Changes in student status | University of Oxford
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Changes in student status

Changes in student status may include suspension, withdrawal, change of programme, lapsing and reinstatement, and early course completion. This page explains what each of these means for you as a graduate student at Oxford.

The information below applies to full-time students. Part-time students should ask their Graduate Studies contact for further advice.

Suspension of status

Suspension of status within the University ‘stops the clock’ for all elements of your degree, including residence, fees and terms for which a particular status may be held.

You can apply for suspension of status for not less than one and not more than three terms at any one time. Graduate research students cannot suspend status for more than six terms throughout their course. Graduate taught students cannot suspend for any longer than the equivalent length of your course: for example not more than three terms if you are on a one year course.

During suspension you will not have formal teaching from the faculty or department including lectures, seminars, classes and labs. Some departments or faculties may offer ad-hoc advice on substantive academic matters at their own discretion.

Applications for suspension of status should be made via your Graduate Studies Assistant (GSA) using the GSO.17 progression form completed by yourself, your supervisor and your college. Medical Sciences students should ensure your form is completed by the Director of Graduate Studies before submitting it to the GSA.

If you are suspending for parental leave see the University policy for student parents for further information.

If you are funded by a research council or charity you may need to make a separate application to the funding body in parallel to that being made to the University. Your funding body’s regulations for suspension of status will not necessarily be the same as those of the University: your supervisor, Director of Graduate Studies, or Graduate Studies Assistant should be able to advise you. 

Access to facilities and services

If you suspend status you can retain your University card and Single Sign On (SSO) access to online resources, including email, and to University libraries, during periods of suspension. If your University card expires while you are on a period of suspension, you should contact your college (or department for non-matriculated students) to request a new card, which will be issued to last until your new expected completion date.

If you are suspended due to non-payment of fees your access to University facilities and services will be withdrawn. You will need to return your University card directly to Student Information at the Examination Schools. See payments and refunds for more information.

The University reserves the right to withdraw access to facilities and services in certain other appropriate circumstances.

Disability Advisory Service

If you have a disability advisor at the Disability Advisory Service, you are welcome to remain in contact with them. However, the services accessed through the Disabled Students Allowance will not be available to you until you return to formal studies. This includes services such as specialist SpLD tuition, specialist mentoring, assistive technology training, proof-reading and library assistance. Disability advisors will be very happy to help you make plans to reinstate and will be able to recommend other support on your return to study.

Counselling Service

You are eligible to continue using the counselling service during the period of your suspension and will be offered the same level of therapeutic support as other students. The Counselling Service offers brief and focused therapeutic interventions. This can be negotiated with the clinician you are working with to work out how best the service can support you. If you need longer or more specialised therapeutic treatment to help you address your psychological difficulties then you will need to be referred to the appropriate NHS medical, psychological or psychiatric services. 

If you are already engaged with the Counselling Service when you suspend you can continue with this counselling until a mutually agreed date. If you are living away from Oxford you can arrange to have on-line counselling support with the Service. 

The Counselling Service can advise you at the time of suspension to assess how you can be supported over the period of suspension. This can help you address such issues as finding appropriate therapeutic or medical support back in your home location. It may also be helpful for you to access or contact the service before you return to your studies to help you re-engage with your academic work and college life.

Council Tax exemption

You will not be eligible for Council Tax exemption from Oxford City Council during the period of your suspension, and other Councils may adopt similar practice. You should notify your Council that your status at the University has changed. If while suspended you find yourself in financial hardship you may be able to apply for a discretionary discount. Further advice for students living in Oxford can be found in the Oxford City Council policy. If you need further advice please contact student.information@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Your student visa

A change in student status can have an impact on your visa and may also affect the visas of any dependants you have in the UK and consequently their eligibility to work here. The Tier 4 compliance office will contact you to discuss the potential impact on your visa. You can also seek their advice before suspending if you wish. 

If you transferred course this can have an impact on your Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance if you had to obtain one for your original course. If you suspended studies and your visa has been cancelled you will need to apply for a new ATAS certificate before making a new visa application. You should seek the advice of Tier4compliance@admin.ox.ac.uk if you are unsure.

Your accommodation

If you are staying in accommodation provided by the Graduate Accommodation Office you should contact the office about whether you can remain in your current accommodation and the implications your suspension may have on entering into a new tenancy agreement.

Withdrawal, lapsing and reinstatement for research students

If you decide to withdraw from your research degree you will need to inform your department using the GSO.29 form.

The timings given below relate to standard full-time research programmes. Consult the subject-specific Examination Regulations for part-time or four-year Doctoral Training Centre research programmes.

Withdrawal process for DPhil students

If you withdraw before 12 terms have elapsed

If you decide to withdraw from your research degree before twelve terms have elapsed you should submit a withdrawal GSO.29 form.

You may apply for reinstatement at a later date with the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your DPhil status lapses because you have not confirmed your DPhil status

If you have not confirmed your status within nine terms of admission to Probationer Research Student (PRS) status (or within nine terms of admission to an MPhil at Oxford for those students admitted directly to DPhil status), or within the permissible additional time granted to you, your status as a research student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

Should you wish to return to your studies at a later date, you can apply for reinstatement provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. In order to reinstate you will also have to complete an assessment equivalent to confirmation. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your DPhil status lapses because you have not submitted your thesis

If you have not submitted your thesis within twelve terms, or within the permissible additional time granted to you, your status as a research student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

You can apply for reinstatement when you are ready to submit your thesis, provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form. Your reinstatement will give you one more term in which to submit. If you do not submit within that term, you will need to apply for an extension of time. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your DPhil status lapses because you have not resubmitted your thesis

If you have not resubmitted your thesis within the permissible time granted to you, your status as a research student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

You can apply for reinstatement when you are ready to resubmit your thesis, incorporating the required corrections, provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

Withdrawal process for MLitt and MSc by Research students

If you withdraw before nine terms have elapsed

If you decide to withdraw from your research course before nine terms have elapsed you should submit a form to withdraw GSO.29 form.

You may apply for reinstatement at a later date with the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement.  The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your status lapses because you have not submitted your thesis

If you have not submitted your thesis within nine terms, or within the permissible additional time granted to you, your status as a research student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

You can apply for reinstatement when you are ready to submit your thesis, provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form. Your reinstatement will give you one more term in which to submit. If you do not submit within that term, you will need to apply for an extension of time. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your status lapses because you have not resubmitted your thesis

If you have not resubmitted your thesis within the permissible time granted to you, your status as a research student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

You can apply for reinstatement when you are ready to resubmit your thesis, incorporating the required corrections, provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

Withdrawal process for PRS Students

If you withdraw before four terms have elapsed

If you decide to withdraw from your research degree before four terms have elapsed, you should submit a withdrawal GSO.29 form.

Should you wish to return to your studies, in most cases you are likely to be required to make a fresh application for graduate study. In exceptional circumstances reinstatement may be considered, with the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

If your PRS status lapses after four terms because you have not transferred status

If you have not transferred to another status (DPhil, MLitt, MSc by Research) within four terms, or within the permissible additional time granted to you, your status as a PRS student of the University will lapse and you will be withdrawn. You will lose access to University facilities and this will have an impact on your student visa.

Should you wish to return to your studies at a later date, in most cases you are likely to be required to make a fresh application for graduate study. In exceptional circumstances reinstatement may be considered, with the support of your former supervisor and college. Where your former supervisor is no longer available, you should contact your department for them to appoint an assessor to check on the appropriateness of reinstatement. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. If you are reinstated, you will be liable for any remaining fees when they become due.

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