Research Student Handbook

Change of Status

Mode of attendance, interruptions, extensions, withdrawals, continutation status

There are occasions when students wish to change the status of their registration in order to respond to changes in personal circumstances, you must discuss any changes with your supervisor before submitting a request. The PGR Support team and College Director of Postgraduate Study will consider all requests and facilitate requested changes where appropriate. Information and forms are available from the PGR Support team, or MyPGR as appropriate, and in the University’s Statement of Procedures: Periods of Registration and Changes to Registration Status for Graduate Research Students.   

Requests to change from full-time to part-time status (or vice versa or between part time variants) will be considered on their merits by the PGR Support team. In some cases the PGR Support team, or your supervisors, might also recommend a change of status if it is agreed with your supervisor and discipline DPGRs think that it is to your benefit. 

Please note that any request to change mode of attendance will only be considered if the change will result in a change to your maximum period of study, once the relative equivalence has been calculated. Therefore requests to change from full-time to part-time (or vice versa or between part time variants) will not normally be considered after three years of full-time study or the pro-rata equivalent. 

Requests to change your mode of attendance must be discussed with your supervisor(s) and if supported will then be considered by the College Director of Postgraduate Research.  Please note:  if you are a research council funded student, there may be restrictions on the number of times that you can change your mode of attendance, please check with the PGR Support Team before submitting any such requests.

International Students only  A change to part-time study can impact on your prospects of remaining in the UK or returning to the UK to study at a later date. There are however a few instances where international students on non-student visas are allowed to study part-time but this must be checked and confirmed with an International Student Advisor. 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 change their mode of attendance, so you must make an appointment with the International Student Support Office to see an International Student Advisor (ISA) for approval prior to applying for a change. Please note that this rule does not apply to students changing to continuation status.


An interruption of your studies means a complete cessation of academic work for a specified period usually granted when a student is suffering from severe personal or other difficulties which make it impossible for you to continue with your research. Fees are not payable during this period and the period does not count towards the timeframe for the completion of your degree. During a period of interruption you will not undertake academic study, and will not receive supervision. Your registration at the University will be suspended until you re-register and resume your studies.  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. If you would benefit for such a period then please discuss the matter with your Supervisor or Pastoral Tutor. 

For further information please refer to The PGR Handbook, Chapter 5 - Periods of registration and changes to registration status for graduate research students.

International students only: Tier 4/Student visa holders will be required to apply for a new Tier 4/Student visa before considering interruption. Students considering changing their mode of attendance should discuss the immigration implications of this change with an International Student Adviser . All requests from international students for an interruption must be signed off first by a member of the International Student Support Office.

Maternity/Paternity/Shared Parental/Adoption Leave – if you need to take leave of this kind, the University has a policy on this. 

The College does not accept retrospective interruptions unless there are significant reasons why the interruption was not taken at the appropriate time. If a retrospective interruption is to be considered the student and supervisor will need to provide a case and supporting material to the College DPGR for consideration. 

The minimum period of interruption is one calendar month, and the maximum total period is two years, with a maximum of one year at any one time. Requests that exceed this maximum will be considered on a case by case basis. Students should note that interruptions of study will normally only be granted when academically viable. If requests exceed the maximum or are not academically viable, a student shall be required to withdraw, but they may apply to reinstate their registration at a later date.

During an interruption you will normally retain access to Library facilities (including any books that you may have currently on loan) and your IT account will remain active. 

Students who do not re-register after the end of the interruption period will be deemed to have withdrawn and their registration terminated.

Specific guidance for funded students:

  • Research Councils can operate in different ways: before submitting an interruption request, please contact the PGR Support Office.
  • If you are in receipt of a studentship which provides you with a maintenance stipend please note that your maintenance payments may be suspended during periods of interruption. If your maintenance allowance is paid to you for a period of time during which you are not registered on the programme of study we will normally seek reimbursement for any overpayment that has occurred. If you have any concerns about the possibility of being asked to reimburse any overpayment please discuss this as a matter of urgency with the PGR Support Officer in the first instance. If you are considering requesting an interruption you must therefore ensure that you have the means to support yourself during this period.
  • If you are a Research Council funded student you should also be aware of the specific Research Council regulations regarding interruptions of study. Research Council rules will take precedence over University regulations so it is essential you read the relevant funding guide and talk to the PGR Support Officer for advice before requesting an interruption.

You are permitted to withdraw from your programme of study at any time and for any reason, but any fees or fines that you have outstanding must still be paid. Once you withdraw from a programme, your registration is terminated, and you cease to be a student of the University. If you are considering withdrawal from study due to adverse personal circumstances, you should ensure that you have first considered interrupting your studies instead.  To request withdrawal you will need to complete and submit a withdrawal form, available from the PGR Support team.

Should you wish to return to your studies at a later date, you may apply to re-register, subject to the approval of the College, so withdrawal does not necessarily mean that you must give up your studies forever. To apply for re-registration you will have to produce a suitable work plan and timetable to submission.

For further information please refer to TQA Chapter 5, 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. 

Students Deemed Withdrawn

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.  Please refer to the TQA manual for details of when a student may be de-registered.

Reinstatement of Registration

Should you wish to return to your studies at a later date, you can apply to be re-registered, subject to the approval of the Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer, so withdrawal does not necessarily mean that you must give up your studies forever. To apply for re-registration you will have to produce a suitable work plan and timetable to submission. 

For further information please refer to  TQA Chapter 5, Reinstatement of Registration

You may wish to refer to the TQA Chapter 5, Extensions to Study 

Extensions to the maximum period of study are only granted in exceptional circumstances and must be approved by the College Director of PGR or the College Associate Dean for Research. Such extensions are, however, very rare. If you think that you may not make your deadline, you should discuss the implications of this with your supervisor at the earliest opportunity, at least 3 months before your completion deadline. Please note that all extensions will also be issued with an Initial Warning letter. 

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 for the degree for which they are registered. 

If you wish to apply for an extension you may do so by completing an extension available from the PGR Support Team or download from here. You must also submit an outline of work completed to date (including word counts) and a work-plan and schedule for completion of the remainder of your thesis. The form itself needs to include the signature of your primary supervisor.  If your request is approved you will receive confirmation of the new submission deadline for your thesis/dissertation from the PGR Support Team.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Normally, only one extension request for a particular deadline will be approved.
  • It is the Business School policy that if you need to extend your period of study, you may be issued with a warning of unsatisfactory progress.  For further information, please refer to TQA Chapter 15, Unsatisfactory Student Progress and Engagement
Research Council funded students, who require an extension to their submission date, must submit an application to the PGR Support Team, who will forward the request to the Research Council. The University extension will not be considered until the Research Council have confirmed whether or not they will approve the application. Applications must be received 3 months before the submission deadline date and will be forwarded to the appropriate Research Council for approval.

Students may be permitted to apply to transfer to continuation status when they can demonstrate that they have 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- or part-time fees. There is however a small administrative fee (£50 per month) for students who are registered on continuation status after four months and who have not yet submitted their thesis for examination. 

Continuation status does not happen automatically. Students must apply to transfer to continuation status through MyPGR, and an application will only be considered if a student is near to submission of the thesis, approximately 4-6 months from submission.  We would normally expect you to have submitted a full first draft of your thesis to your supervisor before they will agree to you transferring to continuation status. Students who have transferred to continuation status will be expected to make minimal use of University resources. If a student needs further supervision during the period of continuation status, the PGR Support team will require them to re-register as full- or part-time and to pay full tuition fees accordingly. There should, however, continue to be contact between student and supervisor, although this contact will be significantly reduced.

 For entrants prior to 2019-20

  • Students should be in a position and be able to demonstrate that they will be able to submit their thesis within 6 months of moving onto continuation status
  • Students will have submitted a full draft of the thesis to their supervisor

 For entrants from 2019-20

  • Students should be ready to transfer to continuation status 3 to 6 months ahead of submission. For part time students this period should be calculated on a pro-rata basis.
  • The supervisory team have received a complete or near complete draft of the thesis.

You should apply to transfer to continuation status via MyPGR, and email a timeline of work completed and work still to complete to the PGR Support team to support your request. No request will be considered without a completion timetable.  The request must be discussed with your supervisor(s), and if supported will then be considered foir approval by the College Director of Postgraduate Research.