Doctorate Extension Scheme

Updated on 8 April 2021

Find out how to extend your Student Visa (was Tier 4 visa) if you are completing your PhD at the University

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The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) allows students who are completing their PhD the opportunity to apply for a visa to remain in the UK for 12 months.

The Student Visa (was Tier 4) allows you time to find work with a Tier 2 employer, set up as an entrepreneur or even gain practical work experience in your chosen field. As this scheme is classed as an extension under the Student Visa, the awarding institution is expected to continue sponsorship during this time. An application must be submitted up to 60 days before the expected end date.


In order for you to apply for the DES you must:

  • be in the UK
  • have a current Tier 4 (now Student Visa) leave to study a doctorate level degree
  • not have completed your course
  • not have previously applied for DES
  • have sufficient funds in your bank account for the relevant period
  • apply within 60 days of the expected end date of your course. You cannot apply after you have completed your PhD.

Expected end date

Under immigration rules the expected end date is the date upon which your degree is formally confirmed. This will be the date your PhD has been passed through Senate and will be the date indicated on the CAS. Therefore, allowing a full 12 months after study on the DES.

For the purposes of your DES application, we would need to know the date and the outcome of your viva before considering issuing a CAS. Any corrections exceeding 2 months may require a Tier 4 (now Student Visa) extension if they fall beyond your current visa. In this instance, you need to contact us urgently.

Applying for DES

If you have sat your viva, and have an indication of your expected end date, contact IAS for further advice.

If you are eligible to apply, you will need the following documents for your application:

  • CAS number to be issued through the International Advice Service 
  • Evidence of maintenance funds. This is currently £2046 and needs to have been in your account for a consecutive 28 day period on the date of application. This evidence must be dated within 30 days of your application. If you have dependants applying with you, you will also need an additional £1360 for each dependant. 
  • If you have been fully sponsored by an international scholarship agency, organisation, or government you must obtain a letter of consent from them confirming that they no objections to you remaining in the UK to work.
  • ATAS certificate (if required)

As the immigration rules state, once you have made an in-time application for a visa extension, you are allowed to remain in the UK pending the outcome of the application. 


As the University of Dundee will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 DES visa, there will be conditions placed upon you. We will be willing to sponsor you if you have acted within immigration regulations at all times during your studies and that you agree to continue to fulfil your responsibilities under this scheme.

You must:

  • Provide a copy of your current passport and visa
  • Provide contact details and ensure that they are kept up to date at all times
  • Give regular updates confirming you are still in the UK and under the DES scheme
  • Provide details of any employment you secure including name and contact details of your employer
  • Give a timely response to any correspondence you receive from the university
  • Attend a document check/meet our Immigration Compliance Officer on two occasions during your 12 month extension

View the current Student Visa policy guidance

Read the guidance on working in the UK after your studies.

Failure to comply with any of these requirements will result in the withdrawal of immigration sponsorship


International Advice Service

+44 (0)1382 385676