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Postgraduate students must keep a specific number of terms of research and/or residence as defined by the Statutes and Ordinances. It is accepted that due to the nature of postgraduate study, there may be times in which you will need to be away from Cambridge.  These pages provide further details about your responsibilities.

Terms of Residence

  • The University year consists of three terms. Term dates are published on the University's website (University of Cambridge Term Dates) Research students are expected also to be in attendance and actively working on their research between terms, except during periods of holiday agreed with their supervisor, not normally exceeding 8 weeks in a 12-month period.
  • Full-time students must spend at least three terms resident in Cambridge. For a term to be 'kept' a student has to reside in Cambridge for a minimum number of nights (59 for the Michaelmas and Lent Terms and 52 for the Easter Term). These nights must be between the dates specified in the text under 'From the Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge' (not the dates in the table of term dates). If you are registered on a full-time basis and are resident in Cambridge for 21 days or more of a term you will be liable for the University Composition Fee for that term. The term will also be counted as a term of study.
  • Full-time postgraduate students are expected to live within 10 miles of the centre of Cambridge while carrying out research in the University. Students who have good reason to live further away must apply formally for permission to reside outside the University's precincts (via their CamSIS self-service) and have the agreement of their supervisor that this will not impair their ability to study and to attend the University as required, and the consent of their College. Students whose research requires them to spend a period of time away from their Faculty or Department must apply formally for permission to work away
  • Part-time students have no residence requirements but are required to attend the University on a regular basis as prescribed by the degree committee.  Part-time students whose research requires them to spend a period of time away from their normal place of residence must apply formally for permission to work away

Terms of Research

All research students must undertake a certain number of terms of research in the University or one of its approved University Partner Institutions (UPIs) to be of standing to submit their thesis; the requirement for each qualification is set out in the relevant Statutes and Ordinances, and are detailed below:

Description Qualification Terms: Full-time Terms: Part-time
Minimum number of terms of research
(earliest date thesis may be submitted is the first day of the Term shown)
MRes/MPhil/ CPGS
Minimum number of terms of research required in Cambridge or approved NUI PhD/EngD
3 5

Under particular circumstances students can apply for an exemption or allowance of up to 3 terms of research (Allowance and Exemption of Research Terms)

Hours of Attendance and Holidays

You are expected to attend according to the basic rules set out for your qualification.

Whilst the University does not officially set rules on the hours of attendance nor on the number of days holiday you may take, it does recommend that full-time students work for 40 hours per week and part-time students 20 hours per week. The University also limits the hours of paid work a full-time research student can take.

You are entitled to take up to 8 weeks of holiday each year, in agreement with your supervisor.  If you receive funding, you should be aware that your sponsor may also set a limit on the number of days paid holiday you can take. Please check carefully the terms and conditions of any awards you hold.

For further information please contact the Student Registry (

Statutes and Ordinances

Statutes and Ordinances: Chapter VII: Degrees, Diplomas, and Other Qualifications.

Course Reference
Bachelor of Divinity (BD)
PhD, MSc, MLitt & MPhil by Thesis
PhD under Special Regulations
MPhil by Advanced Study
Doctor of Divinity (DD)
Doctor of Law (LLD)
Doctor of Science and Doctor of Letters (ScD, LittD)
Doctor of Music (MusD)

For further information please contact the Student Registry (