Change of study location (PGT dissertation period)

Check if you can relocate overseas during your PGT dissertation on a Tier 4 or Student visa.



With the exception of specific distance learning courses, the University’s programmes are an on-campus experience. If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa then you have been sponsored specifically to study a course within the UK on the University’s premises.

This means that, unless your course includes a formal period of study overseas, you should study from within the UK during term time. Term time includes during your dissertation period.

If you choose to relocate overseas during your dissertation you must request permission to do so from your academic department and inform ISSAC of this. This is because such a change has an impact on your visa sponsorship and eligibility for the Graduate Immigration Route.

How to apply

If you intend to leave the UK for your dissertation period, whether permanently or temporarily, you must:

  • complete the Change of Study Location form below
  • send this to your academic department for approval.
  • If your department approves this, you should wait for confirmation and visa advice from ISSAC to your student email account.

Note: Before completing this form please ensure you have read the visa implications of this decision and the FAQs

You do not need to complete this if you are taking a work placement or study abroad period that is a formal part of your course, or if your department requires their students to remain in the UK for this period.

Change of study location form, PGT dissertation (Word, 32kB)

How this affects your visa

Whether or not your visa will be affected will depend on the reason and duration for your change of study location.

The University must withdraw sponsorship of your Student visa and your visa will be cancelled by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if you will be:

  • completing your course from overseas; or 
  • studying overseas temporarily for practical or non-academic reasons 

Please see the FAQs below for more information.

In some limited cases the University may be able to continue sponsoring your visa whilst you are overseas. This is only possible if it is a temporary period of overseas study taken for academic reasons, for example research purposes relating to your dissertation. Please see the FAQs section below for more information.

How this affects the Graduate Immigration Route

One of the eligibility requirements to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route after you complete your course is that you must have studied in the UK for a relevant period. If you leave the UK you may therefore become ineligible to apply for this visa in the future. See the Graduate Route webpage for more details on this requirement.

For postgraduate taught students, you must have received a visa which is at least 12 months long and all study during this period must have taken place in the UK. 

Therefore if your visa sponsorship is withdrawn as a result of your change in study location you will not be eligible to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route. If your visa sponsorship can be maintained for a temporary authorised period then this may mean that you can still apply for the Graduate visa in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my department permit me to study overseas during my dissertation period?

Your department may or may not permit you to study your dissertation from overseas. Depending on your specific course you may be required to remain in the UK for this period for academic reasons. This is why your department must approve your Change of Study Location form.

The following departments do not permit study overseas for this period and you should not complete the form to request this:

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

What if I have a work placement or period of study abroad as part of my course?

If your course includes a placement or study abroad period as a formal part of your studies, e.g. you are on a course “with a year in industry”, then you do not need to complete the change of study location form. As this is a formal part of your course the University will inform UKVI of your temporary change of study location automatically and continue to sponsor your visa during this period.

What happens if I submit all work before returning overseas?

If you submit all required assessments and have no further studies to partake in then you have effectively completed your course. If you wish to leave the UK after this point you do not need to complete the change of study location form as you are no longer actively studying and your visa will not, therefore, be affected by travelling overseas. 

How can I return to the UK if my visa sponsorship is withdrawn?

If your Student visa sponsorship is withdrawn then this visa may be cancelled by UK Visas and Immigration at any time. Therefore if you intend to return to the UK, eg for graduation, you should do so by applying for a Visitor visa to travel instead. 

Will I still be eligible for the Graduate visa if I have a temporary period of study overseas approved by the University?

If your department approves your request to study overseas temporarily (you intend to return before your course end date), and confirms that your period overseas is directly related to your studies, then the University will simply inform UKVI of your temporary change of study location and continue to sponsor your visa during this period

This means, provided you meet all the other requirements, the University will still report your Graduate visa eligibility to UKVI. UKVI has confirmed that any periods a student studies overseas as part of their course, such as placements, fieldwork, and research, will not impact on the student's eligibility for the Graduate route.

What if I'm studying overseas but don’t complete the change of study location form?

You should complete the form if you are studying overseas during term time. If you do not complete the form and it becomes apparent that you are not studying on campus, for instance because of your attendance record,  the University may proceed to withdraw sponsorship of your visa on this basis without completion of the form.

What if I’m just going overseas for a short period?

Whilst you should be based in the UK during term-time you may have extenuating circumstances that require you to travel overseas for a short period and for a particular reason, during which time you would generally be absent from studies. 

You do not need to complete the change of location form, but you must inform your department so that they ensure your absences are authorised. An example of this would be if you must return home for 1 or 2 weeks only because of a family emergency.

Do I need to wait for ISSAC to send visa advice before leaving the UK?

You must get department approval to relocate for your dissertation period before you leave the UK.

If your department informs you that they do approve the change of location, then you may wish to travel before receiving the visa advice from ISSAC if there is a delay. You should only do this if you are fully aware of and accept the visa implications of your decision. If you choose Option B of the form and wish to keep your visa sponsorship for the period you are overseas, then you should wait for ISSAC's advice before making plans to be sure this is permitted.

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