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 Director of Postgraduate Research Studies. 
 
 

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 Director of Postgraduate Research Studies must submit a recommendation to the Graduate Board’s Programmes and Quality Group 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 Director of Postgraduate Research Studies.  
 
A Director of Postgraduate Research Studies 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:
 
Programme(s) Earliest submission date
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).