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Changing Your Mode of Study

From full-time to part-time or from part-time to full-time

Postgraduate taught courses

Many taught Masters programmes are only available on a full-time basis due to the teaching and assessment requirements. You should speak to your Course Director or Administrator to determine if your course offers part-time study before requesting a change to your mode of study.

Postgraduate research students

1. Preparing an application - points to consider

You should include the following information:

  1. The reason for the change of mode - this provides useful context for those considering your application
  2. The impact of the change of mode in terms of supervision, ongoing support, access to facilities and resources, financial implications and project timeline
  3. The term from which you would like the change to take effect. A change of mode should be from the start of a term and, if temporary, should be for full terms. If you have already completed your minimum required number of terms of study (for example, the minimum required number of terms of study for the full-time PhD is nine) an application to change your mode of study will only be considered on health grounds or in exceptional circumstances. A change of mode when you have completed the maximum terms for your degree (for example, twelve for the full-time PhD) will not be possible. Students who are required to revise and resubmit their thesis following their viva may be eligible to apply for a change of mode.

It will not normally be possible to change your mode of study until the application has been formally approved by all parties. 

Part-time study for PhD, MSc and MLitt is carried out at 60% of full-time study. In practice, the University does not dictate how many hours of study a part-time student should undertake per week. In general, it is expected part-time students will be resident in Cambridge for around 45 days per year, spread throughout the year, to receive formal supervision and training.

The pattern and frequency of supervision should be agreed between you and your supervisor and determined by the nature of your project. You are advised to discuss training requirements with your Department. Your submission deadline and the number of terms of fee liability will always be calculated using the 60% conversion rate.

2. Assessing the impact of the change

Supervision and support: If you are applying to change from full‐time to part‐time study, you should ensure that your supervisor is willing and able to supervise you for a longer period, and that any facilities you use (e.g. laboratory space, desk space) can be made available to you over a longer period.

Finances: You will need to show that you have sufficient funds for the remainder of your course, taking into account changes to fees and any funding you may receive. When your application is received by Student Registry you will be sent a Financial Declaration Form to sign. Although your overall fee liability will remain the same, the termly fee amounts and the number of terms for which you are liable will change. If you are funded by a funding body or other party, you must contact them in advance of applying and you will need to include evidence of their commitment to fund you for the remainder of your course - you can upload this evidence to your online application. You should bear in mind that maintenance stipends are usually paid on a pro‐rata basis to part‐time students.

College membership: Some Colleges do not offer membership to part-time students. If your College does not currently take part time research students and is not interested in doing so then you will have to be accepted by a different College before you can proceed with a change of mode. It is your responsibility to arrange to change your College membership, and you should discuss this directly with your College. You should also bear in mind that Colleges are under no obligation to provide accommodation for part‐time students.

Visa holders: If you are currently studying at Cambridge on a Tier 4/Student visa, read the relevant information about changing mode of study on the International Students webpages prior to applying. If you are currently studying at Cambridge with a different time-limited visa or immigration permission (non-Tier 4/Student visa), contact the International Student Office to check whether this change might have any implications from an immigration perspective prior to applying. You can contact the International Student Office at

Employment and intellectual property: If a student wishes to change to part-time study as they are entering employment, any matters relating to intellectual property that may arise should be taken forward locally between student, supervisor and employer.

3. Submitting an application

You can apply to change your mode of study via your CamSIS self-service. Information on how to do this is available on the ‘Applying for a change in your student status’ page. 

Your application will be considered by your supervisor, department, College and Degree Committee before arriving at the Student Registry for the final decision. As part of the consideration process, your department may need to interview you to discuss the change. 

Each party considering your application must be satisfied that the change will not impact negatively on your progress towards the degree, that you and your supervisor will be able to manage the change in workload, and that your funding is secure for the whole course.

It will not normally be possible to change your mode of study until the application has been formally approved by all parties.

4. Contact

If you have any questions about changing your mode of study, please write to the Student Registry at