While you are studying

A postgraduate research degree is a serious undertaking and requires a high level of commitment.

Commitment to your research

It is important that you complete your research degree within the standard period of study. It provides the preparation and training for a professional career and requires the same commitment to meeting objectives and timescales for the completion of work. Full-time postgraduate research students are expected to work on their research project for an average of at least 37 hours per week, the same as a full-time academic post. This does not include paid work. Part-time students are expected to work on their projects for at least 20 hours per week. Your work load will inevitably vary throughout the year and should be agreed with your supervisor. Additional hours may be necessary when you’re approaching a specific deadline such as the submission of a transfer report or thesis.

Responsibilities of postgraduate researchers

The University requires you to:

  • maintain regular contact with your supervisor/s
  • attend a minimum of 10 formal supervisory meetings per year (for full time PGRs) or six  per year (for part-time PGRs)
  • keep records of formal supervision meetings 
  • carry our research effectively, to submit work regularly and to an adequate standard against a timescale agreed with your supervisor/s
  • attend appropriate training courses, personal development programmes and research seminars in consultation with your supervisor/s. 

Please see the code of practice for research degree candidatures for all responsibilities of postgraduate researchers and supervisors.

As part of your work load you will also be expected to undertake other professional activity such as attending conferences and undertaking fieldwork.


Fieldwork is any activity carried out by students for the purpose of their research outside of the university. This could include archaeological digs, environmental surveys, or interviews. Fieldwork does not include placements but does include meetings and conferences in the UK and abroad.

You must ensure to work with your supervisor/s and your faculty Health and Safety Manager to ensure that the correct assessments and approvals are sought prior to going on fieldwork. For further information please see the Wellbeing, Safety and Health website 

International PGRs conducting fieldwork outside of the UK for one month or longer must complete a Change of Study Location form

Work outside your degree

Sometimes teaching experience or other professional placements might be beneficial for your career development. Please consult your supervisor before undertaking any teaching or professional placements to discuss if it will affect the amount of time it takes you to complete your studies. See the University’s Code of Practice for postgraduate researchers engaged in teaching for more information. Full-time students are subject to a limit of 250 hours of paid activities associated with teaching or professional practice within the University. Some sponsoring bodies may include a lower limit for paid activities per session.

Holiday entitlement

You may, with the prior agreement of your supervisor, take up to 25 days holiday during each year of your research degree as well as the time during which the University is officially closed. Closure dates can be found on the University website