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Postgraduate Academics: How It Works

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1 Postgraduate Academics: How It Works
Sarah Pickard, Head of Graduate Students Board of Graduate Studies

2 Introductions Congratulations!
Cambridge: strange, complex, collegiate, special, almost unique What is everyone doing? MPhils, PhDs Arts, Sciences Gone through admissions process, will have been in contact with the Board. Hope the process wasn’t too grueling – did best to help, apologies if sometimes delays in getting through to us

3 The experience No such thing as ‘the Cambridge experience’
Should make it your own, and everyone experiences Cambridge in a different way If scientist, may spend lots of time in lab and with lab friends May join societies and try new hobbies, or may not Do get the most out of it, but that will mean different things for each of you

4 Socialising Work is v. demanding, but having a break is also important! Large numbers of international students, as well as all the UK students, so very culturally diverse environment – take advantage of it Avoiding socialising only with those from same country Don’t feel any pressure to confirm to certain social habits such as ‘drinking’ Remember to have fun as well as work!

5 Where to find information
Every department is different – key is to familiarise yourself with departmental procedures Go to inductions, health and safety, fire training etc Get hold of departmental literature, handbooks, Code of Practice: Statutes and Ordinances: Find out who the Director of Graduate Education is Meet your College Graduate Tutor – very important person! Can help, for example, if you need to apply for exam allowances Familiarise yourself with the Board of Graduate Studies web site: and in particular with the information on the Board’s web site for new graduate students

6 Role of the Board
Teams in Board dealing with current students and examinations There mostly to deal with the administrative and academic side – processes requests for leave to work away, intermission, submission of theses Candidates are approved for degrees only at a meeting of the Board If you want to apply to continue to another graduate course: MPhil to a PhD Degree you will need to apply to continue your studies: NOT a pastoral body. Job of college tutor. NOT responsible for initial stages of problem resolution if there are difficulties – initially this is pursued within the department, through liaison with college tutor if relevant

7 Your Student Record and the Board
CAMSIS:You will need to use CamSIS via your own self-service account (referred to as a Student Centre on CamSIS) in order to manage your life whilst a student at Cambridge. CamSIS and the Board of Graduate Studies web site: are your most important sources of information for managing your graduate study and life at Cambridge. May only have access to certain facilities once registration process is complete Cambridge Supervision Reporting system – part of CamSIS – you can read reports written about you from your supervisor

8 Your Student Record and the Board
CamSIS: request various types applications: Leave to work away Exemption/allowance of terms Intermission from your studies Changing your course registration Changing your Department/Faculty Changing your mode of study from part-time to full-time or vice versa Changing your name Applying for a person to join you in Cambridge

9 Academic practices Important to be aware of academic conventions in UK and Cambridge, which may be different to what used to Look at university’s webpage on plagiarism – what it is, how to avoid it: Also, intellectual property issues may apply if sponsored by someone, or shared IP if group sponsorship, implications for thesis etc. Read about it on web, talk to department:

10 Academic practices (2) Read departmental handbook – know what procedures are in your own department, what is expected First year assessment format etc Relationships with academic staff – v. different to undergrad, strange for everyone Supervisors will expect you to approach them, don’t wait for them to do it, it’s fine to ask to meet them Agree between you how often you will meet and how you will do things

11 Academic practices (3) Particularly in research courses, find out about the availability of training courses e.g. writing a thesis, teaching undergraduates, finishing a PhD Transferable skills: presentation skills, assertiveness, communication skills etc Take advantage of what’s on offer at the Centre for Personal and Professional Development May be compulsory in some departments

12 Finances As stated in Prospectus, can’t work while studying
PhDs can do v limited teaching MPhils – no working permitted Perception of University as rich – not case. In any case you all signed financial undertaking forms, serious issue if you cannot meet your financial obligations University unable to bail out if there are difficulties

13 If there are any problems…
Ask for help! You can always the Board. If we cannot help, we can always point you in the right direction: Talk to Supervisor, College Tutor, other students… If you need help with English, approach the Language Centre: If you are struggling emotionally, loneliness, you can approach your College Tutorial staff or you could approach the counselling centre directly – let them decide whether you need help! Raise any problem, whether academic or otherwise, sooner rather than later!

14 Students: immigration and visas
Catherine Fage, PBI Officer (Tier 4) Academic Division

15 Congratulations…you are here!

16 For some…frustration

17 For some…climbed a mountain

18 I can forget about visas…
The UK Border Agency has laid down conditions of your visa while in the UK. You must understand and abide by the conditions, which include: Working restrictions; No access to state benefits Possible registration with the police Providing your College with copies of passport, visa pages and any ID card (now and every time re-enter UK) Maintaining your contact details (CamSIS or College record)

19 Other UKBA conditions:
Notification of any change to a course or education provider; Notification of early completion of a course; Notification of changes to contact details, personal details and/or appearance ; Notification of any changes in your application; Conditions on your partner and children who enter the UK as your dependants; Understanding that any time you spend in the student category will not count towards the time needed to qualify for settlement in the UK

20 Keep current UK Border Agency website

21 PBI Office The Points Based Immigration (PBI) Office, Academic Division, is the office responsible for compliance with immigration legislation and has responsibility for the University’s sponsorship of its overseas students. Whilst the PBI Office cannot give immigration advice, you can contact International Office, UK Council for International Student Affairs,

22 PBI Office Contact this office to request for visa letters, and to advise change your circumstance. Renew your visa in good time within last four months of permission to stay .. but don’t wait until last month If expires you will have to leave the UK The office is open Monday to Friday, 0830 – 1700 and can be contacted using:

23 Developing PBI web page

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