Welcome to the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC) at the University of
Leeds. We have prepared this document in order to provide you with the answers to some
questions you are likely to have when beginning your research study. For more detailed
information, you should refer to the Faculty of Arts Protocol for the implementation of the
University Code of Practice for Research Students and the SMLC‟s and the University‟s
Research Student Handbooks.
As soon as possible after you register, you should contact your supervisor to arrange your
first meeting. Before this meeting, please read this document carefully. You and your
supervisor together should go through this document and the Checklist for Postgraduate
Students Starting a Research Degree (appended) to discuss any questions you may have.

                           Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is Who?

     As a postgraduate research student, you have many “layers” of support available to you,
     depending on the kind of problem or question you have. You are a member of a
     department, a school, a faculty, and the university, and you will probably have contact
     with staff at most of these levels at some point during your degree studies.

     Your first points of contact should be:

      Your supervisor
      SMLC PGR Administrator: Karen Priestley (
      SMLC Postgraduate Clerk: Vicky Swarbrick (

     Your department may have also assigned you additional supervisors, advisors, or people
     to contact in the event of a problem.
     If you have a problem that cannot be resolved by talking to your supervisor(s) or the
     PGR Administrator, then you should contact your departmental PGR Tutor. This is
     also the right person to talk to you if you have any concerns about your supervision.
     The names for these members of staff are listed below.
     Departmental PGR Tutors:

      Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies: Dr. Hendrik Kraetzschmar
      Centre for Translation Studies: Dr Serge Sharoff (
      East Asian Studies (EAS): Dr. Terry King (

      French: Semester 1 - Dr. Andrew Stafford (
                Semester 2 - Dr Alison Fell (
      German, Russian and Slavonic Studies: Dr. Kristine Horner (
      Italian: Prof Brian Richardson (
      Linguistics and Phonetics: Semester 1 - Dr Melinda Whong (
                                  Semester 2 - Dr. Cecile de Cat (
      Spanish and Portuguese: Dr Richard Cleminson (

     The School‟s Postgraduate Committee includes a postgraduate student
     representative, who can bring your concerns to the attention of the school committee.
     To find out the name of the current PGR student rep, contact Karen Priestley.

     The SMLC Postgraduate Research Tutor is Professor Brian Richardson
     ( He is responsible for PGR matters across the school as a

     The Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) is linked to the Faculty of Arts and
     provides support for research students, including study space and training facilities.
     Their website is at and you can email LHRI
     staff .

     Staff at the university‟s Research Student Administration ( can
     answer all your queries about policy and procedures at the university level. Check the
     website to find the right person to contact.

How much supervision am I entitled to?
     According to the university‟s Code of Practice, all full-time research students are
     entitled to 10 face-to-face meetings with their supervisors per year (5 meetings per year
     for part-time students). However, beyond this basic guideline, supervision is a flexible
     relationship. Many students receive extra support and feedback from their supervisors
     via email, or in casual conversations outside of scheduled meetings. The frequency of
     meetings can also vary.
     One thing you‟ll need to be aware of is that their primary supervisor may not always be
     available for meetings or feedback all the time for the duration of a research degree.
     Supervisors are entitled to research leave, and they may choose to spend this time away
     from Leeds. Sometimes supervisors are unavailable because of illness, parental leave or
     other unavoidable reasons. Your supervisor should discuss any periods of unavailability
     with you well in advance, and will make other arrangements with you. This may
     include an interim supervisor, a period of email supervision, or both.

What work space is available?
     There are several rooms set aside for postgraduate study within the SMLC. Most of
     these rooms have PCs. These include B01, B20 and 142 in the Michael Sadler Building.
     You‟ll need a door code to enter these rooms and to use nearby kitchen facilities; Karen
     Priestley has a list of rooms and codes. You can also register for a locker, located in the
     MSB basement, for storing your books and personal belongings. You are also welcome
     to use the ERIC facility on level 1 of the Michael Sadler Building, as well as the
     facilities in the Language Centre. For more information, see the SMLC PGR Handbook.
     The Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI), at 29-31 Clarendon Place, is a
     purpose-built centre for research in the Faculty of Arts. Rooms are provided here for
     Postgraduate Research study, as well as a kitchen, photocopying facilities, etc.
     Space in the Michael Sadler Building is very limited; even academics and members of
     support staff don‟t always get their own office. For this reason, the SMLC can‟t
     guarantee study space for every PGR student 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our advice
     is to keep checking your preferred room for a free space, and to avoid peak times. Of
     course, you also have full access to any ISS student PC cluster; these are usually
     accessible out of hours.

How will I be contacted?
     When you register, you‟ll receive a Leeds ISS email address. This is the main route of
     communication we have with you, so it’s very important for you to use this
     account. If you need to use another email account, you can set up email forwarding to
     another address. Be sure to check your Leeds email account regularly or you will miss
     important messages.
     Any post that comes addressed to you will normally go through Karen Priestley. She
     will send an email to you when post is available for collection. Your host department
     should also provide pigeonholes for postgraduate students; ask your supervisor where
     these are.
     You should inform Karen Priestley if you change your local address or phone number.

Do I have to pay for printing and photocopying?
     The SMLC can help you with the costs associated with your research, including:
     Photocopying: each postgraduate research students is allowed 500 free photocopies per
     year. There is a special code for PGR students which you can use on one specific
     SMLC photocopier. The code and directions can be collected from Karen Priestley.
     Unfortunately, we can‟t cover costs for using the photocopiers in the library. For these
     you need to buy a special card in the library. You‟ll also have to meet the costs of any
     interlibrary loan fees.
     Printing: when you receive your ISS username and email address, you will also get
     4000 free printer credits per year. You can apply for more if necessary. Printer credits
     work through your ISS username on university networked PCs.

What if I want to attend a course or conference, or travel for my research?
     The SMLC will provide you with £200 per year to use for any kind of relevant research
     activity. This could include attending a conference or course, doing fieldwork, or
     studying a language. The allowance is given on a “use it or lose it” basis, so if you don‟t
     spend £200 in one year, you can‟t carry it over to the next year. You can apply for this
     allowance on a special form from Karen Priestley.
     If you are a UK/EU citizen and your research requires a visit to a library in the UK or
     overseas, and have used the Brotherton Library Special Collections at least once, you
     can also apply for a Brotherton Library Scholarship. More details are available from the
     Scholarships Office ( The deadline for applications is
     normally in late January.

Does the SMLC provide any social activities for PGR students?
     Doing a research degree is a long and sometimes lonely process. The SMLC organises
     an induction event for new PGR students in October, where you can meet other students
     and staff from across the school. Social activities, usually with food and drink provided,
     are also an important part of the school‟s PGR Training seminars (see below). Your
     department may also host various events during the academic year; check with your
     supervisor for more information.

Does the school provide me with any training?
     Training is an increasingly important part of research degree study in the UK. As part of
     your first meetings with your supervisor, you should discuss your training needs and
     come up with a Training Plan to make sure that you receive the specialist training that
     you need.
     The SMLC runs a special series of PGR Training and Development Programme
     seminars through its links with the AHRC to provide both specialist and semi-generic
     training. This programme is designed to introduce you to a wide range of intellectual
     and methodological approaches to research in modern languages and cultures. The
     seminars take place on Monday afternoons during term time in the LHRI building. All
     PGR students in their first year of study must attend these seminars. The current
     requirement for attendance is:

      Full-time PGR students: you must attend 50% of seminars
     If you are a part-time student or live away from Leeds, you‟ll need to make other
     arrangements with your supervisor.
     All PGR students in the school receive a seminar programme for the current academic
     year. The Programme Director for the training seminars is Prof. Chris Dent
     ( and the Programme Assistant is Mrs Hanem El-Farahaty

What is an upgrade?
     At the end of their first year of study (normally after about 9 months), all provisional
     PhD students have to go through an upgrade (or „transfer‟) in order to proceed to the
     second year of their study. There are no fixed rules about what is required to pass an
     upgrade, but as an example you might be expected to submit (a) a sample of original
     work, for example, a thesis chapter; (b) an outline of your thesis; and (c) a timeline
     showing your plans for completion of your thesis within the remaining 2 years. Once
     you‟ve submitted these things, your supervisor will arrange a meeting between you and
     two other members of staff for a small viva. Once the members of the panel are satisfied
     that you are on track to complete your PhD within the allotted time, they will complete
     a report. You won‟t be able to register for your second year until this is done.
     If you have any other questions about the upgrade process, you should ask your

What else is there?
     Once you‟ve read the FAQ above, you should make an appointment to see your
     supervisor as soon as possible. You and your supervisor should go through the
     Checklist for Postgraduate Students Starting a Research Degree (appended) to discuss
     specific points about study in your department, for example keys and security codes,
     arrangements for access out of hours, common room facilities, etc.

  Checklist for Postgraduate Students Starting a Research
                 Degree (e.g. MPhil or PhD)

The checklist is intended to help students who are starting a research degree. It is not an
exhaustive list but a prompt and may therefore need to be modified to meet the needs and
situations of individual students. Some of the things on this list are the responsibility of the
University or your department; but some are not. However your department, school or
faculty operates, this generic list includes just some of the things that previous researchers
at the University have wanted to know. We don’t want this list to seem patronising so if the
item is not relevant for your situation then just move on!

Name of new research student: …………………………………………………………………..

School/Department: ….................................................................................................……...

Start Date: ….................................................................................................………….……..

Name of person responsible for inducting new research student: …………………………….

                                                                                                           Covered 

1 Facilities
     a) departmental arrangements for workspace*

     b) departmental arrangements for storage and filing space*

     c) mail delivery / pigeon hole

     d) access to computer

     e) information on procuring stationery, computer supplies (if appropriate)*

     f) procedure (if applicable) for ordering research supplies*

     g) photocopying procedure, limits and costs

     h) if necessary – overview of library access, local arrangements for inter-
     library loans, electronic access etc.

2 Safety, Security and Emergency Procedures
  a) keys / access codes issued

  b) security – extension 32222

  c) security re: valuables and sensitive information

  d) reporting procedure for intruders / strange packages

  e) secure areas / alarms and local security systems

  f) any relevant health and safety procedures (from fire exits to specialist
  training required)

  g) key safety / emergency personnel within the department

3 Working Arrangements
  a) working hours / building access*

  b) procedure for working out-of-hours

  c) access to academic facilities (archive / library / shared equipment)

  d) holiday entitlement

  e) action to be taken in case of sickness*

                                                                                  Covered 

4 Personal and Social Arrangements
  a) location of personal / social facilities (shared space / coffee room etc.)

  b) map of campus

  c) departmental smoking / eating regulations and arrangements

  d) local Postgraduate society / club & Union club / society

  e) financial support is in place as appropriate

  f) living accommodation is in place

  g) registration with health services (doctor / dentist etc.)

  h) map / guide to city of Leeds

5 Registration (School / Department and University)
  a) initial registration procedures

  b) School / Departmental transfer criteria and procedures

6 Supervisor and Research Arrangements
  a) supervisor / supervisory team finalised

  b) agreement of broad field of study

  c) initial meetings with supervisor(s) scheduled

  d) arrangements for future supervisory meetings

  e) systems for maintaining records (data / findings / meetings /

  f) school / department / research group seminar programme

  g) other departmental postgraduate activity (if appropriate)

  h) any specific arrangements for Part Time or Split Site students (if

7 Training and Development
  a) departmental / school / faculty postgraduate training activities

  b) SDDU training opportunities for research students

  c) other central training available (ISS / Library etc.)

  d) relevant national postgraduate training resources (e.g.

  e) any appropriate legal and / or ethical training that is required for work
  in your field

  f) any other appropriate formal or informal training opportunities

8 Key Personnel / Offices

    a) school/department PG Research Tutor & support he/she can provide

    b) school/department secretary/administrator for PG research student
    matters & support he/she provides

    c) Research Degrees & Scholarship Office & support provided

    d) Graduate Training and Support Centre & support provided

    e) school/department representatives on the Postgraduate
    Representative Council & support they can provide

9 Teaching Responsibilities (if appropriate)**
    a) departmental postgraduate teaching arrangements clarified

    b) (if appropriate to department) teaching responsibilities agreed

    c) (if teaching duties available) appropriate training for teaching arranged

    d) (if teaching duties available) payment arrangements understood

    e) (if teaching to be undertaken) Human Resources has student's details

*       Different research clearly requires different working arrangements and strategies.
Interpret as appropriate to your department / school / faculty.

**      Teaching duties for postgraduates are dependent on departmental arrangements,
satisfactory thesis progression and a variety of other factors.


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