Frequently asked questions

1.

Where do I find information about the things I need to do each year of my study?

Everything is listed on the Medical School's Webpages for Current Postgraduate Students.
2.

How much holiday am I entitled to as a postgraduate student and how do I book this?

Postgraduate research students are often concerned at the lack of clear guidance concerning holiday entitlements, since it is not governed by regulation. The requirements of your research will to a large extent determine the amount of holiday you take and you must, in the main, be guided by your supervisor and department.
You should also be aware that there is an optimum efficiency to be achieved by pacing oneself between work and recreation: some students become so exclusively work oriented that they take little or no time off, and they and their work consequently suffer.  Some students commencing research degrees are surprised that they are not entitled to the long vacation periods to which they have become accustomed as undergraduates.

Holiday Policy for Postgraduate Research Students
Full-time PGR students are entitled to take up to 30 days as holiday in each academic year, excluding bank holidays and closure days. The academic year commences on 1st October, and students will be notified of the dates of the closure days each year. It is recommended that students take no more than 4 weeks holiday at any one time. Students are expected to provide their supervisors and the PGR Programme Administrators with reasonable advance notice of the dates when they plan to take holiday, which is subject to their supervisors’ approval.
Students commencing registration at times other than the beginning of the academic year are entitled to holidays on a pro rata basis until the commencement of the next academic year.
 
We have developed a new online holiday booking system, which we are launching for new 1st Year PGR Students.  This can be accessed via the following link holiday-booking.med.shef.ac.uk/.  Continuing students are welcome to use this system, but also can continue to use the old paper forms system.  For further information on the new system, please contact medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk.

3.

Where do I find notes about the compulsory school DDPs?

Please Click here for further information about the compulsory DDP modules MED6950 and MED6960. You will also be able to download presentations about each of these modules from the same page.

4.

I missed the annual induction day. What should I do?

All the information you need should be available on the Faculty Postgraduate Induction Course webpage and the Medical School's current postgraduate student pages.

If you have any further queries, please contact us by emailing medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk for assistance.
5.

My registration dates are wrong – how do I change these?

Once you have officially registered, you will be unable to change your start date.  If you need to discuss this please contact medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk
6.

When I am off sick, how do I report this?

Where a student is absent due to sickness they should, wherever possible, inform their supervisor and the PGR Programme Administrators on the first day of their absence (by completing the sickness form), stating when they became ill, brief details of the illness/injury, whether it occurred due to an accident or injury in the Medical School, whether they are seeking medical attention and their likely date of return (if known).  A Doctor’s certificate will be required for continuous absence of more than 7 days and should be presented to medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk 

7.

What happens if my partner or I become pregnant?

Students who are pregnant, or whose partners are pregnant, can apply for a period of leave of absence. As a result of the Equality Act 2010, the University has developed a Student Pregnancy and Maternity Policy, along with advice pages aimed at both students and staff. This can be found via the following webpage http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/student/pregnancy. and by downloading the following 'University policy and practice regarding student pregnancy and maternity Overview'.

The majority of postgraduate research scholarship holders will be entitled to a payment during a period of maternity leave. PGR students who do not have access to sponsor or statutory maternity pay may be eligible for a one-off support payment from the University. Please contact the relevant Faculty Administrator for further information.  Students are advised to apply for a Leave of Absence to cover the time taken for maternity leave.
8.

How can I extend my UCard expiry date?

If you need to extend your UCard expiry date, for example following submission of your thesis and you need to still gain access to the library, you will need to go to the Student Services Information Desk in the Students Union.  Further information can be found via the following webpage www.sheffield.ac.uk/cics/account/closure.

9.

Why do I have to do DDPs? I thought this was a research degree?

The DDP is intended to provide a formalised approach to either doing the things you should be doing as a research student (e.g. Literature review) without relying on your supervisor to initiate these, or providing you with skills required to complete your studies (e.g. Statistics and thesis writing courses). Since these have been introduced there has been a large improvement in student abilities and they are clearly beneficial, even if they do appear to create more work for you.
10.

I am a Staff Candidate, what deadlines should I be working towards for the compulsory DDPs and transfer report

University staff candidates are considered as full time students with respect to the compulsory DDP Modules and confirmation reviews, and will therefore work to full time deadlines. Please see the ‘requirements at a glance’ for Full Time Students for information. There is some flexibility however, on deadlines for such candidates, so if you wish to discuss this, please contact medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk.
11.

When should I complete a training needs analysis with my supervisor and what should I do after this?

The training needs analysis should be completed when you start your postgraduate degree programme and annually thereafter. After you have identified where you need to improve your skills beyond what is available in your research group you should book yourself onto a suitable RTP/DDP.
12.

Where is the list of available DDPs and how do I book a place on one?

All information is available on the Doctoral Development Pages.
13.

I need to take some time off for personal reasons. Whats the procedure for this. How will it affect my studies?

If you have family, health or personal issues that mean you need to be away for several weeks then the best approach is to apply for a leave of absence. This effectively suspends your registration. However, it’s important to note that if you have a three year bursary / stipend, then this is not extended and as such you will need to support yourself for any leave of absence you take. Please refer to the following webpage for further information and for an application form. If you are subject to the UK immigration regulations, you must speak to a University immigration advisor before submitting an application for a Leave of Absence. Your application will also require approval by your supervisor, your Departmental PGR lead and the University.
14.

I am having some issues with my supervisor. What should I do?

In the first instance you should go and discuss the issues with your personal tutor. They will be able to give you advice, act as a mediator between you and your supervisor or refer you on to someone who may be in a better position to help. In most cases, issues can be resolved easily although they may feel insurmountable to you. Often the supervisor is simply unaware of the problem.
15.

I am having doubts that a post graduate degree is right for me. What should I do?

If you can, discuss your doubts with your supervisor. If you don’t feel this is appropriate contact your personal tutor or post graduate tutor. It’s not uncommon for students to feel they have made the wrong choice. Often it’s because they don’t think they can cope with what their supervisor expects. Usually a process to address this can be worked out and the student goes on to complete successfully. Don’t bottle it up – seek help early.
16.

How often should I be submitting supervisor meeting reports?

The Supervisor reports should be completed at regular intervals.  More information with exact deadlines are on the 'requirements at a glance' webpages for full time and part time students.  All completed forms should be submitted via PebblePad.  It’s really important these forms are submitted on time as they represent contact points that the University is required to monitor.
17.

What’s the point of a personal tutor?

They are there to act as a personal guide through your research degree. They ensure your project is progressing as planned, you have an experienced academic to chat to about things you don’t feel comfortable doing with your supervisor and a friendly independent person to help you sort any problems you may have. Pastoral care.
18.

How do I find out who my personal tutor is? How often should I be meeting with them?

If you are not sure contact us on medicine-pgr@sheffield.ac.uk You need to meet with your personal tutor at least every 6 months when a contact form needs to be completed. You can see them more frequently if you prefer or at any point you have a problem.
19.

I am being bullied by members of my research group. They make me feel stupid and unwelcome. What can I do?

First port of call is your Supervisor. If they are not responsive, or involved, then see your Personal Tutor. They will be able to give you advice, act as a mediator or refer you on to someone who is in a better position to help. Alternatively, go and see your post graduate tutor who is experienced in dealing with such matters.
20.

Examination of my literature review or mini-thesis has shown up areas of plagiarism. What will happen?

In the first instance the postgraduate tutor will examine your work and determine if the software has correctly identified a case of plagiarism. If this is substantiated you will be asked to attend a plagiarism committee. At this you will be asked to explain your actions. The best case scenario is you will be given a period of time to submit a revision. The worst case is you will be expelled from the University with loss of all fees.  For further information see the plagiarism policy.

21.

I have failed my confirmation review. What happens?

Your examiners send a report to the School Graduate Research Committee. They will look at the report and consider this along with your supervisor reports, DDP / RTP scores. They may also consult with your supervisor and head of Department. A course of action will be agreed, which will vary depending on the individual circumstances, feedback from the examiners and the view of the supervisors. You may be asked to do some additional work on your transfer report, or to resubmit your report for a second mini- viva, or you may be advised to submit for an MPhil. You will be offered a second attempt before the final decision is made.