7.6 Extensions to time limits

1. Research Degrees students who are Tier 4 Visa holders must consult the University’s Compliance Officer for advice prior to making an extension request.

2. Applications for extensions to the time limits for the submission of theses by research degree students will be considered by the Head of Graduate School. All applications will be considered rigorously to ensure fair and consistent treatment of students across the University. Decisions will be reported to the Research Degrees Committee. Details of the normal deadlines for different postgraduate study schemes are given in the Annex to this document.

3. Extensions should only be requested in exceptional circumstances. It is expected that students and departments will make every effort to avoid seeking extensions. All postgraduate students should be aware of their final deadline and should be working towards it. Staff supervising postgraduate students should stress the importance of meeting the deadline, both for the students themselves, and for the University, which must be able to demonstrate to external bodies that it achieves satisfactory submission rates.

4. With regard to doctoral theses, Research and Funding Councils place particular emphasis on the achievement of satisfactory submission rates. It is essential that PhD projects are developed and planned from the outset with the aim of completing the research within the registration period. Students are likely to enter employment after completing the registration period and thus any work remaining to be completed in the ‘writing up’ period should be limited to what can be achieved within the pressure of employment.

5. It is the responsibility of departments to present to the Head of the Graduate School a full and reasoned case on behalf of students seeking extensions. Applications should be forwarded to AQRO well in advance of the deadline for submission of the thesis to allow time for consideration of the request. Applications should include:

(i) An application form, available online, giving full details of the student and candidature, to be signed by the supervisor, head of department and Institute Director of Postgraduate Studies.
(ii) A letter from the student explaining the reasons for the request.
(iii) A supporting letter from the department confirming that the grounds advanced by the student are genuine and have prevented the submission of the work, and that given the additional time the student will be able to submit work for examination.
(iv) Independent corroborative evidence of problems cited, e.g. medical evidence, evidence from employers.
(v) A statement prepared by the student and supervisor outlining the progress so far and a schedule of work leading to completion within the extension period.
(vi) Where candidates are funded by Research Councils, evidence that, where appropriate, the Council concerned has also approved an extension.

If any of the required material is not provided, the request will be referred back to the department and consideration of the request delayed.

6. It is expected that any significant problems with the student or the research project will be recorded at the time they occur at the relevant Research Monitoring Committee meetings, and appropriate action taken. Longstanding problems of which the Institute has not been made aware should not form the basis of last minute extension requests.

7. Applications can only be made on the following grounds:

(i) Medical grounds. Clear evidence of the problem and its impact on the student’s studies, from a doctor, must be provided.
(ii) Serious domestic difficulties, e.g. divorce/breakup of long-term relationships. Evidence is required, focusing on the impact of the problem on the student’s work.
(iii) Compassionate grounds, e.g. bereavement. Evidence is required, focusing on the impact of the problem on the student’s work.
(iv) Unforeseen research difficulties. The nature of original research is such that students are likely to encounter difficulties which must be overcome. Projects should, however, be devised to allow for successful completion within the deadline in spite of such difficulties. Extensions can only be considered under this heading where significant and unforeseen problems arise which cannot be tackled without extra time being allocated.
(iv) Inordinate professional commitments. It is expected that full-time students in their writing up period will obtain employment, and that part-time candidates will be in employment. Projects should be devised which can be completed despite this. Extension requests under this heading must involve more than the normal pressures of these types of employment and require evidence from the employer.

8. Note that wherever possible students should attempt to submit work for examination within the original deadline. Extensions should be sought where substantial difficulties have prevented students from completing their work on time. It is not intended that extensions should be sought to allow students to improve the standard of their submission in the absence of substantial problems. In such cases, work should be submitted for examination and if not of the required standard, extra time may be allowed by the examiners for resubmission.

9. Normally only one extension will be allowed. Extensions may be sought for any period, but normally will be for six or twelve months. Institutes will need to make the case for an appropriate length of extension. Extensions may also be requested where students are resubmitting theses for examination, and where students cannot meet deadline for corrections to these following the viva.

10. Once the Head of Graduate School has considered an application, AQRO will communicate the outcome to the department and Institute. The department is expected to inform the student. AQRO will also amend the student’s record accordingly and notify the Research Degrees Committee.

11. The Higher Degree Extension - Request Form‌.