Frequently asked questions for Research Students



What is ATAS?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a Government verification scheme for international students. Having an ATAS clearance certificate is mandatory for some postgraduate applicants who need Entry Clearance to study in the UK. If you are studying a course which requires ATAS clearance, this will be stated on your formal offer letter.

How do I apply for an ATAS certificate?

If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to apply for it before applying for your visa or extension of stay. The possession of an ATAS certificate for visas does not guarantee you a visa or extension of stay. However, applications will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and can not provide one.

What is a Professional Doctorate?

Professional Doctorates are usually part-time, practice-based research degrees. The University currently offers Professional Doctorates in Children & Young People's Services Leadership (PDC&YPSL),  Osteopathy, Systemic Practice (PDSP) and in Media, Journalism, Cinema and Television.

Is a Professional Doctorate the same as a PhD?

Both confer the title 'Dr' on a successful candidate and they are equivalent in academic attainment. Professional Doctorates usually take place with cohorts of students studying similar areas of professional practice. Cohorts create a research community which discusses theory and practice specific to the professional activities under inquiry. Both PhDs and the Professional Doctorates in this university are research-based doctoral programmes.

What is a CAS?

A CAS is a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies. It replaced Visa Letters in acting as support for a student to come to the UK to study, or, in the case of visa extensions, to continue their studies in the UK. Students will not be able to apply for a visa or visa extension without a CAS number.

When should I expect to hear the outcome of my application?

If you are applying for a research institute proposal, you should expect to hear from the RGS within five working days. If you're applying with your own proposal, you should receive a response within 4 working weeks. Please note that responses during University holidays and during August will be delayed.

When may I start my degree?

We have two structured intakes per year for research degree students*. They are usually held in March and October each year.

*This does not include Professional Doctorates

Is funding available?

When funding opportunities arise, these will be advertised on and the RGS web pages.

What does maximum registration mean?

The maximum registration date of a student represents the last point at which they may submit their thesis. Students who have not submitted their thesis by this date and who do not have an extension formally approved by the Research Degree Committee, will no longer be registered as a student of the University nor able to complete their award.

Registration and Induction


How do Research Students obtain a Council Tax exemption certificate/confirmation of studies letter/To Whom It May Concern letter?

Please complete the online letter request for at: Research Student Letter Requests (Non Research Students should request letters from SID Online).

How do I obtain a visa extension?

Please see: Tier 4 visa extensions for further guidance.

What are the tuition fees?

Please see Research fees for more details.

My email account/BREO is no longer working. What can I do?

Please contact the RGS office with your details and a member of the team will log a call with ICT.

How do I obtain a business card?

Please complete a request form which can be downloaded from BREO. It needs to be approved by the research institute director who needs to authorise and complete the cost code. As there is a cost involved a clear case will need to be made to the director. The completed form needs to be returned to the Research Graduate School office (room PM05 Postgraduate Centre, Luton), who will submit it to Facilities.

How many lectures am I expected to attend?

Research students are expected to attend all mandatory training events. However with the exception of the first stage of the Professional Doctorate, there are no structured lectures.

Who do I contact about graduation?

Please contact the Graduation Team on 01582 743826 or

What is my timetable for study

As a research student studying for a PhD, Masters by Research or MPhil * you manage your own schedule.

There are no lessons to attend but you will arrange regular and frequent meetings with your supervisors to ensure you progress in your study and meet the different academic milestones during your course.

Each research study is bespoke and so you will be expected to identify and manage your own training needs (with guidance from your supervisors) and choose which of the available training sessions to attend as and when you need to. There may also be conferences or other events specific to your field of study which your supervisors may encourage you to attend.

*For professional doctorate students there may be set events scheduled throughout each year of study, but you will be made aware of these when interviewed for the course.

What are the term/semester dates?

As each research student has their own bespoke study pattern within a maximum study period, the traditional teaching structure or term/semester dates that you may be familiar with from your previous undergraduate or postgraduate study does not apply to you when you become a research student at Bedfordshire.

Instead, you manage your own study and can choose when to take your yearly holiday leave allowance. This allowance is in addition to all of the University closure days at Christmas, Easter and all UK bank holidays.


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