Coronavirus - information for PGR applicants and offer holders

Last updated 14 December 2021. We understand that, as a postgraduate research (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 you must start in October or February.  Please contact your Graduate School to find out your options. 

As part of the application process we will ask you if you wish to start your studies remotely or in Leeds.  Please see the “Can I start my research programme on campus?” section further down the page for more information. 

In some circumstances, we may not be able to offer you your preference, but we will work 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.

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.  

If I am an international student, will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK?   

International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP (general practitioner) will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare.  

Find out what you need to know about access to the vaccines.  

Arriving and starting your research degree

Can I start my research programme on campus?

We are looking forward to welcoming all our postgraduate researchers (PGRs) onto campus. However, for the start of the 2021-22 session, we understand some PGRs may not be able to travel to Leeds, or may not want to, due to the ongoing pandemic and travel restrictions. 

  • Some PGRs will be required to be on campus for the start of their studies and we will tell you if this applies to you. It depends on the research degree. For example, if you need access to research facilities to progress or have scheduled face-to-face teaching.  
  • If you are not required on campus for the start of your studies, you can either start your studies on campus if you want to or tell us if you prefer to start your study remotely.  
    • If you tell us you would prefer to start your studies remotely, we will need to get agreement from your supervisor. If you are funded, you need to check if this is allowed under the terms of your sponsorship.

Some activity will need to continue online for at least part of the next session so we can maintain safe distancing at appropriate levels. Supervision meetings, training and other activity will continue remotely, at least for the early part of the 2021/22 academic year, unless there is an academic need for this to be on campus. Where programmes/projects can start remotely, your welcome induction will also take place online.

The government has asked that we transition all students to face-to-face / on campus by 6 April. 

Your health, safety and wellbeing continues to be our absolute priority and we will continue to work with you to keep our campus covid-secure.   

What facilities will be open on campus when I arrive?   

It is important that you have every opportunity to engage with the whole student experience at Leeds. Our campus facilities such as libraries, sports facilities, the students’ union, cafés and other social spaces will be open with all the appropriate COVID-19 safety measures in place to help keep you safe.  

Your health, safety and wellbeing is our top priority and we will continue to review our plans and implement any changes, in line with government guidance, as quickly as possible.  

International arrivals  

For new international PGRs, the requirement to travel to Leeds will depend upon your programme of study and your individual circumstances.   

If you are considering travelling to the University of Leeds you must read the advice and UK government rules on testing, travel and self-isolation on arrival for 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.  

I am an international student. Where can I find more information about arriving on campus?  

Please visit our Arrival page for information on welcome, arrival and international orientation plans.  

You can also talk to some of our current international students and find out more about online pre-departure events we are organising via our international arrival and orientation support on the Link to Leeds site.   

Do I need to have a COVID-19 vaccine before I arrive? 

The University does not currently require students to have been vaccinated against COVID-19. You can find information about required health documents in our preparation guidance. Please also continue to check travel guidance in your country and UK government requirements.  


For UK PGRs, from October 2021, registration is now entirely online.  

If you are an international student who has to start your course remotely because your arrival in Leeds is delayed due to COVID-19, you will also need to register in person when you arrive on campus. Please see our Registration information.   

Induction and welcome

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 induction.  

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

Where will PGR supervisions take place?

You and your supervisor have choices about how your supervisions are held. You can have your supervisions in person, remotely (eg via Microsoft Teams or other video streaming technologies), or as a hybrid set up (some parties are face to face whilst others in the meeting are video streaming). With ‘hybrid’ working now being an accepted way of working we understand that both you and your supervisor(s) are likely to seek a flexible approach to supervision, with some meetings being in person and others remote.Together you should agree a meeting format that works for you.

It is recognised that with safe distancing measures in place, not all supervisor’s offices are currently suitable for meetings. In this instance, where face to face supervision is the preference, an appropriate meeting room should be booked by your supervisor via the University room booking service or via your local School/Faculty booking process. Please contact your Graduate School if you have any further questions.

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, however for some programmes, you must start in October or February.  

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 increase 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 2022. 

Starting your programme remotely

We appreciate that many of you will prefer the flexibility of starting your research degree remotely and others will be keen, or will need to travel to Leeds to conduct your research.  Some offer holders may wish to request a deferral to their start date.  We hope to accommodate a wide range of requests.      

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. 

For Student Visa (formerly Tier 4) holders, we must follow the guidance given by the Home Office which sets out a requirement for transition to face to face (or blended) learning to take place before 6 April 2022.   

We are using 6 April 2022 as a guideline for all PGRs, and we very much hope that all PGRs will have returned to Leeds by this date. However, we recognise that individual circumstances vary greatly, and be assured that we will continue to monitor Government guidance and will be able to offer further information and guidance in early 2022.     

We are confident that this approach will allow us to return as safely as possible to an on-campus PGR experience and make adjustments to our activity depending on the course of the pandemic.   

Can I study remotely permanently?  

No. We are only offering remote starts as a temporary solution due to the coronavirus crisis. It is different to a distance-learning programme. For this reason, those who start study remotely will not be able to transfer to a distance-learning programme. 

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

From week commencing 26 July 2021 we will send you communications about how to request to start your research degree and how we will manage this request for you. Please note that not all research degrees include the option for a remote start.    

What support can I get if I start remotely?  

You will have meetings with academic colleagues in your School to check what you need to start your programme. Your supervisor will make sure you have access to academic literature and research material so that you can plan your studies and start your research.  

The staff in your Graduate School will keep in regular contact with you to make sure you are supported and answer any questions you may have while you are working remotely.  

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.  

It is important that you have access to a computer or laptop and good internet connection to start your programme. 

If you are an international 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 financially 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

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 come to arrangement that means you do not 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 have 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.  

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 pages.

International applicants

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

We are issuing CAS documents as normal.  

How does studying my course online affect my student visa?  

Please see our webpage about remote study and visas 

I have 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.  

My country is currently on the UK government red list. What does this mean for me?

If you are required to enter managed quarantine in a hotel, we will provide the full government set cost of £2,285. This will be for each student who is self-financing their living costs and travelling from a home address in a red-list country or region.

The eligibility for this support is assessed on a case-by-case basis. To check if you qualify for the financial support, please complete our quarantine rebate eligibility check form. We will process completed forms after the Christmas break and we aim to notify you of the outcome within seven working days.

The claim form will be emailed to eligible students after you have arrived in Leeds.

Please keep evidence of your quarantine booking confirmation and receipt, as you will need these when you submit your claim. 

In normal circumstances, the reimbursement will be paid via a credit on your fee account as a deduction to your second tuition fee instalment or as a deduction to University owned accommodation charges. If you have paid your tuition fees in full, other payment options will be discussed with you after you have submitted your claim. 
Please note, we are not able to pay quarantine costs for accompanying family members.

Our policy may be subject to change if there are UK government updates to travel policy and costs, and if alternatives to managed quarantine are available. 
If you are a student who has previously been studying remotely, please visit our arrangements for 2021/22 page for updates and stay in touch with your tutor.


For questions relating to accommodation, including applying, moving in, and what to expect with social distancing, please visit the Accommodation website.