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Centre for Doctoral Education



Information for IOE students

Doctoral students at IOE follow the guidance and procedures laid out in the UCL Academic Manual, and the UCL Doctoral School. This page contains additional information for current IOE doctoral students.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Student Registry Services particularly the Support and Wellbeing Resources where you will find a series of introductory videos.

For our International Students there are a number of helpful webpages on the central UCL website here – International Students  – including the the International Student Online Orientation Programme designed to help make the transition into life in the UK and studying at UCL as smooth as possible.


Student representatives

Your Students’ Union is there to make sure students have the best possible time while they’re studying at UCL. One of the ways we do that is by working with departments and faculties to ensure that every student is represented and has a voice in the way that the university works.

Every student at UCL will have a Course Representative or a Research Student Representative who will be your eyes, ears, and voice. They’ll work closely with staff in your department to make sure that they understand what you most value, and take action to deal with things you’d like to see improve. They’ll also work with representatives in your faculty and the Students’ Union to make things better across the whole of UCL.

If you take up a representative role, the Students’ Union will work closely with you to provide training, support, and advice, and you’ll be able to change the experience of everyone on your course or in your department for the better. Course and Research Student Representatives are appointing during early October – if you’d like to take up the role, staff in your department can tell you how.

A list of your representatives is available on the CDE Moodle page.

Further information:

Academic Representation website

Find your Representative

Become an Academic Representative

Study spaces

Rooms 543, 545 and C3.10 are study spaces available for research students. These rooms work on a “hot desk” policy and students are asked to respect the needs of other students by clearing desks after use. Each room has a digital lock on the door – please ask ioe.cde@ucl.ac.uk for the password. There are lockers available for use in these rooms on a first come, first served basis; they are keyless and no registration is required. Instructions on how to set the lock code is inside each locker.

C3.10 is the newest study space available for research students. This room has an integrated kitchen.

The Newsam Library (Level 4) at the IOE has a dedicated room for postgraduate study. You can of course use other study spaces within the Library – to check availability follow the link here.

There is individual powered desk spaces and group working tables available in the Wing, Levels 2 and 3.

Please note: a kitchen available for PGR use is at the very end of the corridor before you get to 26 Bedford Way on Level 5, just past room 580.

You can find full details of study spaces across wider UCL here – Postgraduate Research Student Study Spaces

Finances and studentships

UCL has provided guidance about how studentships are set up and processed. If you are a studentship holder, please review this information, which includes answers to frequently asked questions. Information about funding available to current students can be accessed through the same links provided for prospective students – UCL’s database includes a filter that allows users to indicate whether they are prospective or current students.

Conference Grants

There is provision in the Centre for Doctoral Education fund to help IOE (Postgraduate Research students) doctoral students with the cost of conference attendance and expenses. Research degree students that have been accepted to present a paper or a poster at a conference are eligible to apply to the Centre for Doctoral Education, for a maximum grant of £1000 towards expenses.  Note this is the amount available for the total duration of a student’s registration with the IOE. The scheme will only cover conferences that are complete before the thesis is submitted for examination.

Grants are available to those who are self-financing or who hold scholarships. Students must be registered as enrolled at the time of the conference. Students are eligible to claim a total of £1000 in one claim, or can divide the amount. The fund can also be used to contribute towards student membership with the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), since student membership allows free attendance at their events, most of which take place in their London office (near King’s Cross) and include sessions targeted at doctoral researchers.

The amount of funding available each year is limited, and students are advised to apply as early as possible. For this reason, it is advised that applications for funding must be submitted prior to a conference.

Applications should include the abstract of the conference presentation and written confirmation that the paper has been accepted. The completed application form should be endorsed by your supervisor and then returned, along with supporting documentation to IOE.CDE@ucl.ac.uk or to the Centre for Doctoral Education, via the Student Helpdesk on Level 5, Core A Wing, 20 Bedford Way, London W1CH 0AL.

Students will be told as soon as possible if their application has been successful. Documentation will then be sent to complete and return to the Doctoral School within 28 days of the conference.

Claims must be submitted within 28 days of returning the conference, or the funding is at risk of being released for other students to access.

Application Form  – Conference Grants

For any queries about this fund, please contact IOE.CDE@ucl.ac.uk

IOE Doctoral Summer Conference

Later in the academic year, we will be inviting students and staff to attend the Centre for Doctoral Education’s Summer conference. Traditionally this has an exciting programme of presentations and panels, featuring 40-50 presentations of doctoral research from across all six departments in the IOE. The Conference will take place on Thursday the 4th of July, 2024. Full details of the Summer Conference Programme will be given nearer the time.

The Research Student Log

A page of common questions and answers relating to the Log is now available.

The Annual Progress Review (APR)

Doctoral students (MPhil/PhD and EdD) are expected to review their progress with their supervisors on an annual basis.  This exercise is undertaken during the Summer Term. The Annual Progress Review helps students, supervisors, the Advisory Panels, and the Departmental Graduate Tutors to monitor the work being undertaken by students.  The aim is to ensure that each student’s training, supervision and support needs are being met, and to identify difficulties the student might be experiencing, and ways to address these. Students will receive notification via moodle of the guidance, forms and deadlines. The APR process involves a discussion between supervisor(s) and students, and completing a form which will be reviewed by a departmental panel. Any students who wish to discuss any aspect of their study in confidence can contact their Departmental Graduate Tutor, the MPhil/PhD Programme Leader, or the EdD Programme Leader.

The Research Training Programme

The IOE provides an extensive programme of courses, workshops and reading groups for all doctoral students. Full details of this can be found in Moodle. (All doctoral students should have access to this Moodle space.)

There are two compulsory courses. The first, IMPCorC, provides an introduction to doctoral study; this runs four times each year, in a variety of formats to ensure that it is available to all students. The second, Information and Digital Literacies, focuses on the centrality of the literature review for the doctoral thesis. This runs three times a year in both face-to-face and online formats.

Students should also discuss their training needs with their supervisors within their first few tutorials, and revisit this regularly (for example, as part of the annual review of progress). Further training can be taken from the introductory, advanced or generic courses offered as part of the IOE’s Research Training Programme, from UCL’s skills development programme , from other members of the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BPSN), or elsewhere, with the support of their supervisors.

Research students should make a brief note of any training that they have completed in the Research Student Log. Courses provided centrally by UCL can be booked through the Log, and will be recorded within the system automatically.

The IOE’s Research Training Programme courses are classed as ‘departmental training’ by UCL, and can be recorded on the Research Log: instructions on how to do this are here.

Note that many other activities, including attendance and research seminars and conferences, also constitute research training, and can be recorded manually on the Log. Information about how to do this is available in Section 4 of the guidance notes for students.

UCL requires all students to complete a minimum amount of training each year. Information about this is provided on the skills development website. Participation in departmental seminars, the IOE’s poster and summer conference, and participation in external conferences all count as training for the purposes of this record.

Library support and training

Nazlin Bhimani supports students and staff in all areas of research, including training on  skills, subject guides and research project support 

First Term Form

From Autumn 2021 all new students and their supervisors should complete a first term form within a month of the start of their studies. Copies should be uploaded to the Research Log and sent to the departmental research administrator to store. We hope this will help to address many of the questions that are raised each year by both supervisors and students and help to raise awareness of their mutual responsibilities.

IOE Research Culture: Getting Involved

There are many Research Centres and Special Interest Groups which Doctoral Candidates are welcome to join and participate in. Here is the current Research Culture List which we will update regularly. If you discover any new ones which need adding please tell your supervisor!

Feedback Expectations

According to UCL regulations for feedback (see link) the guidance states that formative feedback should be ‘received by students in good time’ (5.3). We suggest that good practice is for the supervisor and student to negotiate a reasonable deadline together, including whether feedback is expected to be written and returned before the next supervision, and ‘within one month’ is usually a reasonable expectation. General expectations for writing and feedback should also be discussed at the outset via the ‘First Meeting Form’.

Training for doctoral students who teach or facilitate sessions

UCL runs a dedicated training programme, called Arena One, for postgraduates who teach (usually called PGTAs). The ‘Gateway’ workshop is mandatory for any doctoral students teaching on accredited programmes.

The site also contains information about the optional Teaching Associate Programme (TAP), which provides further development and a pathway to Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and UCL Arena Associate Fellowship (AFHEA).

Further sessions on key issues, called UCL Arena Essentials, are also available.

Research ethics and integrity

Ethics and integrity are important throughout the doctoral process, and all research students are advised to familiarise themselves with UCL’s policy and practice in this area. These issues also form a core part of the compulsory training session provided to all doctoral students in their first year, and optional advanced sessions on ethical issues are also provided as part of the Research Training Programme.

All IOE students are required to submit a form seeking ethical approval before undertaking any empirical work. The process that must be followed has been laid out as a flow chart. The forms, guidelines and an overview of the process that must be followed are provided on the IOE’s research ethics website. For this, it may be useful to review UCL’s statement on research integrity, as well as policies on topics such as research data management. Please note that the IOE faculty operates a slightly different process, and uses a different form, from the rest of the university.

The IOE’s research ethics committee includes doctoral student representation. Currently, Emma Brooks is the student representative.

Graduate Research Degrees Code of Practice 2023-24

The Code of Practice aims to set out what you as a research student can expect from your supervisory team and from UCL, and what your Supervisors and others in UCL can expect from you. It is important that you read this document carefully and keep it for reference.

Writing for publication

Many students seek to publish their doctoral work, either during or after their studies. Guidance on this has been provided on a separate page of this site.

Study leave

Students following the conventional MPhil/PhD programme full-time are expected to apply for study leave if they wish to be away from UCL for more than four weeks. This includes time away for fieldwork. The full rules covering study leave, and the form needed to apply for this, can be found on the UCL website.

Interruption of study

It may sometimes be necessary for students to interrupt their studies. To arrange this please download the interruption of studies form from the UCL website, please note there is a separate form for research students that can be found towards the bottom of this page. Interruptions should normally be for no more than 12 months, and students who interrupt due to health and/or wellbeing issues may be required to meet with the Student Support and Wellbeing team as a condition of their return.

Please note that during a period of interruption, there will be no formal supervisory meetings and library access will be suspended. Students on maternity leave, however, continue to have access to UCL facilities, including library access.


All students following the MPhil/PhD programme are initially registered for the MPhil.

The IOE follows UCL’s guidelines for upgrading, with some minor variations. These have been implemented so that it resembles more closely the final viva process. This allows the upgrade to provide an early opportunity to practice and prepare for the final examination.

Details of these variations are provided on a dedicated page of this blog.

Continuing Research Status (CRS)

If you are eligible you may register as a completing research status (CRS) student while you write up your thesis. You will only be permitted to move to CRS status with the approval of your supervisor and/or the Department Graduate Tutor – see IOE CRS Application. If you have already been granted completing research status you may apply for an extension under certain circumstances. As a response to the Pandemic, any student who was registered as of 1 March 2020 will automatically be given 18 (FT) or 36 months (PT) of CRS (writing up) status at the time they take this up.

You are reminded that CRS is intended to be a time during which you are largely working on your own ‘writing up’ your thesis, with no need for regular ongoing supervision.

CRS guidelines

Preparing for submission of the thesis

All students sitting for the PhD, or MPhil, examination should enter for the examination four months before they plan to submit their thesis. This is done online via the Portico tool. You can find out information here about the examination entry process.

All students will be on UCL regulations for the examination, except for those who first registered at the Institute of Education before September 2015. Students who first registered before September 2015 will be offered a choice of sitting the examination under UCL or IOE Regulations.

If successful, all students will be awarded a UCL degree, whether they take the examination under UCL or IOE Regulations. Students who first registered prior to April 2008 may be eligible for a University of London award.

Once the student has entered for the examination, the student’s principal supervisor will need to fill in a nomination of examiners form.

UCL has prepared general advice about the procedure for viva examinations, including how to prepare and some things to expect during the viva.

There is more information on the UCL website on how to submit, format bind and submit your thesis.
You no longer need to submit a physical copy of your thesis

For information about thesis submission and remote Vivas taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic, please see information on the Response plan to coronavirus for UCL’s Postgraduate Research students.

For all IOE doctoral examinations, an independent chair will be appointed. Further information is available about the role of the independent chair.

Support when resubmitting a thesis

Following the viva, students will continue to have access to UCL’s facilities until any required amendments have been submitted. This situation is analogous to CRS, and the expectations of staff and student should be guided by this. Students will be entitled to their supervisor’s comments on their final draft, but not to regular tutorials.

In a situation where a student has been asked to resubmit, it may be possible by mutual agreement with the supervisor for the student to re-register. Doing so would allow them to have regular tutorials, and to receive repeated feedback on their work, if needed.

Tier IV visas and changes to registration status

A Tier 4 student who moves to Completing Research Status (CRS) remains registered and therefore continues to receive Tier 4 sponsorship. Although a student on CRS has reduced supervision, they should continue to hold short, monthly meetings with their supervisor, confirming that they have been working on their thesis; supervisors will then follow-up with the respective departmental graduate administrator.

When a Tier 4 student changes to part-time status, UCL’s visa compliance team will advise them that their visa will no longer be valid. Students who move to part-time status but wish to return periodically to continue their studies at UCL will need to obtain a Short-term Study visa, and should also obtain a letter from UCL which confirms that they have changed from full-time to part-time studies. This letter should be carried when entering the UK, along with a copy of their UCL Student Status letter, which can be either requested from the UCL Student Centre or downloaded from Portico.

Students should always check the immigration requirements for the UK before leaving their home country.

Doctoral extension scheme

Students on a Tier IV visa can apply to this scheme in order to gain an additional 12 months of Tier 4 immigration permission in which to gain experience in their specific field or seek skilled work. Students who have almost finished their doctorate can apply by following the information provided by UCL.

Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow scheme for IOE doctoral graduates

The Institute of Education Centre for Doctoral Education is delighted to announce the launch of a new scheme for IOE doctoral graduates – The Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow scheme (HPDF). The HPDF provides support for doctoral graduates who want to publish or continue with their research but don’t currently have another academic affiliation. See here for further details and FAQ and application form