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Graduate students, Department of Engineering


This page will be updated as new information becomes available (last updated September 2021). It takes some time for the University to agree new processes for the many different aspects of University life that have been impacted by Covid-19, and we thank you for bearing with us whilst arrangements are put in place. If you urgently need to know about something not covered here, please email

Whilst the buildings of the Engineering Department have now re-opened to academic staff and students, most administrative staff, including the Graduate Studies Office team, are working in a hybrid manner. The Graduate Studies Office will be manned every day, but adminstrative staff will be only in the office one or two days a week, and working from home for the remainder of the week. Please email if you would like to arrange an appointment in person.

Arrangements for all students

First year assessment

Research students thesis submission and examination

Teaching arrangements in 2021/22

Current arrangements for all students

The latest guidance can be found here:

First year assessment 2021/22

Michaelmas 2020 and Lent 2021 starters

First year assessments for Michaelmas Term 2021 and Lent Term 2022 starters will be based, as usual, on the First Year Report, assessed via the Technical and Formal Meetings, your module marks, and attendance (online) at an RDC. Your report should include any data you have gathered so far, but may need to include an extended literature review/analysis, under the guidance of your supervisor. Assessors will be aware that the current disruptions may mean that less experimental work has taken place than usual (and in some cases none at all), and will take this into account. We hope that many of you will at least have been able to make a start on any practical work by August, but this will of course be subject to government restrictions.

Whilst the content of your first year report is likely to be more literature-focussed than usual, we wouldn’t expect this to have a significant impact on decisions of whether or not to register you for the PhD. In the small number of cases where, at the end of the assessment, assessors feel that they need to see greater evidence of practical research skills before registering you, you will be given additional time to do this (usually 3 – 6 months), and then to submit a revised report, before any decision on registration is made.

In light of the above points, it is expected that you will submit your First Year Report by the standard deadline, unless you have intermitted. If you intermit (either medical or non-medical), please email us at least a month before your first year report deadline, so that we can confirm an extension. If you have any concerns about your ability to meet the report deadline, or whether you should intermit, please email the Graduate Studies Office.

Assessments for taught modules borrowed from the Part IIB course will take place as usual, except that exams will be online this year.

PhD and MPhil by Research Thesis Submission


The University is taking a sympathetic position towards granting extensions to students who have been delayed for reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Such reasons may include lack of physical access to the building, needing to relocate, difficulties in working from home or mental health issues. Applications for an extension should ideally be submitted at least a month in advance of your submission deadline. It is very important that you carefully read and follow the guidance on the Cambridge Students website before applying (in particular noting the valid and invalid reasons for an extension).

Research Students Impact Statements 

In recognition that covid-19 may have impacted on their research, students are invited to submit a Research Impact Statement with their softbound thesis. The purpose of the statement is for students to describe any restrictions or difficulties experienced in undertaking their research as a result of COVID-19 and to provide details of any alternative arrangements made to complete the work for their thesis. Further details can be found in the guidance for students and the form can be downloaded here.

Submission of Softbound Thesis

The University has waived the need to submit a physical version of the softbound thesis. Instead, submission will take place electronically via Moodle. Students will be added to the "Engineering Degree Committee thesis submission" Moodle site when they complete the online Intention to Submit form. If you think you should have access (via the link above) but don't, please email

Research students have the option to upload a Covid-19 Research Impact Statement with their softbound thesis, which will be sent to your examiners along with the thesis. You can find information about this on the Cambridge Students website, and it is also available on the Thesis Submission Moodle site.

Viva Voce Examination

The University has temporarily waived the usual restrictions on viva voce examinations taking place by video conference. Three-way (or four-way, where there is an Independent Chair) video conferences are now permitted and expected. The University has highlighted this helpful new guide on conducting vivas remotely:

The hardware and connection should be tested at least 24 hours in advance of the viva. Please note that, if the video link should fail during the viva, it should only be resumed when the video can be re-established – even if that is on a different day. The viva voce examination should not be continued by phone or audio only under any circumstances.

Committee Meetings

The Degree Committee continues to meet according to its usual schedule via video conference.


Students can submit their corrections to their examiners as usual, and the examiners will email approval of corrections to the Graduate Studies Office as normal. Please note that corrections are approved on behalf of the Degree Committee under delegated authority, and so corrections do not need to go to an additional meeting to be approved.

Hardbound and E-theses

The Student Services Centre is not currently open to receive hardbound theses. The latest guidance on submitting the hardbound thesis can be found on the Cambridge Students website: You should submit your e-thesis unless informed otherwise by the Student Registry.

Teaching arrangements in 2021/22

Lectures for some modules – those shared with other courses and with large audiences – will be delivered online. The exact proportion of modules to be delivered online will depend on the programme in question, on your elective choices, and on social distancing guidelines prevailing at the time.

It is our hope that some or all of the core modules will be taught in-person as normal, but this may be limited by social distancing requirements and space within the Department.

Where teaching is taking place in person, contingencies will be in place for those who need to shield, or in case some form of lockdown is imposed by the government.