Changing your course or study method

Updated on 14 August 2023

Check if any changes to your course will affect your Student visa status.

On this page

Changing your course

Your Student visa only permits you to change course if you fulfil all of the following requirements:

  • The new course is at the same or a higher SCQF level as the course for which your visa was granted.
  • The new course can be completed within the existing validity of your current visa unless you are progressing from a bachelor's to a master's as part of an integrated programme.
  • The new course needs to be related to the previous course e.g. same subject group, deeper specialisation, or genuine career aspirations.

If the University approves a change of course, and the new course meets the conditions outlined above, this will be reported to the Home Office. If you have been issued a visa for a bachelor's only and are progressing to an integrated master's, you will be required to apply for a new Student visa.

If your new course is at a lower level or your visa will expire prior to the new course completion date, you will need to apply for a new visa from outside the UK. You will not be able to start your new course until you have returned on the new visa. 

If the new course is not clearly related to the previous course then both courses in combination must support your genuine career aspirations. You will be required to complete a form providing a justification and this will then be assessed for approval by an academic in the new School.  You will only be permitted to change to the new course if the change is approved through this process.

Visa time limits 

Undergraduate students are subject to a 5-year limit on their study period in the UK (with exceptions for medicine, dentistry and architecture). In some instances, such as needing to repeat years, this may prevent you from having sufficient visa allowance to change course and complete a degree. This will be considered by the Immigration Compliance Team when reviewing course changes.

Changes to your research 

If you are studying a research degree your topic may vary slightly over time, this is unlikely to impact your Student visa unless your topic changes School or you intend to change from a 3-year PhD to a 4-year PhD. 

Certain science and technology subjects require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate, changes to topics within these subjects may require you to apply for a new ATAS.

Changing your mode of study

As an institution, we only issue a CAS for courses that require full-time study. If a student wishes to change from full-time to part-time study, or vice-versa, you need to contact the Immigration Compliance Team to discuss any impact on your visa.

Additional time

The University expects you to complete your course according to the date provided on your CAS. If you are approved to have more time to complete your studies, you should be aware of the implications for your visa. Please refer to the resits, resubmissions, and repeats guide.


Inform the Home Office

For some changes you must inform the Home Office - for instance, a change of address. Other changes must be reported to the Home Office by the University as your visa sponsor and may affect your Student visa. 

The Immigration Compliance Team are responsible for submitting reports to the Home Office on behalf of the University. The Immigration Compliance Team will notify you by e-mail of any reports to the Home Office that may affect your immigration status.


Immigration Compliance

+44 (0)1382 386750