Research away from the University

Pursue part or all of your postgraduate research at a specified place away from the University.


The University's General Regulations governing Higher Degrees (regulations 15-18) allow you to pursue all or part of your programme of research for an MPhil or PhD award at a specified place away from the University.

Within the scope of these regulations the University has developed a number of arrangements to appropriately administer and monitor this activity. The choice of arrangement depends on the proposed programme of research and your individual circumstances.

International students 

For International students not resident in the UK the University operates a Remote Location scheme, through which you can study for a University of Sheffield MPhil or PhD by undertaking research at an overseas institution.

Candidates may be required to attend the University for certain periods, for example for viva voce examinations or an in-person induction, depending on the requirements of the department and supervisor. However, they spend the majority of their programme of research at the remote location site, and should not spend more than eight consecutive weeks in the UK at any time during the course of their degree.

Academic approval for a candidate to study under the Remote Location scheme must be gained from the appropriate faculty during the application process.

Remote Location scheme

1. Qualifications

To qualify for consideration for admission to the Remote Location scheme candidates must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • Be an International student 
  • Meet the normal entry requirements for MPhil or PhD students at the University of Sheffield 
  • Accept adequate supervisory arrangements for the research scheme acceptable to the relevant faculty of the University 
  • Prove access to the necessary library, computing and other research facilities required to successfully undertake the programme of research within the required period
2. Application process

Students should submit an application using the usual online application form, entering into the notes field of the Research Location section that they wish to study as a Remote Location student. The application will be forwarded to the appropriate academic department.

If the department is able to provide a supervisor for the proposed research, and a candidate's entry qualifications are acceptable, the candidate will be invited to discuss and agree the proposed programme of research.

The applicant and academic department will develop a proposal outlining the arrangements for supervision and access to facilities, which will then be submitted for University approval. Expectations regarding any time required in Sheffield should also be set at this stage.

The University will not issue a formal offer of a place until the necessary approval has been gained. Formal offers will be made via the Admissions Service and not by any other authority within the University.

3. Restrictions

Remote Location students must not spend more than eight consecutive weeks in the UK at any time during the course of their degree. Students that exceed the eight-week limit will have their registration transferred to a standard PhD student, and may be subject to additional fees.

Approval to study as a remote location candidate can only be sought during the application process and will not be given to candidates who are already registered as full-time or part-time students of the University.

4. Registration and Examination

A Remote Location student's progress will be formally reviewed at a Confirmation Review within 12 months of initial registration (24 months for part-time candidates), to ensure that both student progress and supervision arrangements have been satisfactory. As part of the Confirmation Review process the student will be required to undergo an oral assessment, which may take place in person in Sheffield or remotely.

As part of the final examination of the PhD degree, students will be required to undertake a viva voce (oral) examination. This may be held in person in Sheffield or remotely, according to the University's policy.

The period of registration will be determined by the University during the application process. The normal period of registration will be at least three years if studying towards a PhD qualification (six years part-time), or two years if studying towards the qualification of MPhil (four years part-time). This period is the duration for which students are liable to pay full tuition fees. Failure to meet these costs will result in the University withholding the award of the degree.

This normal period of study will be confirmed in the University's offer letter.

5. Student Progress

Whilst undertaking the programme of research at the remote location, the student will be subject to the University's Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, and Regulations, as well as the Code of Practice for Research Degree Programmes. Requirements will be the same as for students based in Sheffield, including those relating to the Doctoral Development Programme.

The student's academic progress and the effectiveness of the supervisory arrangements will be monitored and evaluated at regular intervals, in line with departmental procedures for progress monitoring.

During the programme of research the University reserves the right to call a student to Sheffield, or alternatively, in some cases it may be necessary for the supervisor to visit the student at a location away from Sheffield. Should either prove necessary, the cost of the visit will be borne by the student.

6. Costs

Students registering on a Remote Location programme in 2024-25 will be charged £21,560 (full time) or £10,780 (part time) for each year of research.

Academic departments can increase the standard annual tuition fee by £500, £1000 or £1500 if they feel it is necessary given the nature and anticipated costs of the student's research. In addition to the tuition fee, students will be expected to pay the costs associated with their academic progress outlined above (for example travelling to Sheffield for supervisory meetings or assessments if required). Before registering, students will be required to demonstrate that they can meet the financial demands of Remote Location study.

7. Further information

Applications should be submitted using the University's online application form.

Other research away from the University

UK students who wish to pursue part of their programme of research away from the University, and International students who do not qualify for the Remote Location scheme (for example those who wish to spend more than eight weeks at a time in Sheffield), must gain faculty approval to register as Majority Off Campus students. Faculty approval is given on a case-by-case basis, and is based on the same process and requirements as Remote Location applications.

Students should submit an application using the usual online application form, indicating that they wish to study away from the University. In these cases standard PhD fees will be charged, and there is no restriction on the amount of time students can spend in Sheffield or the UK.

As with Remote Location students, the progress of candidates undertaking research away from the University will be the same as candidates based in Sheffield, and the requirement for students to fulfil the regulations relating to the Doctoral Development Programme will remain.

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