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.

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If you are suspended due to non-payment of fees your access to University facilities and services will be withdrawn.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

If you remain registered on your course because you intend to return to studies, you will still be treated as exempt for Council Tax purposes by Oxford City Council. However, other local authorities may consider being suspended means a student does not meet the definition of a full-time student, and therefore you are liable to pay Council Tax. Some authorities will consider the reasons for suspension when deciding liability to pay. 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 before being given leave to supplicate, you will need to inform your department using the GSO.29 form.

Withdrawal process for DPhil students

If you withdraw before 12 terms have elapsed

If you decide to withdraw from your research course before twelve terms have elapsed, and have not submitted your thesis, 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. 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 upon reinstatement.

If your DPhil status lapses after 12 to 18 terms

If you have not submitted after 12 terms, and have not used or been permitted the maximum six terms of extension of time, your status as a research student of the University will lapse. Once your status has lapsed, you will lose access to University facilities and this may 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. 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 your DPhil status lapses after 18 terms

If you have held DPhil status for the maximum 18 terms (12 terms plus six terms for extensions), your status as a research student of the University will lapse. You may apply for reinstatement at a later date provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. This application must be made to your faculty/department/division and to the Education Committee via your Graduate Studies Assistant.

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, and have not submitted your thesis, 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. 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 upon reinstatement.

If your status lapses after nine to 12 terms

If you have not submitted after nine terms, and have not used or been permitted the maximum three terms of extension of time, your status as a research student of the University will lapse. Once your status has lapsed, you will not have access to University facilities during this period.

At a later date, you may apply for reinstatement when you are ready to submit your thesis, provided  you have the support of your former supervisor and college. The application must be made to your department/faculty/division using the GSO.23 form including a work plan and timetable for completion. Your reinstatement will give you one more term in which to submit. If you do not submit within that one term, you must apply for an extension of time.

If your status lapses after 12 terms

If you have held status for the maximum 12 terms (nine terms plus three terms for extensions), your status as a research student of the University will lapse. You may apply for reinstatement at a later date provided you have the support of your former supervisor and college. This application must be made to your department/faculty/division and to the Education Committee via your Graduate Studies Assistant.

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