Postgraduate Research Student Parents and Carers

Below is a list of support available to PGRs if they are a parent and/or a carer. 

If you have concerns about your ability to study due to childcare or caring responsibilities you should speak to your Supervisor and your Pastoral Tutor in the first instance. Depending on whether this is a short term or ongoing situation, all PGR students are entitled to annual leave which could be used to take time out for emergencies. Further information on longer term adjustments such as extensions to study, changes to mode of attendance or interruption can be obtained from your relevant PGR support team.

We appreciate that you may have additional costs related to being a carer. Students with children or adult dependants you may qualify for extra financial help. The Success for All fund is also available to students who are experiencing unexpected financial challenges during their programme of study. The Success for All fund is also available to students who are experiencing unexpected financial challenges during their programme of study.

For research students who are also members of staff at the University, the Staff Parents and Carers pages provide details of staff policies and sources of support.

You are encouraged to seek confidential help and guidance via the Wellbeing Support services which will help you to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

The University of Exeter Parents and Carers Networks are supported by the Parents and Carers Network Committee, chaired by VCEG Champion for Parents and Carers, Professor Dan Charman. They are open to all staff and postgraduate students.  

The University Welfare team also run monthly online coffee mornings for current student carers. Please contact carers@exeter.ac.uk for more information.

The International Student Support team offer additional advice and guidance for students with families arriving at the University. This includes visa requirements, planning childcare and English language support.

The Students’ Guild and SU Advice Units provide support and guidance for student parents and carers whether you are a home or an overseas student.

Student Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Policy, specifically Annex C regarding the policy for funded postgraduate research students. Annex A provides details of the Pregnancy and Maternity Support Plan which should detail support arrangements when returning from maternity leave.

The first two weeks from the date of childbirth are classed as compulsory maternity leave and students cannot return during this period.

Students wishing to return to study earlier than had been agreed as part of the application for Interruption (for maternity, adoption and shared parental leave) must advise their Lead Supervisor and the PGR Support team in writing, giving at least 10 days’ notice of the intended date of return. If the return to study is approved, the relevant PGR Support team will amend the duration of the interruption period and thesis submission deadline.

Students wishing to return to their studies later than had previously been agreed should discuss this with their Lead Supervisor and are required to submit a further request for a period of interruption to studies (subject to the requirements with regard to interruptions set out in the procedures), and if necessary seek advice from their relevant PGR Support team.


Students who have been studying full-time and wish to return to their studies on a part-time basis following their period of maternity leave should refer to the requirements with regard to changes to mode of attendance set out in the procedure, and if necessary seek advice from their relevant PGR Support team.


Students must check with their funder or sponsor whether there are any conditions which limit change of study mode. International students must speak to the Immigration Compliance team before submitting a request to change to part-time study to investigate any visa implications.

Lead Supervisors should meet with students returning from maternity, adoption or shared paternity leave to discuss any additional support needs in order for them to progress with their programme of study, ensuring that they signpost students to the appropriate University of Exeter student support service.

If you would like more information, require support, or have any questions regarding how the university can support you, either before you apply or at any stage of your course, we recommend that you get in touch by completing the online form. After completing this form, you will have the opportunity to meet and discuss any support needs you may have, be offered advice, and can be signposted to relevant University staff.

Jess Prince (Exeter)- Student Support Welfare Caseworker

Alex Lewis (Penryn)- Education Support Manager