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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Changes in Your Circumstances

Changes in your circumstances

Special Permissions

During the course of your postgraduate degree, there may be changes in your circumstances that affect your programme. In such circumstances, you should inform us as soon as possible.  In most cases, you will be required to seek formal permission from the School or Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee.

The following matters must be brought to the School/Faculty for approval:

  • Application to interrupt the degree
  • Change of thesis title
  • Change in supervision arrangements
  • Change of mode of attendance
  • Application to submit thesis early
  • Application to extend the deadline for thesis submission
  • Permission to submit the thesis in a language other than English
  • Permission to exceed the prescribed thesis word limit
  • Application to undertake fieldwork/study away from the University

For more information, including how to apply for 'Special Permissions', please refer to the Policy on Circumstances Leading to Changes to Postgraduate Research Study here

Application Process

Application forms for these Special Permissions  are available from the links below:

Sickness and Other Absences



Other Changes

Where appropriate, evidence must be provided to support the application. Depending on the nature of the permission applied for, the decision may be taken by the School PGR Committee or Faculty PGR Committee as appropriate in accordance with relevant University regulations and policies.

The application must be made before the beginning of the proposed change, or if this is not possible, immediately after a situation arises. Retrospective applications will only be considered in the most exceptional circumstances.

The Doctoral Programmes Office will confirm the outcome of the application to you and your supervisory team  when a decision has been made.

Students in receipt of official funding

Funded students must seek advice from the Doctoral Programmes Office or Faculty contact in the first instance to ensure that they comply with the regulations of their funding body (e.g. Research Council).  All such applications will be flagged to Faculty. This will help identify whether Faculty should seek direct advice with the relevant funding body.

ESRC funding guides are available here.

Students in receipt of other funding including School, Faculty, University award (studentship, bursary) or that provided by other external funding bodies must seek advice from the funding provider about relevant rules, regulations and the eligibility to change their study.

Students with immigration permission

Students must make sure that they are in compliance with UKVI requirements before applying for a change to their study. For advice, please see

Student with disability or difficulty

Students may require additional support or adjustments to their studies if they have a disability or long-term difficulty affecting their ability to study. This could be:

  • specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia)
  • mental health difficulties (such as anxiety)
  • medical conditions (such as epilepsy and arthritis)
  • deaf and hard of hearing
  • blind and partially sighted
  • autism/Asperger syndrome etc.

If you think you might benefit from support, you should contact the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) to have an assessment before applying for changes to the programme. DASS can be contacted via