Accessibility statement

Programme extension - Undergraduates and Postgraduate Taught



A programme extension can be recommended where a student cannot complete the programme within the normal timescale (by their enrolment end-date), and there is no teaching outstanding. The total period of extension that may normally be approved for a taught student is a maximum of two years

Students DO NOT require an extension where the submission deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday or during the Examinations Office’s closed period over the Christmas vacation, submission will be accepted on the next working day after the deadline. For example if the submission deadline was 31 December 2021, the student would be expected to submit the next working day for submission, which was 04 January 2022.

If you are considering requesting an extension of submission deadline, you should submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim following the procedures in place for this in your department.

Extensions beyond the completion date for taught students are granted only in exceptional circumstances. This is where the student’s work has been hampered by documented medical, personal, or unexpected academic circumstances or exceptional circumstances arising from employment. The magnitude of the research task, or failure on the part of the candidate to perceive or act upon the magnitude of the research task, is NOT a sufficient reason for an extension. If a student wishes to apply for an extension of submission, they must apply in advance for permission to do so.

If your undergraduate and taught Masters dissertations and capstone project was referred for revision and resubmission, you can also apply for extension of resubmission using the same guidelines.

As far as possible, you should submit an exceptional circumstances form (with evidence) before the submission deadline, as the extension may not always be approved. 



Use of the Library

During the period of the extension you may borrow books, use the Library for reference and access Library online resources all free of charge. 

Student visas

If you are an international student and you wish to take an extension of submission, you are advised to consult with an Immigration Adviser before taking this step.

The University is required to report any change in enrolment for an international student to UK Visas and Immigration within 10 days of the start date of the leave of absence.

For more information see the Immigration Advice Service website.


You are responsible to inform the University when requesting an extension of submission if you receive funding from an external source: research council studentships, foreign loans, sponsors, scholarships, charities, etc. It is your responsibility to ensure that the proposed extension is compatible with the regulations of any granting agency and that such agencies are informed of the proposed extension.

Funding is normally only provided for the period originally indicated to you at the beginning of your award. You will not normally receive additional funding for your extension period.

Foreign loans

Students on student loan programs should clarify the consequences that an extension of enrolment might have on their repayment status.

US loans

For further information please see the Student Financial Support Website.

Externally funded scholarships (eg Research councils studentships)

If your studies are supported by an external funder (eg Research Council), you should speak to your department/supervisor and check the specific terms and conditions of your external funding before requesting a formal extension of enrolment since there may be implications to your studentship.

In general, if you are in writing up status you can apply for an extension to the submission date of your thesis for reasons such as maternity, illness or other exceptional personal circumstances, but your request may need to be approved by the external funding body (eg Research Councils)  as an individual case. Most external funding bodies (eg Research Councils) WILL NOT consider a request to extend the submission deadline for a student on the grounds that they have taken up employment.

Retrospective extension requests and extensions requests related to previous difficulties will not be considered by Research Councils.

External Funding bodies (eg Research Councils) will only fund you for the period originally indicated to you at the beginning of your award. You will not receive additional funding for your extension period.

For more information please see your external funder’s website.

Library Access

Where an extension of submission deadline is approved, access to computing and library facilities will be provided for the period of the extension. Access to computing and library facilities will end after the extension period is over.

Council tax

If you are considered a full-time student, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to claim Council Tax Exemption.

Part-time students are not exempt from Council Tax, either during or after their period of part-time enrolment.

For more information please see the Council Tax website.


Approval criteria

Programme extensions of up to 12 months beyond the student’s original programme end date can be approved by Boards of Studies.

Programme extensions of more than 12 months beyond the student’s original programme end require Special Cases approval.

When counting the length of a programme extension, academic departments should count from the original programme end date. If a student has taken leave of absence and returned to study, the programme end date approved after that leave of absence should be taken as the "original" programme end date for the purposes of this process.

The total length of cumulative extensions should be measured - a student who has had a series of short extensions will only need Special Cases approval once the total of those extensions exceeds 12 months.

Exceptional Circumstances Committees may refer, via the Board of Studies, any extension cases to Special Cases that would not ordinarily need Special Cases approval, but which they have concerns about. They are normally expected to have taken a provision decision on these, however, even if the decision has not been communicated to the student at the point that they approach Special Cases. 


How to apply

All programme extension requests must come about as a result of either:

  1. A student submitting an exceptional circumstances claim which is then upheld and the remedy for the claim includes a submission deadline extension which goes beyond the student’s current programme end date;
  2. As an adjustment approved by a Student Support Plan, a departmental disability officer approves a submission deadline extension which goes beyond a student’s current programme end date; or
  3. Marginal fails in line with University policies.

Any exceptions to this require Special Cases approval. 

Students should usually submit any extension requests to the Exceptional Circumstances Affecting Assessment (ECA) Committee by completing an Exceptional Circumstances claim form. These claims must be evidenced, in line with the relevant Exceptional Circumstances Policy. 

Students are not required to complete programme extension paperwork. This should be completed by their academic department. 

Who to contact

For academic progress issues you should talk to your supervisor.

You may also find the following contacts helpful:

  • Student Welfare Advisor
  • Student Support Office
  • Student Financial Support
  • Immigration Advice Service
  • International Student Support

See our  page for further details.