Referral and resubmission for research degrees

If the examiners recommend that your thesis is referred for resubmission, then you'll be required to revise the thesis, which may include further research, and then resubmit it for re-examination.  

Please see the Guide for candidates referred for resubmission on the Policies and procedures page of the SES website for more information on the processes explained on this webpage.    


If the examiners recommend referral for resubmission, you will be required to revise the thesis, which may entail further research or any other activity required by the examiners, and then resubmit this to the University for re-examination. You may be required to attend a second viva. 

Notes for guidance  

Alongside the report on the examination, the examiners are required to prepare ‘Notes for Guidance’ which outlines the changes which are required. The Notes for Guidance will set out the sections or aspects of the thesis which need improvement and information about what work is required to enable you to revise the thesis for resubmission to meet the standard required for award.  

You will not receive your Notes for Guidance directly from your examiners after your viva. The Notes for Guidance must be submitted with the examiners’ report to Doctoral College Operations (DCO) for scrutiny by the Graduate Board’s Progression and Examinations Group. The examiners’ report and Notes for Guidance will be issued to you by DCO after approval by the Group with information describing how to resubmit for re-examination. DCO aim to send you your approved report and Notes for Guidance within a period of six weeks from receipt of the report and Notes for Guidance. This will be uploaded to GRAD and a notification sent to your University email address.  If for any reason it will not be possible to meet this timescale you will be kept informed.  

Supervision during the referral period 

To keep the resubmission on course before the maximum time limit, it is expected that supervisory contact and support will continue during the referral period.  Supervisors are asked to provide up to six supervision meetings a year during the referral period. Whilst the precise nature, pattern and timing of supervisions will vary depending on the stage of the resubmission, and the extent and nature of the work required for resubmission, recommended best practice is that meetings will be held at regular intervals during the referral period (until resubmission) and include at least: 

  • An early meeting (or equivalent), normally within one month of receipt of the examiners’ report and notes for guidance; and 
  • A meeting (or equivalent) around the mid-point of the referral period (eg around nine to 12 month point for doctoral PGRs) if the thesis has not been resubmitted. 

Supervisions should continue to be recorded in GRAD and may take place in a variety of forms (for example in face-to-face meetings when the PGR is in the UK or by other means such as video conferencing where appropriate). For PGRs in the referral period the University appreciates that supervision may take the form of reading and commenting on draft chapters of the thesis prior to resubmission.  PGRs must ensure that they provide their supervisor with re-drafts of work for comment within a reasonable timescale. PGRs should take the advice of their supervisor whether or not to resubmit their work for examination. PGRs are strongly recommended not to resubmit against their supervisor’s advice. However, PGRs are solely responsible for the decision to resubmit their work for resubmission. 

Additional information for PGRs holding a student visa

If you hold a current Student Visa and you wish to remain in the UK during the referral period, DCO will contact your School to establish that there is academic need for you to study at the University. The University can only continue to sponsor you during the referral period if there is a genuine academic need for you to remain in the UK during the referral period to use University facilities. You should be studying full time in the UK and there is an expectation that supervision meetings will take place on campus/in-person. If you do not need to use University facilities in person or could re-draft your thesis from outside the UK, then the University cannot continue to sponsor during the referral period.

If you have an active CAS and don’t need to remain in the UK, your sponsorship will be withdrawn. You will be notified of this once your referral has been confirmed, and you should take advice from the Student Visa Advice team.

If it is confirmed that there is an academic need for you to remain in the UK during the referral period, the School must implement regular supervision meetings and contacts in order to monitor attendance and maintain sponsor duties. In these cases the normal attendance monitoring arrangements must apply (a minimum of 10 supervision meetings a year, with gaps of no more than 8 weeks) with attendance/supervision meetings recorded and attendance and progress monitored as set out in the Attendance and Engagement Monitoring Policy. 

Examination entry 

A minimum of three months before the thesis is resubmitted for examination, you must enter for re-examination by completing the examination entry process. Normally the same team of examiners will act for the resubmission, except in exceptional circumstances.  

  • You will have a ‘task’ in GRAD to complete the examination entry workflow again for your resubmission 
  • The workflow will be automatically populated with the information from your first submission eg your thesis title, ethical review and publication information. You can check this and amend (if necessary) for your resubmission 
  • When you submit the workflow, it will move to your supervisor so they can confirm the team of examiners for your resubmitted thesis. 
  • You can track the process of the workflow via the status box in GRAD 


The referral period begins from the date the Report and Notes for Guidance are issued following approval by the Progression and Examinations Group and the deadline will be included in the GRAD notification from DCO which is sent with your Report and Notes for Guidance. This is the maximum time limit for resubmission and you may resubmit at any point in the referral period, once the amendments have been made and your thesis is ready for resubmission. The thesis must be resubmitted for examination to GRAD. Your resubmission must not be sent directly to your examiners. 

If circumstances arise which may prevent you from resubmitting your thesis by your resubmission deadline you must talk to your Graduate School as soon as possible for advice. Please see the Taking time out from your research page of the For Students website for advice on suspensions and extensions as well as the Policy on Suspensions and Extensions to the correction/referral period on the Policies and Procedures page of the Student Education Service (SES) website

You must upload to GRAD, alongside your resubmitted thesis, a summary of how your revised thesis has responded to changes listed by your examiners in the Notes for Guidance. This will assist the examiners when considering your resubmitted thesis.   

Once your resubmitted thesis is sent for examination, the appropriate fee will be charged. 

Resubmission fee

Once your resubmitted thesis is sent for examination the appropriate re-examination fee will be charged. Student Finance (Fees) will contact you about this. The fee is subject to an increase each academic year and you should contact Student Finance (Fees) at the appropriate time for details of the fee levels beyond the current year. 

Fees for 2023/24:
Doctoral resubmissions (eg PhD, MD, EdD, DClinPsychol, DPaedDent) £555
MPhil resubmission £405
Masters by Research resubmission £325  


The resubmitted thesis is subject to the same process as the first examination, with both the internal and external examiners required to examine the resubmitted thesis. The examiners may hold a second viva if they deem it appropriate. Your examiners will confirm whether or not a second viva is needed after they have considered your resubmitted thesis.  


Please see the Outcome of the viva page on the For Students website for more information about appealing the outcome of your viva.