We understand that applicants and offer holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic and your plans to study with us at Leeds. 

Our campus will be open in September and it’s important to us that you have every opportunity to engage with the research community at Leeds, so we’re working hard to make sure you receive the high-quality academic experience you would expect. Your personal safety remains our top priority, so you can be sure we’ll take all the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, which will be in place right across campus.

Programme options 

When can I start my research degree study?

Unless there are specific reasons (eg funding restrictions), we are not currently accepting applications for start dates before 1 October 2020.  

We will be in contact with all offer holders, asking for their preference of start date, based on the following 4 options:

  1. Arrive in Leeds in time to start your programme on the date stated on your offer letter
  2. Defer the start date further to a date of your choosing
  3. Start your programme remotely
  4. Decline your offer and withdraw your application

All options will require consultation and approval from your School, including your supervision team. 

In some circumstances we may not be able to honour your preference, but we will work closely with you to agree on an alternative, if it is possible.

Some programmes of study will not be able to offer all start options, we will be in contact with offer holders individually to let them know of their specific options. 

Please wait to be contacted before you let us know what you would like to do.

Starting research degree study on-campus from October 2020

Your safety is our top priority and we are doing lots to make our campus safe and welcoming for you when you arrive.

Further information and guidance is on our safety webpage.

Defer start date

Can I defer my offer to secure a place for another time?

Yes, if your programme / project allows it.  Please let us know if you would like to defer your offer to start at a later date.  You can defer your offer for up to two years from the date of your application.  

How long can I defer my offer?

In most cases postgraduate researchers can start their research degree study on the first of any month, with the majority starting in October and February each year.

Your deferral request will need to be approved by your School, and we will arrange this for you. Once this is done we will send you a new offer letter, which will include your change of start date and any relevant conditions.

Some programmes of study will not be able to offer such flexibility and have more limited or no option(s) to defer.  We will be in contact with offer holders individually to let them know of their specific options. 

My research programme contains taught modules. Can I defer my start date?

Some programmes can only allow a deferral of 1 full year.  We are working closely with programme leaders and will be in contact with you directly if you hold an offer for this programme type. 

Will my English language certificate still be valid?

English language tests are valid for two years, so depending on how long you defer your offer for, you may have to retake the test and your new start date will be subject to satisfactory completion of this.

Further information is available on our English language entry requirements and accepted qualifications pages.

Will my ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) still be valid?

If you require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance please note that these are valid for 6 months, so you may need to renew this if you defer.

It will take at least 20 working days (4 complete weeks) for your ATAS application to be processed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Can I keep my scholarship if I defer my place to a later date?

If you have received a University of Leeds scholarship we will let you know if this is possible.

If you have received a scholarship from an external sponsor you must check with them to see if your start date can be moved to a later date. 

Start your programme remotely

If you think you may be unable to come to Leeds for the start of term due to travel restrictions, government mandates or other reasons such as an underlying health condition then you may wish to request a remote start to your research degree study.

This can allow you start your research degree study in your current location, arriving in Leeds when it is safe and allowed for you to do so. 

How long can I study remotely?

We would like you to come to Leeds as soon as practically possible, but initially we will offer you a remote study period of up to four months.  After four months, we will review your situation to work out what is the best course of action for you next.

Can I study remotely permanently?

No. The offer of remote start requests is a temporary solution to travel restrictions or other reasons why attendance in Leeds is not possible due to the coronavirus crisis.   It is distinct from a distance learning programme.  For this reason those who start study remotely will not be able to transfer to a distance learning programme from the outset, or request to do so at a later stage.

What do I need to do to start my study remotely?

If you feel that you will be unable to come to Leeds at the start of your programme for reasons caused specifically by the Covid-19 pandemic, you need to let us know exactly what these reasons are.  Once you have told us this, we will liaise with your supervisor and School to find out if a remote start is suitable and appropriate for your programme or project.  A remote start is not suitable in all cases.

What support can I expect to receive if I start remotely?

We realise that starting a research programme remotely means that you will not be immersed in the research community of your School and programme.  To help with this, we are arranging a ‘buddy’ system with existing PGRs whom you will be able to contact to get help.  You will also be included in research activities and induction and training events that happen online.

You will have additional meetings with academic colleagues in your School during the initial period of your programme so that they can check that you have what you need and feel supported whilst starting your programme.  And naturally your supervisor will ensure that you have access to academic literature and research material so that you can plan your studies and make a start on your research.

The staff in your Graduate School will keep in regular contact with you to ensure that you know what you should be doing and that you have access to what you need.  If you have any questions whilst you are working remotely, they will be able to help you find the answer that you need.

What do I need to consider for a remote start of study?

Starting a research programme remotely is not something that is normally offered, and there are some implications that you need to consider when you decide whether this is right for you.

Your supervisor and/or School will help you with equipment needs, but it may be that you need to provide these for yourself initially, so you need to make sure that you have access to a laptop and a good internet connection.

If you are an international or EU postgraduate researcher and you are funded from the UK, you might find it difficult to access your scholarship until you arrive in the UK and set up a UK bank account.  We will try to help you through this, but you need to think carefully about whether you can support yourself until you arrive in Leeds.

How much will it cost to study remotely?

There will be no changes to the fee, as set out in your offer letter.

Decline your offer and withdraw your application

Am I able to withdraw my application?

If you are considering declining your offer do let us know. We may be able to work through it with you and come to arrangement that means you don’t have to withdraw at this time.

If no options are available we will of course be sad to see you go. If your circumstances change in the future you can contact us again to see if your offer can be reinstated, or if you will need to apply again. 

If you withdraw your application, we will close your record and you will receive no further communications from the University.

Safety and wellbeing

What safety measures will be in place when I arrive on campus?

We are working hard to ensure that the campus is a safe and welcoming environment for you when you arrive. Your personal safety is our top priority, and we are putting appropriate safety and hygiene measures in place, including social distancing protocols and hand-sanitiser points across campus buildings and in student residences. We’ll continue to review our plans regularly.

My application

I’ve applied to the University but have not had a decision on my application yet. Are you still considering applications?

Yes. We are still processing applications as usual.

I am due to apply for or to attend either the 10-week or the 6-week pre-sessional programme but am unable to travel to the UK. Is it possible to take the programme online?

Pre-sessional courses are now being taught online, for further information please go to the Language Centre website

Is there a deadline to accept my offer?

We recommend you accept your offer as soon as possible, so we can keep you updated on what is happening at the University of Leeds and to prepare you for arrival and the start of research degree study.

My university cannot provide me with an official certificate or transcript to meet the academic conditions of my offer due to covid-19, what should I do?

We will be as flexible as possible and documentation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We recommend you submit the most recent transcript and/or confirmation of award that you have been provided by your current institution for the admissions team to review. They will contact you if any further information or documentation is required.

My English language test centre is currently closed and I’m not sure how to meet the English requirements for my course?

We are currently accepting a wider range of English language tests, including some which are available to take at home. See our entry requirements page for more information. 

For English language requirements for our pre-sessional programmes, see our Language Centre pre-sessional FAQs.

International applicants

How do I apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate?

You will still need to apply for an ATAS certificate if your programme requires you to apply for one. The scheme was closed for a while after the coronavirus outbreak and there have been some processing delays but the Home Office update to the TIER 4 visa guidance published on 1 June 2020 confirmed that ATAS applications can now be made. Please see the government website for latest updates.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies

We are now issuing CASs for research degree programmes starting from September 2020. 

In order to be eligible for a CAS, you must have accepted an unconditional offer and supplied all necessary information, such as valid passport details. Once your arrival date is confirmed you will be informed by email once your CAS is ready, or if any further information is needed, so you do not need to take any action to request a CAS.

What will happen if I have received my visa but am now unable to travel due to covid-19?

The University expects that the UK government will be flexible to students who need to change their plans due to coronavirus. You can find the latest updates for students using visas on the GOV.UK website.

I’ve received my unconditional offer from Leeds but am worried about getting my visa in time. What should I do?

Don’t worry, where UKVI centres are closed, we will make adjustments if you need to arrive late.


What is the deadline for applying for accommodation?

The deadline for applying for University accommodation was 1 July. If you are an international applicant this will guarantee you a place but If you apply after this date, we will do all we can to support you in securing accommodation. Full details can be found on the accommodation website.

Will accommodation contracts be flexible with arrival dates and contract length?

If the start of your course is changed or delayed, the University will contact you to let you know. If this happens, please get in touch with accom@leeds.ac.uk to advise us of the new date you will need your accommodation from. We will then amend your contract so you only have to pay for the time when you need your University accommodation.

How will the University support me if I have to self-isolate in my accommodation?

If you live in University accommodation, you will need to let us know if you have to self-isolate. Our Residence Life team will get then in touch and support you throughout your period of self-isolation. This will include regular checks on how you are doing, arranging for deliveries of meals and anything else you need.

Will I receive a refund if I have to leave my accommodation and return home early due a second wave of covid-19?

Our student accommodation contracts are normally fixed term. However, if you are required by your government, the UK government or the University to leave your University accommodation as a result of coronavirus, then you will be allowed to vacate your room and will not be charged from the date that you move out.

How will you implement social distancing in University accommodation? 

We are putting arrangements in place so you can move into your accommodation whilst observing social distancing, including a phased and contactless arrivals process. Once you move into your flat you will become a new household together (this refers to a group of students who all share the same kitchen). More information is available on the accommodation website.