Teaching & Learning


Research students benefit from easy-to-use online forms

6 March 2020

Postgraduate research students applying for exam entry and completing research status extensions are no longer using paper-based submission processes.

Image of student working on a laptop

Out with the old...

Research students, supervisors and administrators can say goodbye to the pain of paper-based forms when submitting exam entries and completing research status (CRS) extensions. Research students will now submit both applications via Portico – the online student information service.

The Academic Model Project is working to improve Portico, and the processes it supports, to maximise efficiency. The latest developments mean paper-based forms will be discontinued in favour of making Portico the single source of truth for these two research student processes. 

Research supervisors and administrators will no longer have to field enquiries about the status of applications; students can track the progress of their own forms within Portico.

Students' application information, supporting documentation, authorisers’ comments, email notifications, and the final decision are all stored securely in Portico.

The changes introduced will reduce the risk of data entry errors creeping into the process of updating student records.

...in with the new

Improved data accuracy

The new online process will result in more accurate data; the new forms are pre-populated with any student data already held within the system (e.g. student name and programme details), and students’ records automatically update once an application has been approved.

Helpful notifications

The new online workflow is fully GDPR compliant and incorporates feedback from beta testing by departmental and faculty volunteers. Student applications can only be viewed by assigned staff and applications can be reassigned if the authoriser is unavailable. Email notifications are sent to the authoriser and student whenever they need to take action and to notify them of the application’s outcome. Reminder notifications can also be sent to authorisers when needed to make sure applications are processed as quickly as possible.

Easier tracking and analysis

With the move to Portico, research staff can track the progress of applications more effectively, and the Research Degrees Team can more easily report on applications and analyse outcomes.

The examination entry and CRS extension forms are an exciting proof of concept for the Academic Model Project. It is hoped in the future that more resarch student tasks can be migrated from paper-based forms to online processes, so watch this space!

Updated Portico user guides

Staff support: User guides and FAQs for supervisors and Departmental Graduate Tutors are available via Portico.

Student support: A separate user guide [PDF] for students is also available online and FAQs can be accessed via AskUCL.