Extensions

What is an extension?

An extension pushes your next deadline back by a period of weeks or months, allowing you to continue to work towards this deadline.

You can receive an extension for:

  • Your progression deadline (first or second attempt),
  • The deadline of submission of your thesis for examination,
  • The examination period (the date by which your viva must take place),
  • The deadline for the submission of your corrections, or
  • The deadline for the submission of your revised and resubmitted thesis.

Reasons for requesting an extension

Extensions are only granted in exceptional circumstances. There are a range of reasons for which you could request a period of extension, including:

  • Illness (including mental health difficulties)
  • Illness with Covid-19
  • Bereavement
  • Maternity/paternity
  • Disability
  • Being the victim of a serious crime
  • Legal proceedings which require attendance

The University has also extended the list of reasons for which students can request a period of extension in line with the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Reasons for which you might request an extension on the basis of Covid-19 include:

  • Other illness, but where obtaining medical evidence is not currently possible (i.e. since the University has advised students NOT to go to their GP solely to get evidence).
  • Circumstances in the student’s domestic situation are challenging, e.g. some member(s) of family are ill or self-isolating, caring responsibilities, etc.
  • Lack of access to required research facilities and/or resources (e.g. laboratories, libraries/archives (where online alternatives are insufficient), computing facilities, etc) and/or other COVID-19 related difficulties in undertaking necessary data collection (e.g. due to travel restrictions and/or social distancing requirements);
  • Unavailability of the supervisor due to COVID-19, and the department is unable to provide suitable cover (e.g. a second supervisor or appropriate TAP member);
  • Additional paid or voluntary work requirements due to COVID-19.
  • Other severe impact of COVID-19 (e.g. on mental health, interaction with existing disability, etc).

The University’s temporary policy in relation to Covid-19 extensions is currently in place until the 31st January 2021. If you are requesting an extension related to Covid-19 after this date, you are welcome to contact the GSA Advice Service to see if this policy is still in place.

If you are experiencing difficulties which have prevented you from studying for a month or longer, and you are not in the final three months of your continuation period, you are strongly advised to request a period of leave of absence, rather than relying on the extensions process at a later date. You can find more information about the leave of absence process here.

How do I request an extension?

The process by which you need to request an extension depends on the deadline for which you are requesting an extension. You can find further information about how to request an extension below.

It’s important to note that when requesting an extension to any deadline, you must submit this request prior to the deadline for which you are requesting an extension. The Special Cases Committee will not consider extension requests submitted after the deadline for which you are requesting an extension.

We would recommend submitting your extension request as soon as you are able (within the window permitted by the Committee – please see below for further details). This gives plenty of time for your request to be processed and considered.

This is also because, if your request is not upheld, you may then be able to submit further information in support of your request prior to your submission deadline. Further information about the date by which you need to request your extension can be found in the below sections.

Requesting an extension for your submission deadline (for your examination, corrections or revised and resubmitted thesis)

You cannot request the extension until three months before your submission deadline. If you are struggling to engage with your studies prior to this point, you are encouraged to consider a period of leave of absence. You can find more information about leave of absence on this page.

The Research Special Cases Committee meet once per month, and any request will need to be prepared for their consideration by the Research Student Administration team. You can find a list of the deadlines for the submission of forms and documentation on the University webpage here (under “RSCC deadlines 2020/21”, at the bottom of the page).

If possible, you should try to submit your extension request in time for your claim to be considered by the Research Special Cases Committee prior to your deadline.

If you aren’t able to submit your request prior to this, it will still be considered. However, if your claim isn’t upheld, your original deadline would still stand.

If you won’t receive the outcome of your extension request until after your submission deadline, it is really important that you submit a contingency thesis. If your request for an extension is not upheld, your contingency thesis will then be sent to your examiners.

If you don’t submit a contingency thesis, and your request for an extension isn’t upheld, no work will be sent to your examiner. This means that you would automatically fail your programme.

If you will need to submit a contingency thesis, you should email the Research Student Administration team at research-student-admin@york.ac.uk as soon as possible in order to request instructions on how to do so.

If you feel that you require an extension to your submission deadline, you are encouraged to discuss this with your supervisor, if you are able to do so. If you are unable to speak with your supervisor, you could instead speak with your TAP, or the Chair of the Graduate School Board in your department. Alternatively, you are welcome to speak to a GSA Adviser about your situation.

If your extension request is related to Covid-19, you will need to complete the “Covid-19 contingency: PGR request form”, which you can find here. Requests for a total period of extension related to Covid-19 of eight months or less are approved directly by the Research Student Administration team. If you are requesting an extension of longer than eight months, we would encourage you to discuss this with a GSA Adviser.

If you are requesting an extension for reasons which are not related to Covid-19, you will need to complete a “Recommendation for Extension of Submission” form, which you can find on the University website here. Once you’ve completed the form, you should send it to your supervisor and the postgraduate research administrator in your academic department. This will then be considered by your supervisor, the Chair of the Graduate School Board in your department, and the Research Special Cases Committee.

You should describe the circumstances which have affected your ability to engage with your study and the length of time for which you have been affected by these circumstances in the appropriate form. We would recommend that you provide examples of the practical impact which your circumstances are having on your ability to study. For example, if you are finding it difficult to think clearly, sleep, manage your time, focus, or retain or process information, it is helpful if you are able to describe this.

It’s really important that you provide clear information about the dates at which you have been affected by your circumstances, and the impact of these circumstances on your ability to engage with your studies, as this will be important when determining if an extension should be granted (and, if so, the length of the extension).

Requesting an extension to your progression deadline

It’s important to note that an extension to your progression deadline does not “push back” your later deadlines.

For example, if you are granted a three month extension to your first year progression, your second year progression deadline will not also be “moved up” by three months. If you are a full-time student, your second year progression deadline would therefore still take place in the 21-24 months of your enrolment (42-48 months for part-time students).

You cannot request an extension to your progression deadline until two months before that deadline. You should request your extension as soon as possible within this period in order to make sure that there is appropriate time for the request to be considered prior to your deadline.

You should first speak with your supervisor, if you are able to do so, in order to discuss your circumstances. If you are unable to speak with your supervisor about this, we would encourage you to discuss your situation with a GSA Adviser.

If you and your supervisor agree that an extension is appropriate, you should then complete “Part A” of the “Recommendation for Extension to Progression” form, available on the University website here.

We would recommend that you provide a description of the circumstances which have been affecting you and your ability to engage with your studies. You should also include the dates at which this circumstance has been affecting you. It is helpful if you can provide examples of the practical impact which your circumstances are having on your ability to study. For example, if you are or have been finding it difficult to think clearly, sleep, manage your time, focus, or retain or process information, it is helpful if you are able to describe this.

You should then send the form to your supervisor and the postgraduate research administrator within your department.

Your supervisor will then need to complete Part B of the form, and it will need to be signed off by the Chair of the Graduate School Board in your department. Your extension request will then be considered by the Research Special Cases Committee.

Requesting an extension to the date of your viva

If you would like to request an extension to the date by which your viva must take place, you should first speak about this with your supervisor, and ask if they are happy to support this. If you are unable to speak with your supervisor, you can instead speak with your TAP, or with the Chair of the Graduate School Board in your department.

You should then write to the Chair of the Graduate School Board in your department, requesting that your viva be postponed. In your email, you should explain the reason for which you are requesting this extension, and the date at which you would like your viva to take place. You should also copy in the postgraduate research administrator within your department.

You should send this email as soon as you become aware that you will require an extension in order that there is appropriate time for your request to be considered prior to your deadline.

If the Chair agrees to the request, they will then email the Research Student Examination team, copying in yourself and your examiners, in order to request the extension, giving an explanation of the reason for the delay and the new end date for the examination period.

If you are unable to speak with anyone in your department about your request, we would encourage you to speak about your situation with a GSA Adviser. You are also welcome to speak with a GSA Adviser when writing your letter to the Chair of the Graduate School Board.

Do I need to submit evidence with my extension request?

Until the 31st January  2021, you do not need to submit any evidence with a request for an extension to your submission deadline. Students are asked not to approach medical professionals only in order to seek evidence in support of a request.

If you have already obtained evidence in support of your request, you can submit it with your request. However, this is not compulsory.

Any evidence you do submit in support of your request should confirm:

  • The nature of the circumstance affecting you,
  • The dates at which this circumstance has been affecting you, and, if possible
  • The practical impact of these circumstances on your ability to engage in your studies.
  • If you are making a request for an extension after the 31st of January 2021, you are welcome to contact the GSA Advice Service in order to find out if you will need to submit evidence in support of your request.

What support is available to me from the GSA Advice Service?

The GSA Advice service would be happy to speak with you about your situation and to provide guidance on the options available to you.

We are also able to take a look over any requests for extension and evidence in support of a request, and to provide guidance as to any further information it may be helpful for you to include in your request.

Where can I find further information about extensions?

  • You can find more information about extensions on the University website here
  • University rules relating to extensions for postgraduate research programmes are laid out in the Policy on Research Degrees. You may find it particularly helpful to refer to section 7.15-7.16 in relation to extensions to submission deadlines, and sections 8.37 and 8.38 in relation to extensions to progression deadlines.
  • You can also find information about the changes to the extension process and evidence requirements in the PGR Special Cases Contingency Measures here and here.
  • You are also welcome to speak to a GSA Adviser if you are not sure if you would like to request an extension. You can book an appointment with an Adviser here, or email us at advice@yorkgsa.org.