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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



General Information:

You are expected to manage your time so that you are able to submit your thesis or other assessed work within your period of candidature.  You can apply for an extension to your submission date in certain circumstances, although you should be aware that each case is considered on its merits and there is no guarantee that your application will be successful.


Extensions for PhD, MSc, MLitt or MPhil by dissertation students:

As a PhD, MSc, MLitt or MPhil by dissertation student you have been given a deadline by which to submit your thesis/dissertation for examination

For PhD, MSc and MLitt this is set as four years if you are a full-time student and seven years if you are part-time.  Your submission date can be found on your CamSIS self-service pages under ‘Other Information’/’Thesis Submission Details’

For MPhil by dissertation students, your deadline is set within one year if you are a full-time student and within two years if you are a part-time student.  Your submission date can be found on the following website:

You should make every effort to meet your deadline.  Extensions are not automatically agreed.

If you are not able to submit your thesis/dissertation by your deadline you must apply in good time to extend your submission deadline

If you do not submit by your deadline and have not applied and had an application to extend agreed by the Student Registry you may be removed [temporarily] from the Register of Graduate Students.  This does not prevent you from submitting at a later stage.


Extensions for students on taught programmes:

If you are on a taught programme you have deadlines by which to complete and submit all elements of your course.   Details of submission deadlines and arrangements for dissertations can be found at: Other submission deadlines will be included in your course handbook or available from your course administrator. 

Short extensions can be agreed locally by your Faculty as long as the extension does not delay consideration of your result at the Examiners Meeting with the rest of your cohort 

If you wish to extend beyond the one year/two years, you must formally apply to extend your ‘submission’ date. 

If you do not submit work by the deadline given and you have not applied and  had an application to extend agreed by the Student Registry you may be deemed to have failed the course or be removed from the Register of Graduate Students.


What is an Extension?

An extension to a submission deadline gives you additional time to complete your thesis/dissertation or other assessed work prior to submission.


When should I apply for an Extension?

Where possible, you should submit your application for an extension at least 3 months but no more than 6 months before your submission deadline.  If you submit an application after your submission deadline this will automatically be denied.


What is the length of extension I can ask for?

It is not expected for you to apply to extend for more than 1 term at any time.


How many times can I apply for an extension?

There are no restrictions.


Do I need to consult my funding body?

You may need permission from your funding body for an extension.  It is your responsibility to check with them what they require from you and if they set any penalties for late submission.


Is there a maximum time beyond which no further extension can be considered?

For a PhD/MSc/MLitt student it is not normally agreed for you to extend beyond the end of a fifth year with absolutely no extensions considered beyond the end of your sixth year

If you are studying for one or two year programme of study there will be restrictions to the amount of time you may be granted for an extension.  This would not normally be no longer than 1 term for a one year programme or 2 terms for a two year programme


What constitutes a reason to extend?

  • Unavoidable delays:  such as lab moves, equipment failure. It is expected for your Department and/or Degree Committee to advise of the details if they wish to support your application.
  • Academic: where there is a strong academic case that you are actively working on your writing up and need a short extension to complete to enable you to submit.  You must also make clear as to why it is essential for you to remain registered as a graduate student at this stage, and why a withdrawal will be detrimental.  It is expected for your Department and/or Degree Committee to make a detailed case if they wish to support your application, giving reasons why it is essential for you to remain registered as a student at this stage.  (Please note: a temporary removal from the Register of Graduate Students will not prevent you from applying to be reinstated.  If agreed, this will enable you to submit and complete the examination process at a later stage)
  • Short delays of no more than 1 month due to medical issues or grave cause:  We expect that you will have intermitted for any medical related absences of over one month.


What does not constitute a reason to extend?

  • Visa issues
  • Medical: where an intermission should have previously been requested
  • Attending conferences
  • Writing papers
  • Undertaking further research, unless your Supervisor, Department or Degree Committee make a very strong academic case for this
  • Employment
  • Not wishing to leave Cambridge
  • Continued funding


I have been unwell – can an extension be considered in this case?

If you have been unwell a short extension, of not more than 1 month,  can be considered if there are supporting medical documents from your medical practitioner or from the University’s Counselling Service.

During your registration at Cambridge we expect for you to have intermitted for medical reasons at the time required.  Applications cannot be considered retrospectively.

See also:



How do I begin the application process?

  • Go to your CamSIS Self-Service Page/Apply for Things/Application Forms
  • Select the date you wish to extend your submission date to: It is important to use the drop down/calendar look up (you may apply for a maximum of 1term at any one time).
  • In the Text box, state the actual dates of your proposed extension
  • Provide a detailed statement of reasons for your application
  • If applicable, provide a statement to confirm that your sponsor/loan provider has agreed to the extension
  • Advise of where you will be based (Country/City/Region) if an extension were to be agreed.  If you are not planning to stay in Cambridge, you would need to justify this and also apply for permission to work away.
  • You may also wish to upload additional material in support of your application


  • How do I track my application?

  • You can track your application via your CamSIS self-service and will be able to see who has next to decide on your application
  • It is for you to ensure your application progresses in a timely manner
  • The process of application runs linear from you as the student initiating an application, to your Supervisor then to Department, College, and Degree Committee and finally to the Student Registry who reviews applications on behalf of the Board of Graduate Studies
  • When a final decision has been made, you will receive notification from the Student Registry by email. This email will be copied to other interested parties (your Degree Committee and College)
  • You should not consider an extension as being agreed without having received notification by email from the Student Registry that this has been approved


Will my application be agreed as a matter of routine?

No.  You should not assume that your application will be approved.  It is for you to provide a full statement of reasons and it is then open for any party, that is your Supervisor, Department, College and Degree Committee to comment and advise if they wish to support your application.  The final decision rests with the Student Registry.


What happens if my application for an extension is denied?

If your application to extend is denied , and you have passed your submission deadline, you will be temporarily withdrawn from the Register of Graduate Students 

If your application to extend is denied , and you have not reached your current submission deadline, you will remain registered up until the orginal submission deadline.  If you do  not meet this deadline, you may be withdrawn from the Register of Graduate Students.

See also:
Removal from register:

If my application is denied and I am removed from the Register of Graduate Students, how do I later submit and/or complete my programme of study?

If you wish to resume study or submit a thesis for examination you will need to apply to be reinstated.

See also:


 I am on a student visa: if my application is denied, what will happen?

The International Student Office will contact you directly to advise how this will affect you. 

For further information please contact the International Student Office

Am I expected to be in Cambridge during the period of extension?

Yes, if you are a full time student, you are expected to be in Cambridge continuously and working on your thesis or other assessed work on a full time basis until your submission or completion of any outstanding elements, unless you have been granted permission to work away or to reside outside of the University precincts

See also:
Work Away:
Residing outside of the University precincts:


I am on a Tier 4 sponsored visa.  What are the implications for me?

If your application to extend your submission deadline is approved, but you will still be able to submit your thesis and complete your examination within the validity of your current visa, there will be no further implications. 

If your application to extend your submission deadline is approved and your new submission deadline means you need to extend your Tier 4 visa, you must contact the International Student Office for guidance on the application process and requirements as soon as possible.

If your application to extend your submission deadline is not approved, and you submit your thesis before your submission deadline, there are no implications for your Tier 4 visa. If however you do not submit your thesis by your submission deadline and are removed from the Register of Graduate students, this will have implications for your Tier 4 visa.  You should contact the International Student Office to discuss this.

It is advisable to contact the International Student Office to check the implications of any change of circumstances on your visa status: (


If I have any further queries who should I contact?

Please contact the Student Registry:
All queries regarding visa sponsorship should be sent to: