Doctoral School

News from the Research Student Administration Office

The following changes to regulations for research students have been approved by Doctoral Studies Committee and Doctoral School Board. The changes will be introduced from the start of the 2016-7 academic year and will apply to all research students. The Handbook and Regulations for Doctoral Researchers will be updated over the summer to reflect the new regulations and will be available from the Research Student Administration Office website here:

Change to pre-submission status

From the start of the 2016-17 academic year, you will be able to transfer to pre-submission status in periods of quarters (3 months at a time), up to a maximum of one year. In order for the transfer to be approved, you will need to demonstrate that you have completed your data collection and the majority of the analysis, and/or that you have produced a well-worked first draft of your thesis. You will also need to provide a detailed timetable to submission which must be approved by the Director of Doctoral Studies in your School. A transfer to pre-submission status is not normally approved until the completion of three years of full time study (or four years part time).

The tuition fee per quarter will be £125, or £500 for the whole year. For this fee, you will continue to receive the same level of supervision as full time or part time students and you also will receive the same access to University facilities such as the Library. Students on pre-submission status may not work in laboratories or similar facilities and must remain registered full time or part time if additional experimental work is required.

The Research Student Administration Office will be updating the pre-submission form for use from September 2016 so that you can choose how much time you feel you will need to finish writing up your thesis. If you are not applying for the full year, your supervisors will need to agree that your timetable to submission is realistic. However you can apply again if you find need more time, up to a maximum of year.

**Previously, students were entitled to one year of pre-submission status (formerly known as ‘continuation status’) for a set tuition fee of £250. This fee did not entitle students to close or regular supervision and only allowed them limited access to University services and facilities.

Change to extensions

From the start of the 2016-17 academic year, you will be able to apply for extensions in periods of quarters (3 months at a time) as before but you will need to pay a fee of £125 for your first extension in addition to the tuition fee. The maximum periods of registration for PhD students are 4 years (full time) and 6 years (part time). For MPhil students, the maximum periods are 3 years (full time) and 4 years (part time). Extensions are approved in exceptional circumstances but you should make every effort to submit your thesis on time and should speak to your supervisors or Director of Doctoral Studies if you are experiencing difficulties or need advice. You may find that you need a period of intermission, or a break from your research, rather than applying for an extension. You may intermit for a maximum of one year during the course of your degree.

Change to final submission of thesis

From the start of the 2016-17 academic year, you will no longer be required to submit a hard bound copy of your thesis following the viva but you will still need to submit an electronic copy as usual. Since August 2011, all research students have been required to submit a pdf copy of their final thesis for upload to the institutional repository, Sussex Research Online, where it is available for download in accordance with the University’s Open Access policies: Until now, we have also required a hard copy of the thesis which has been presented to the main supervisor and failure to submit the hard copy or the pdf has resulted in withholding the degree. From the autumn term, you will need to submit the pdf of your final thesis within one month of the examination outcome but you will no longer need to print and bind a hard copy of your thesis as well.

Remember that you may request for a temporary embargo to be placed on your thesis so that only the metadata (your name, the thesis title and abstract) will appear online until the embargo is lifted. Reasons for requesting an embargo may include a plan for publication of your thesis, a patent application or the inclusion of copyrighted material. Please see the thesis embargo form for more information: 

If you have any questions about the above changes or about any aspect of the research degree process please get in touch with the Research Student Administration Office by emailing 

Please note that for any changes in registration status (including a transfer to pre-submission status or an extension) that take effect before the start of the autumn term 2016, the old fees and regulations will apply. A student transferring to pre-submission status or requesting an extension to begin on or after the start of term in September 2016 will fall under the new fee regime.

Doctoral School