Last updated 17 February 2021 

We understand that, as a PGR applicant or offer holder, you may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic and your plans to study with us at Leeds. 

Information is updated regularly on the University coronavirus website.

Programme options 

When can I start my research degree study?

Some programmes allow you to start on the 1st of any month, with others restricting this to October or February.  Please contact your Graduate School to understand the options open to you. 

As part of the application process we will ask you if wish to start remotely or at Leeds.

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

Safety and wellbeing

We are working hard to ensure that the campus is a safe and welcoming environment. Your personal safety is our top priority, and we are putting appropriate safety and hygiene measures in place. We have prepared detailed information about safety on campus on our coronavirus website.

Arriving and starting your research degree

Can I start my research programme on campus?

At present, the general principle adopted by the Government is that, except for a small number of courses (which at Leeds means some undergraduate Clinical and Social Work programmes), PGRs should normally not travel to the University until further notice unless there is a specific reason why this should happen. Please discuss this with your supervisor and your graduate school if you require further clarification.

We fully understand that these continue to be challenging circumstances for our community, your health, safety and wellbeing continues to be our absolute priority. For that reason we continue to work with you to keep our campus covid-secure

Asymptomatic (lateral flow) testing  

Testing is available on campus for staff, students and PGRs. For more information about the asymptomatic testing facility, please see our coronavirus website.

International arrivals

For new international PGRs, we recommend that you do not plan to travel, however, if there are exceptional circumstances or you cannot change the travel plans you have already made, please discuss this with your graduate school

It is essential to read the advice and UK government rules on testing, travel and self-isolation on arrival which apply to students travelling into the UK. You can find these on our Arrival webpage.

Keep checking the UK government guidance on travel, self-isolation and testing, as it is changing regularly.

Make sure you let us know when you plan to arrive by completing our international arrival form so that we can support your travel and arrival.

If you already have your student visa, you will still be able to start your studies online with us. See our webpage about remote study and visas.


For UK PGRs, from October 2020, registration is now entirely online. If you are an international PGR you will also need to register in person when you arrive on campus.

Induction and welcome

Online welcome, orientation and induction activities will help you settle into your new environment and get to know other people as quickly as possible. You will receive pre-arrival information from your graduate school about your online induction.

Online and face-to-face 

Following the UK Government’s announcement of a national lockdown beginning on 5 January 2021 due to recent developments relating to the COVID-19 virus, for the majority of PGRs there will be no face-to-face supervision until further notice. We expect that all PGRs will still have regular supervision meetings online.

Where it is essential for the progression of research, access to facilities such as laboratories is available but you must discuss with your supervisor and graduate school if you feel you need access to progress your research.

What safety measures are in place when I arrive on campus?

We are working hard to ensure that the campus is a safe and welcoming environment. Your personal safety is our top priority, and we are putting appropriate safety and hygiene measures in place. Read more information about safety on campus on our coronavirus website

Deferring my 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.  

What start dates can I defer my offer to?

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.  Please contact your graduate school for more advice.

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

Some programmes can only allow a deferral of one full year. We will advise of any specific requirements when you submit your application.  

Will my English language certificate still be valid?

If your offer was subject to meeting English language criteria these are valid for two years, so you may need to take a new test. 

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.

It will take at least 20 working days (four 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. 

Please note, fees may rise in your second and subsequent years. This will be by no more than the rate of inflation, calculated according to the Retail Price Index. There may be a fee increase for the start of research degree study, with effect from 1 September 2021. 

Starting your programme remotely

If you do not wish or are unable to defer your start date, we encourage you to consider starting your studies online in your current location, joining us in Leeds when restrictions list and it is possible 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 at a later stage.

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

You should contact your graduate school to discuss the possibility of a remote start and whether this will work for you, your project and the progression of your research. 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 who you will be able to contact to get help. You will also be included in research activities and events that happen online.

You will have additional meetings with academic colleagues in your School 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 if this is right for you or not.

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, 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.

What should I do if I cannot undertake my project remotely?

In the first instance, your graduate school will discuss with you the option of deferring your start date. If this is not possible, and there are specific reasons why you need to arrive in Leeds, you are able to do so. However, you will still receive online supervision and access to research facilities and other facilities will only be available where absolutely necessary to progress your project.

Decline your offer and withdraw your application

If I change my mind am I able to withdraw my application?

If you are considering withdrawing 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 offer, we will close your record and you will receive no further communications from the University.

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 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.

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

International applicants

Are you issuing Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) documents?

We are issuing CAS documents as normal.

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, and you may also be able to start your programme remotely.


View our information on accommodation at Leeds, including the safety support available for residents in University accommodation. There is also a range of private accommodation available in Leeds.