Residing outside the University limits

The University's residency requirements apply to all full-time students. This usually means that students are required to live both within a certain distance from the University (called limits in the regulations) and for a set period of time during their studies (called terms in the regulations). There are some normal limits and terms which are set by the Regulation for Residence in the University, however, some courses have a different number of terms as a minimum which will be set out in their Examination Regulations. Residence limits do not apply to students on part-time courses, or to students carrying out approved study abroad, or to D.Phil. students who have permission to work away from Oxford.


Undergraduates

In general undergraduate students must

  • Limits: reside within 6 miles of Carfax Tower. However if a student holds the status of Senior Student (please see Regulation for Senior Student Status), or has already satisfied the examiners in a Second Public Examination, or resides in the home of a parent or guardian, they can reside within 25 miles of Carfax Tower.
  • Terms: be in residence for at least six weeks of each term of their course. Some courses have a different number of terms as a minimum which is set out in the relevant Examination Regulations. If this is not prescribed in the relevant course’s regulations the standard terms as set out in Regulation for Residence in the University will be applicable. 

Postgraduate taught students

In general, postgraduate taught students must

  • Limits: reside within 25 miles of Carfax Tower, unless given special permission to work away from Oxford for a period of time (typically agreed and approved by the department).
  • Terms: be in residence for at least six weeks of each term of their course.  Some courses have a different number of terms as a minimum which is set out in the course’s Examination Regulations. If this is not prescribed in the relevant course’s regulations, the standard terms as set out in Regulation for Residence in the University will be applicable.

Probationer Research Student

Most PGR students are first admitted as a Probationer Research Student, unless they are admitted directly to DPhil status having successfully completed an MPhil and are pursuing research in the same field as their MPhil thesis. The General Regulations Governing Research Degrees include the expectation that Probationer Research Students (PRS) are physically studying at Oxford. However, the regulations allow boards to approve a student being resident elsewhere whilst studying. COVID-19 related reasons are acceptable grounds for boards to grant a PRS student permission not to be resident in Oxford while they hold this status. To apply for such a dispensation, new students will need to complete a GSO.8 Application for Dispensation from Residence form, existing students will need to apply using the online GSO.8 form available via Student Self-Service.

Postgraduate research students

Residency requirements for postgraduate research students (PGR) are more flexible than those for post graduate taught students. In general, PGR students must:

  • Limits: reside within 25 miles of Carfax Tower, unless given special permission to work away from Oxford for a period of time (typically agreed and approved by the department).
  • Terms: be in residence for at least 6 weeks for 6 terms over the duration of the programme for full-time students if they have no prior study at Oxford, or 6 weeks for 3 terms if the student has successfully completed a Masters at Oxford. The terms do not need to be consecutive. Students applying for an MSc by Research should discuss residence requirements with their department in the first instance as the requirements are different from those for the DPhil.

The DPhil regulations allow boards to approve a student’s residence elsewhere for educational reasons whilst studying. For the 2020/21 academic year COVID-19 related reasons constitute acceptable grounds for boards to grant a student permission not to reside in Oxford. If students are unable to return to Oxford and cannot fulfil the residency requirement in their time remaining on course, and if this application for dispensation from the residence requirements is for educational reasons, they should apply using the online form available via Student Self-Service. If the application is for pastoral reasons they should apply for dispensation from residency from the Proctors (application process below).

Any application for dispensation from residence should first be discussed with the supervisor and/or DGS in order to determine what progress the student can reasonably make on their DPhil outside Oxford. Options such as suspension or extension could also be explored, if appropriate

Students requesting to live outside University residence limits

The Proctors may excuse a student from residing within the specified limits, if there are good reasons why this is not possible. Students should discuss this first with their College, or with their department if they have no college, as they will need support from both the College (where applicable) and department for the Proctors to consider approving a request.

For postgraduate research students only, a distinction needs to be made between students who are not able to study in-person in Oxford for COVID-19 related reasons, and those who are not able to study in-person in Oxford for other reasons. Students in the former category should apply to the relevant board as described in the section above whilst students in the latter category should apply to the Proctor’s Office using the dispensation form below. Students who require dispensation to live a greater distance than 25 miles away from Carfax Tower, but who commute into Oxford, should read the section on living outside University residence limits and apply to the Proctor’s Office using the dispensation form below.

residency limits application form should be submitted to the Proctors’ Office, detailing the support for the request from both the College (where applicable) and department, along with any supporting evidence. 

Additional advice for the Covid-19 pandemic

The University’s expectation is that most students will be in residence for each term of the 2020/21 academic year, and that residency dispensation will only be requested if there has been a significant change in circumstances which prevents a student from attending university and living in Oxford as expected. Nevertheless, it is recognised that there is a need to consider individual student circumstances in a sensitive and supportive manner. Additional advice has therefore been provided on how applications to reside outside the University limits will be managed during the pandemic.

The Proctors will consider applications on the additional grounds of: 

  • Inability to travel because of government travel restrictions
  • Declared disability, including a mental health condition that can be defined as a disability
  • Health grounds, including vulnerability or increased susceptibility to infectious diseases

Applications on the following grounds will not normally be considered:

  • Changes to the mode of teaching and assessment introduced by the University in response to the pandemic
  • Quarantine requirements, social distancing or other arrangements put in place in response to Public Health England requirements
  • Financial difficulties

For more information on these matters please visit the Coronavirus (Covid-19): advice and support for students webpages.

The Proctors will not need to see evidence for any application associated with Covid-19.

There may be some wider implications that need to be agreed before an application is formally made. For example, colleges may not have accommodation available for students who have not been in residence in Michaelmas term.

 


 

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Proctors' Office 
University Offices 
Wellington Square 
Oxford 
OX1 2JD
proctors.office@proctors.ox.ac.uk