Chapter 5 - Periods of registration and changes to registration status for graduate research students

Download the PDF version of the Periods of registration

  1. Introduction
    1. This Statement of Procedures incorporates the previous separate Statements of Procedures:

      i) ‘Statement of Procedures: Maximum and Minimum Periods of Study for Research Degrees’;
      ii) ‘Statement of Procedures: Changes to Registration Status for Postgraduate Research Students’;
      iii) ‘Code of Good Practice - Transfer of Registration from MPhil to PhD’.
    2. This Statement provides information with regard to making changes pertaining to a student’s registration status, and in particular, specifies options open to students and their Colleges when problems arise in the management of the research, with reference to the timeframe for completion of graduate research degrees, which it lays out in detail.
    3. Where students are funded by a Research Council, or other sponsorship body, the procedures outlined in this document are necessarily subordinated to those of the sponsor.
    4. Where International Students are granted a visa to study in the UK, the procedures outlined in this document are necessarily subordinated to those of the UK Home Office.
  2. Periods of Study (applies to students entering prior to the academic year 2019-20. See below for students entering from the academic year 2019-20)
    1. The following scheme will apply:

      PERIODS OF STUDY1 FOR DEGREES IN THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH 

      From October 2009

      (See Appendix for students who commenced their studies before October 2009)
        PT: Min PT: Max FT: Min FT2: Max
      PhD3 n/a 7 years4 n/a 4 years4
      PhD by Publication n/a 2 years n/a 2 years
      MPhil n/a 5 years4 n/a 3 years4
      MPhil by Publication n/a 2 years4 n/a 2 years4
      MbyRes n/a 3 years4 n/a 2 years4
      MbyRes by Publication n/a 1 year n/a 1 year
      EdD n/a 7 years n/a 4 years
      EngD n/a 7 years4 n/a 4 years4
      DClinPsy n/a n/a 3 years 3 years
      DClinRes/DClin Prac 3 years5 6 years5 n/a n/a
      MD3 n/a 5 years4 n/a 3 years4
      MS3 n/a 5 years4 n/a 3 years4
      DEdPsy n/a n/a 3 years 3 years
      DD/DEng/LLD/DLitt/DSc No stipulated period of study

      1 Your period of study is measured from the date of your initial registration until award of your programme, disregarding any interruptions or withdrawal from the programme.

      2 FT will include for this purpose, Postgraduate Research Assistants on Research Grants registered for PT PhDs; Postgraduate Research Assistants; Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.

      3 Students on Four Year PhD programmes must observe the minimum period of study requirements associated with the Regulations governing the Masters programme specified in the Programme of Study.

      4 All maximum periods of study may include up to twelve months continuation status (see section 5).

      5 Candidates for the DClin Res/DClin Prac register on a part-time basis: candidates registered on these programmes will be health professionals who will undertake research as part of their working duties, which will contribute towards meeting the programme outcomes.

  3. Period of Study (applies to students entering from the academic year 2019-20. See above  for students entering prior to the academic year 2019-20)
    1. The following scheme will apply:

      PERIODS OF STUDY FOR DEGREES IN THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH –
      From the 2019-20 academic year
       Full-time1: Min (years) Max (years)
      PhD  n/a2  4
      PhD by Publication  n/a  2
      MPhil  n/a  3
      MPhil by Publication  n/a  2
      MbyRes  n/a  2
      MbyRes by Publication  n/a  1
      EdD  n/a  4
      EngD  n/a  4
      MD  n/a  3
      MS  n/a  3
      DEdPsy  3  3
      DClinPsy  3  3
       DClinRes/DClin Prac  These part-time programmes have a minimum study period of 3 years and maximum of 6 years3
       DD/DEng/LLD/DLitt/DSc  No stipulated period of study 

      1FT will include for this purpose, Postgraduate Research Assistants on Research Grants registered for PT PhDs; Postgraduate Research Assistants; Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.

      2Students on Four Year PhD programmes must observe the minimum period of study requirements associated with the Regulations governing the Masters programme specified in the Programme of Study.

      3Candidates for the DClin Res/DClin Prac register on a part-time basis: candidates registered on these programmes will be health professionals who will undertake research as part of their working duties, which will contribute towards meeting the programme outcomes.

    2.  Your period of study is:
      1. measured from the date of your initial registration, disregarding any interruptions, until submission of your thesis, or withdrawal from the programme. Where the maximum submission date falls on a date upon which the University is not open it will not be counted as a failure to submit if submission takes place on the first working day after the closure period;
      2. calculated as a pro-rata equivalent of the full-time period of study for the programme upon which the student is registered, if registered on a part-time basis;
      3. calculated on the basis of a 37.5 hour working week for full-time students, and the pro-rata equivalent for part-time students.
    3. Where the student’s funding period is shorter than the maximum period of study given, the student and supervisory team should plan for submission by the funding end date. Disciplinary norms may also dictate planning to submit within a shorter time-period than the maximum periods given above for self-funded students.
    4. The periods of study given above provide the maximum period of study for the programme in question, unless an extension to the maximum period of study (and to your period of continuation status, where applicable) has been granted (see ‘Extensions to study below). As extensions are only granted under exceptional circumstances students are expected to plan appropriately to manage their research project within the time period given. Students who have not received an extension and have not submitted within their maximum period of study should normally be deemed to be making unsatisfactory progress (see ‘Students deemed withdrawn’ below).
  4. Interruption of Studies

    International Students who are Tier 4 visa holders: interrupting your studies can have serious consequences for your immigration status as the University may be required to report this interruption to the Home Office. This will lead to the curtailment of your visa. It is important that you receive advice on the implications of your decision, which you can access by contacting the International Student Support Office. The circumstances in which the University will report your interruption to the Home Office are outlined here.

    In cases where a student subject to immigration control is unable to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission, the student will be advised to take a period of interruption until they can demonstrate that they have obtained this permission. If the student does not take a voluntary interruption, the University may invoke a period of interruption. This will be initiated by the Immigration Compliance Unit but will then follow the standard interruption request procedure. The period of interruption will end when the student is able to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission. If the student is not able to demonstrate this within 28 days then the student will be referred for withdrawal.

    1. The University defines interruption of studies to mean an entire of cessation of academic work for a specific period. Periods of interruption do not count towards the timeframe for completion of the degree, and can be considered as a suspension of normal academic requirements. During a period of interruption, a student does not undertake academic study, and will not receive supervision. A student’s registration will be suspended until they re-register and resume their studies.
    2. The University permits interruptions of study with good cause, which normally means of positive benefit to a programme of study or personal, financial or medical circumstances. Full-time students should consider that in difficult but less critical circumstances, a change to mode of attendance to part-time status might also be an appropriate alternative. It is not appropriate to apply for an interruption to go on holiday, see Annual Leave, below. Students should note that interruptions of study shall normally only be granted when academically viable, where this is not the case a student shall be required to withdraw but may apply to reinstate their registration at a later date (see reinstatement of registration below).
    3. Students on full-time, part-time and continuation status are eligible to interrupt their studies.
    4. Interruption does not imply a termination of registration, but marks a period of voluntary suspension of study. For periods of interruption students will remain students of the University and be subject to the normal student regulations. The University requires that Annual Monitoring Review reports are completed. However, the student’s circumstances will be taken into account, and necessary processes will be handled in an appropriate way. Student services are not normally accessible during a period of interruption with the exception of the Chaplaincy, Students’ Guild, the Health Centre, Wellbeing Services and Living Support, who are able to provide continued support for the first 4 weeks of an interruption. A student will normally retain access to Library facilities and their IT account will normally remain active during their interruption. Care should be taken to ensure that only appropriate communication with the student takes place during this period as they are advised not to engage with study for the duration of their interruption. Therefore, any urgent/ important communications with the student requiring response or attention should be sent to the student’s personal email address and any letters sent in hard copy to their home address where appropriate.
    5. Students shall normally fall under the University Conventions and Procedures currently applicable upon the resumption of their studies.
    6. The minimum period of interruption is one calendar month.
    7. The maximum period of approval for an interruption is one year. At the end of this period, a further period of interruption can be granted by the College (again to a maximum of one year) under exceptional circumstances if this is considered to be appropriate by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College. Any addition to a period of interruption previously granted must be made on the basis of a reconsideration of the student’s circumstances. The maximum period of approval that may be granted for interruptions in total across the course of a programme should not exceed 2 years. Exceptions beyond this time-period may be made with the approval of the Dean of the relevant Faculty. Where a continued interruption is not approved a student will be required to re-register or withdraw, but may apply to reinstate their registration at a later date (see reinstatement of registration below). Where a student fails to re-register or extend their period of interruption, they will be deemed to have withdrawn and will have their registration terminated. Subsequent requests for reinstatement will be considered under the terms of reinstatement of registration.
    8. Maternity, shared parental and adoption leave: Students who apply for interruption on the grounds of maternity, shared parental and adoption leave will not have the period of interruption for these types of leave counted towards their maximum number or total period of interruptions. Please also see the Student Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Policy.
    9. Prior to resumption of their studies, students who interrupt due to medical circumstances are responsible for supplying Student Records with a medical certificate (including any costs incurred in doing so) indicating their fitness to study. Where students have interrupted following Health, Wellbeing and Support for Study or Fitness to Practice Procedures, the College and/ or Student Services will consider whether any other action is necessary to facilitate a return to study.
    10. Applications for interruptions to study should be made by the student through MyPGR, prior to doing so students should speak to their supervisor and international students should also speak to the International Student Support Office. The request shall be passed, for consideration and approval, to the student's lead supervisor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College or nominee1 via MyPGR.
    11. Students living in University accommodation should note that interruptions to their programme of study will result in the termination of their accommodation contract. Students should also note the terms and conditions of their accommodation contract and will be expected to vacate with immediate effect (normally within 7 days). If there are extenuating circumstances for requiring accommodation during an interruption period, students should contact the Accommodation Office via the Student Information Desk in the first instance.
  5. Temporary Visa Interruption (applicable only to students who are subject to immigration control) 
    The Home Office requires the University, as a Tier 4 Sponsor License holder, to ensure that all of our students have valid immigration permission which allows them to study in the UK. In cases where a student does not have this permission, the University will need to demonstrate that he or she is not studying during this period.
    1. Where a student subject to immigration control is unable to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission, the student will be advised to take a period of voluntary interruption (see interruption of studies above) until they can demonstrate that they have obtained this permission. If the student does not take a voluntary interruption, the University will invoke a Temporary Visa Interruption, during which time a student’s access to the University and its services is limited in accordance with the limitation specified in interruption of studies above. This will be initiated by the Immigration Compliance Unit. The period of interruption will end when the student is able to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission. If the student is not able to demonstrate this within 28 days then the student will be deemed withdrawn (see deemed withdrawn, below), unless it is appropriate to transfer their mode of attendance to distance learning, and approval to do so is granted. The 28 day period will start from the day that the Temporary Visa Interruption is invoked by the Immigration Compliance Unit and recorded on the student record.
    2. During a period of Temporary Visa Interruption a student will still be able to access the International Student Support Office, who will work with the student to try and ensure that they obtain valid immigration permission as quickly as is possible.
    3. Where a period of Temporary Visa Interruption is initiated, the Immigration Compliance Unit will seek advice from the student’s College as to the academic implications of this interruption and communicate these to the student, identifying where possible the requirements of the student upon their return to study and the available support mechanisms.
    4. For appeals documentation and guidance, please visit the Procedures Relating to Student Academic Appeals.
  6. Annual Leave

    International Students who are Tier 4 visa holders only: Students should be aware that should a period of leave be followed or preceded by a period of interruption the International Student Support Office may be required to report their absence from their studies to the Home Office.

    1. It is important that students take time out from their studies for a break in order to maintain an appropriate work/life balance. Periods of study for research degrees are calculated with an allowance for periods of annual leave during the registration period, as such taking a period of annual leave does not alter the end date of research programmes.
    2. Research students are expected to take active steps to manage their studies, to not take more than four weeks of leave at a time, and to take due consideration to the timing and management of any periods of leave to ensure that it does not impact on their studies or upon maintaining regular contact with their supervisory team. As such, absence for periods of leave must be discussed in advance with the supervisory team. Students must also ensure that they comply with any requirements of their funding body with regard to taking leave. Annual leave should be taken in the calendar year in which it is accrued.
    3. Students are entitled to take up to 8 weeks of annual leave a year, pro-rata for students studying on a part-time basis, inclusive of public holidays and University closure days, and are encouraged to make full use of this entitlement in accordance with the conditions outlined above.
  7. Changes to Mode of Attendance: Full-time and Part-time Status

    International Students only: Tier 4 visa holders will be required to apply for a new Tier 4 visa before switching to full-time or part-time mode of attendance. Students considering changing their mode of attendance should discuss the immigration implications of this change with an International Student Adviser and should be aware that a switch to part-time in particular means a more restrictive visa. All requests from international students to change their mode of attendance to full-time or part-time must be signed off by a member of the International Student Support Office.

    1. A change to mode of attendance means a change from one to another of the following statuses: full-time, part-time, or variance in part-time hours.
    2. Permitted part-time registrations:
      1. For candidates entering prior to the 2019-20 academic year: 0.5 fte (full-time equivalent).
      2. For candidates entering from the 2019-20 academic year: 0.5 fte (full-time equivalent), 0.6 fte, 0.7 fte, 0.8 fte, 0.9 fte.
      3. The nature of some programmes may limit which ftes students may register at (e.g. credit-based programmes).
    3. Changes between full-time and part-time modes of attendance should be used to assist students who are either unable to devote a full working week to study for good reasons, or to allow part-time students who find themselves able to devote extra time to study to do so.
    4. Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Executive Deans of College or nominee1 should be sympathetic to requests for changes to mode of attendance, and have due regard to the student's changed circumstances as well as the College's continued ability to offer appropriate supervision and facilities.
    5. Applications for changes to mode of attendance between full-time to and part-time or to change part-time hours:
      1. Applications to change from full-time to part-time and vice versa result in a change of programme and should be made by the student on the appropriate form, available from the College.
      2. International Students Only: the student must make an appointment with the International Student Support Office to see an International Student Advisor (ISA) for approval. Students who are abroad should email the ISA and the College should obtain the signature on the form on behalf of the student. The form should be signed by the student and passed, for consideration and approval, to the student's first supervisor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College (who will consider the resource implications of the request).
      3. Requests to change status may not be made more frequently than at six month intervals, without an exceptional case being made.
      4. On approval by all parties, the College should send a copy of the form to the Postgraduate Administration Office to update the student's record, and the student and supervisors should review the supervision agreement and update as needed.
      5. Approval shall be contingent on a satisfactory review taking place no later than 3 months after the change of status had taken effect. The student and supervisory team should undertake this review during a contact event to confirm that the change in arrangement was working. If there were problems with the arrangement that cannot be resolved by the student and supervisory team the lead supervisor should refer this to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College (normally the person who approved the request) for further consideration with a recommendation for action.
  8. Continuation Status
    1. A move to Continuation Status is not an automatic right for a student, however, all students are encouraged to apply to transfer at the appropriate point in their studies. Continuation Status is granted on the basis of a decision by the College that the student:
      1. no longer requires normal levels of supervision;
      2. will not undertake any significant additional research;
      3. will be expected to make minimal use of University resources (see also the ‘Code of Good Practice - Supervision of Postgraduate Research Students’).
    2. For entrants prior to 2019-20:
      1. A move to Continuation Status is not an automatic right for a student, but only granted on the basis of a decision by the College that the student no longer requires normal levels of supervision, and will be expected to submit within 12 months.
      2. Students may be permitted to transfer to Continuation Status where the College is able to assure itself that the student has completed their research and will not undertake any significant additional research. Such students are considered to be writing-up their thesis, and are not charged normal full-time or part-time fees. Students on Continuation Status are not returned in the Research Activity Survey, and therefore do not attract quality-related research (QR) funding. Academic grounds are the primary consideration; however students who have transferred to continuation status will be expected to make minimal use of University resources.
    3. For entrants from 2019-20:
      1. Successful progression (see above for more information) should for the majority mean that they are ready to transfer to continuation status three to six months ahead of submission. As such monitoring applications to transfer to continuation status provides indicative evidence of which students may not be making adequate progress. As such, failure to transfer or to apply to transfer to continuation status may result in assessment of whether action needs to be taken under the 'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’.
      2. In order to assess whether or not a student meets the conditions stated above, evidence will normally be required that:
        1. The Student is in a position where formal submission of the thesis within three-six months is demonstrably possible. For part-time students this period should be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
        2. The student should always be in a position where formal submission within their maximum period of study is demonstrably possible.
        3. The student has provided a project time-line to submission with their application.
        4. The supervisory team have received a complete or near complete (as determined by the college and specified in the College Code of Good Practice) draft of the thesis.
        5. There are not any outstanding actions in place under the 'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’. (e.g. a warning, the conditions of which the student has not met).
      3. If a student fails to submit their thesis within the time-frame listed in their project time-line action will normally be taken under the'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’.
      4. Such students are considered to be writing-up their thesis, and are not charged normal full-time or part-time fees. Students on Continuation Status are not returned in the Research Activity Survey, and therefore do not attract quality-related research (QR) funding. Academic grounds are the primary consideration; however students who have transferred to continuation status will be expected to make minimal use of University resources.
    4. Applications for transfer to continuation status: Applications must be made through MyPGR following discussion with the supervisor. Approval will be required from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College or nominee1.
  9. Upgrade of Students from MPhil to Doctoral Study
    1. The Regulations for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy provide that:

      "Candidates registered for a degree of Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts by Research or Master of Science by Research may be allowed to transfer their registration to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and to have all or part of the period of study already completed under the original registration counted towards the period under the new regulation" (2.2).
    2. A student registered for the degree of Master of Philosophy who wishes to upgrade to an appropriate doctoral programme shall submit a formal application. Students registered for a degree of Master of Arts by Research or Master of Science by Research should seek advice from their College if they wish to consider making an application to transfer programme: procedures for upgrade are only applicable for students on an MPhil programme who wish to upgrade to doctoral study.
    3. Purpose of Upgrade: The purpose of the upgrade process is to:
      1. Confirm that the student is making satisfactory progress;
      2. Confirm that there is evidence that the student is able to produce work of doctoral quality;
      3. Acts as a structural milestone within the student’s research journey;
      4. Provide the student with formal feedback on their work, and a developmental opportunity in the form of a viva;
      5. Provide an opportunity for a detailed review of the research project and plan to take place from experts independent of the supervisory team.
    4. Timing of upgrade: 
      1. Entrants registering before the 2019-20 academic year: Time-frames for transfer of registration should be specified in College Handbooks and should normally take place not later than after 18 months of full-time registration, or 36 months of part-time registration. Applications to transfer registration should take place within a timeframe that allows a decision about changes to registration status to be made within this timeframe.
      2. Entrants registering from the 2019-20 academic year: Transfer of registration should normally take place not later than after 12 months of full-time registration, or the pro-rata equivalent for part-time registration, and as specified within College Handbooks. Applications to transfer registration should take place early enough to allow a decision about changes to registration status to be made within this timeframe.
    5. Submission requirements: 
      1. Supervisory Team:The candidate’s supervisors appointed for the Master of Philosophy shall have the opportunity to submit a report commenting on the application and statement.
      2. Student: The student shall apply to upgrade via MyPGR and shall upload documents as required by their College: the required documentation will vary by College, in order to account for disciplinary variations. Approval of upgrade submission requirements in each College sits with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College. College may also determine whether any additional mechanisms for considering upgrade applications are necessary; but if any mechanisms are in place they must be operated without exception for all applications within the discipline/College.
      3. In all cases the documentation required must be sufficient to allow the College Upgrade Committee to form a judgement and provide feedback on the candidate’s progress, and determine whether or not to make a recommendation to support the candidate’s request to upgrade.
      4. College Handbooks should provide clear guidance on the documentation required. Indicatively, this might include: 
        1. A statement of aims and objectives;
        2. A statement of how the candidate expects the final thesis to "form a distinct contribution to knowledge of the subject";
        3. A contents page for the thesis, with a paragraph of information on each chapter (including number of words submitted already and planned chapter word length);
        4. Submission of one or more substantial pieces of written work (as defined by the College) in good presentational order, where one piece of written work comprises the literature review. The submission must also include a substantial research-based draft chapter;
        5. A draft timetable for completion of the thesis within the candidate’s period of study.
      5. The candidate may also be expected to give a presentation on their work, in addition to attending a viva.
    6. College Upgrade Committees:  
      1. Upgrade requests should be considered by a College Upgrade Committee comprising the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College (or his or her nominee) and at least one other member of staff, none of whom should be (or have been) a supervisor, PGR Pastoral Tutor or mentor of the student;
      2. The Committee shall viva the student;
      3. The student’s lead supervisor should attend the Committee’s meeting as an observer. To allow the student to make any comments they wish to the Committee without their supervisor being present, the student shall always be invited to talk with the Committee after the supervisor is asked to leave;
      4. The Committee shall confirm that, bearing in mind the requirements in respect of periods of study (above - entry prior to the 2019/20 academic year & entry from the 2019/20 academic year) the projected programme of research can be completed within the period of study stipulated.
    7. Upgrade Outcomes (applicable for students entering from 2019/20)
      1. At the first attempt at upgrade, the following outcomes are available:
        1. Pass;
        2. Require completion of minor amendments2 within 2 months;
        3. Refer for a second attempt within 3 months and normally recommend initiation or progression of a case under the 'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’.
      2. At the second attempt at upgrade, the following outcomes are available:
        1. Pass;
        2. Remain registered as an MPhil student, where a student has provided satisfactory evidence of their ability to submit work of MPhil quality, within the appropriate time-frame for an MPhil;
        3. Remain registered as an MPhil student and normally recommend initiation or progression of a case under the 'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’.
      3. Upon review of a second submission by a student, if the College Upgrade Committee are satisfied that a recommendation of ‘pass’ can be made to the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of College without the necessity for a second viva they may make this recommendation to the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of College without delay.
      4. When a student has not met the criteria for upgrade the College Upgrade Committees may determine whether or not it is appropriate to recommend initiation or progression of a case under the 'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’. This should normally be used where there is evidence that:
        1.  Performance at upgrade is indicative of wider concerns with performance;
        2. Performance at upgrade indicates a failure to engage responsibly with their studies.
      5. Normally, upgrade will not be the first point at which progression concerns might be noticed, as such, it is important that referrals to the  'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’are not delayed as a matter to be dealt with through the upgrade process. This means that it is more likely that the College Upgrade Committee will normally recommend progression rather than initiation of a case under the  'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’. Warnings issued prior to upgrade can usefully use completion of upgrade requirements and performance in the upgrade as actions that a student needs to successfully undertake to demonstrate satisfactory performance. Staff responsible for monitoring action under the  'Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’ can ask College Upgrade Committees to report accordingly in their feedback.
    8. If the College Upgrade Committee has concerns that a student’s health, wellbeing and/or behaviour is significantly impacting their ability to successfully complete the upgrade process no decision (for 19/20 entrants in line with the above outcomes in 9.7) should be taken until it is determined whether it is appropriate to take alternative action under the ‘Health Wellbeing and Support for Study Procedures’.
    9. As this is a developmental process the College Upgrade Committee will provide written feedback to the student on their submission and their performance in the viva.
    10. Where the University is required to provide progress reports to a student’s sponsor, the report of the College Upgrade Committee should be used as a source of information for that purpose.
    11. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College retains final authority with regard to the decision to approve or reject upgrades of registration.
    12. Transfer of Registration from PhD/MD/MS/EngD to MPhil/MbyRes
      1. Colleges should be aware that the transfer of a student to a doctoral research programme, or the acceptance of a candidate onto a doctoral research programme, is a contractual undertaking by the College to provide a student with a programme of supervision in preparation for examination at doctoral level. It is not possible, therefore, for a student’s registration to be ‘down-graded’ from a doctoral research programme to MPhil/MbyRes without the agreement of the student. In cases where a College, after due consideration, has reason to believe that a student is not able to produce work at doctoral level, this must be clearly stated to the student with the recommendation that they transfer their registration to an MPhil or MbyRes Programme.
      2. Following agreement from a student, a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College or nominee1 may approve the down-grading of registration.
      3. Confirmation of the change in programme should take place through the completion of a change in programme form.
  10. Extensions to Study

    International Students only: An extension to the length of a programme may require the student to extend their visa. In all cases the student should make an appointment to see an International Support Advisor for the correct procedures to follow.

    Research Council Students only: AHRC and ESRC students, who require an extension to their submission date, must submit an application to the University’s nominated contact in the Postgraduate Administration Office. Applications must be received 3 months before the submission deadline date and will be forward to the AHRC or ESRC for approval. Applications should be supported in writing by the supervisor and be fully supported by medical evidence if the request is based on an illness. For BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC please refer to specific Terms and Conditions.

    1. Extensions are an approved increase in the overall duration of the period of study for the research programme. Extensions should be used in cases where a student will exceed the maximum period of study (entry prior to 2019-20, entry from 2019-20) for the degree for which they are registered. See students deemed withdrawn (below) with regard to taking action when a student has exceeded the maximum period of study for the degree for which they are registered without good cause.
    2. An extension to the maximum period of study will only be granted by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College in very exceptional circumstances. In cases of illness, excessive personal, work or other commitments, or other difficult circumstances it is expected that the student and College will follow the advice on Interruption of Studies. In the case of problems with their research, students are expected to have built in a time allowance for addressing for problems and as such failure to do so will not normally be sufficient grounds for an extension. If they have not done so, it is unlikely that an extension of registration will be permitted. Where necessary, an extension may be granted in concert with issuing a warning under the ‘Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’: An application for an extension will normally result in action being taken under the ‘Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice.
    3. Students wishing to apply for an extension to the overall duration of the programme may do so by completing the appropriate form, available from the College and the Postgraduate Administration Office. The form should be signed by the student's first supervisor, and then forwarded to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College for consideration together with an outline of work completed against each chapter heading, and a work-plan and schedule. Approval should not be given without these documents being provided to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College's satisfaction.
    4. Extensions to Study for students entering from the 2019/20 academic year:
      1. Approval for extensions will not be given later than six months prior to the maximum date of submission (or re-submission), unless exceptional circumstances justify consideration of a later application.
      2. Extensions will not be given for longer than a year, pro-rata for part-time students, and the length of the extension requested should be justified.
      3. Normally, only one extension request for a particular deadline will be approved.
    5. On approval by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College, a copy of the extension form should be forwarded to the Postgraduate Administration Office. The College Graduate Research Student Administration Office will notify the student of the outcome.
    6. Students living in University accommodation should note that extensions to the programme of study do not automatically extend the accommodation contract, and that students wishing to remain in University accommodation must obtain the permission of the Director of Campus Services through the Accommodation Office, subject to normal student regulations and contracts.
  11. Withdrawal from Study

    International Students only: Withdrawal is always a difficult choice, but for international students it can also have serious immigration implications of which students are often not aware. The immigration rules are not lenient, and very rarely make allowances for compassionate circumstances. It is vital that international students are aware of the ramifications of their decision before it is finalised, and understand what actions they must take after the withdrawal to ensure that they are allowed to study in the UK in the future. It is a requirement of the Immigration Office that only authorised University personnel in the International Student Support Office interview and sign off forms for students who wish to withdraw from their studies.

    1. Where a student has failed to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission within 28 days of the start of the period of invoked interruption, as described above, the Immigration Compliance Unit may recommend to the Dean of the relevant Faculty that the student be withdrawn from study. For appeals against withdrawal on this basis, please refer to section 5.4 above for more information.
    2. Students are permitted to withdraw from their programme of study at any time and for any reason, but are reminded that any fees or fines outstanding must still be paid.
    3. On withdrawing from a programme, registration is terminated, and the student ceases to be a student of the University. Students considering withdrawal from study due to adverse personal circumstances should ensure that they have first considered an interruption of studies.
    4. To aid the University in understanding the reasons for student withdrawals, and to formally tell the University about the decision to withdraw, students are asked to complete a form, available from the College and the Postgraduate Administration Office website.
    5. The form should be signed by the student and passed to the student's first supervisor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College or nominee1. International Students only: Following College approval the student must make an appointment with the International Student Support Office to see an International Student Advisor (ISA) for final approval. Students who are abroad should email the ISA with details of their withdrawal and the College should obtain the signature on the form on behalf of the student.
    6. Once all parties have signed the form, the College should write to the student and a copy of the form and letter should be sent to the Postgraduate Administration Office to update the student's record.
  12. Students deemed Withdrawn
    1. The University may de-register a student and initiate the termination of registration for good and documented reasons. A student retains the right to appeal such a decision under the University's normal procedure for academic appeals.
    2. In order for a student to be de-registered, one of the following must apply:
      1. Students who do not re-register after the end of a period of interruption will be de-registered and registration terminated. Subsequent requests for re-instatement of registration may be considered.
      2. In cases where a student makes unsatisfactory progress, the College may make a case to the Dean of the relevant Faculty for termination of registration, as set out in the ‘Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement: Code of Good Practice’. Students who have not submitted their thesis by the end of their maximum period of study should be deemed to be making unsatisfactory progress3.
      3. The University retains the right to terminate registration in cases where a disciplinary offence has been committed, a regulation has been broken or a student fails to complete or comply with a University procedure.
      4. Where a student has failed to demonstrate that they have valid immigration permission within 28 days of the start of a period of invoked interruption, the Immigration Compliance Unit may recommend to the Dean of the relevant Faculty that the student be withdrawn from study. 
      5. Students who have had sanctions for four weeks or who have been unable to register due to debtor status will be deemed to have withdrawn and will have their registration terminated. Subsequent requests for reinstatement will be considered under the terms of reinstatement of registration  once any debt has been settled.
      6. Students who do no re-register within 4 weeks of the designated registration period will be deemed to have withdrawn  and will have their registration terminated. Subsequent requests for reinstatement will be considered under the terms of reinstatement of registration.
    3. Re-registration following completion of the maximum period of study will only be granted by the Dean of the relevant Faculty in very exceptional circumstances. In cases of illness, excessive personal, work or other commitments, it is expected that the College will recommend to students that they interrupt their studies at that time. If they have not done so, it is unlikely that an extension of registration will be permitted. Colleges should also be aware that for students funded by Research Councils, it is the responsibility of the College to seek permission for an interruption to a student’s studies (except ESRC where matters should be referred to the Postgraduate Administration Office in the first instance).
  13. Termination of Registration
    1. On termination of registration, a student ceases to be a student of the University, and all academic rights and responsibilities are ended. Students are reminded that any fees and fines owed to the University at withdrawal remain due.
    2. Students living in University accommodation should note that withdrawal from the programme of study does not automatically terminate the accommodation contract. Attention should be given to the section of the withdrawal form dealing with this matter.
    3. Graduate research students withdrawing from a programme may have accumulated enough credit, through taking taught modules, to be awarded a qualification other than that for which the student was registered. This will depend on the modules taken, and the credit accumulation and award rules for the programme.
  14. Reinstatement of Registration
    1. Reinstatement after withdrawing voluntarily or being deemed withdrawn:
      In exceptional cases a student may request reinstatement after withdrawing voluntarily or being deemed withdrawn. Such a request will be considered by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College and will take account of the student's circumstances, the resources available within the College and the academic feasibility of continuing study after a prolonged absence.
    2. Reinstatement after withdrawing voluntarily or being deemed withdrawn following completion of the maximum period of study:
      Where a student had already completed the maximum period of study at the time of withdrawing or being deemed withdrawn, an outline of work completed against each thesis chapter heading, and a work-plan and schedule should be enclosed with the application. Approval by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College and the Dean of the relevant Faculty is required.
    3. In cases where reinstatement is permitted, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of College will determine the period of further study required, in line with the normal period of study for the relevant programme.
    4. Reinstatement is not automatic and will depend upon the College's continued ability to offer appropriate supervision and facilities and whether or not there remain academic grounds for continuing the student's research.
    5. Due to the exceptional nature of reinstatements, cases should be handled in consultation with the Postgraduate Administration Office.
    6. Payment of a re-instatement fee will be required.

Last updated November 2018

1 Colleges must specify who this nominee is in College PGR handbooks, it would normally be the College Director of PGR and/or the relevant PGR Manager.

2Minor amendments are defined as set out in 8.3.1 of the Handbook for Examination of Postgraduate Research programmes.

3Exceptions may apply where it would be more appropriate to address progress concerns via the ‘Health Wellbeing and Support for Study Procedures (HWSSP) – Exeter and Penryn Campuses'.


Appendix 1

For students who commenced their studies before October 2009, the maximum period of study is counted as the period between initial registration and thesis submission.

MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM PERIODS OF STUDY FOR THE DEGREES OF MPhil & PhD
    FT* PT
PhD  Min 3 years 6 years
Max 4 years 7 years
MPhil  Min 2 years 4 years
Max 3 years 5 years
EdD  Min 2 years 4 years
Max 4 years 7 years


* FT will include for this purpose, Postgraduate Research Assistants on Research Grants registered for PT PhDs; Graduate Research Assistants; Graduate Teaching Assistants.
† All maximum periods of study may include twelve months continuation status (see continuation status).

 

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