Changes to Study
During your time as a research student at the University of Exeter, you may find that changing circumstances mean you need to make changes to aspects of your study.
These pages deal with the different changes you can chose to make including:
- upgrading from an MbyRes or MPhil to a PhD;
- changing your mode of attendance between part time and full time;
- changing your programme of study;
- changing your supervisor;
- interrupting your study;
- extending your study;
- withdrawing from the University
Subject to the approval of your Dean of College, candidates registered for a degree of Master by Research or Master of Philosophy may be allowed to transfer their registration to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and to have all or part of the period of study already completed under the original registration counted towards the period under the new registration.
It is common practice in many of the Colleges of the University to initially allow students to register for the degree of Master of Philosophy or Masters by Research, and then to transfer to the PhD on successful application. Your College will have its own procedures for upgrading; the Statement of Procedures on transferring is accessible from the link below. Requests for transfer should normally be made not later than the sixth term of full-time registration, or the twelfth term of part-time registration. The College will inform you by email that you are eligible to apply for upgrade and a link to the upgrade form will appear in your MYPGR.
Statement of Procedures: Periods of Registration and Changes to Registration Status for Graduate Research Students
Changes between full-time and part-time modes of attendance should be used to assist you if you are unable to devote a full working week to study for good reasons, or to allow you to devote extra time to study if you find yourselves able to.
Applications for changes to mode of attendance (excluding continuation status) should be made on the appropriate form available below. It should be completed in conjunction with your supervisor and College Research Administration Office who will obtain approval from the Dean of College.
The Statement of Procedures on transferring from full-time to part-time status or part-time to full-time status is accessible here. Please download the PGR Research Degree Programme Change Form (inc from FT to PT and PT to FT) here.
If you wish to change the degree you are studying to another offered in the same College you should discuss this with your supervisor or another appropriate member of staff.
If you are thinking about changing to a programme in another College you will need to discuss this with both your current College and the College to which you wish to transfer.
Once you have decided on the new programme you and the College(s) concerned will need to complete a Change of Programme Form.
Please download the PGR Research Degree Programme Change Form (inc from FT to PT and PT to FT) here.
Please note, if you want to change from a postgraduate taught (PGT) Masters degree to a postgraduate research (PGR) Masters degree the Change of Programme Form mentioned above cannot be used. Instead, you must formally withdraw from your original PGT programme of study and re-apply for the new PGR programme through our Admissions office. This is due to the different entry requirements for each programme.
If, for any reason, changes to your nominated supervisor(s) has to be made this must be approved by the Dean of College and done with the full knowledge of yourself, the outgoing supervisor(s) and the incoming supervisor(s) via the appropriate form.
Some Research Councils require notification, in writing, of changes to supervision and you should check with them first. The only exception is for ESRC students where the completed form should be forwarded to the Postgraduate Administration Office.
For supervision of research students please refer to the following Codes of Practice:
Arrangement for the Supervision of Research Degree Students: code of good practice (incorporating Codes of Good Practice for Appointment of Research Degree Supervisors and Continuing Supervision of Research Students)
Please download the Change of Supervisor Form here
An interruption of your studies means a complete cessation of academic work for a specified period. Interruptions are permitted when you are experiencing severe personal or other difficulties which make it impossible for you to continue with your research. You do not pay fees during this period, and the period does not count towards the timeframe for the completion of your degree. Approval for an interruption of study is given by the Dean of College on the recommendation of your supervisor.
The University has a Statement of Procedures for dealing with interruptions to study which can be accessed at the link below. If you are funded by a Research Council, you should be aware that the approval of the Research Council should be sought before seeking the approval of the University.
ESRC: Please note that suspensions can only be considered during the funded period of the studentship. Please contact your College PGR Administrator for advice and more information and refer to the Guidance and information for ESRC-funded students. NOTE: If a student interrupts their registration after their ESRC funding has finished a suspension cannot be considered. In those instances, the DTC must submit a submission date extension request to ESRC for approval.
For other sources of help (such as Wellbeing services and the Student Guild Advice Unit) please contact the the University's Statement of Procedures on interruption is accessible from the link below.
If you feel you would benefit from a period of interruption you should discuss the matter with your Supervisor or Mentor. If they agree that a period of interruption is appropriate you will need to complete the Interruption Form which is found in MYPGR.
Extensions to the maximum period of study are only granted in exceptional circumstances and must be approved by the Dean of Research in your College. If you wish to apply for an extension you may do so by completing the appropriate form which is available to download below or which can be collected from your College. You are required to submit an outline of work completed and a work-plan and schedule for completion of the remaining parts. If your request is approved your College will write to you to confirm the new submission deadline for your thesis/dissertation.
ESRC: All requests for submission date extensions, not associated with changes to the funding end date, must be referred to ESRC. Please contact your College PGR Administrator for advice and more information and refer to the Guidance and information for ESRC-funded students.
The University has a Statement of Procedures on periods of study permitted for research degrees which also covers the process for permitting extensions. This is accessible from the link below.
Please download the Extension Form.
You are permitted to withdraw from your programme of study at any time and for any reason, but any fees or fines that you have outstanding must still be paid.
Once you withdraw from a programme, your registration is terminated, and you cease to be a student of the University. If you are considering withdrawal from study due to adverse personal circumstances you should ensure that you have first considered interrupting your studies instead.
To help the University understand the reasons for your withdrawal, and to formally tell the University about your decision to withdraw, you are asked to complete a form, available by accessing the link below.
Each section of the form should be completed in the order it is listed on the form. If a section is not relevant please enter N/A and continue to the next section until all signatures have been obtained.
If you are an international student, following College approval you must make an appointment with the International Student Support Office to see an International Student Advisor (ISA) for approval. If you are abroad you should email the ISA with details of your withdrawal and the College should obtain the signature on the form on your behalf.
Once all parties have signed the form, the College should write to you and a copy of the form and letter will be sent to the Postgraduate Administration Office to update your record.
The University's Statement of Procedures on the withdrawal of students may be found by accessing the link below:
Please download the PGR Withdrawal Form here.