Thesis Extensions and Leave

for Graduate Research Students

Extension Requests

A graduate research student may need to apply for an extension if they reach the maximum period of registration for their programme and have not submitted their thesis.  For example, students who are entering Year 5 FT or  of Year 7 PT PhD or Year 3 FT or year 5 PT for Masters by Research must apply to extend their registration on the programme because they have exceeded the maximum registration period as stated in the Academic Regulations (7.9 -7.11, 8.12 and 9.10). 

An application for extension is made by the student to their School, usually via SISWeb, before it is referred to the Graduate Research Board (GRB) for decision.   Before applying for an extension, a student should discuss the matter with their supervisor(s).  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 that they were unable to work on their programme. An application for an extension should ideally be made at least two months before the original submission date to allow for a timely response.   

Please read the Thesis Extensions page on the Graduate Studies website for more detailed information.

Types of Leave

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.