Suspensions & Extensions

2020/21 academic year -- Covid-19 impact: You can apply for periods of suspension or extensions outside of the normal allowance due to the impact of the pandemic. Please contact the Graduate Office with any questions about what is allowed and the process. 



If your work is being seriously impeded, for example by illness, maternity or paternity or unforeseen financial difficulties, or by your having undertaken other employment, it may be advisable to apply for a temporary suspension of status (GSO.17) (there is a separate form for maternity and paternity leave (GSO.17b)). You will probably want to begin by discussing the idea with your supervisor, but if that is not possible for some reason, you are welcome to contact the Graduate Office and/or to seek a meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies. In the period for which status is suspended, you incur no university fees, no supervisor’s reports are filed (since you are not expected to be working on the thesis), and no tuition fees are paid to the supervisor. During this period, you will retain your University card and single sign-on, and all the services – libraries, email, online resources – to which these grant access. You will normally be expected to be away from the University, however, and will typically lose any entitlement to College accommodation.

The maximum numbers of terms’ suspension which may be approved is six terms over the course of your DPhil. If you find that for some exceptional reason you need more than six terms, you can either lapse your status or you can make a case to Education Committee for more time. You must have completed Transfer of Status to be considered for reinstatement should you choose to lapse your status.

Almost all forms follow the same pattern for signatures:

  • You sign 
  • Your supervisor(s) sign 
  • Your college signs
  • The DGS signs

Once you, your supervisor(s) and your college have all signed the form, please send it to the Graduate Office ( and we will arrange for the DGS to consider your application. 


If you have a Student Visa, please contact the Graduate Office prior to submitting an application to apply for suspension, as there are some limitations on this students who hold a visa. 



Your status will lapse after your maximum submission date unless you apply and are granted an extension of time (GSO.15 via the Student Self Service).

If you fall out of touch with your supervisor and college for long periods you may also be judged to have lapsed.

Extensions of time on strong academic grounds are allowed by the Faculty up to the following maximum: MLitt – three terms; DPhil – six terms (part-time: three terms). Extension applications need to be accompanied by a detailed schedule of work towards submission, including an account of those parts of the thesis which are already in a final shape. Extensions will not normally be granted for more than one term at a time: this ensures regular reporting on the progress of work in reference to the submitted schedule. If you need longer periods of extension in the context of visa renewals, you should explain your situation at the point of application. In exceptional circumstances (such as unforeseen medical issues for example), an extension beyond the above listed may be approved, but you must appeal to Education Committee of the University. Please take note that there is no entitlement to any extension of time. Each case will be scrutinized individually, and only where appropriate will a certain period of extension be granted. Our normal expectation will be that the thesis could be completed within the period of extension; if that does not appear to be the case, you may be advised to allow your status to lapse instead.

While there are sometimes unexpected circumstances which make delay inevitable, it needs to be emphasized that the official time-limits as they stand should provide ample time for the completion of a good thesis. You should aim to complete within that time. Do not let things drag on.