Duration of study

As a postgraduate researcher, you will be expected to submit your thesis within the standard period of study for your programme.

How long does a postgraduate research degree take?

This table shows you the standard and maximum time periods to complete your research degree. The maximum period of study is the time limit you have for submitting your thesis. 

 Degree Mode of study
Standard period of study  Time limit for submission
 PhD Full-time
3-years* 
4 years

Part-time
5 years
7 years
 Split-site PhD
Split-site (Model A)
3 years
4 years

Split-site (Model B)
3 years
4 years
Split-site (Model C)
5 years
7 years
 Integrated PhD
Full-time
4 years
5 years
 EdD Full-time
3 years
4 years

Part-time 5 years
7 years
 DClinPsychol Full-time
3 years
4 years
 DClinDent Full-time
3 years
4 years

Part-time
5 years
7 years
 DPaedDent Full-time
3 years
4 years

Part-time
5 years
7 years
 DHSC Full-time
3 years
4 years

Part-time 5 years
7 years
 MD Full-time
2 years
3 years

Part-time
3 years
5 years
 MPhil Full-time
2 years
3 years

Part-time
4 years
6 years
 Mastership by Research
Full-time
1 year
1 year

Part-time 2 years
2 years 

*In some specified cases, the standard period of study may be 3-4 years.

Submitting your thesis on time 

Postgraduate researchers are expected to submit their theses by the end of their standard period of study. You should keep in regular contact with your supervisor and let them know:

  • if your project seems to be developing serious academic deficiencies
  • if you are concerned about finishing your project in the required time
  • if you feel you aren’t getting the technical or resources support that you need.
  • Any personal/health difficulties which may have affected your progress

If you ever feel your supervision is inadequate inform your postgraduate research tutor. 

Submitting your thesis early

In some cases you may be able to submit your thesis early, before the end of your standard period of study. Your Postgraduate Research Tutor must submit a recommendation to the Graduate Board’s Programmes of Study and Audit Group (PSAG) for a reduction to your period of study.

If you think you will be in a position to submit your thesis early you must first of all discuss this with your supervisor(s).

Early submission of the thesis can only be made where it is supported by your supervisor(s) and your Postgraduate Research Tutor.  

A Postgraduate Research Tutor can only recommend this if:

(a) the thesis is complete and ready for submission and

(b) has been read by your supervisor in its entirety. Your supervisor must confirm in writing that they have read your thesis and that their view is that it is ready to be examined.

You must, however, take responsibility for the work that you submit. The Graduate Board is clear that no research degree candidate should think that the award of a degree is guaranteed simply because the supervisor has indicated general approval for the thesis before it is submitted. No reduction of the period of study is permitted for the Masters by Research.

There are limits to the length of the reduction that can be approved.  With an approved reduction the earliest dates you can submit your thesis are:

PhD, EdD, DPaedDent, DClinDent, DHSC full-time at the end of 2 calendar years of full-time study
PhD, EdD, DPaedDent, DClinDent, DHSC part-time at the end of 3 calendar years of part-time study

PhD split-site

at the end of 3 calendar years of  study under split-site arrangements
Integrated Degree of PhD & Master at the end of 3 calendar years of full-time study
MD, MPhil full-time
at the end of 1 calendar year of full-time study
MD, MPhil part-time at the end of 2 calendar years of part-time study

Fee refund

If you are funding your studies yourself, you may be eligible for a partial refund of fees if you finish early subject to completion of a successful examination (not applicable to Mastership by Research students).

No refund will be made unless all academic fees have been paid in full for the year/session in which you are submitting, you are successful in your examination and have appeared on a pass list.

The fee refund applies only to those submitting within the standard period of study (if you have had suspended study you will not normally be considered for a refund).