School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

ATAS statements, an explanation

What is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)?

It's a scheme introduced by the UK Government intended to stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The scheme started 1st November 2007.

How does this affect the School?

New overseas (non-EU) postgraduates seeking a research place (PhD or MPhil) must obtain an "ATAS Certificate" before they can apply for their entry visa.

To obtain an ATAS Certificate (from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) they must first obtain an "ATAS Information Sheet" from our Admissions Office (PG section) in Sussex House.

The ATAS Information Sheet contains a description of the intended research project.

Overseas postgraduates already studying at Sussex do not need an ATAS certificate unless they intend to extend their stay (see bottom of page).

So what do we have to do?

The supervisor must supply a description of the intended research project for every overseas PhD/MPhil applicant they wish to offer a place. Send the project description to the Research & Enterprise Coordinator for checking and forwarding to the Admissions Office.

Please note !  Admissions Office will not send an offer letter to the student until they have received the research project outline. Please do not delay supplying a research outline.

A research outline supplied by the applicant cannot be used - it must be supplied by a School member.

The research outline needs to be sufficiently informative and must be a maximum of 200 words.

What if the research needs to change direction?

This statement appears at at the bottom of every ATAS letter produced by our Admissions Office: "Please note that the proposed area of research may change over time. Consequently what is set out above is not a contractual commitment to working in this particular area of research."

Are there any exceptions in our School?

For the Schools of Engineering & Informatics and Mathematical & Physical Sciences, there will be few exceptions. If the intended research is definitely outside one of these academic disciplines, you do not need to supply a research project description.

More information

Some overseas MSc students will need an ATAS statement, but this will be provided automatically by the Admissions Office; no action by the School is required.

Currently-registered non-EU postgraduate and undergraduate students needing to extend their stay (e.g. to progress from BEng to MEng) will need an ATAS Certificate.

UG students should contact the Admissions Office in Sussex House.

PG research students should agree a project description with their supervisor then contact the Research & Enterprise Coordinator.

Further details of the scheme are available on these links:

ATAS information (Foreign & Commonwealth Office website)

UK Visas website (enter ATAS in the search box).