Extensions, Holidays and Leave

for Graduate Research Students

Extension Requests

Graduate research students at UCD may apply for an extension to their original thesis deadline (as long as they have reached the maximum period of registration for their programme).

Students who are entering Year 5 FT or Year 7 PT PhD or Year 3 FT or year 5 PT for Masters by Research must apply to extend their registration in the programme because they have exceeded the maximum registration period stated in the Academic Regulations (7.11, 8.12 and 9.10). These applications are made via their School to the Graduate Research Board (GRB).

In the event that an extension is sought on the basis of extenuating circumstances then an exemption from fees may be sought to accompany this extension. Such extensions are typically sought/granted by trimester. Please note that it is normally expected that students seeking such an extension will have reached the period of maximum registration for their programme. In the event of a student seeking an extension on the basis of extenuating circumstances then supporting documentation must be provided that confirms the period of time you were unable to work on your programme. Additional information on the UCD policy on Extenuating Circumstances can be found at www.ucd.ie/governance/policypages/policypageextenuatingcircumstance.

Before applying for an extension please discuss the matter with your supervisor(s). After discussions with your supervisor(s), the student must apply for an extension in advance of the thesis submission deadline with supporting documents, via the School, and it must be approved by the relevant School and the Graduate Research Board. It is suggested that students make such an application at least two months before their original submission date to allow for a timely response. The granting of an extension to registration is a separate matter from any stipend you might receive, please consult your supervisor or your funding agency about the status of a stipend (if applicable).

Information on extensions, including COVID -19 related requests, can be found at Thesis Extensions section.

COVID-19 Extensions

Special arrangements have been put in place for extension requests arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as some funding for impacted graduate research students via the HEA. Please see information regarding the elegibility criteria and allocation process. 

COVID-19 related extensions


Other Leave Types

Students who need to take time out of their programme for any reason, can apply for a leave of absence (LoA). A student on LoA is not fully registered to the university so cannot be active on the programme i.e. they cannot meet with supervisor(s), attend lectures, access the library or receive grants/scholarships. However, students will continue to have access to their UCD Connect account, including email, during this time. It is recommended that a LoA does not exceed a maximum of one-third of the length of the programme (six trimesters for full time and nine trimesters for part-time students) and must be for a minimum length of one trimester. Leave of absence can be applied for online - for more information and guidance on the leave of absence policy, please see here.

See the UCD Leave of Absence Policy


Holidays can be taken at any time in each year but must be agreed in advance with the supervisor(s), bearing in mind a student’s individual funding terms and any teaching or research commitments. The normal holiday entitlements should be no more than 4 weeks in one calendar year. In the case of part-time students in paid employment, supervisors should be informed of the student’s annual leave arrangements that impact on the research programme.

If a student feels unwell and needs to stay at home for a day or two, the supervisor(s) should be informed. If a student is unwell for a longer period of time, they should try to maintain regular email contact with their supervisor(s) to keep them informed of their health and they must provide a medical certificate for the period of illness. In cases where students may be requesting a ‘no-fees extension’ due to illness, relevant supporting documentation must be provided. In some serious cases, it may be advisable for the student to apply for a leave of absence.

Where possible, students should apply for a Leave of Absence during their maternity leave (see above). It is recommended that a LoA does not exceed a maximum of one-third of the length of the programme (six trimesters for full time students and nine trimesters for part time students). If this causes issues with funding, students can apply for a no fees extension for the period of maternity leave but must be aware that there is no provision for payment of stipends during this additional time.