Changes to study

Withdrawal from studies

In order to comply Home Office regulations, we are required to report to UKVI within 10 working days when a student withdraws from their studies.

Registry run weekly reports to identify where DISC or WADM statuses have been actioned on students with a Student or Tier 4 visa. We then report the withdrawal to UKVI using the Sponsor Management System.

After this report is completed, UKVI curtail the student's visa, usually to 60 days.

If a Student/Tier 4 visa holder is considering withdrawing, they should be advised to read the withdrawal information on the University webpages and consult International Student Support to ensure that they are fully aware of the implications that withdrawal will have for their visa and immigration status.

For information on how to process withdrawal forms and and submit to Registry, see this webpage.

If there is a student who has failed to progress but also has an academic appeal in progress, please see Failure to progress to next academic year/appeals below.

Failure to progress to next academic year/appeals

To ensure the University complies with regulations, the MyCampus records of all students who fail to progress to the next academic year of their programme must be withdrawn promptly.   

Failure to withdraw students who cannot progress will mean that their MyCampus record remains active, and we would be in breach of our sponsor duties by continuing to sponsor a Student Visa while the student is no longer studying with us.

Please submit administrative withdrawal forms to Registry for all Student/Tier 4 visa holders who fail to progress to the next academic year of their programme as soon as possible (for example following the examination board or progress committee). On receipt of the withdrawal, the Registry will withdraw visa sponsorship, which will lead to the student’s visa being curtailed by UKVI.

In some cases a student may appeal against a progress decision. Normally we cannot continue visa sponsorship while the appeal is in progress because an appeal does not amount to full-time study. Withdrawal of Tier 4 sponsorship and curtailment of visa must therefore still be actioned even though the appeal is ongoing. If the appeal is successful and the student is able to resume their studies, a new CAS should be issued to allow them to return to the UK.

The only exceptions to this rule are in a few cases where a student is officially permitted to progress onto the next year of their programme with their appeal running concurrently (on the assumption that the appeal may be successful). In these cases we can continue our sponsorship of the student, provided that they have an active record and are registered fully in the current year in MyCampus, and they are studying full-time. If the appeal is unsuccessful, an administrative withdrawal should then be submitted and the Registry will withdraw visa sponsorship as above.

Suspension of studies & leave of absence

Some students may need to suspend their studies due to personal, medical (including pregnancy) or other issues.

All suspensions of studies must be approved by a College, and suspensions will typically only be granted to Post Graduate Research students.

Whether we can continue to sponsor a Tier 4 student's visa (i.e whether they can remain in the UK) during their suspension is based on UKVI guidance, and depends on how long the student will suspend their studies for.

Suspensions not exceeding 60 days

We can continue to sponsor a student's Tier 4 visa during a suspension of 60 days or less. This means their visa will remain valid and they can stay in the UK during the suspension. The student is expected to remain in contact with their Supervisor (or Graduate School) during the period of suspension, and failure to do so may lead to the withdrawal of sponsorship.

Suspensions exceeding 60 days

We cannot continue to sponsor a student's Tier 4 visa if they suspend their studies for a period of more than 60 days.

Registry will need to inform UKVI that the University (via the Sponsor Management Systems) that it has withdrawn its sponsorship of the student for the purposes of deferment of studies. The student's visa will be curtailed (usually to 60 days) and they will need to leave the UK. They will then be able to apply for a new visa when ready to return.

Any student who is considering suspending or interrupting their studies for this period should be advised to consult the International Student Support Team in order to ensure that they are aware of the implications of suspension on their ability to remain in the UK.

Tier 4 students who are on a Leave of Absence/Suspension of Studies cannot stay in the UK to work.

Registry run reports to identify where a Tier 4 or Student visa holder has a Leave of Absence recorded in MyCampus that exceeds 60 days.

Change of study location

The University must inform UKVI when a student undertakes substantive study away from the University.

This includes:

*We do not currently notify UKVI of short-term clinical placements e.g. BVMS, MCBhB, BDS or BN clinical rotations/placements.

All of the above must be entered into MyCampus (Records and Enrollment>Placements>Student Placements) prior to the placement/year abroad commencing. Registry regularly run the query UOG_TIER4_TERM_PLACEMENT which identifies Tier 4 and Student visa holders who have had placements/years abroad recorded here. We then report to UKVI the location where the student will be and when they are due to return to UofG.


Plan & progamme change

A Student Visa has conditions attached which determine whether they can change their course of study. If, after starting their original course, the student wishes to change to a different one (i.e one that will require a plan or programme change in MyCampus), they can only do so if the change complies with the criteria in UKVI's guidance.

This covers:

  • Students changing their programme of study for reasons of personal choice
  • Students changing to or from integrated Master's programmes (eg. BEng - MEng or BSc - MSci)
  • PhD students writing up for a lower level award such as an MPhil or MSc (R)

It does not cover students who gain an exit award at the end of their studies (eg. Honours exiting with ordinary degree, or MSc exiting with PgD/PgC).

Registry run the MyCampus reports UOG_TIER4_TERM_PLANCHANGE and UOG_TIER4_TERM_PROGCHANGE to identify instances where Student/Tier 4 visa holders have a recent PLNC or PRGC action. All changes are checked against UKVI's guidance to ensure compliance with regulations.

Before any programme/plan changes are offered to a Student/Tier 4 visa holder and/or put through MyCampus, the following steps should be taken:

  • The school/college should consult this webpage or contact the Immigration Compliance team to check that the change is acceptable
  • The student may wish to seek advice from International Student Support who will advise them if the change causes any implications for their visa

If the above steps are not followed, the University will be acting in breach of the student sponsor regulations, and Immigration Compliance will have to instruct the school/college to revert the student back to their original programme.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Any student changing to a programme that requires ATAS clearance must apply for and obtain ATAS before they can commence the new programme (even if they already have ATAS clearance from their current programme - an ATAS clearance cannot be transferred to a new programme).

Length and level of new programme

UKVI guidance states that for students who applied for their visa on or after 6th April 2016, the following rules apply:

- The new programme (the one the student wishes to change to) must be at bachelor's degree level or above; 
- The new programme must be at the same or a higher level than the one the student is changing from. It cannot be at a lower level.
- the student must be able to complete the new programme within their current period of leave (this means that their current visa must be long enough to allow them to complete it without needing to extend)*
- for students who have previously been granted Tier 4 (General) leave:
a) the new programme must be related to the previous one (UKVI clarify that this means it should be either connected to the previous programme, part of the same subject group, or involve deeper specialisation), or 
b) the previous programme and the new one in combination support the student's genuine career aspirations.

*Schools can check a student's visa expiry date in MyCampus at Campus Community > Personal Information (Student) > Identification (Student) > Citizenship > Visa Permit Data

What if a student cannot meet the above requirements?

If a student does not meet the above requirements, they will still be able to study the programme they wish to change to, but they will not be able to change to it whilst on their current visa.

They would need to submit a new Stude t visa application (with a new CAS) for the programme they wish to change to, and they cannot begin the new programme until they have their new visa. The student would also need to seek advice from International Student Support on whether they could stay in the UK to make this application. If it is not possible for them to make the application in the UK, they will need to travel home to make it.

Informing UKVI

A change of programme or plan for a student amounts to a change of student circumstances, and this must be reported to UKVI. The Immigration Compliance Team report these changes to UKVI based on the PLNC and PRGC actions in MyCampus.

Part-time study

Currently our Student Visa holders are not permitted to study part-time. International/EU students in the UK in a non-student visa category are permitted to study part-time (provided their visa status does not prohibit study).

Switching from full-time to part-time study

If a Student or Tier 4 visa holder studying a full-time programme wishes to switch to part-time, this is also not currently permitted.

Repeat study without continued participation (exams-only)

If a student is required to register as exams-only, they are not expected to participate in studies until the relevant examination period begins.

In this case, the guidance from the Home Office does not allow the University to continue to sponsor the student in this interim period. The student should be advised to leave the UK, as the Home Office will curtail their visa to 60 days.

In all cases the School or College must inform the Registry who will notify the Home Office that the University has discontinued its sponsorship of the student.

Students who are returning to the UK only for the purposes of taking re-sits and who do not intend to stay on in the UK after their resit may decide to apply to return to the UK with a Short-term study visa.

If a student intends to apply for a Student Visa, a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will need to be issued by External Relations admissions following approval by the School/College, up to three months before the start of the relevant exam period.

A CAS should only be issued if the student is registered as exams only, including payment of the appropriate fee, and has been enrolled for the courses to be re-sat on MyCampus. If their visa application is successful.

Undergraduate students and August Re-sit Diet

Undergraduate students who are returning to the UK to take examinations in the August diet, and who may be eligible to progress to the next academic year in September, are advised to apply for Tier 4.

We recommend that their CAS covers the full length of their course i.e. presume that they will pass the examination and progress to year 3/4 of their UG programme.  If the student doesn't progress, Registry should be notified to allow us to withdraw sponsorship of their visa.

Repeat study with continued participation

The University may continue its sponsorship of a student throughout the repeat period, where the student’s continued participation is required, and where the College, School or RI are confident that they will be able to comply with sponsor duties with respect to that student during the repeat period (in particular attendance monitoring).

However, if we do not require the student's continued participation within 60 days of the start of the next academic period (with the exception of recognised institutional vacation periods), we will not be able to continue to sponsor them.

For example, where a student is required to repeat a course that is only offered in second semester, we cannot continue to sponsor the student during semester one.

In all such cases the College, School or RI should advise the student to leave the UK, even if their visa has not run out, unless they are eligible to stay in the UK for any other reason. In addition, if the student is registered the MyCampus record must be amended to indicate that they are no longer in attendance and inform the Registry who must notify Home Office that the University has discontinued its sponsorship of the student.

If the student's permission to stay due to expire, and we do not require their continuing participation within 60 days of the start of the next academic period, we should not issue a new confirmation of acceptance for studies, and the student should make arrangements to leave the UK.

At a later point, a CAS may be issued so that the student can apply for entry clearance to return to the UK in time to repeat their course.

Writing-up PGR students

The University may continue its sponsorship of a postgraduate student for the purposes of writing-up, where we require the student’s continued participation.

We must be confident that we will be able to meet our sponsor duties with respect to that student, including attendance monitoring, during the period leading up to final submission of the dissertation or thesis and including an oral examination, as required.

Where we do not require the student’s continued participation for a period of time (normally for 60 days or more) we must still be confident that we are able to meet our sponsor duties with respect to that student, including attendance monitoring, during the writing-up period.

Dissertation study - PGT students

Students may seek to leave Glasgow for the dissertation period (either all or part of it), for a variety of reasons.

Academic supervision issues aside, students may no longer be compliant with their visas if they choose to leave the UK during this period:

  • A Tier 4 visa is issued on the basis of being a full-time student on a course of studies, during the course dates (12 months) noted the CAS used to apply for the visa
  • A visa has been granted to cover the duration of this course, with an additional period at the end of up to 4 months
  • The University therefore requires a Tier 4 student to be present in Glasgow for the full 12 month period, unless there are good academic reasons for their participation elsewhere, as we continue to have obligations the student’s Tier 4 sponsor during the Dissertation

Thus, students who leave Glasgow (N.B. not just the UK) for an unauthorised period of more than 15 consecutive working days during the dissertation period are in effect confirming that they wish to cancel their sponsorship.

Good academic reasons:

In exceptional cases, it may be possible for students to undertake studies related to their dissertation projects away from Glasgow.

It is the responsibility of the Programme Director or Supervisor to establish before the student leaves Glasgow, that the student:

  • has firm arrangements in place regarding appropriate supervisor/supervision at both Glasgow and the other site*;
  • has the plan of work agreed between the Programme Director, the Glasgow supervisor and the site at which the work will take place*, and that this plan will deliver information suitable for the preparation of a dissertation to masters standards;
  • has established to the satisfaction of the Glasgow supervisor and the Programme Director that the remote site has the resources available for the work planned, and that the work can be completed within the given time scale;
  • has in place points of contact at the remote site such as to allow adequate pastoral care and oversight of the student’s work;
  • has established effective communication links between student and supervisor at Glasgow; links must be regularly used and recorded;
  • has suitable arrangements made for the analysis and reporting of the work; and
  • has agreed to be available to return to Glasgow if required so to do by the Programme Director or Supervisor.

* Where the University doesn’t have a contact at an external institution who can confirm attendance, progress, etc (e.g. where a student is using library resources), the student may feasibly be asked to complete a monthly progress report which can be submitted to the relevant Supervisor or Graduate School.

If the absence cannot be agreed, the student should be notified and they (or a member of staff) should advise Registry in order for necessary steps to be taken to notify UK Visas and Immigration that the University is ending its sponsorship of the student.  This still enables the student to complete academically.