This section contains information for postgraduate students. Information for all students is available in the guidance for all students section.

Update 26 February 2021: rest of Lent term, Easter vacation and Easter term

The government has recently updated its guidance for universities on the return of students and in-person teaching. There is no major change to the University’s provision of teaching and learning for the rest of Lent term or the Easter vacation. For full details see this update from the University and the Colleges on Lent term, Easter vacation and Easter term 2021.

In summary: teaching will remain online for the majority of courses (with a few exceptions) and those courses, such as clinical medicine, that are already teaching in-person will continue to do so. As per current rules, research students are permitted to access specialist facilities if necessary for their work. 

Most students should remain where they are – whether at home or in Cambridge – and should not travel unless for one of the permitted exceptional reasons

We hope to welcome back as many students as possible in Easter Term 2021, but this depends on what is allowed by the government. We will provide more information as soon as we can.


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Postgraduate research students

International postgraduate students (last updated 8 January 2021)


Postgraduate research students

Guidance for postgraduate research students regarding their location in Lent Term 2021

Postgraduate research students who are already in Cambridge

Students who have remained in Cambridge throughout the winter break or have already returned to Cambridge need take no further action. Such students cannot leave Cambridge during the national lockdown, save in exceptional circumstances prescribed by the Government (see government guidance at

Postgraduate research students who are not already in Cambridge

Postgraduate research students who are able to work from their out-of-term address should do so, save:

  1. If they require access to specialist facilities for their research; or
  2. If they are abroad and have already made plans to return to Cambridge which cannot reasonably be altered; or
  3. If they consider Cambridge to be their primary place of residence.

Students who are not currently in Cambridge and who meet any of the above criteria and plan to return to Cambridge should notify their Faculty or Department of their intended date of return. Any such students in College accommodation which they regard as home should contact their College to discuss arrangements for returning into residence.  Students in private accommodation which they regard as home should notify the College of their intended date of return.

The VC’s message of 6 January 2021, sent to all staff and students, covers this guidance, as follows:

Postgraduate research students who are able to work from their out-of-term address should do so. Postgraduate research students who consider Cambridge to be their primary place of residence can return to Cambridge if they have not already done so. 

Those postgraduate research students who need to be in Cambridge for their research projects can return provided this has been discussed and agreed with their College and Department, and that appropriate risk assessments have been conducted. We ask that in any event they do not return before 11 January, when individual asymptomatic testing will be available. 

Information on testing for Lent Term

Students who return to Cambridge must stay in Cambridge during the national lockdown, save in exceptional circumstances prescribed by the government (see government guidance on the national lockdown).

Postgraduate research students who do not plan to return to Cambridge

Postgraduate research students who are not currently in Cambridge and who do not plan to return should notify their Supervisor, Department and College (by email), copying in Students will not be required to apply to work away from Cambridge (via their CamSIS self-service) but should include details of their location. 

It will be assumed that students will remain away from Cambridge for the duration of Lent Term. Students cannot return to Cambridge during the national lockdown, save in exceptional circumstances prescribed by the government. Students whose plans change should notify their Supervisor, Department and College (by email) copying in

Extensions and Intermission

The University continues to recognise the impact of the pandemic on students’ ability to work on their research, regardless of their location. Students who, because of the pandemic, will need additional time can apply for an extension to their submission deadline. Students who are unable to do any work on their studies should apply for a period of intermission until they are able to resume study.


Postgraduate research students needing to self-isolate: guidance on annual holiday entitlement

PGR students who travel abroad during the winter break may, depending on their circumstances, need to self-isolate on their return to Cambridge. Students in this position are not required to take the period of self-isolation as part of their annual holiday entitlement. PGR students who are required to self-isolate should use this time to work on their research and if this is not possible should investigate other activities related to their research, such as the courses offered by the University’s Researcher Development Team


Maintenance stipends

University-managed funds

Students who receive a maintenance stipend from funds managed within the collegiate University (including Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Harding, Departments and Colleges and UKRI DTPs and CDTs) and who need an extension of funding should contact their funder in the first instance.

An application process for UKRI funded students to apply for a funded extension in January 2021 is now available.

Information about applying for a funded extension from other internal funders is listed below:

  • Cambridge Trust: The Cambridge Trust will consider applications for extended funding on a case-by-case basis in the term before the end of the current funding period. The Cambridge Trust provide a form and guidance on their website.
  • Gates Cambridge: Gates Cambridge will consider applications for extended funding on a case-by-case basis. Information for their scholars is available online.
  • University Trust funds: The University Trust funds will align with UKRI policy and will consider applications on a case by case basis.
  • Department/Faculty funding: contact your Department to enquire about the possibility of applying for a funding extension
  • College funding: contact your College to enquire about the possibility of applying for a funding extension
  • Other funding (e.g. Trust Scholarships): contact the administrator or Managers of your funding to enquire about the possibility of applying for a funding extension

External funders

Students will need to make contact with their own funder to enquire about the possibility of funded extensions.

Some funders also provide financial support for other incidental costs – students should contact their funding body for more details.


Financial hardship

If you are in financial hardship, please see the general student page for information on the help available, including the Postgraduate Hardship Fund. Students should approach their funder in the first instance, where appropriate, to request additional funding and will need to show that they have done this before applying for University hardship funds, for which self-funded students are normally prioritised.


Students on fieldwork

If you are on or planning fieldwork, you should continue to follow Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice, even if you are not a British national, and make/change your arrangements accordingly.  You must adhere to any restrictions in place both in your current location and in the location of your proposed fieldwork.  This may mean changing your plans.

Guidance on applying to work away to undertake fieldwork can be found at

If you are coming to the end of your fieldwork, you  should refer to the guidance for Lent Term 2021 and only return to Cambridge if you meet the criteria for doing so. If you do not meet this criteria you should return to your home address.

You need to inform us by emailing if:

  • You need to extend your period of fieldwork
  • You are unable to continue with your fieldwork
  • Travel restrictions prevent you from leaving your fieldwork location

Travel insurance

If you need to stay in your fieldwork location you should sign into the Chubb portal using the link in your original travel insurance cover confirmation and extend your cover. Do not make a new application as this will be invalid.

Further guidance on travel insurance >


Extensions to submission deadlines

If your work or progress has been impacted by COVID-19 you can apply for an extension of your submission deadline. Guidance on how to do this can be found on the Cambridge Students website.


Submitting your thesis

Softbound thesis

Softbound theses are now submitted electronically to Degree Committees. Contact your Degree Committee for guidance on how to submit.

Once you have submitted your softbound thesis, your Degree Committee may arrange for your viva voce examination to be held via video conference. 

Hardbound and e-thesis

The Student Services Centre will not be open to receive theses. 

We have arranged with JS Wilson Bookbinders that they will store any hardbound theses bound by them until such time as the Student Services Centre re-opens. JS Wilson will let us know when your thesis has been bound and we will take that date as the date of submission of your hardbound thesis.

Contact JS Wilson >

If you do not use JS Wilson you may need to apply for an extension for the submission of your hardbound thesis. You can do this by emailing

You should submit your e-thesis unless informed otherwise by the Student Registry.


Degree approval

Degree Committees will continue to meet remotely to consider the approval of degrees and other individual student matters.


Further guidance

If you need further advice or guidance please contact the Student Registry.

You can also contact your Supervisor, Course Director or Graduate Tutor as appropriate. 


International postgraduate students

Last updated 8 January 2021

Travelling to the UK from abroad

Students who are currently overseas must consider the information in relation to arrangements for Lent Term prior to travelling to the UK. Where it is appropriate to travel, read the information for students who are arriving in the UK from abroad


Tier 4/Student visa holders

The Home Office recognises the exceptional circumstances of the current situation and the University will continue to sponsor a current student’s Tier 4/Student visa while continuing studies remotely. This is the case whether you are currently in the UK or overseas.

New students who are commencing their course in 2020/21 but starting studies remotely from outside the UK should contact the International Student Office for guidance on the appropriate time to make their student visa application or to apply for a replacement vignette if their visa has already been granted. 

In accordance with Home Office policy, the University can exceptionally continue visa sponsorship for a period of intermission of up to four months during a student’s course of study. Students who are unable to continue their studies at this time owing the pandemic are advised to contact the International Student Office for further visa guidance about their particular circumstances.


Making your student visa application from outside the UK

Most UK Visa Application Centres across the world have resumed services for student visa entry clearance applications but appointment availability may be more limited in some locations.


Making your student application from inside the UK

If you are eligible to make your student visa application from inside the UK, pre-existing biometrics are currently being used where possible. If UKVI can reuse your biometrics you will be emailed after you make your application with instructions on how to send them an image of your face and your supporting documents via an app. If pre-existing biometrics cannot be reused, you will be invited to book an appointment to provide biometric information, but you may find availability is currently more limited.

If you make an in-time application and are waiting for a decision, you can start your course at Cambridge whilst this is pending. You will need to provide your College with evidence you have submitted an application within the relevant timeframe. UKVI advises that if your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must stop your course or studies.


EU Settlement Scheme

In December 2020 the Home Office published guidance on applications for the EU Settlement Scheme and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. This includes the following information for students in relation to absences from the UK and the 5 year continuous residency requirement for settled status under the scheme: 

If you are a student who was studying in the UK and are studying outside the UK because of coronavirus, that absence will not cause you to break your continuous qualifying period, where it is for a single period of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months, during your 5-year continuous qualifying period. 

The EUSS allows for a single absence up to 12 months for an important reason, including serious illness and study. 

An absence or absences of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months in total in any 5-year continuous qualifying period where coronavirus was not a factor will still interrupt that continuous qualifying period unless there was another important reason for the absence.

If you have not already applied for a status under the EU Settlement Scheme, it is possible to apply from overseas on the basis of being 'continuously resident' in the UK. This means you have not been outside the UK for more than 6 months, or more than 12 months for an 'important reason'. It has been confirmed that an 'important reason' can include studying outside the UK because of COVID-19. 

Further information on the EU Settlement Scheme is outlined on the International Students webpages.


Further guidance

For further guidance on student immigration matters, please contact the International Student Office.