Recognised students

Changes to onboarding process in 2023-24


A pilot was held with a number of departments in TT23 to hand over the process and check for any issues. Five Q&A sessions on the changes were then offered over the summer of 2023, and a copy of the slides from the presentation is available to read here

MT23 onwards 

Departments/faculties are now managing the onboarding process from MT2023 onwards. 


Recognised Student status is given to graduate research students who are registered with another university mostly overseas (but could also be in the UK) and have been admitted to undertake research for a minimum of one and a maximum of three terms at Oxford. The status is intended primarily for graduates of some years’ standing who wish to work in Oxford on a specific topic under the guidance of an academic familiar with their chosen area of study.

Recognised Students are not usually affiliated to a college and will not receive a University of Oxford qualification or formal accreditation. There are steps that departments must take in onboarding a Recognised Student and the tabs below explain the process in more detail.



It is recommended that departments allow at least two to three months before students plan to begin their studies for all these steps to be completed, and only invite students during full term:

Before students arrive

  • issue an offer letter to your student with information about start and end date and fees due
  • send a completed card form to the University Card Office with relevant dates
  • ask students how they would like to pay for their fees and ask your department finance contact to create an invoice: fees can be paid via the Online Shop, or by bank transfer

When students arrive

  • enrol the student and check fees have been paid; issue the University card to student
  • obtain a passport/visa copy and update eVision Visa Management with visa details
  • provide a brief induction to Oxford (see induction and support section)
  • where possible enable Recognised Students to join existing DPhil student activities to facilitate a similar social and academic experience

Students need to contact the academic department where they intend to apply and obtain agreement from them, and from a member of the academic staff who is prepared to act as their academic advisor.

Once they have approval they will be required to submit an application form, together with a number of supporting documents available from the Graduate Admissions website. Please note that there is an application fee of £50.


Timescale for admitting a Recognised Student

The application form will be processed by Graduate Admissions and a student number will be made available about a week later. Departments then need to issue an offer letter, arrange for a university card, determine the fees to be set and enrol the student. It is recommended that departments allow around two to three months for this process to be completed before the start of studies. You should also aim to admit students only at the start of an academic term to make the procedure more manageable for the department.

If the student finishes early, you must notify the academic records office and Student Immigration if they held a student visa and other central sections as relevant.

Offer Letter

Offer letter

Template offer letters and card forms for Recognised Students are available in the Graduate Admissions handbook ─ please do make sure the start and end date and terms are clearly set out to the student. If you change the start date or end date at a later stage, you will need to issue a new offer letter.

If the end-term for a Recognised Students’ stay concludes at Trinity term then the end date can be set as either the end of term (TT week 8 i.e. June) or 30 September if the student and supervisor need them to remain here over the long vacation (and if their visa allowance permits). Students are not usually charged for staying over the long vacation as part of their visit. You must inform the card office about the exact start and end date, see section below.

Make sure you quote the correct fees due for the entire period (and for each term) in the offer letter and that if the fees cross over two academic years you have informed the students about any future (inflation rate) increase in the fees and what they will pay for that term.


University card form

You should allow at least one month for this process, especially in the summer which can see delays with new students starting in October. If the student is staying for three terms, you MUST tell the card office the correct end date e.g. week 8 of Trinity term, or 30 September if you want the student to be here over the long vacation.

A card form template specific for Recognised students is available in the Graduate Admissions handbook  and you must ask the student to complete it and return the form directly to you. You will then need to send the form to and cc in the Academic Records Office ( and clearly state the start and end date (see note above about long vacation).

When it is produced, the University card will be sent directly to you and you must check the student has enrolled online, paid fees (or has agreed with you their payment method) and provided a visa/passport copy before you hand them the University card. If you have a large number of Recognised Students you may want to consider arranging appointments.


Student visas

Non-UK students may need a CAS number for a student visa if they are coming for more than 6 months and the process is explained on the academic support website. It is a similar process as for DPhil students and the department/faculty is responsible for issuing the CAS number if required.

In order to apply for a student visa, or visitor visa/permission, Recognised Students must be enrolled on a course (usually PhD equivalent level) in their home country and be coming to the UK to do study towards that course. 

If they are coming for 6 months or less they could come on a visitor visa and will need a visitor for study letter, this is also explained on the academic support website together with template letters you can use for this purpose.

If you are not sure about which visa route would be more appropriate contact: 


Fee payment

Payment of fees

Recognised students pay half the overseas tuition fee and rates can be checked on the University website.These fees are paid in whole to the Department, with none of the fees contributing to central services.

Recognised Students can pay the fees via the University shop or by bank transfer. Your department finance coordinator will need to raise an invoice before any payments are made on the University shop or by bank transfer. If the department wishes to waive the fees, the department finance coordinator can credit a similar amount on the scholarship/bursary account and a debit on the student fees account, to waive the fees for the student, but your department will then not receive any income from the student.

In the offer letter, you must state the fees due for the entire period of their stay, and the termly amounts (see offer stage/letter) and clarify any future increases if the fees cross over two academic years.

Make sure you give your department finance coordinator adequate notice so they can raise an invoice and any payment or invoice information they may need (see below). Some students may have to quote a grant reference number if their home University requires this on the invoice in order to release funding/reimburse.  

Ask the student how they intend to pay the fees

Fees must be paid by the end of the second week of term and can be paid each term, or all in advance for the academic year.

You will need to have all the information necessary to fill in the Accounts Receivable Customer Set-Up Form in order to raise an invoice:  Customer Set-up Form ( You may find several variations to the pattern below so ask the student to provide you as much detail as possible in advance e.g. who is paying fees, grant reference number, invoice address etc.

i. Funded by a grant/scholarship: 

Some students will have a grant/scholarship to cover the fees and this may need to be referenced in the invoice or they may need the invoice addressed to their home university. You will need to let your department finance coordinator know, as they will need to either set-up a new customer account in Oracle Financials or if their home university is paying check if the account already exists. For this you will need the UK VAT number, address and name of the person paying the invoice and a secondary admin. contact if the first person listed is the academic contact. This is so that late payments can be chased as needed.

ii. Self-funded or parents paying the fees: 

As above, although there will be no UK VAT number. The student would be the customer for the set-up in Oracle Financials.

Checking fee payments and chasing delayed payments

Students need to pay the fees within two weeks of starting the term, so check they have received clear instructions about how to make the payment either before, or at the start of the term. Students can be enrolled before they have paid the fees but you should ask your department finance coordinator to chase any late payments during the term, so the income is not lost by the department. This could include running an aged debt report at the beginning of each month on your cost centre code.



Enrolment and Registration

Students complete the first step of Student Registration online via Student Self Service in the same manner as other undergraduate and graduate students. 

As these students do not have a college, the department* will need to enrol them on eVision via 'Student Records- Enrol students- Enrolment' after they have completed online registration and instructions are provided on the registration page.

*For some departments the divisional office will need to do this, check the student has completed online registration before you ask the division i.e. ask the student to confirm or check to see if ‘date verified’ is populated in freshers view in eVision

Before enrolment is completed on eVision

There are a few additional steps departments MUST complete before they enrol a student on eVision.

  1. Right to study check:
    For non-UK (non-Irish) students and those without indefinite leave to remain you MUST get a copy of their passport id page and visa status e.g. visitor visa, student visa, other visa type before they are enrolled. You must store this securely on the department computer drives and you must record the visa type on eVision as explained here.

    This section explains how to check which visa types allow study and how and to manage those on visitor visas (for 6 months or less) coming from the EU or non-EU countries. If you need any further help email 

  2. Check student understands fee payment method and deadline:
    You should check the student has received instructions about how to pay the fees by the end of the second week of term and they have confirmed how they intend to pay e.g. by bank transfer or via the University shop
  3. Check student has verified details online:
    Before enrolling the student check that they have completed the online registration form, this will appear as a recent date in the  ‘date verified’ field in the Student Records- Enrolment section of eVision or is also shown as 'date verified' in the freshers view on eVision..

Once you have checked these steps above you can enrol the student (see instructions here) and hand over the University card. At this point, we would also recommend you give the student a short induction to Oxford (see induction and support tab).

Induction and support


Induction and support

Departments should ensure that students are integrated with other DPhil or graduate students in the department and that they receive a broadly similar social and academic experience as DPhil students. e.g. invite them to any department social or academic events and any training opportunities.

On course support

As students do not usually have a college, they may require some additional support from the department during their stay in Oxford. This could include stamping and signing enrolment certificates to open a bank account, as proof of enrolment to their funder etc.


End-date extensions and early finishes

If a student's end-date requires extending (and you approve of the extension, and their visa permits the extra length), the department must contact the Academic Records Office to arrange the new end-date and then, once the end-date has been adjusted, contact the Card Office to ask them to produce a new card for the student that displays the new end-date. If the extension would take the student beyond the usual enrolment limit of three academic terms, you will need to obtain approval from Education Committee before asking the Academic Records Office to extend the end-date and, if their present visa doesn't cover the desired extension period, check if it is possible to extend their visa in the UK or not.

If the student finishes early, you must notify the Academic Records Office and Student Immigration if they held a student visa and other central sections as relevant.