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Postgraduate Research Handbook

Other Changes

In exceptional circumstances, you may be given approval to make changes to your programme of study or submit your thesis under specifically agreed amendments to the usual regulations. 

Any request to make the following changes to your programme must be submitted on the Special Permissions Application Form and be submitted in a timely manner.  All requests should have the support of your supervisory team and provide evidence/reasons for the change requested.  For further information and advice, you should contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator.

Word Limit Extensions

You may apply to extend the word limit for your thesis from 80,000 words (PhD/DBA Traditional Format Thesis), 90,000 words (PhD/DBA Journal Format Thesis), or from 50,000 words (MPhil).  The word count covers the main text of your thesis, including tables, endnotes and footnotes.  Your application must provide compelling academic justification for your request.

Approval Process

All Word Limit Extension applications will be considered by the School in the first instance. Applications up to 10% of the word limit can be approved at School level by the PGR Director.  However, if applications are for above the 10% limit, the application will be sent to Faculty for approval.

You must justify your application in detail with the support of your supervisory team and should submit your request no less than 6 weeks prior to submission. Your application will be reviewed in the first instance by the School PGR Director.  If your application requires Faculty approval, the Deputy Associate Dean for PGR will endeavour to make a decision on the case and communicate to the Doctoral Programmes Office within 10 days of receiving the completed request.

Early Submission of Thesis

You may apply to submit early (i.e. reduce the period of your degree). You may submit no earlier than 3 months before the end of the registration period (3 years). However, you will be required to pay fees for the whole period of registration (i.e. 3 years or part-time equivalent).

For students receiving funding administered/funded by the University of Manchester, please note that funding terminates at the point of thesis submission. Students receiving funding from external bodies should refer to their funder.

Change of Thesis Title

Any change in the thesis title confirmed following your 1st Year Review must be approved by the School PGR Committee via the Special Permission process. Normally, titles are further defined as the writing of the thesis nears completion.  You should finalise the thesis title in consultation with the supervisor and request Special Permission for the change to your title before completing the Notice of Submission form.

Change in Supervisory Arrangements

While it is expected that you will work with your supervisors throughout your period of registration, there will be occasions when a change of supervision becomes necessary, e.g. when the original supervisor leaves the University, temporarily or permanently, or where your research topic changes significantly. In such circumstances, another supervisor(s) will be allocated to you, and the change approved by the School PGR Committee.  If your topic of research has changed substantially and you require changes to your supervisory team, you should ensure your new title has been approved prior to requesting to change supervisors. Changes to supervision arrangements initiated by the student for other reasons will not normally be approved.

Change in Mode of Attendance

If you have a change in circumstances that requires you to temporarily or permanently consider changing your mode of attendance from full time to part time, or vice versa, you should discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance.  If you then decide to proceed with a change in mode of attendance for your programme, please contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator for information on the process.  Note: It is not expected that the mode of attendance would be changed more than twice in a programme at the most.


If you are found to have been deceitful or dishonest in certifying illness or any other special circumstances, you may be liable to disciplinary action under the University’s General Regulation XVII: Conduct and Discipline of Students.


A withdrawal is defined as the complete and total cessation of all studying from the programme. If you want to withdraw from the programme, for whatever reason, please discuss this with your supervisor first.  If you then decide to proceed with a withdrawal from the programme, please contact your Doctoral Programmes Administrator for information on the withdrawal process.

Tuition fees are charged on a daily basis up to and including the last date of attendance on the degree. If a refund is required, it must be requested in writing to the Student Services Centre. Refunds will not be made unless the School has issued an official last date of attendance.