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International Students


Students accepted for a part-time research programme can be sponsored by the University for a Tier 4 student visa, if proposed arrangements for attendance in Cambridge are approved by the Board of Graduate Studies. 

A Tier 4 visa granted to study part-time enables a student to be mainly based outside the UK and to come to Cambridge for short or extended visits as part of their research programme, in accordance with the arrangements agreed with their Department or Faculty and approved by the Board of Graduate Studies. The Tier 4 requirements and application process for a part-time visa are the same as for full-time studies but the visa is more restrictive as you cannot:

  • undertake any work in the UK, including voluntary work;
  • bring family members as visa dependants;
  • switch to a full-time Tier 4 visa inside the UK if mode of study changes.

Applications from students who intend to be based in the UK will also be considered but the reasons for wishing to study part-time will be reviewed alongside these visa restrictions and the arrangements approved by the Board of Graduate Studies in consultation with the International Student Office.

In addition to the visa application fee, students will need to pay the immigration health surcharge, currently £300, for each year the visa will be granted. A PhD student studying part-time will be sponsored for a 7-year visa and 4 additional months will be granted from the end date. The immigration health surcharge will therefore be £2250.

Part-time students should read the Tier 4 responsibilities guide for part-time students.

In accordance with UK immigration requirements, it is not possible for part-time research students to study as a visitor or under the short-term study route, including where attendance at Cambridge is only for short occasional periods. In order to matriculate and commence studies, you will be required to provide evidence of a Tier 4 visa, or an alternative UK visa which permits you to study on a course of more than 6 months.

Please note that part-time courses not admitted via the Board of Graduate Studies, which includes courses at the Institute of Continuing Education, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and some courses at Cambridge Judge Business School, are not sponsored under Tier 4. These courses are generally supported under the short-term study immigration route but you are advised to contact the relevant institution to check whether visa support is possible for the course you intend to do. 

Prospective part-time students for the Faculty of Education should contact the Faculty for information on immigration requirements.

Current students considering changing from full-time to part-time study should read the information under ‘Changing your mode of study’ in the Tier 4 Changes in Circumstances section.