P3 - Supporting doctoral researchers with disabilities

Day Day 1
Session Poster presentation
Start time 19:00
Code P3

Lesley McDonagh, Academic Administration Officer, University of Westminster

Lindsay Wright, PhD Manager Facilitator, Haplo Services


Whilst striving to improve completion rates at the University of Westminster, it became apparent that there was a gap in the support provided to students with disabilities. We noticed an increase in students with mental health issues struggling to submit and complete their PhDs, whilst, the number registered with Disability Services was less than expected. 

We wanted to create a programme that was inclusive to all students, irrespective of their disability, so the Graduate School embarked on a project to improve this.

We will highlight the changes made, which include: reasonable adjustments; changes to regulations; annual progress review and formal methods of support; the doctoral researcher development programme.

We used our online system for managing research degrees, PhD Manager, to better support students throughout the research degree by making the processes more accessible and transparent. It also made the administration of supporting reasonable adjustments more streamlined.

Whilst the project focused on supporting students with disabilities it soon became apparent that the changes introduced could benefit all students and create a more supportive and responsive research degree programme.