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The Postgraduate Advisory Service is designed to enhance and enrich the ‘Trinity Experience’ for all registered postgraduate students. We hope you will find the information included here helpful in the delivery of this goal. Below is a list of the most common issues we assist students with, but it is not exhaustive and if you a query that is not covered here please contact us at (01) 896 1417, or by e-mailing pgsupp@tcd.ie (email).

  1. Supervision
  2. Appeals
  3. Discipline
  4. Withdrawals
  5. Financial Assistance

Supervision

Complaints about student/supervisor relationship difficulties are one of the most common complaints dealt with by the Postgraduate Advisory Service in its provision of advice to postgraduate students.

The academic relationship between supervisors and postgraduate researchers at Trinity College Dublin is structured in accordance with the Guidelines on Research Supervision for Academic Staff and Students (PDF, 771K) and the University of Dublin Calendar which set out, among other things, the very minimum level of supervision that supervisors should provide for their research postgraduates. This includes the supervisor being required to request regular written work and to return the work with constructive criticism. Importantly, these documents also set out the responsibilities of the research student themselves.

The most important thing to consider when facing supervisory issues is to try and remember that clear communication by both parties is an essential ingredient of a healthy relationship. When speaking with the Postgraduate Support Officer or a Postgraduate Advisor, they will try to explore the relationship between you and your Supervisor to try to identify common areas of difficulty. Here are some suggestions that have proven very useful in assisting Postgraduates with strategies to enable them to solve their own problems.

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Identify the Problem

This may sound obvious but sometimes it’s the most difficult part. Can one primary problem be identified? Additional problems may be secondary and will disappear when the primary problem is sorted out. If there are a number of separate problems, try to identify the one causing most anxiety. Your Advisor or Support Officer will help to direct you to other Support Services in College that may be able to help with the issues you are facing.

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Establish the Norm

Is the complaint reasonable? Have you spoken to other postgraduates and/or staff members about your experiences. In this way you might discover that what you thought was a problem, is generally accepted around the university (eg you have had a room to yourself for a year and now the department has moved in two other students!). On the other hand, you might find out that what they have been accepting as ‘normal’, is in fact anomalous. Establishing such a ‘University wide perspective’ can be a very beneficial tool to help you to comprehend and rationalise the situation that you find yourself in.

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Decide on a Satisfactory Outcome

Ask yourself what you would like to achieve. Be realistic about possible outcomes. It is always more productive to be able to offer a solution along with the complaint. Write down the main points so that it is clear in your mind what the issues are. Depending on the nature of the problem, you may have to decide whether the consequences of raising it within your department will be worse than just putting up with it for the remainder of your candidature. For many students, just talking about problems can be extremely therapeutic.

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Go to the Source

In most instances, it is best to go directly to the source of the problem before trying anything else. If you have a problem with the quality of your course, consider speaking directly to the Course Coordinator in the first instance. Most departments will want to know if there is a level of dissatisfaction among their postgraduates - sometimes the solution is simple and the problem easily addressed.Your course may even have a class rep who you can speak with.

If you have a problem with a Supervisor, consider talking to him/her about it directly. While this may be both difficult and potentially stressful, it is vital that, in the first instance, the Supervisor is given the opportunity to work with you to find a solution. Arrange an appointment to speak to them in private and with adeuqate time. Stay coll and calm and raise any issues in a professional and courteous manner. You may be surprised to discover that what seems to be an enormous and obvious problem for you is something of which your Supervisor is not even aware. In many cases the solution may be as simple as communicating properly what the difficulty is.

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Work your way up the chain of command

Before launching into full-scale formal grievance procedures it is important that you give your Department ample opportunity to respond. Apart from being the right thing to do, problems are much more likely to be resolved while they’re being dealt with informally. If for whatever reason you does not get any satisfaction from their first point of contact, you are strongly are advised to contact the next person in line. In many cases this is the appointed Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate). If the appointed Supervisor is also the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) then an appointment can be made to discuss the matter with the Dean of Graduate Studies.

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Know you are not alone

Should you find yourself in a difficult situation, know that you are not the only Postgraduate student who has had, or will have, such a difficulty; whatever it may be. Talking to the Support Officer or an Advisor will help you to speak freely about the situation and feel less isolated.

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Appeals

The particular process to be followed is in each case, dependant upon the type of candidature, and the nature of the complaint. There are however some general guidelines that are relevant to all cases;

  1. In all cases it is neither possible, nor permissible to lodge an appeal simply because a student disagrees with the outcome of a particular examination procedure, be it a viva voce, or written examination.
  2. Appeals arising out of examinations or other academic circumstances from registered Postgraduate students will only be considered where the student’s case i) is not covered by the ordinary regulations of the College, or ii) is based on a claim that the regulations of the College were not properly applied in the applicant’s case, or iii) represents an ad misericordiam appeal. Therefore, if the student’s case is not reflected by any of the above grounds, no appeal will be entertained. (See Section 1.10 of the College Calendar Part III)
  3. The Dean of Graduate Studies or an Academic Appeals Committee who will consider an appeal cannot overturn the examiners’ academic verdict on the thesis/dissertation. It can only recommend changes of a procedural nature.
  4. Check any Departmental Handbook that the may have been assigned to the you upon registration for their course of choice for further inforamtion abotu the particulars of assesment of your course.

When you have met with the Support Officer or an Advisor and you have established that there are indeed grounds for an appeal, you may proceed with the Appeal process under the guidance of the Graduate Advisor, and they may accompany you to any appointment with either the Dean of Graduate Studies or the Academic Appeals Committee for Graduate Students. Details of the procedures can be found in the College Calendar Part III.

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Discipline

The Junior Dean is responsible for discipline and good order in College. Students who have breached the College regulations as laid down by the Board (see College Calendar Part III) will be asked to meet him/her to discuss the suspected offence. In this instance you are entitled to Advocacy, which may be by personnel from the Postgraduate Advisory Services. Should you have any query, do not hesitate to contact the Postgraduate Student Support Officer (email) for confidential advice and guidance.

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Withdrawals

Should you find yourself in a position where you are considering withdrawing from College, consider speaking to the Postgraduate Support Officer and/ or a Postgradaute Advisor for advice and to help you explore all the possible implications and dimensions of such an important decision. Should you still wish to withdraw from College following a consultation, you must notify the Dean of Graduate Studies, and your Supervisor/Course Coordinator/Director in writing. The Postgraduate Advisory Service can assist with drafting such a letter. For information on Fee implications upon withdrawal you can contact the Academic Registry.

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Financial Assistance

 

**Financial Assistance 2017/2018 will open in early October 2017**

The Postgraduate Advisory Service is pleased to inform you that applications are now being accepted for the Student Assistance Fund. The Student Assistance Fund is provided for under the National Development Plan and the European Social Fund. It is intended to tackle disadvantage by providing financial assistance to students requiring additional financial support to enable them to fully benefit from their third-level studies.

The online application form is accessible through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HCBS6MB

Please note that we anticipate great interest in this fund so do complete the application form fully and provide as much detail as possible regarding your financial situation. Please read the Guidelines in full before applying. Supporting documentation will need to be provided by the closing date, so we strongly encourage you to submit your application early.

The closing date for submission of complete applications AND hard copy documentation is Friday 1st December at 12pm and absolutely no applications will be accepted after this date. A complete application consists of a submitted online form, and scanned copies of all documentation with a personal statement sent to Gillian Roddie, Postgraduate Support Officer at pgsupp@tcd.ie

The Graduate Students’ Union is offering a number of clinics to assist with queries at the following times in the GSU Vice President's Office, 2nd Floor, House 6.

Tuesday 17th October 10am - 1pm

Tuesday 24th October 10am - 1pm

Tuesday 31st October 10am - 1pm

Tuesday 7th November 10am - 1pm

Please contact Madhav Bhargav at vicepresident@tcdgsu.ie to schedule an appointment during one of the above listed times.

Decisions regarding applications for Financial Assistance will be made in early January and students will be contacted to let them know of the outcome of their application. If your application is successful you will be required to submit receipts for the full amount of the award before the funds can be released to your bank account. Further information on receipts can be found here.

 

Student Assistance Fund Application Guidelines

Student Assistance Fund Information on Receipts

Student Assistance Fund On-Line Application

 

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Last updated 6 October 2017 pgsupp@tcd.ie (Email).