Postgraduate taught courses: requirements for study

Minimum residence periods

Work and residence towards an award is calculated from the term of matriculation. There are minimum residence periods which must be met before an award can be made, which are set out in the general regulations for each award.

Graduate students on a full-time course must reside within 25 miles of Carfax for a minimum of six weeks in the 8 week period of Full Term for that term to count towards the required minimum residence period. Information provided for graduate applicants should make clear that while the formal residence requirement for a course is calculated according to the eight weeks of Full Term, graduate students may expect to have commitments within their course outside those periods. Courses may last from nine to twenty-four months, and the expectations relating to residence requirements, duration and likely commitments outside Full Term should be made clear in any preliminary information.

Dispensations from residence

Apart from those postgraduate taught courses which may be taken by means of part-time study, students studying for a postgraduate taught course are expected to meet the residence requirement for the duration of the course. Therefore dispensation from minimum residence  periods does not normally apply. However, the Proctors may authorise a student to reside beyond the residency limit of 25 miles and still fulfil the requirement if there are special circumstances which appear to justify the authorisation. Applications must be made in writing via the student’s college. 

The regulations governing each award set out the maximum number of terms or months for which a student may hold the status of student for the award.

Suspension of status

If a student cannot work for a particular reason, e.g. illness, family circumstances, financial hardship, application for suspension of status can be sought, for not less than one and not more than three terms (or equivalent number of months where appropriate) at any one time, using the relevant form. Students should be encouraged to contact the relevant University service (Counselling Service, Disability Advisory Service, etc) for help and advice if they have not already done so, before applying for suspension. Such applications will also be considered in connection with election to a student sabbatical office within the University. The general regulations governing postgraduate taught courses set out the maximum number of terms of suspension in total a responsible body may permit. Requests for any further period of suspension must be addressed to Education Committee.

Parental leave 

Students who give birth during their period of registration for a postgraduate taught course may choose to suspend their status, normally for not less than one year, before recommencing their studies. Where possible the leave period should be timed to take account of the academic requirements of the course (e.g. project work), and should commence at the end of, rather than part-way through, a term. Maternity leave will be taken under current college arrangements for suspension of study (where applicable). Students should also submit an application for suspension of status (GSO.17b). The full policy on parental leave (including paternity and adoption leave) is available from

Lapsing of status and reinstatement

If a student fails to meet the requirements laid down in the regulations governing the award, including within the maximum terms or months for completion, his/ her status as a graduate student will lapse and his/ her enrolment should be withdrawn on the student record system. Once a student’s status has lapsed, he/ she is no longer registered as a student of the University and should not have access to University facilities.

A student who has withdrawn or who has been withdrawn may apply to the appropriate responsible body for reinstatement to his or her former status on the Register within two years of his or her status ceasing using the relevant form. Reinstatement requires the support of the student’s college (to ensure the student remains in good standing with his or her college) and former supervisor (if applicable). No reinstatement may be granted under these provisions if the student has held the relevant status for the maximum number of terms allowed under the regulations governing that status.

Concurrent enrolment

Full-time students may not normally be concurrently enrolled on another award-bearing programme at this or another university.

Full-time taught postgraduate students should generally regard their studies as a full-time occupation of at least 40 hours per week during term-time, and should normally be available for academic commitments during core working hours (i.e. 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays).

The University recognises that some graduate students will want to undertake a limited amount of paid work during their studies to support themselves financially. The University has developed paid work guidelines for graduate students which aim to ensure that any paid work undertaken does not adversely affect students’ success in their studies or their ability to  complete their course on time.

In cases where requests from students are outside the normal limits governing graduate students, application must be made to Education
Committee. These normally relate to:

  • suspensions of status beyond the normal limits
  • permission to be examined under old regulations following a return from suspension
  • extensions to the deadlines for submission of submitted coursework which extend into the next academic year (extensions within the current academic year are submitted to the Proctors)

Applications for these matters must be accompanied by a statement from the student’s college (matriculated students) and department.

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