The Doctoral School

Supporting Your Journey

As a postgraduate or PhD student at Lincoln, you’ll be making new discoveries, developing knowledge, and changing the world around you. The Doctoral School is here to support your journey.

The Doctoral School champions the interests of postgraduate students across the University and enables you to benefit from a rich, cross-disciplinary environment with access to tailored support and training. As a dedicated department for postgraduate students, it aims to support and encourage you to get involved in a range of events, activities and groups, while developing skills, knowledge and experience in preparation for your academic and professional career.

The School offers opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary debate through dynamic research groups, non-discipline specific training and development activities within and beyond the University. The team can help to prepare you to undertake research and progress in areas such as presentation skills, data management planning and public speaking. It also promotes e-publishing and helps to expand your horizons through national and international collaboration with other research communities.

Doctoral School Support Banner

“The Doctoral School has been fundamental to my development as a research student. I have benefitted from the team’s support during my postgraduate degree and from the career development events they facilitate. I’ve recently been appointed as a lecturer in musical theatre; a goal I could not have realised without the support of the University of Lincoln.”

Adam Rush, PhD Performing Arts.

‌Support from Your Students' Union

The University of Lincoln’s Students’ Union offers a range of services aimed at helping all postgraduates get the most out of their time at the University. The SU works closely with the University, resident associations and other local organisations to help ensure you have the best postgraduate experience at Lincoln. It is home to the Mature and Postgraduate Society and coordinates a range of activities and events to get involved in, as well as providing support with academic and welfare issues.

Get Involved

We understand that being a postgraduate student is about much more than the research and study you carry out as part of your degree. That’s why, to expand your skills and contacts, The Doctoral School hosts a range of training and education activities, as well as an exciting programme of social and networking events.

Find out more about the support you can access on The Doctoral School blog. 

Further Information

The Doctoral School
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool

+44 (0)1522 837725

Useful Documents and Links

1. Purpose

This document sets out the University’s policy regarding sponsorship of the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) visa.

2. Sponsoring students on the Doctorate Extension Scheme

2.1 The University will sponsor doctorate graduates under the DES only where the University is satisfied the student is eligible for the DES.

2.2 Any student requesting sponsorship under the DES must apply to the University Tier 4 Compliance Team by completing the Doctorate Extension Scheme CAS Request Form available from the University’s Tier 4 – Doctorate Extension Scheme webpage.

2.3 Requests for sponsorship under DES will be considered on an individual basis and the University reserves the right to refuse sponsorship in certain situations including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The student has outstanding debts to the University
  • The student has a history of prior visa application refusals
  • The student has had poor engagement throughout their doctorate study
  • The University is aware of information that could result in the student’s visa application being refused, for example insufficient maintenance funds
  • The student is in breach of their current visa conditions
  • The University believes a student is not acting honestly

2.4 In the event a student’s current Tier 4 leave expires before their course completion date and the University does not require the student’s continued attendance, the University will not issue a CAS to extend their existing leave if the University cannot meets its sponsorship duties with respect to the student.

3. Record keeping

3.1 The University will retain a copy of a student’s passport and the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

3.2 The University will keep a record of the contact points with the student in accordance with Section 4 of this policy

4. Monitoring

4.1 The University will contact students three times throughout the duration of sponsorship (12 month period). Contact points with the student will occur approximately every 3 months after the student has received their DES Tier 4 visa. Contact will be normally undertaken through a SharePoint system whereby the student will be sent an email inviting them to log on to the University system to review and amend their details.

4.2 If a student does not respond to the contact point the University will make a further two attempts to contact the student within a reasonable amount of time. If the student cannot provide a reasonable explanation for missing the contact point or the University is unable to re-establish contact with the student, the University reserves the right to withdraw sponsorship.

5. Withdrawing sponsorship

5.1 The Home Office’s process requires students to apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa application prior to the completion of the doctorate course. The University are required to withdraw sponsorship of the DES visa if the student does not successfully achieve a doctorate degree.

5.2 When the University issues the DES CAS the intention is to sponsor the student for the duration of the 12 month period that is allowed. However, the University reserves the right to withdraw sponsorship at any time should the Tier 4 Compliance team become aware the student is in breach of the terms and conditions of their visa or has evidence that the student has not disclosed all relevant information at the time of issuing the CAS or has not acted honestly.

5.3 Students are expected to fully cooperate with the University. Any student who hinders the University’s ability to comply with its record keeping and reporting duties under Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, or puts the University’s Tier 4 Sponsor Licence at risk, will have their sponsorship withdrawn.

5.4 If a student informs the University they are permanently leaving the UK, the University will report the student’s visa to the Home Office for curtailment in accordance with Section 6 of this policy.

6. Reporting students to Home Office

6.1 The University will report a student to the Home Office in accordance with the Immigration Rules, Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance and any other guidance received from the Home Office.

6.2 The reports to the Home Office will be made by the Tier 4 Compliance team using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) unless a situation arises where a report must be made by email to the Home Office.

6.3 All reports to the Home Office will be made within 10 days that the University becomes aware of an issue that would result in a report being made.

7. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the University remains compliant with the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance and Immigration Rules.

Q. What happens if I still have a long period remaining on my existing visa when I am due to complete e.g. 11 months, can I just use my existing visa to remain and look for work after I have completed?

A. No, once your degree has been awarded and you have surplus leave (more than four months remaining) on your existing visa, the University is obliged to report your early completion to UKVI and your visa may be cut short (curtailed). You should instead apply under the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme before you complete to give you the correct permission to remain in the UK.

Q. My visa will expire before I can apply for the DES visa. What can I do? A. You will have to apply for a normal student extension under Tier 4 for more time to complete your course and then apply for the DES visa at the appropriate time. However, if you are handing in your final thesis within 60 days, you may be eligible to apply for a Doctorate Extension Scheme visa. To check if you are eligible to do this, please contact Q. What kind of employment am I not allowed to take up?

A. You cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or a sportsperson (including coaches). You are permitted to take up any other form of employment or be self-employed. Note that if you wish to progress to Tier 2, your employment must meet the requirement for this visa.

Q. Am I restricted to how many hours I can work on a Tier 4 visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

A. No, the Tier 4 visa under the Doctorate Extension Scheme does not limit the number of hours you can work in a week.

Q. Can I use the student batch scheme to apply? A. Yes, the University’s International Advice Team can check your visa application form and documents and then submit the application to UKVI. Q. Am I still eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme if I receive a lower award i.e. Master of Philosophy?

A. No, the Doctorate Extension Scheme is only available to students who are on track to receive a PhD. If a student is not conferred a PhD after the DES Tier 4 visa application is submitted, the University would need to withdraw sponsorship of the application.

Q. Is there a fee for the University sponsoring me for the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

A. No, there is no charge for the request of a DES CAS and the only fee you will pay will be the cost of the Doctorate Extension Scheme visa application.

Q. I have had my viva and have been told I have major amendments to do on my thesis, why am I not eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

A. The University allows research students up to 6 months to complete major amendments on their thesis. As the UKVI rules are clear that you cannot submit a DES Tier 4 visa application until 60 days before your ‘completion date’, you would not be eligible to apply whilst you have major amendments to complete until near your hand in date. Please contact the Tier 4 Compliance team for further advice on the ideal time to complete a DES CAS request form.

Q. Would I need to have found employment to be eligible for the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

A. No, you would not need to have found employment prior to applying for the Doctorate Extension Scheme.

Q. Would my Doctorate Extension Scheme visa get cancelled if I do not find employment?

A. No, the University will not withdraw sponsorship if you cannot find employment.

Q. Can I apply for the Doctorate Extension Scheme from my home country?

A. No, you must make an application within the UK. Once you have received your DES Tier 4 visa, you may return home for visits if you wish.

Q. Can I extend my stay in the UK after my 12 months under the Doctorate Extension Scheme?

A. There is no option to extend the DES visa for longer than 12 months. As long as your DES visa is still valid (not expired or curtailed) you can switch into Tier 2 or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). You would need to meet the requirements for the relevant tier.