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Guidance for admission of a visiting research student

Please note that this guidance refers to the approved route for visiting research students only (i.e. students registered on a PhD overseas or in the UK who wish to come to the university for part of their PhD research for a period of no more than 12 months). 

Please contact the HR Department for advice on inviting other academic visitors. 

How does the candidate apply?

The candidate will need to submit an application for visiting research through our online application service.  Applicants will need to select “Visiting Research Study in (the relevant department)” from the list of programme choices. 

How do I make an offer and what details are needed for the offer?

Shortly after the candidate has submitted the on-line application it will be visible to the School and an offer can be made in the same way as for a standard PhD applicant. 

The following information is required in order for an offer to be made:

  • Please enter the 'from' and 'to' dates of the proposed visit in the 'Recommendation Notes' box when making the offer.  (Please note that visits cannot exceed 12 months);
  • Please enter the name of the supervisor(s) in the 'Research Details' field;
  • If relevant, please enter details of any research expenses (bench fees) that you wish the candidate to pay in the 'Research Details' field;
  • For courses requiring ATAS clearance, an ATAS statement should also be provided.

What are the tuition fees?

The tuition fees payable by visiting research students is 50% of the standard PhD fee, calculated on a pro-rata monthly basis.  Details of the current fees for visiting students are available on the Doctoral and Researcher College website.

Is it possible to waive the tuition fees?

All students who enrol on RISIS and are here on campus are eligible to receive support from the academic school and all the central services (including the admissions team, the Doctoral and Researcher College, the international advisory team, DTS and the Library).  There is no central fund or route for granting fee waivers for individual students so if funding or sponsorship is not available to cover the tuition fees it won't be possible for the applicant to enrol as a visiting research student.

What type of visa is required?

If the visit is for more than 6 months and the visitor requires a visa to enter the UK, they will need to apply for a student route visa to cover the period of stay in the UK. This means that they will also need to have achieved the required minimum scores in a recognised English Language test (for example IELTS with an overall score of 5.5 and no less than 5.5 in listening, speaking, writing and reading). 

If the visit is for less than 6 months the visitor can apply for a standard visitor visa to cover the duration of their stay and a formal English Language qualification is not required for this visa. 

Is an English Language qualification required?

PhD visitors coming to the University for 6 months or more who require a student route visa will need to provide evidence of achievement of Level B2 in a recognised English Language qualification (e.g. IELTS 5.5 overall and 5.5 in each subsection).  

PhD visitors coming to the University for less than 6 months do not need to provide any evidence of English Language proficiency.

Is it possible to waive the English Language requirement?

No - in order to issue the CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) that a PhD visitor coming for more than 6 months will need for their student route visa application, the university is required to state that they have assessed English Language proficiency and confirm that it is at B2 Level.  This is a UKVI compllicance requirement and it is not possible to waive the condition for a student requiring a student route visa to enter the UK.

What happens next?

The Admissions Team will issue a formal offer to the student which will include information on supervision arrangements, any conditions attached to the offer, the fees payable for the visit, guidance on the type of visa required for the visit and instructions for accepting the offer.

When any conditions have been met and the offer has been accepted the admissions team will issue the CAS, if the student require a student route visa, or the confirmation letter required for a standard visitor visa. 

Online enrolment instructions will also be sent to the applicant (usually about 4 weeks before arrival).  Applicants will need to pay their tuition fees at enrolment stage (or provide evidence of sponsorship).  They are guided through the fee payment process as part of the enrolment process


We hope you find this information useful but please contact the admissions team if you need any further information.