Transfer to Writing-Up Status

A writing-up period is a specific registration status for research students who are entering (or in) their final year, have completed the active research part of their degree and need time to prepare their thesis before it is submitted for examination.

Research students may request to transfer to writing-up status if they are registered on one of the following research degree programmes:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - full-time or part-time
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD) - full-time or part-time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - full-time or part-time

Transfer to writing-up status is not available on any other research degree programme.

Eligibility for Transfer to Writing-Up Status

To be eligible for transfer to writing-up status, research students registered for the degree of PhD, MD, or MPhil must be in their final year.  Research students may enter a writing up period earlier than their final year in exceptional circumstances only, with approval from the Doctoral College Director. All students must have completed the relevant minimum registration period and the active research part of their degree.

Research DegreeMinimum Registration Period
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Full-Time  2.0 Years 
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Part-Time  4.0 Years
Doctor of Medicine (MD) - Full-Time  2.0 Years 
Doctor of Medicine (MD) - Part-Time  2.0 Years
Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - Full-Time  1.0 Year 
Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - Part-Time  2.0 Years 

Completion of Active Research

The writing-up period is designed for research students who have completed the active research part of their degree and need time to prepare their thesis before it is submitted for examination. Research students can transfer to writing-up status only if their Department confirms that they have completed all the active research they need for their thesis, including all:

  • experimental work
  • laboratory work
  • field work
  • archival work
  • data collection

Research students who are entering their final year but who have not completed the active research part of their degree must continue their full-time or part-time registration. For example, a full-time research student registered for the degree of PhD who completes their third year of registration but has not yet completed the active research part of their degree would not be permitted to transfer to writing-up status. However, if part-way through their fourth year they completed all active research, they could request to transfer to writing-up status for the remainder of the fourth year.

Timing and Duration of the Writing-Up Period

The writing-up period cannot exceed twelve months. Shorter writing-up periods may be approved, but research students will not be allowed to remain at writing-up status for more than twelve months.

The writing-up period counts towards the relevant maximum registration period. For example, a full-time research student registered for the degree of PhD has a maximum registration period of four years and must submit their thesis for examination within that time; should the research student want to transfer to writing-up status, the writing-up period would count towards these four years.

Transfer to Writing-Up Status at the Start of the Final Year

In practice, research students normally transfer to writing-up status for the final twelve months of their research degree programme.

If the research student is allowed, with approval from the Doctoral College Director, to transfer to writing-up status earlier than the start of the final twelve months of their research degree programme, this does not alter the fact that the writing-up period cannot exceed twelve months and the research student will be expected to submit their thesis for examination on completion of the writing-up period.

Where that is not possible and the research student has part of their maximum registration remaining, they can be allowed to revert to their original registration status for this remaining time. They must then submit their thesis for examination by the end of the maximum registration period.

Transfer to Writing-Up Status During the Final Year

Occasionally a research student may not have completed the active research part of their degree. In these cases, the research student is not allowed to transfer to writing-up status until they have completed the active research part of their degree; in the meantime, they must continue their full-time or part-time registration.

In these cases, Departments should consult the advice on Final Year Registration.

Additional Time Beyond the Writing-Up Period

If a research student has completed the maximum registration period and needs some additional time in which to prepare their thesis for submission for examination, they must request an  extension of registration.

In these cases, Departments should consult the advice on Extensions of Registration.

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