Postgraduate Research Students


Support & Advice for PGR students

We can give advice, support and guidance in a range of areas that are tailored especially for Postgraduate Research students and informed by a strong understanding of the issues that these students face.  

How We Can Help

Academic Issues

We can give advice and support on a range of academic issues, including: 

  • Arranging extensions on upgrade or final submission deadlines. 
  • Arranging interruptions/taking a break from your studies for a certain period. 
  • Failure at Upgrade.  
  • Failure at final thesis submission and viva voce. 
  • Withdrawal due to lack of progress. 

Other Issues

We can also give advice and support on other issues, including: 

  • Problems with supervisors, including breakdown of the supervisor/student relationship. 
  • Problems with resources/facilities available. 
  • Harassment, discrimination and/or abuse. 
  • GTA issues, or issues relating to teaching.  
  • Research assistant issues. 
  • Academic misconduct.  


We can also help with other issues, so if you don’t see your problem on the list then please do check our PGR FAQs or get in touch by filling out the Advice Information Form


I’m having issues with my studies. Who should I talk to? 

There are three main academics who can help you. 

  1. Your supervisor or supervisory team 

  1. Your department’s Postgraduate Coordinator 

  1. Your faculty’s Vice Dean for Doctoral Studies 

For advice, you can contact us by filling out the advice form, or you can contact the KCL Advice Team here

I’m having issues with my supervisor. Who can I talk to? 

You can contact your faculty’s Vice Dean for Doctoral Studies or your department’s Postgraduate Coordinator. Please also fill in the advice form to get specific advice on your case.  

How do I find out who my Postgraduate Coordinator is? 

Check your department’s website or any information you were given when you started your course. If this fails, ask your supervisor or email your department to find out. 

How do I find out who my faculty’s Vice Dean for Doctoral Studies is? 

The Centre for Doctoral Studies has compiled a list of Faculty Vice Deans for Doctoral Studies. You can find it here under ‘Faculty Contacts’. 

I’ve been experiencing problems with my supervisor or the way my programme has been organised. Can I submit a complaint? 

Yes. You can submit a complaint within 3 months of the incident(s) occurring. Complaints would not have academic outcomes and cannot be made anonymously. Potential outcomes could include an apology, financial compensation etc.  

We can give confidential advice and impartial guidance on this process, so please submit an advice form so you can get more specific advice on your situation. 

How do I change supervisor or supervisors?  

Your first step is to think about who you would like to work with next. If you have someone in mind, you can approach this academic informally via email or in person, explain about your research, and ask if they would like to supervise you. If they agree, you can then contact your department’s Postgraduate Coordinator, your faculty’s Vice Dean for Doctoral Studies, or your current supervisor if you feel comfortable doing so, and explain the situation. 

If you’re not sure who you would like to work with, then you can contact the postgraduate coordinator or vice dean to ask if they can find someone for you. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also discuss this with your supervisor or supervisors.  

You can talk to your department’s postgraduate coordinator, or your faculty’s Vice Dean for Doctoral Studies. It should be possible to find out who these people are on your departmental website. The Centre for Doctoral Studies also has a list of faculty Vice Deans for Doctoral Studies. 

I’ve been having difficulties beyond my control. Can I submit a Mitigating Circumstances Form? 

No. Mitigating Circumstances Forms only apply to taught programmes such as undergraduate degrees and taught Masters. Instead, you can speak to your supervisor or Postgraduate Coordinator. If you need an extension, please see the advice below. 

I can’t meet my upgrade or submission deadline, what do I do? 

Please speak to your supervisor and explain the situation.  

Your supervisor can then fill out a form called an Exemption Request, which will be sent to the Vice Dean for approval.  

If your supervisor is away or unable to help you, you can contact your Vice Dean or your Postgraduate Coordinator. 

You can find more information on the extension process here under ‘PGR Exemption Requests’. 

I’ve been having mental health difficulties. Is there anyone who can help with this? 

Yes. The KCL counselling service is confidential, free and available for KCL postgraduate researchers. You can make an appointment directly through their online self-referral form here, or you can get in touch with them using the details below: 

E: [email protected] 

T: 0207 848 1731 

If you need to talk to someone, the Samaritans also offer a free confidential listening service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

E: [email protected] 

T: 116 123 

I need to take some time out from my studies. How do I do this? 

You can contact your supervisor to discuss this. It is very important that you also contact KCL Advice (which is separate from KCLSU Advice) because interruptions can have financial or legal issues and can affect funding, accommodation and visas. 

The KCL Advice team can provide advice on financial matters. You can contact them on the phone, via email, or attend one of their drop-in sessions. Further details and how to contact them can be found here

I don’t feel that my assessment was marked fairly, can I appeal?  

Appealing because you disagree with your mark is considered a challenge to academic judgement and will not be accepted. 

I need advice on funding or visas. Can you help? 

Unfortunately not. We can’t give advice on these issues, but the KCL Advice team can give you advice on these issues. You can contact them here: 

I’ve failed my upgrade twice. What can I do now? 

You can submit an academic appeal within 21 days of getting the result. To submit an appeal, you need to fill out the PGR Appeal Form for Upgrades. Please get in touch with us for advice on how to write your statement and fill this form out. You can find the PGR Upgrades Appeal Form and more information on the process here.  

Please note the correct form for this is called PGR Appeal Form: PhD Upgrade and MD(Res) Transfer. 

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