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Changing your programme

If you hold a Student route (formerly tier 4) visa and want to switch to a different programme, you should discuss this with your Academic Department, and Progression and Support team.

You should also contact our International Student Advisors to understand the implications the change of programme can have on your Student route visa.

There are some limitations to change of programme on a Student route visa, and you need to make sure that you are eligible to study the new course. In some instances, change of programme cannot be approved without you leaving the UK and applying for a new Student route visa from your home country.

Here are three of the most common scenarios:

  • Case one: Transfer to a new programme which is the same length as your current visa

    If you transfer to a new programme which you can complete without extending your visa, you will be able to start your new programme once your change of programme form has been accepted and processed.

    You cannot start your new programme until it has been processed and is reflected on your student record.

    As part of the change of programme form you will need to provide justification and explain why you wish to move to a different programme. You need to follow the instructions on the form very carefully.

    The Registry will be required to report to the Home Office that you have a minor change in your circumstances.

  • Case two: Transferring to a new programme which is longer than the length of your current visa.

    If you plan to transfer from your current programme to a new programme which is longer than your current visa, you must contact the International Student Visa Advice team before the transfer is approved.

    Changes to the immigration rules in 2016 and Middlesex University regulations mean that this may no longer be possible. In some cases you will have to return to your home country and make a fresh visa application.

Case Three: Transferring to a new programme which is shorter than your current programme

If you transfer to a shorter programme (from a 12 month master’s degree to a 9 month master’s degree) the Registry will be required to report both your transfer and your early completion to the Home Office.

Your Student route visa will be curtailed by the Home Office, meaning your immigration permission will end earlier. You will be classed as completing early, which means you should still receive the extra time at the end of your visa and will be able to work full-time at the end of your course.

If you are planning to transfer due to non-progression please read the information under the repeat teaching section.

Completing a work placement or Study Aboard placement

If you change your programme of study due to adding a Placement Year, this can have an impact on your Student route visa. We strongly advise you to contact the International Student Advice team to discuss before you make changes. This is so you can make an informed choice and you are made aware of how this will affect your current visa.

Adding a work placement or taking a study aboard year will extend your course end date and you will need to make a new Student route application in order to complete your studies. However, UKVI declared in 2018 that you can make your Student route visa extension application in the UK in order undertake your work placement or study year abroad.

Please be advised that you are permitted to change onto a placement course before obtaining your new Student route visa. You can apply for your new Student route visa either before the placement or after the placement has finished (but not during the placement).

Failing to progress

If you fail to progress from the programme that you were issued a visa for and plan to transfer to a new programme, you may not be able to extend your Student route visa in the UK.

You should note that whilst the immigration rules may allow you to apply for a new Student route visa from outside the UK, Middlesex University's own regulations may no longer permit you to transfer to a lower level or re-start on a new programme.

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