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Ulster University is required to monitor the attendance, engagement and/or the visa status of any overseas students registered for study at the University.

The responsibilities of the student and the University vary depending upon the type of visa that the student is registered on.

Researchers who are on any type of visa other than Student Route (formerly Tier 4) will be required to provide their current visa and in-date passport as requested throughout the year, and must notify the University of any change in visa status.

The University has to comply with the Home Office regulations and is obliged to report any students who break the conditions of their visa or who do not engage in full time study.

Engagement Monitoring

We use a combination of our new PhD Manager system and input from  supervisors to monitor engagement.

Researchers must hold, and record on PhD Manager, at least one face to face supervisory meeting per month (30 day period).

Failure to record at least one meeting in any 30 day period may result in further investigation and ultimately could lead to withdrawal of visa sponsorship.

This engagement will continue from the date of registration up to the date of submission of the final red-bound thesis with the exception of any holiday periods, which much be recorded on PhD Manager, except for times when the University is closed, and the period between submission and viva.

Attendance/Annual Leave

Researchers are expected to be on campus on a daily basis (Monday - Friday) from the date of registration to the submission of the final-bound thesis.

The only exceptions are when Researchers are on a period of Approved Leave, or the University is closed.

There are three categories of Approved Leave :

  • Annual Leave (holidays)
  • Authorised Absence
  • Sickness Leave

Annual Leave

Researchers are permitted to take 40 days (Monday-Friday) of leave each academic year, this 40 days includes days when the University is closed so the 'floating leave' entitlement is approximately 26 days.

In exceptional circumstances, (i.e. a personal or medical emergency) a short period of additional leave may be approved by the Doctoral College.

To request Annual Leave, Researchers must submit an Absence on PhD Manager.

This is only applicable within the main study-period.  Once on an extension there is no annual leave entitlement.

In exceptional circumstances, Annual Leave of up to 5 days in any one extension period may be approved.

The period between submission and viva voce examination is also classified as a holiday period and temporary full-time employment is permitted* (providing that studentship payments have finished).

Term-time begins again on the the viva date and only part-time employment is permitted and will continue until the red-copy thesis is submitted.

Authorised Absence

Researchers may apply for a periods of Authorised Absences throughout their studies.

These are periods when study will be continuing off-campus.  For example, attendance at a conference/training event or data collection.

Note that if this period exceeds 10 working days, a Study Away Change Request must be submitted on PhD Manager.

Sickness Leave

If Researchers are too unwell to attend campus, they should notify their supervisors by email and submit an Absence on PhD Manager.

If this period exceeds 5 working days then a letter from a healthcare professional must also be provided.

Working / Employment

Researchers are restricted on the hours they can work as well as the type of work they may undertake.

In particular, it is important to note that no full-time work should be undertaken, at any stage, during non-holiday periods (see Annual Leave above) until submission of the final red-bound copies of the thesis.

Further information on working on a Student Route visa can be sought by contacting the Doctoral College.

*Based on our understanding of UKVI policies and procedures.

You may wish to see external immigration advice.