PGR offer-holder webinar: Answers to your questions

Thank you to those of you who attended the PGR offer holder webinar on Tuesday, 17 November 2020. If you missed it, or if you would like to see it again, please click the video below.

This webinar was designed for postgraduate researchers who will be joining the Faculty of Science and Engineering in January 2021. In this webinar we spoke to Professor Sarah Heath, Associate Dean for Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Development and Sandra Kershaw, Postgraduate Research Admissions Manager. We also spoke to two of our current students: Jei Wang from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering and Perpetual Idehen from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science.

Between them they shared lots of useful information, including:

  • Preparing for arrival: the essential next steps (view between 00:03:28 and 00:06:10)
  • Faculty induction and the information we’ll be sharing to help you settle into life in Manchester (view between 00:09:26 and 00:13:23)
  • What a remote start will look like - and why this approach ensures the best possible start to a PhD (view between 00:13:23 and 00:19:46, and 00:27:03 and 00:30:33)
  • Start dates and if you’re required to physically be in Manchester to start your course (view between 00:06:55 and 00:07:56)
  • How we will introduce you to the wider research community (view between 00:30:52 and 00:34:38, and 00:43:17 and 00:47:32)
  • We’re ready for you: the health and safety measures we have in place to protect both staff and students (view between 00:02:40 and 00:03:15)
  • The University of Manchester student experience: what it’s like to be a postgraduate researcher (view between 00:47:43 and 00:53:46)

Below are some links and contacts that we think will be useful over the next few weeks. We’ve also highlighted some of the questions asked during the webinar.

Your questions answered:

Questions about your research project (including access to labs)

Due to the bespoke nature of your research, if you have any questions the single best thing you can do is email your supervisor. They are available to help as often as you need and they are best placed to answer questions on any aspect of your project from the project structure and the equipment (including IT) you might need; to reading lists, training courses, opportunities for industrial collaboration and start dates. They are there to help you - do get in touch.

Questions about CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) and ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)

You should already be in contact with your Departmental admissions team to ensure you have all the details you need for both your CAS and (if required for your course) ATAS applications. If you haven’t, please contact them and they will help you make this a priority.


Sandra shares advice in the webinar between 00:03:28 and 00:06:10. That said, this is general guidance only; if you need advice for your specific situation, contact our Student Immigration Team who are always available to help.

Funding and fees

Again, as everyone’s case is individual the best thing you can do is to contact your Departmental admissions team. They can help if you have concerns or questions about funding, student stipends or scholarships. They will also be able to look into your specific case and provide clear and informed advice.

Start dates

The term starts on 1 January 2021. This is a bank holiday in the UK but you will be able to register online and access all the online support systems from then; and able to contact Faculty teams from Monday, 4 January 2021.

Regardless of whether you are starting your programme in Manchester or remotely, you need to complete registration as soon after 1 January 2021 as possible.

Returning to campus

You can rest assured that with many of our academics undertaking world-leading research on public health, our pandemic response protocols are founded on the latest science and expertise as well as adhering to all UK Government guidance and regulations. As part of this we have put appropriate social distancing and cleaning measures in place. You will receive two washable face masks in your welcome pack and clear guidance on how our teaching spaces, libraries, study spaces and labs will operate to ensure everyone’s safety. Last but not least, we will of course take the opportunity to fully brief you on health and safety as part of your welcome and induction activities.

Please read this guide to keeping safe on campus.

Travelling to the UK (including information on quarantine)

To make sure you have access to the most up-to-date advice, keep checking the UK Government website for travel guidance. This is the best place to get advice on any potential quarantine restrictions.

In the event you have to quarantine, we have a range of support services available, including access to food delivery and wellbeing resources. You can find more, plus what to do if you are required to self isolate, here.

If you do have any concerns about travelling to the UK, speak to your supervisor. They will be able to advise what’s best for you, based on your research project and your circumstances.


If you have any questions in regards to accommodation at our halls of residence, get in touch here. The experts within this dedicated team are the right people to speak to and will be able to guide you, based on your specific needs.

If you are interested in private accommodation, Manchester Student Homes is the best place to start. It is a free, university-run housing service, listing accommodation with approved landlords. This site also hosts a Student Message Board where you can meet and chat with other students who want to live together in the Manchester area. You can use the message board to find available rooms and flatmates.

Welcome week, registration and practical advice including opening a bank account

Your department will share details of your induction programme with you nearer the time; it will be fully accessible online. Whether you come to campus or decide to work remotely, we will work hard to help you settle into our Manchester community from the very beginning, meeting fellow PGRs, academics and support staff. We’ll also provide you with all the key information you need to access the library and the details you need to open a bank account. If you have any questions before then, get in touch with your Department admissions team.

Full registration instructions are available here and registration can be completed online from anywhere in the world. You will receive an email asking you to sign up for an IT account - to sign up you will need your University ID number (you will be able to find your ID number on your offer letter and other correspondence from the University) and access to a digital photograph of yourself, which will be used for your student card. Once your account is all set up you will have access to My Manchester where you will be able to complete the registration process. Registration opens on 1 January. If you haven’t received an email asking you to complete IT sign up by the 1st of the month, please contact your Departmental admissions team for immediate assistance.

Finally, we are starting to receive a number of queries from new overseas students who will be studying remotely during the first semester and want to know how they can set up a direct debit to pay their tuition fees in installments or how they will receive their stipend payments. At present the University student system only allows direct debits or payments to students through UK bank accounts, and that is something we are unable to change in the short to medium term. We appreciate that the majority of high street banks in the UK require students to provide proof of residency in order to open an account, something which is simply not possible for overseas students who are studying remotely. 

However, there are a number of online banks that do offer the facility to open a UK bank account from overseas, without proof of residency, and we would encourage prospective students to take a moment to read this article and consider their options for opening an online UK account. If, after that, you’d like to discuss further or have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact funding@manchester.ac.uk.


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