Online GRS2 FAQs for supervisors

I cannot access the my.bham staff portal. What should I do?

If you have any difficulties accessing the staff portal, you will need to contact the IT Help Desk. You can contact the IT Helpdesk by phone on 47171 (external 0212 414 7171) or log an online call. 

What should I do if the list of PGRs I can see is incorrect and includes PGRs for whom I am not lead or co-supervisor?

Supervisors will see their own PGRs unless they have been granted additional BIRMS security permissions by their School/College.  From 1 October 2018 you will be able to use the search function to find a PGR by entering part or full surname or ID number. 

If you wish to check your BIRMS Security permissions you will need to contact your local BIRMS Security Manager.  If you do not know who this is, please contact your local School PGR administrator.

My PGR has not made contact this month. What should I do?

You should make every effort to contact the PGR, including email and telephone. Five and two days before the end of the month the lead supervisor will receive an email to advise that your PGR has not completed Part A of the form (your PGR will also receive reminder emails to advise that they have not completed Part A of the online GRS2 form). If at this point you and all other members of the supervisory team have still not been able to make contact with the PGR, the lead supervisor should complete the online GRS2 form ticking the “There has been no contact this month” and insert brief details of how you have attempted to contact the PGR. If this is the second month that you have not been able to make contact with the PGR, refer the case to the School PGR Lead and PGR administrator as action under the Code of Practice on Student Attendance and Reasonable Diligence Procedures needs to be considered.  

What should I do if my part time PGR is not due a supervision meeting this month?

For PGRs registered as part-time, where a supervision meeting is  not due this month, the lead supervisor should tick the “There has been no contact this month” and add an explanation entered in the “Reason for no contact”. This would be a simple note such as “Part-time student so no meeting required this month".

What should I do if my PGR is on a jointly awarded (or dual) PhD programme and is currently not in attendance at UoB?

For joint and dual PhDs, where supervision meetings are not taking place because the PGR is in attendance at the joint/dual institution, the lead supervisor should tick the “There has been no contact this month” and add an explanation entered in the “Reason for no contact”.  This would be a simple note such as “PGR is attending the University of Melbourne and will therefore be supervised by their supervisor at Melbourne”.

What should I do if I am the co-supervisor and have not received any emails about the online GRS2 form?

The emails from the online GRS2 are sent to the lead supervisor only. The online GRS2 form should only be completed by the supervisor who is meeting with the PGR and it is expected that this is normally the lead supervisor.  In instances where it is known in advance that the lead supervisor will not be conducting the monthly supervision meeting, the PGR Administrator should be advised and they can switch the co-supervisor to the lead for a period of time to facilitate the completion of the online GRS2 form.

The section at the top of the online GRS2 form “There has been on contact” should be completed by the lead supervisor and only if the PGR has not made contact with any members of the supervisor team.

What should I do if I am not having a face-to-face supervision meeting with my PGR this month but I am in email contact with them?

You should advise your PGR to complete Part A of the online GRS2 form as normal.  You should then complete Part B and select the supervision category “PGR - supervision contact email” from the list under "There has been no supervision meeting but one of the following types of contact has taken place....".  This ensures that a full supervision record exists and the type of contact recorded.  It would not be expected that email contact is used on a regular basis unless there are compelling reasons to do so, such as the PGR being away on fieldwork.

Can I complete a second online GRS2 form if I am having more than one supervisory meeting with my PGR this month?

The online GRS2 form has been developed to facilitate completion of one GRS2 form per month and the system does not currently have capacity for a further form to be completed.

What should I do if I am no longer the lead supervisor?

If you are no longer the lead supervisor for the PGR for whom you have received an online GRS2 notification email, you should contact your School PGR administrator to ask that the supervision record is updated in BIRMS.

How do I enter the date of the supervision meeting?

The date of the supervision meeting is entered by selecting a date from the calendar.  You can only select a date from the current month and only for the contact types of face to face or telephone/video conference. If you enter a meeting date for any other category of contact type, this will not be saved as these types of contact do not involve a supervision meeting.

How do I enter the date of the supervision meeting when the contact is via email correspondence?

Where the contact has been by email, Parts A and B of the online GRS2 form should be completed to reflect this. You should not select a date for a supervision meeting but should select “PGR – Supervision contact (email) from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

Do I need to complete a GRS2 form for a student who is on leave of absence?

A leave of absence is a break in studies where the PGR is not working on their research. Therefore a GRS2 form is not required and the online GRS2 form for the duration of the LOA will not be available for completion and the “View current form” will not be enabled. Neither the PGR nor the supervisor will receive reminder emails. 

What should I do if I cannot complete the form for my PGR as it is greyed out?

For the online GRS2 form for the current month to be active, the PGR’s registration status must be either normally registered (NR) or thesis awaited (T) and where this is not the case the “View current form” will be greyed out and you will not be able to view the form.  If the registration status is provisionally registered (AS) or expected to re-register (ER), for the online GRS2 form to be active the PGR must complete on-line registration at www.my.bham.ac.uk

The online GRS2 form will not be active if the PGR is on leave of absence.

Once the month has ended, the form will close and then it will no longer be possible to make any changes to the form and sections will be “greyed out” to prevent this.

My PGR has a non-standard start date. When will the GRS2 form be available?

The online GRS2 form will become active once the PGR’s start date has been reached and the registration status is normally registered (NR).

If the registration status is provisionally registered (AS) but the PGR has arrived and started their studies, for the online GRS2 form to be active the PGR must complete online registration at www.my.bham.ac.uk and the start date must have been reached.

Do I need to complete the online GRS2 form if my PGR is undertaking corrections?

The Code of Practice for Supervision & Monitoring Progress states:

“Progress of PGRs in thesis awaited status must continue to be monitored to the completion of the degree. For PGRs in thesis awaited status supervisors should maintain monthly contact with the PGR to monitor progress of the thesis against the PGR’s deadline for submission, submission of a corrected thesis or resubmission for re-examination via completion of an online GRS2 monthly supervision record form. The lead and/or co-supervisor(s) and the PGR should confirm that the record contains a summary of the progress of writing the thesis. All GRS2 records should be completed online and stored electronically and accessible by the supervisors, PGR and relevant staff within the PAU”.

Therefore the online GRS2 form should be completed each month until the completion of studies. The PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they have submitted the corrected thesis and the lead supervisor should add a comment in Part B to confirm this and then select “PGR – Submission of minor corrections” or “PGR – Submission of major corrections” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

My PGR has submitted their thesis and is awaiting the next stage in the examination. Do we need to complete a GRS2 form?

The Code of Practice for Supervision & Monitoring Progress states:

“Progress of PGRs in thesis awaited status must continue to be monitored to the completion of the degree. For PGRs in thesis awaited status supervisors should maintain monthly contact with the PGR to monitor progress of the thesis against the PGR’s deadline for submission, submission of a corrected thesis or resubmission for re-examination via completion of an online GRS2 monthly supervision record form. The lead and/or co-supervisor(s) and the PGR should confirm that the record contains a summary of the progress of writing the thesis. All GRS2 records should be completed online and stored electronically and accessible by the supervisors, PGR and relevant staff within the PAU”.

Therefore the online GRS2 form should be completed each month until the completion of studies. The PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they have submitted the thesis for examination (including the date of submission), the lead supervisor should add a comment in Part B to confirm this and then select “PGR – Thesis submitted” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

What should I do if I will not be having a supervision meeting this month as my PGR is attending a Progress Review Meeting?

The online GRS2 form should be completed each month until the completion of studies. The PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they are attending a progress review meeting (including the date) and the lead supervisor should add a comment in Part B to confirm this and then select “PGR – Progress Review” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

What should I do if I will not be having a supervision meeting this month as my PGR is attending a Progress Review Panel?

The online GRS2 form should be completed each month until the completion of studies. The PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they are attending a progress review meeting (including the date) and the supervisor should add a comment in Part B to confirm this and then select “PGR – Progress Review” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

What should I do if I will not be having a supervision meeting this month as my PGR is attending their viva examination?

The online GRS2 form should be completed each month until the completion of studies. The PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they are attending their viva examination  (including the date) and the lead supervisor should add a comment in Part B to confirm this and then select “PGR – Viva” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”.

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

My PGR is undertaking fieldwork away from the University? Do I need to complete the online GRS2 form?

Supervision meetings should take place monthly for full time PGRs, pro rata for part time PGRs.  Where the PGR is working away from the University the supervision contact may be by way of a skype meeting or by email.  The online GRS2 form should be completed each month for the duration of the period of time that the PGR is working away from the University.

Where the contact is via e-mail, he PGR should complete Part A of the form to advise that they have been in email contact with the supervisor as they are working away from the University and should include details of the work undertaken whilst away from the University. The lead supervisor should add a comment in Part B and then should select “PGR – Supervision contact e-mail” from the list under “If there has been no supervision but one of the following types of contact has taken place”

This ensures a full record and audit trail until the point of completion of the degree.

How much text can I enter in Part B of the online GRS2 form?

It is possible to enter text up to 4,000 characters.

I am a member of staff and registered as a postgraduate research student. How do I access my GRS2 forms?

To access your GRS2 forms you will need to log into the student portal at www.my.bham.ac.uk using your student username and password and click on the 'My Progress' tav.  If you do not have these details you will need to contact the IT HelpDesk.

If you are supervising any PGRs, you will need to access their GRS2 forms via the staff portal at www.my.bham.ac.uk using your staff username and password.

How do I log out of the online GRS2 form?

You can log out of the GRS2 forms by logging out of the staff portal - click on the “logout” button for the staff portal on the top right hand side of your screen.

What should I do if I think my PGR is on a programme that is exempt from completion of the monthly GRS2 form?

Some programmes are exempt from completing the monthly GRS2 form.  For example where the first year of the programme is totally made up of taught modules and supervision meetings therefore do not take place, or for some Research Council funded study where different arrangements are in place as part of the funding agreement. If the PGR is exempt from completing the GRS2 form they will not receive email advising them to complete the form.

If you have any queries regarding PGRs that may be exempt form completion of the online GRS2 form, please contact your local PGR Administrator.