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Check coronavirus information for postgraduate researchers to see changes to policy and procedure due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

If unexpected circumstances are affecting your ability to work, you may be permitted to extend your progression or confirmation of enrolment (whichever is relevant) deadline, or your submission deadline (this includes your original submission deadline, deadline for re-submitting your thesis where you receive a revise and resubmit outcome at the first attempt, or your corrections deadline). Full details of permissible circumstances can be found in the Policy on Research Degrees.

There is no guarantee that you will be able to extend your programme, especially if the unexpected circumstances could have been remedied with a Leave of Absence at an earlier stage.

Extensions to progression or confirmation of enrolment are normally limited to a maximum of two months. In exceptionally compelling circumstances, a longer extension of up to four months may be granted. Extensions can normally only be sought within two months of your existing progression or confirmation of enrolment deadline.

Extensions to submission are normally limited to a maximum of six months. In exceptionally compelling circumstances, a longer extension of up to one year may be granted. An extension to submission request will not be considered until you are within three months of your submission deadline.

Multiple extensions exceeding a total period of two years will not normally be granted.

Applying for an extension

Applications for extensions should be made before your current progression, confirmation of enrolment or submission deadline.

If you need to apply for an extension to a progression, confirmation of enrolment or submission deadline, you should speak to your supervisor. If you decide an extension is appropriate, you should agree a proposed extension date. This date should be justified by the circumstances and approved by your departmental Graduate Chair.

You should then complete a Recommendation for Extension of Progression/Confirmation/Submission form, as appropriate. The forms ask you to provide:

  • a detailed account of the present state of the thesis or dissertation (submission only)
  • detailed reasons for completion being delayed
  • a detailed timetable for the completion of outstanding work agreed with the supervisor (submission only)
  • the proposed extended progression, confirmation or submission date agreed with the supervisor
  • supporting evidence (see below); your request will not be considered without this.

You may need the agreement of your funding body before an extension request can be approved.

The completed form should be emailed to This email should come from the Chair of your Graduate School Board or Board of Studies.


Supporting information

You must provide supporting evidence with your extension request. You should submit copies of any evidence along with the extension of submission form.

Evidence may include:

  • A medical certificate or doctor’s or counsellor’s letter detailing your medical circumstances. This should include the duration and expected duration.
  • A medical certificate or doctor’s or counsellor’s letter detailing a dependant's medical circumstances.
  • A death certificate or other dated evidence of bereavement.
  • Confirmation of maternity (MAT B1 form).
  • A letter from an employer giving details of exceptional or unexpected employment commitments.

Sensitive Information

Whilst it is encouraged that students share as much as they can with their department wherever possible, sometimes a student will not want to make their particular personal circumstances known to their department.

If this is the case then the student should submit their request in the normal way (i.e. submitting the form to their supervisor for approval and then the departmental Graduate Chair for departmental approval) but declare in their statement that they have submitted a separate statement and evidence directly to the Special Cases Officer in Research Student Administration.

Sensitive information should be sent directly via email to

What next?

Your request will be reviewed by the Special Cases Committee. The Committee may:

  • Grant an extension outright;
  • Grant an extension shorter than requested;
  • Grant an extension with no possibility of further extension;
  • Grant an extension subject to special conditions;
  • Reject an extension outright.

Research Student Administration will inform you of the Committee's decision via e-mail. This will confirm your new progression, confirmation of enrolment or submission date. This will also define any conditions attached to the extension, and detail any fees payable.

Computing and library access

For extensions to submission, you will have access to computing and library facilities for the period of the extension. Your access will end after your thesis has been submitted for examination.


Depending on your circumstances, you may have to pay a continuation fee following an extension to submission. You will be advised of this when your extension is confirmed.