Postgraduate Matters

There are a range of issues which may affect you as a research postgraduate student. This page addresses some of the most common, however it is not exhaustive; as such you may wish to contact a Students’ Union Education Adviser to discuss further.

Supervision Problems

There are a number of reasons why your supervision arrangements may change during your period of study. If, however, you consider a change of supervisor to be necessary, perhaps due to a breakdown in the working relationship, you are asked to address these concerns with the supervisor(s) in the first instance in a hope of resolving the matter. If this is unsuccessful or you consider it to be inappropriate, you should consult the School’s ‘Postgraduate Student Adviser’ or Students’ Union Education Adviser who can support you further.

Postgraduate Student Adviser

Each School has a dedicated member of staff in place to advise students on a range of issues particular to research degrees. They are known as the Postgraduate Student Adviser; if you are unsure of who this is you should contact your nearest Student Service Centre to confirm.
The Postgraduate Student Adviser will deal with your concerns relating to your study or supervisor in a confidential manner. It is their role to provide support where the supervision relationship has broken down, this may include mediating with your supervisor. They will also advise the Head of School on an appropriate way forward, which may lead to the appointment of a new supervisor.

Extension to Thesis Pending Period

Only doctoral and Master of Philosophy students are entitled to a thesis pending period. However MRes, MSc and MA by Research students should use the process detailed below if they need to apply for an extension to their submission deadline.

 If for some reason you are unable to meet the thesis deadline, you should inform your supervisor at the earliest opportunity as you will need your School’s support in requesting an extension. Extension requests should be made to Student Services on the requisite form no less than three months prior to the end of the thesis pending period. All applications should include a plan detailing:

  • Which thesis chapters are complete.
  • What work remains to be done on incomplete chapters.
  • A time-line for the completion of outstanding work and a date for submission of the completed thesis.

The reason for the extension needs to be proven with appropriate evidence. Guidance on the types of acceptable circumstance can be found on the form; however typical examples include injury or maternity/paternity. Importantly the extenuating circumstances must have affected the thesis pending period, and not the period of registered study.
If your request is successful you will be liable for a fee of £160.


Doctoral and Master of Philosophy students are subject to review annually. If the outcome of this review is that you cannot progress to the next stage of the course or a lower award is recommended, you may wish to challenge this decision through the Academic Appeals procedure. For more information please see the Academic Appeals section of our website.

Useful Links

Change of Supervisor

Postgraduate Student Adviser

Complaints and Academic Appeals

The Thesis Pending period (including link to ‘Request for an Extension to the Thesis-Pending Period’ form

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