Changes to research degree arrangements

The Changes to research degree arrangements document consolidates previously approved University policy and guidance around changes to research degree arrangements into a single reference document.

This document intends to:

  • Capture the various ways in which a research degree candidature might need to change
  • Consolidate in one place the various policies or positions agreed by the relevant University committees to manage such changes
  • Include a process summary for each change that might occur to capture requests, and make sure all regulatory aspects have been considered, including UKVI.
  • Work as a shared resource to manage changes to candidatures
  • Ensure decisions are taken on an informed basis

This document includes guidance on the following processes:

  • Change of Mode of study (e.g. from full-time to part-time) 
  • Change of Research project/focus 
  • Change of degree programme from PhD to MPhil  or Masters by Research on request from the PGR 
  • Change of supervisor 
  • Change of thesis title 
  • Reduction to the standard period of study 
  • Change of parent school
  • Change of programme: Masters by Research to Provisional PhD 
  • Change between Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Medicine

Requests for suspensions and extensions of study are not covered by this document and are instead covered by the separate Suspensions and extensions policy.

Requests to change the period or pattern of attendance in Leeds for PGRs on Split-site, Dual Award or Distance-learning programmes are not covered by this document and are instead covered by the separate Guidelines and Process for a Change of Attendance in Leeds (PDF).


Advice and support

This document is aimed primarily at Doctoral College staff and academic staff (supervisors, Directors of PGR Studies, Heads of Graduate Schools) who support the academic and pastoral processes related to PGRs. It is updated annually by the Doctoral College, to reflect any changes which have been approved through the University’s Graduate Board or its Groups. If you have any queries about this document, please contact the Doctoral College Progression and Examination team or your Graduate School.

If PGRs require advice or support, they are advised to contact their Graduate School, supervisor or Director of PGR Studies who can offer advice on the processes and to other sources of support. A wide range of avenues for academic, pastoral and wellbeing support are available and independent advice can also be sought from the Leeds University Union (LUU).

Form to request changes to candidature

A form is available to request changes to a research degree candidature. This should be completed by the Graduate School, authorised by the Director of PGR Studies and submitted to Doctoral College Operations for consideration by the Programmes and Quality Group. This form is available to the Graduate School in the Doctoral College shared area.