Current Research Degree Students
Information provided below is always being updated, please ensure you visit this site regularly to ensure you are aware of the latest changes. For a full list of topics related to your study and experience at UCL, please use the Help Index. If you have any further questions or would like to suggest items to be added to these pages please contact Isabel Lubeiro (email) 0203108 2133.
There are a limited number of spaces in bicycle racks outside UCL sites. Transport for London also operates a cycle hire scheme, with various docking stations situated close to campus buildings.
For further details on jobs, events, recruiters, and advice, UCL offers this service for current students.
For further details of UCL term dates, bank holidays and other days the school will be closed.
The objective is for you to receive the best research training possible. Your primary and secondary supervisors will provide support throughout your studies.
It is essential that, if you have not already done so, you decide on a second supervisor and meet with him/her regularly during the course of your study. It is extremely important that someone outside the direct research has a look at what you are doing from time to time, as even the best supervisors find it hard to be impartial.
If at any time there is any problem relating to your study, which you feel cannot be solved in discussion with your supervisors, you should contact the Divisional Postgraduate Tutor, Dr Ari Fassati, or the Deputy Divisional Postgraduate Tutor, Dr Benedict Seddon. Dr Fassati is happy to discuss research issues (or indeed other matters) with any student within the department, and obviously these discussions are confidential.
For help with administrative issues, particularly to do with registration, records or student services please contact Isabel Lubeiro (email).
To contact individual research staff within the Division please look at the divisional research pages, or UCL IRIS pages. For administrative enquiries please contact the relevant member of staff in the divisional contacts pages.
These give postgraduate students an opportunity to comment on their studies and make suggestions for the future. If you do not wish to raise items directly, you can ask your Student Academic Representative (StAR) to do so on your behalf. The current StARs are Kristine Oleinika (email@example.com) and Laura Pallett (firstname.lastname@example.org). StARs are elected each year, if you wish to be nominated as a candidate, check out the StAR pages for more details.
At least two of these meetings are held each year and details will be circulated of time and venue. They normally precede one of the Postgraduate Club Meetings, to ensure maximum attendance.
The UCL Information Services Division (ISD) offers support for UCL email accounts, user ID & passwords, wireless access, software, and other services. If you have any problems with these services please contact the ISD helpdesk. IT support is also offered at a divisional level; requests can be submitted online (select 'email@example.com' in the pull-down menu). Please ensure you provide Isabel Lubeiro (email) with your UCL email address and check this email account regularly as many important notifications are sent to this address from central UCL services.
Continuing students are required to enrol online via Portico each year. Notifications of when online enrolment is available are sent your UCL email address. If you do not enrol before the deadline you will be subject to a late fee and will have to enrol in person. If you are returning from an interruption of study or enrolling at a time other than the start of the academic year (usually around late September), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice on how to enrol.
UK Bank Accounts (BACS)
If you have been awarded a full studentship including a stipend, you will need a UK bank account into which this is paid. You must provide UCL with up to date bank account details. You should enter your bank details via Portico. Further instructions are available for international students who need to open an account, but you are strongly advised to do so before you enter the UK.
Unless you have been awarded a full studentship that covers all of your student fees, you will need to arrange payment of these. Payment can be made online, further details on payments to UCL can be found at the UCL Money pages. If a company or institution e.g. HPA are paying for your fees on your behalf, they need to request an invoice from UCL, please contact the Finance Manager, Carolyn McElvaney, for further details.
Full information on available scholarships, school funds (for societies, conferences etc), bursaries, loans and other sources of funding can be found on the UCL student scholarship & funding and the UCL Graduate School Funding pages. UCL staff who are considering further study related to their role should read further information on the Study Assistance Scheme, which can help meet costs.
If you wish to make purchases of equipment, consumables, stationery, etc, orders must be placed using the Finance Information System (FIS). For further information on access, training, and ordering procedures please contact Carolyn McElvaney. Orders placed with companies outside of the UK have separate procedures, see Carolyn regarding these. Purchases made internally between UCL departments e.g. from Chemical stores, internal divisional stores, software, biological services, payment is made by an Interdepartmental Transfer (IDT), see Carolyn for further details.
Reimbursement for Expenses
Please read the UCL expenses policy before you commit any expenditure you may need to be reimbursed for, as there are restrictions on the nature and amount that you can claim for. If you wish to be reimbursed for costs, this is done online through FIS, see Carolyn McElvaney for further assistance.
It is not uncommon for research students to be employed on an ad-hoc basis to aid teaching, lab demonstrating, marking and other such duties. A Form 7 must be completed to receive payment; the student should complete the 'worker' and 'payment' details while the supervisor must complete the 'duties', 'amount to be paid', and sign the form. Completed forms should and queries are to be submitted to Carolyn McElvaney. If you have not previously informed HR of your tax status (e.g. with a P45) you will also need to complete a P46 form and return it to the Divisional HR representative It is essential that before you undertake employment that you have the right to do so, this is particularly important for international students, whose visas may not allow them to undertake employment in the UK. Please contact the Divisional HR representative to determine your work entitlement.
The UCL Graduate School is a primary source of information and it is strongly recommended you become familiar with it. It offers a great deal of useful information and advice, including scholarships, funding opportunities, research student log, the Skills Development Programme courses, student services, academic societies, graduate social events, and chatrooms. You are encouraged to regularly check the Graduate School website which will have updated information and news.
UCL ID cards are issued by UCL Security Systems, located in the Andrew Huxley Building. You will need to contact them if you require a replacement card should you lose it or is faulty. Access to the Cruciform, Rayne, and Cancer Institute Buildings is made via your ID card, please email Isabel Lubeiro with the UPI and expiry date on the front of your card, along with the barcode number on the back.
To aid international students adjust to life in the UK and at UCL, the college has a dedicated International Office providing information on preparing to arrive in the UK, visas, advice on living costs & accommodation, orientation programmes, and newsletters.
These Guidelines for leave (holidays, sick leave, maternity, paternity etc) relate to Research Students funded on Graduate Research Scholarships, all Research Council awards or awards where the students funding body allows paid absence within their terms and conditions. Please contact your funding body for further details on leave policy. If students need an extended leave periods they must apply formally for an interruption of study, UCL guidelines provide further details on application, international student restrictions, and how to re-enrol at the end of the leave period.
If you require a letter confirming your enrolment status please contact Isabel Lubeiro (email). This letter can be used to aid your application for council tax relief and other discounts.
Each building will have their own arrangements for this, please contact your principal supervisor for further details. Cruciform only: incoming mail can be found in the white pigeonhole shelves in the Administration wing (1.3, 1st floor); outgoing mail should be placed in the wire tray on the right hand shelf just as you enter the wing.
Once you have enrolled, you will be given instructions on how to access Portico, the student database system. You MUST ensure your bank details are entered as soon as possible, or this may delay payment of your stipend. If you change your address you must enter this change on Portico immediately as this prevents important communications from the College going astray.TOP
All research students must receive local safety training, which will be held by your local safety officer. For students based at the Cruciform your safety officer is Doug King, and Jamie Evans at the Rayne. If you have not had a local safety induction please contact your local safety officer. In addition all students - regardless of site - must complete the UCL safety induction course within 3 months of registering in the first year. If you have not already done so please contact Doug King to book a place.
The UCL student union offers students opportunities to become involved in various social and political events, as well as providing bars, cafes and canteens on campus.
Enrolled students can take advantage of a wide variety of support services including:
- counselling, support & advice
- dental centre
- health centre
- day nursery
- disability services
During the course of your studies you are subject to observing the UCL academic regulations, in addition to subscribing to the Research Student Code of Practice. These are designed to enable UCL to offer the best possible learning environment and to ensure students are fully informed of the processes involved in successfully completing their course of study. The Code of Practice is designed to outline the rights and responsibilities of research students at UCL. The academic regulations are split into two areas; those designed to outline the programme of study (length of study, upgrades, interruptions etc.), and those related to examinations (exam entry, thesis submission, and viva etc.).
All PhD students from all (including those affiliated to the Division) must attend and contribute to the Annual Colloquium, which features a keynote speaker. Second year students give a short presentation and answer questions and third year students exhibit posters. This is followed by a drinks reception. The day is an opportunity for students to get to know each other and their respective research topics and provides an excellent forum for informal discussion. Isabel Lubeiro will contact you with further details.
Library services have useful pages on current copyright law, while the records office provides further information on data protection. Intellectual property information both general and student specific is also available. These pages are a useful reference to ensure your rights, and those of UCL and other researchers are protected.
Students are encouraged to attend national and international conferences to broaden and deepen their experience. Contact your supervisor if you wish to make attendances. If you have a studentship there may be money allocated for such purposes, or funding can be applied for through the UCL Grad School Student Conference Fund.
All PhD students based at either the Cruciform/Rayne or Royal Free campuses are expected to attend their respective External Seminar Series. Students based at other sites (NIMR, HPA etc) are encouraged to attend these seminars if possible, or arrange to attend similar events at their own sites. Speakers are national and international experts in their field and there is ample opportunity for questions. For this year’s programme see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/infection-immunity/events/.
Research students (including MD[Res], MPhil and MBPhD) and all researchers affiliated to the Division are expected to give presentations at the weekly Internal (Tuesday) Seminar Series and to answer questions on their work. This year’s programme is available online.
All PhD students are expected to give two presentations (MPhil/PhD Transfer & PhD Thesis seminars, see below) at the Internal (Tuesday) Seminar Series during their course of study. The supervisor is invited to introduce the student and give a background to the group in which s/he is working.
- MPhil/PhD Upgrade Seminars: All students must give a half hour seminar as part of their MPhil/PhD upgrade, which must be attended by the examiners of the transfer report. This will now be a condition of transfer. Students based externally (NIMR, CRUK etc.) may have their own equivalent arrangements. Contact Isabel Lubeiro (email) for advice if you are unsure.
- Research Thesis Seminars: All completing research students (MPhil/MD[Res]/MBPhD) must give an hour seminar immediately before or just after submission of their thesis. It is a good opportunity for you to present your data as a complete story, and a chance to see what questions will come up in a viva in a less fraught environment than the viva itself. Students based externally (NIMR, CRUK etc.) may have their own equivalent arrangements. Contact Isabel Lubeiro (email) for advice if you are unsure.
Students registered as MPhil with the intention to upgrade to PhD should upgrade approximately 18 months into their studies (or 2 years, part-time). Students must familiarise themselves with the divisional guidelines well in advance of their upgrade viva. Students should consult their supervisors on a suitable date for the upgrade. Supervisors are responsible for arranging examiners, while students are responsible for booking the time/date and rooms for the viva and the accompanying Divisional Tuesday Internal Seminar. Your supervisors and the examiners are expected to attend your seminar, so ideally you should book your viva immediately before or after this, on the same day. Students should make Seminar bookings via Isabel Lubeiro, who will also arrange advertising. UCL room bookings can be made online, which requires your UCL username and password. If you are successful in your upgrade, please ensure your supervisor has completed the upgrade form, which should be returned to Isabel Lubeiro (email).
Note to off-site students (HPA, NIMR, CRUK, etc): Your viva and seminar can be arranged internally through your own institution, but you must inform Isabel Lubeiro (email) of this arrangement, and ensure the upgrade form is completed by your supervisor.
To ensure a suitable balance between study and work/other commitments, students registered as part-time must complete the study schedule with their supervisor. This is usually agreed and completed at the time of application for study but if you have not already done so, please return completed schedules to Isabel Lubeiro (email).
These are informal, monthly discussion meetings with food and wine provided. They take place during term time and are open to all graduate students affiliated to the Division of Infection and Immunity. The programme consists of stimulating talks from external speakers who may or may not be involved in science. Details of the programme are emailed to all affiliated students and reminders are sent out each month. The programme is available through Divisional and Graduate School webpages.
The objective of your PhD study is to train you in how to do scientific research in the best possible way. It is important to appreciate that this involves many skills, in addition to the laboratory work which will inevitably take up much of your time. Especially, it means:
- You must have a broad understanding of your chosen scientific specialty (acquired by judicious use of Medline, regularly attending seminars, journal clubs and conferences and talking to your colleagues and other students in the Institute).
- You must be able to present your work in oral and written form, so that it is clearly understood by other scientists, (acquired by regularly presenting your work to your groups, to your colleagues in the building and at national and international meetings).
- You must acquire a range of generic skills relevant to your type of research, for example, statistics, how to deal with radioactivity safely, genomics analysis etc.
In order to monitor your training properly, UCL requires you to keep an on-line log in which you document both the progress of your research projects and the broader training you are receiving. An induction course is available in early October, which you are advised to attend.
Completion of the log is a mandatory requirement of your studies. To meet this requirement you must meet regularly with your primary and secondary supervisors to discuss specific topics, including analysis of the progress of the research project academic, research & key transferable skills, training needs, agreements on forward progress etc. Completion of the log is monitored and reminders will be sent out. You must check that your supervisor has also logged on to the system, so s/he can access your log. As soon as you have enrolled you should access the logbook.
If the log book is incomplete, you will be unable to submit your thesis.
It is increasingly recognised that in addition to the research skills developed while doing a PhD, transferable skills outside the specific object of the research project should be acquired to ensure all students receive broad professional development (see attached ‘UCL Skills List’). To meet this end UCL offer a Skills Development Programme which runs a number of courses during the year. Research students should aim to accrue 20 points per year (equivalent to approx 2 weeks of training) from the courses offered, although some funding bodies will have their own specific targets.
The division has made attendance to 3 specific courses during your study mandatory, and are to be taken as part of your annual credits. They are:
- Maximising Your Potential (PT2): Personal & Professional Management Skills (3 days)
- Presentation Skills Workshop (1hr into + ½ day tutorial)
- PhD Induction for Biomedical Sciences & Life Sciences (2.5 days)
In addition, UCL and the department offer a range of other courses in academic disciplines within Infection and Immunity, specific aspects of research training, as well as broader courses such as IT, Ethics, statistics etc. After logging in to the sills programme website, click on 'My Department Training' for suggested courses. You should discuss which of these you should take with your supervisor.
Please make sure you keep a careful record of your attendance at these various activities (enter details in your Research Student Log), as this is likely to be audited.
Students are encouraged to discuss their learning requirements with their supervisors and if it is felt the student will benefit from further study in areas related to their research, the Division offers a number of courses. The Divisional Teaching Administrator, Biljana Nikolic, can provide further advice and assistance if students wish to attend any undergraduate courses in virology, immunology, infection, and other relevant subjects. Students will not have to fulfil formal assessment of the course, as attendance to lectures and suggested reading schedules may be all that is required. Any courses attended should be entered into your student research log.
All Research Students (both MPhil/PhD and MD(Res) registered in the Division of Infection and Immunity starting after 1st September 2013 will be required to have a Thesis Committee (TC). The role of the TC is for its members to support the Student throughout the PhD programme.
The TC comprises the Second Supervisor, who will chair the TC, and 1 to 3 additional members with relevant expertise in the area. These members may be UCL staff or external, and may include the Graduate Tutor or Deputy Graduate Tutor. Primary Supervisors do not form part of the TC.
The Primary Supervisor chooses the TC members in consultation with the Student at the beginning of the PhD. Each TC member should be registered with the student’s UCL Research Student Log, http://researchlog.grad.ucl.ac.uk/.
Members of the TC will be responsible for assessing the MPhil/PhD upgrade of the Student, and as such cannot perform the duties as final PhD examiners.
Over the course of the programme there are scheduled formal meetings with the TC (see guidelines), although the Student, Supervisor or TC can request an additional meeting at any time. Students may also approach TC members informally (individually or as a group) for advice and support should the need arise.
The outcome of the TC meetings should be entered into the UCL Research Student Log and signed by all TC members.
The timeline in the guidelines is for conventional 3+1 year PhD studentships. The timeline starts after the rotation period is concluded, that is: when the Student has chosen the lab.
Completing Your Studies
Students can enter CRS status to write up their thesis once they have completed the minimum required period of registration (3 years full time, 5 years part time). Students must be aware that they must submit after the CRS period (1 year full time, 2 years part-time), and it cannot be interrupted, but can be extended in exceptional circumstances. In any case you should contact both your supervisor and Isabel Lubeiro (email) if changes in your circumstances (e.g. pregnancy, illness) would require you to apply for an extension to your CRS. UCL Academic Regulations outline all criteria, restrictions, and entitlements for CRS students. To enter CRS your supervisor must email Helen Notter from UCL student records (email), and she will arrange for your Portico record to be updated.
Students should familiarise themselves with UCL guidelines and Academic Regulations for examinations (MPhil, PhD, MD (Res), etc), which provides information on:
- registration for examination entry
- format & submission requirements for theses
- availability of your thesis & e-deposit
- oral examinations
- outcome of examination
- amendments & re-submissions/re-examinations
- grievance procedures
- graduation ceremonies
It is essential that students familiarise themselves with the timescale required for exam entry registration, submission and examination, as detailed in the Academic Regulations. During the course of CRS, students must keep their supervisor updated of progress, and discussions for arranging thesis submission and examination dates should be done well in advance. Exam Entry and Examiner Nomination forms must be submitted to Isabel Lubeiro (email).
Please note: Students must NOT submit their thesis directly to the examiner, the thesis MUST be submitted directly to UCL Registry.
Page last modified on 05 sep 14 09:41 by Isabel Lubeiro