Extend maximum period of study

How to apply

  • Download a copy of the Application for Extension to Maximum Period of Study Form (found below)
  • Complete Section A of the form
  • Send the form for your School/Department.

Upon approval, the form will be passed to a member of the Taught Student Administration Team, who will then process the application and notify the Finance Office, your Sponsor and your local authority (if applicable)


For further information:

Go to the landing page for Regulations and Codes of Practice, so that you can access the appropriate cohort-specific version of the Code of Practice for Procedures for Extensions to Study Periods.

Ensure that you consult the guidance notes (DOC-46kB) when completing the form.  

When do I need to apply?

Extension applications should be submitted at least two months before the expiry of the maximum period of study.

The maximum period of registration for taught programmes will be the period of normal registration as set out in the programme requirements plus two years. These revised maximum periods of registration will apply to new entrants from 2015/16 and any periods of leave of absence will not count towards the maximum period of registration.

For students who commenced their studies before 2015/16, the previous regulations regarding minimum and maximum periods of study will apply and any periods of leave of absence will be included when calculating the maximum period of registration:

Programme of study

Maximum period of study

Taught Postgraduate Degrees (e.g. MA, MSc, MEd)

6 years

Postgraduate Diploma

4 years

Postgraduate Certificate

2 years

Graduate Diploma

4 years 6 months

Graduate Certificate

3 years

Retrospective requests for extensions must include an explanation as to why the request was not submitted at the appropriate time.

Reasons for requesting an extension

Reasons that are likely to be approved include:

  • Accidents
  • Bereavement of an immediate family member
  • Serious ill health
  • Illness affecting an immediate family member
  • Serious unforeseen events, e.g. theft, major disruption to facilities
  • Significant personal difficulties
  • Unexpected financial hardship
  • Disability

 Reasons that are unlikely to be approved include:

  • Work commitments/pressure of work (except for programmes developed for a range of professionals/practitioners, particularly in social work or educational settings)
  • Unrealistic time plan
  • Holidays
  • Improvement of language skills

Requests in excess of 12 months

What evidence is required to support my application?

All applications for extensions must be accompanied by appropriate supporting evidence.

Some examples of appropriate supporting evidence are:

  • Medical certificate – if you were ill or had to take care of someone who was ill
  • Death certificate – if you have suffered a bereavement
  • Supporting letter from your employer – if you had work-related difficulties
  • Bank statements, payslips – if you had financial difficulties
  • Supporting letter from your School

If your evidence is in a language other than English you must provide a certified translation.

If you are not sure what evidence to provide, please email Taught Student Administration at tsa@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Why must I submit a Work Plan along with my application?

All applications must be accompanied by a work plan to demonstrate how the requested period will be used effectively in order to complete the outstanding work for the Award. The work plan should provide a schedule of the outstanding work and the time frame for completing each section.

Extension requests without work plans, with incomplete work plans and with work plans that do not provide sufficient detail or are considered unrealistic will not be approved.  

What happens next?

Once the form has been received, together with the support evidence and work plan, the request will be submitted to the Progress and Awards Board for approval. You will be notified of the outcome of the application.  

What if my application is rejected?

If your application is not approved by the Progress and Awards Board and you have not completed your programme of study within the maximum period of registration, you will be deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn. You may be eligible for the award of an alternative qualification based on the marks for modules that you have already completed and the recommendation of any alternative qualification will be approved at the next meeting of the Board of Examiners.

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