Students Staff

Tier 4: Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES)

If you haven’t yet completed your University of Essex PhD and are interested in applying to remain in the UK for an additional 12 months to work or seek work, this may be the scheme for you.

Please be aware that you cannot apply if you have already uploaded your final thesis to the Research Repository (completed your PhD).

  • Eligibility Criteria


    • You must be a University of Essex doctoral candidate
    • You can ONLY make an application for this scheme from within the UK
    • You must have current Tier 4 immigration permission
    • You must be within 60 days of the expected end date of your course, the expected end date will be the deadline by which you have to upload your final thesis to the Research Repository
    • If the University agrees to sponsor you to apply for a visa under this scheme, you will need a new CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) to make your Tier 4 (DES) application

    Please be aware that the University does not guarantee to sponsor students for this scheme.

  • How and when can I request a CAS?

    Once you have successfully completed your Viva and all work on your thesis (including corrections), you will be sent an email from the Postgraduate Research Education (PGRE) team inviting you to upload the final version of your thesis to the Research Repository

    Firstly, please read the UKCISA guidance about the scheme to ensure you will be able to meet all the Home Office requirements and that the scheme is right for you. To apply for the Essex scheme;

    Step 1. Contact our International Services team to request a CAS and DES agreement

    Step 2. When you receive the DES Agreement, contact SU Advice to book a place on a visa workshop

    Step 3. Attend the visa workshop (you'll need to take the DES Agreement to complete)

    Step 4. Return the completed/signed DES Agreement to our International Services team at your Student Services Hub

    Your CAS request will then be processed by our International Services team and if you are eligible, assigned.

    Eligibility for a CAS: Our International Services team will carry out checks in line with the Tier 4 rules and policy guidance in force at the time of your request. Your academic record and immigration history will also be taken into account.

  • How and when can I make my Tier 4 application?

    When you receive your CAS you can apply. You must make a valid application:

    • before your current visa expires and;
    • before the expected end date on the CAS, and before you upload your thesis to the Research Repository

  • When should I upload my thesis to the Research Repository?

    As soon as you have submitted your Tier 4 (DES) application to the Home Office you can upload your thesis. It must be uploaded by the deadline you’ve been given by the Postgraduate Research Team.

  • What should I do when I receive my outcome/BRP?


    • Bring your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to your Student Services Hub, we have to keep a copy
    • If your application is refused by the Home Office please email a copy of the outcome letter to our International Services Team
    • You must adhere to ALL the DES Agreement terms
    • If you fail to respond to emails promptly or breach the terms of the DES Agreement the University will report this to the Home Office who will curtail (cut short) your visa

  • What type of work can I do?

    Before you have uploaded your thesis you must continue to work only the hours stated on your Tier 4 visa in any individual week.

    You must not engage in any of the following, paid or unpaid:

    • be self-employed
    • engage in business activity
    • be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
    • be employed as an entertainer
    • take a permanent full-time job
    • work as a doctor or dentist in training, unless you are on the foundation programme

    Read the UKCISA guidance and their blog about the types of work you can do whilst studying.

    After you have made your Tier 4 (DES) application and uploaded your thesis to the Research Repository, you can work full time.

    The type of work you can do is broader but you must not engage in the following (paid or unpaid):

    • be employed as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach
    • work as a doctor or dentist in training

  • Who can I contact for further information and advice?

    After reading the information above, if you have any further queries about the University of Essex DES scheme please contact us.

    Read the UKCISA guidance about working in the UK after studying.

    Immigration advice about extending your Tier 4 visa in the UK is available from SU Advice. If you want to apply to extend your leave to remain in the UK under this scheme, you will need to attend one of their visa workshops.