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This section contains information about what you need to do if you need to apply for an extension of time or suspend your status.


When can extensions potentially be granted?

Students working for the DPhil are expected to submit their thesis within three to four years of full-time study, and MSc by Research students within two to three years. If you are prevented ‘by exceptional circumstances’ from completing your research within the maximum period normally allowed by the University (9 terms for MSc by Research, 12 terms for the DPhil), you may apply for an extension of time. The maximum total periods of extension are up to six terms for DPhil and three terms for MSc by Research candidates. Students are only allowed to apply for a maximum of three terms at any one time. However, it is divisional policy to approve an extension of one term only at a time, so that your progress can be kept under close review.

How do I apply for an extension?

If you need an extension of time, you must apply formally using the online form GSO.15. You must give full reasons for your request, and these must also be supported by your supervisor and college. The Director of Graduate Studies will wish to know the present state of your thesis, i.e. how much has been completed and how much remains to be done, and to see a new timetable for completion and the expected submission date for your thesis. Your application must be submitted before the end of your maximum submission date to avoid your status being lapsed (see below). An extension will only be granted if the Director of Graduate Studies is satisfied that you are working actively on your thesis. If this is not the case your status will be allowed to lapse and it will be necessary for you to apply for subsequent reinstatement if you wish to resume work or to submit your thesis. 


When can suspensions potentially be granted?

If for a temporary period, you are unable to pursue your course of study or research, you may apply for suspension of your student status. Relevant circumstances could include illness, accident, domestic crisis or unforeseeable financial difficulty. Alternatively, it might be essential for you to concentrate temporarily on some other project (e.g. gaining some other qualification) which could not reasonably be deferred until after your postgraduate work was completed; or you might wish to take up temporary work which was likely to be important to your future career, and the opportunity for which was unlikely to recur.

How do I apply for a suspension?

Applications must be made using the form GSO.17. You will need to specify the exact term(s) you require suspension for, and must have the support of your supervisor and college. Students are allowed to apply for a maximum of six terms suspension in total. However, you may only apply for a maximum of three terms at any one time.

Students wishing to apply for a suspension of status for Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Leave will need to complete form form GSO.17b.  Please refer to Your Rights and Responsibilities for further information and guidance.

What happens when I return from a suspension?

If you are intending to return from your suspension of status you will need to ensure that you complete the Returning from Suspension of Status form, GSO.17a, prior to your return.     

Failure to return the completed form will delay the reactivation of your student status. The completed form should be returned to the MPLS Graduate Office (

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