisor of a Visiting Research Student
  • The responsibilities of the Visiting Research Student
  • Exchange students

Summary of Changes February 2018

PGR Travel Guidance for Administrators

PGR Travel - An Administrator Toolkit

Postgraduate Researchers travelling for any reason whilst on their programme of study, will need to conduct a travel risk assessment, see pre-travel approval and then make travel arrangements, ensuring adequate travel insurance is in place. This page provides advice and guidance for Postgraduate Research Administrators supporting PGR students with their travel arrangements. 

This webpage includes links to the following tools useful to PGR Students and PGR Administrators:


Pre-Approval

Travel Authorisation

Students must obtain approval in advance of any period of travel away from the University. Failure to obtain approval before travel may result in the traveller not being covered by the University insurance. 

The University of Manchester Travel Policy sets out the requirement for the University to have a Pre-Travel Authorisation (PTA) process in place for International travel, but is good practice for all destinations.   

PGR Administrators can direct PGRs to use the PGR Travel Authorisation Form (TAF) for Doctoral Students to be completed before they travel. This form sets out a checklist for students to ensure that they have carried out all the required steps and have obtained approval before they travel.

Students must declare: dates of the travel; the purpose of the trip; their funding source/s; their health and safety arrangements; their travel insurance cover arrangements (if not covered by the University policy); that they have made necessary visa arrangements (where applicable); that they have read and understood all the relevant policies and procedures; that they understand how to claim expenses; that they have obtained research ethics approval (where relevant). 

PGR Pre-Travel Responsibilities

  1. Complete and submit the PGR Travel Authorisation Form (TAF) for Doctoral Students
  2. Obtain approval for the period of travel. 
  3. Carry out a risk assessment and get Ethical Approval (where relevant). Administrators can refer to the example Ethical Approval/Risk assessment approval workflow for guidance. 

Pre-Departure

Travel Insurance

Once travel authorisation has been granted consideration should be given to the necessary insurance required in order to travel and any additional support that may be needed.

The University Travel Insurance website provides details on the cover provided by the University for students.

For clarification on any aspect of the policy as it relates to PGR you can contact the Insurance Office.

Please note the following details relating to PGR Travel insurance:

  • If a PGR student attends visits, conferences, placements and fieldtrips as part of their programme of studies and it is a mandatory requirement for them to attend, then their travel is covered by the University insurance (this includes students who book their own travel or travel is paid for by a third party, subject to T&C and exclusions).   
  • Non-regulated accommodation e.g. private sub-lets and Air-BnB are not covered for insurance purposes
  • Students undertaking any period of personal activity during their travel will require their own personal travel insurance.  The student is only covered for the period of the trip that is for University business.
  • All travel must be booked through The University of Manchester’s Travel procurement contractor Key travel.
  • If a student undertakes a placement, approved by the School with the required risk assessment, that is not a compulsory part of their PhD, but significantly enhances the PhD, and they do not take an interruption for the period of time away from the University, the student will be covered by the University’s Travel insurance.  There should be a contract in place between the institution/placement in order for the student to be covered. 
  • The University cannot provide advice on personal travel insurance.
  • Student placements in the UK are not covered by the University Travel Insurance
  • If the situation in country changes before/during travel, another risk assessment should be carried out.

International Travel Destination Advice

PGR students and staff should refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for the latest travel advice relating to their destination.

Disability Support

Students requiring disability support when travelling should also refer to the Disability Advisory and Support Service Travel Support website.

Export Control

PGR students travelling internationally need to be aware of the export controls that apply to goods, technology, software and/or knowledge “exported” outside of the UK (this includes carriage of a laptop on trip). The Export Control Organisation provides online checker tool which help to establish if items/knowledge are controlled and require an export control licence.

PGR Pre-Departure Responsibilities

  1. Use the pre-travel self-checklist on the University insurance page to prepare themselves for travel. 
  2. Purchase personal travel insurance where appropriate.
  3. Obtain all required travel documentation (e.g. visa).
  4. Obtain Travel support from Disability Advisory and Support Service where appropriate.
  5. Refer to the Export Control Flowchart and carry out an online check / contact the University’s Export Controls Compliance team at ecc@manchester.ac.uk if in doubt.

Travel Bookings

Key Travel

Key travel is The University of Manchester’s Travel procurement contractor.  PGR students can create their own itinerary through “Look not Book” access in key travel.  ‘Arrangers’ will need to approve and book any PGR student travel arrangements through Key Travel. 

Please see the Travel Booking webpages for full details.  

The PR7 process should be used to process expenses once the travel is completed.  

PGR Travel Booking Responsibilities

  1. Create own travel booking for approval through Key travel.

Appeals, Complaints and Discipline

Appeals and complaints are overseen by the Division of Teaching, Learning and Student Development, and conduct and discipline of students is overseen by the Division of Campus Life, within the Directorate for the Student Experience.

If you wish to submit an appeal or complaint you should try first to resolve this informally via the relevant Doctoral Academy.

If the appeal or complaint is not resolved at the informal stage you can then invoke a formal academic appeal or complaint in writing to the Faculty Office on the appropriate form. Further details can be found on the Teaching College website:

Upon completion of the formal stage, if a student remains dissatisfied with a Faculty’s decision, they may request a review by the Director of Teaching and Learning Support (or nominee).

Once students have been through the full process within the University they may be entitled to take their academic appeal, complaint, or conduct related matter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).


Where an appeal or complaint is upheld, it may be deemed that financial redress is appropriate.

Where possible financial redress is being considered, whether in response to a complaint or appeal, we follow the OIA's guidance. This has clear examples and indicative amounts and should be helpful when considering financial loss and/or distress and inconvenience. 

We would normally expect payments to be made by the area responsible for any delays or errors/irregularities identified. This may be more than one area, and discussions may be helpful to determine an appropriate breakdown; such discussions may involve senior academic or PS colleagues, who should look to the OIA's guidance when considering possible financial remedies. 

Staff may also find it helpful to speak to the University's Legal Affairs team if you are considering a financial remedy.