PGRs continue to adapt their research plans – the QAA offers reassurance

Researchers are clearly making progress with their Doctorates despite the twists and turns of the Pandemic. I am impressed by the creative ways in which researchers adapt and keep going with their ambitious research goals. However, there is no point in ignoring the fact that the Pandemic continues to throw rocks in our path.  The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)  have been giving some thought to the concerns you might have about the impact that  adaptations might have  on the standard of your Doctorate. They have written some advice to help you think about this, and have prepared it in a Q & A format based on questions they have been asked. You might find it useful to discuss these with your supervisors.  

Link here Advice on Doctoral Standards for Research and Supervisors (

They suggest that  “by clarifying national expectations for doctoral academic standards, we aim to reassure students who have had to replan and reschedule their research to accommodate the obstacles they have encountered. We also want to address a related concern that PhDs awarded during or in the aftermath of the pandemic may be of a different standard to those awarded before it.” 

Having seen the achievements of so many PGRs over the last year, I know that it is perfectly possible to complete a Doctorate to the high standard expected and to gain an excellent training in research while doing this even during the COVID-19 disruption.  If you have any concerns about the affect that adaptations might have on your doctorate I think you will find the QAA advice helpful. 

Best regards,
Kate Gleeson
Director of the Doctoral College