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PGR Student Induction

Doctoral College induction information - welcome to our PGR Community!

If you haven't seen our Directory of Services, please  visit the page.


The Doctoral College will contact you via email, MSTeams (PGR Community) and Twitter (@UHDoctoral).  Please ensure the email address you wish us to use is kept up to date on your student record.  You can amend your contact details here:


All research students belong to the Doctoral College and a School.  The support for you during your research degree programme is provided through your supervisory team in the first instance. However, there is also a structure of support outside of that team. This structure centres on the Research Tutor who will delegate responsibility to tutors within research centres and departments as appropriate. Along with your supervisory team, your local Doctoral College Administrator can help with queries about your research degree programme and any issues you may face. 

Health and Safety

You are jointly responsible for your health and safety while conducting your research at the University.  You are required to ensure you are aware of the health and safety risks associated with your research programme.  You must read the information on this link (part of the Directory of Services).

Responsibilities and Expectations

Details of responsibilities and expectations, yours and those of the University, are set out in Codes of Practice (one for students and one for supervisors) covering both the research process and administrative procedures. These Codes of Practice are available in your Doctoral College Handbook.

It is your research degree but the University shares some responsibilities with you:

  • You have to take ownership of the research degree process and we have to support and advise you
  • You have to adhere to University regulations and we have to adhere to quality thresholds
  • You have to question and query and raise concerns with us when they arise and we have to seek to address them with you.

What do we expect of you?

  • To work hard
  • To work independently and think for yourself
  • To listen to advice...and decide for yourself how to follow it
  • To take responsibility for dealing with difficulties and challenges
  • To decide when you are ready to defend your thesis.

And you can expect us to support you in all of this.

Key Stages

There are six key stages:

  1. Enrolment
  2. Induction
  3. Registration
  4. Monitoring
  5. Progression
  6. Examination

Supervisor Relationships

The relationship between the supervisors and the students is individual – there is no set format on the best way to work together.

The message to go away with today is that you need to establish and manage expectations.  Sit down and talk at the start of your degree and decide how you will manage this relationship.

Some key points to remember:

  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
  • Timetable meetings for appropriate times throughout the year - don't just turn up and expect the supervisor to be free!
  • Be prepared for all meetings; set times and keep them punctually.
  • Take notes of the meeting and record them on RSMS – this confirms the messages and actions that you need to take.
  • Establish how feedback will be received and how often.
  • If you are still unsure about something, don’t keep it to yourself. Make sure your supervisory team know if you are confused or unsure. They are here to help.
  • And use your whole supervisory team, keep them in the email loop of your plans, timelines etc
  • Use the support network the University provides; for example, School Research Tutors, local Administrators, the central Doctoral College Team.


The University has Policies and Regulations that set out the legal requirements which you and the University must follow. They are known as University Policies and Regulations (UPRs) and cover issues from academic quality to car parking, there is even a UPR about UPRs!

In your Doctoral College Handbook you will find a copy of UPR AS10 Research Degrees – Generic Institutional Regulations.  This is the one that covers all Research Degrees.  It gives information about registration, supervision and assessment, for example.  The regulations are ‘enablers’ if you want to appeal or complain.  They ensure consistency in the awards we offer.

The criteria for these awards are also important information – this is the standard you have to reach in order to be awarded the degree you are aiming for.   These details are set out in your Doctoral College Handbook.

There are differences in the nature of the awards so, as well as the Regulations, there are Schedules that set out the individual criteria and processes. All Schedules are available in your handbook.  To check which Schedule you are enrolled on, please see your record on RSMS, under 'student details'.

It is important that you read these documents and understand what you need to do and when.  Regulations can look like daunting documents but there are Notes of Guidance and other supplementary information available to help just ask your supervisory team, your Doctoral College Administrator or email for advice and assistance.

Researcher Development Programme (RDP)

The Researcher Development Programme (RDP):

  • is a series of events open to all research students (full-time and part-time) and staff
  • is free to attend
  • is designed to provide knowledge and skills that will help in your degree and your future career
  • brings together researchers from across disciplines to foster discussion and to develop research and transferable skills
  • extensively covers areas highlighted by the Researcher Development Framework  in 4 categories: knowledge and intellectual abilities; personal effectiveness; research governance and organisation; engagement, influence and impact 
  • there are two mandatory RDP sessions, which are online and must be completed as part of your induction

The training is generic - that is, it is applicable to all subject areas, general rather than specific. Subject-specific support is provided by individual Schools. The best person to ask about subject-specific training available varies between Schools; it might be the Research lead, the Research Tutor, the Dean of School or your supervisor - your Doctoral College Administrator will be able to advise you.

The RDP includes Spring and Summer Schools which are particularly useful to part-time students who may not be able to attend other sessions.

A new RDP starts each October and full details of the events being offered and how to book yourself a place can be found on the RDP HertsHub site

Discuss with your supervisory team which RDP events are most appropriate for you to attend. Remember that the RDP is not the only way to meet your training needs, so think more broadly and find out what is offered by your School and external professional organisations, for example Vitae.



Contact Us

Doctoral College

Academic Services

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Doctoral College - Physics, Astronomy and Maths, Engineering and Computer Science, Life and Medical Sciences and Health and Social Work, College Lane
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Doctoral College - Central Team, de Havilland
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Doctoral College - Humanities, Business School, Creative Arts, Law and Education, de Havilland
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Doctoral College - Physics, Astronomy and Maths, Computer Science, Engineering and Technology, Health and Social Work and Life and Medical Sciences, College Lane