Penalty charge for going over 3 years, common?


Hello all, I was just wondering if its common to charge a penalty fee for not completing your PhD in the 3 years. From what I know, its fairly impossible to finish (as viva done and out the door) a PhD in 3 years (Applied science) but my university charges a £500 writing up fee at the start of the academic year that your not out the door and its regardless of when you actually started so if you started in November then thats tough.

I had to suspend my studies in my final year for a few months as I had to care for a terminal ill family member but despite this I'm still forced to pay the penalty charge even though I wasn't officially part of the uni for several months? My maximum date of completion has been ammended to reflect this.

I was wondering how common is this disgraceful practice? I actually think its fair enough to have to pay a fee if you have not submitted your actual thesis after 3 years but some people wait ages to get actually viva'ed and its not my fault I had to suspend my studies.

Cheers guys.

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

Ask your supervisor to see if they'll waive the fee given the circumstances. If you're suspended, that is unfair.

I payed over two sums of £250 for overruning and a narrowly missed the year four deadline too. maximum time was five years and my supervison team had a history of substantial overruns due to not allowing submission unless they were sure the candidate would survive viva with only minor corrections.


Seems a bit mean, I think it may be more common to charge for going over 4th year. This was the case in my old institution in that you were charged a £500.00 registration fee. However, there was a catch to this, your 4th year was considered "registration only" and you were not allowed to use any campus facilities apart from the library, or join any student clubs or societies (officially). Strangely enough, the bar and campus catering facilities, shops etc did not refuse my custom.


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good luck
just keep on
sure you will figure out


I believe a 4th year 'admin' charge is fairly common, I think it's seen in lieu of tuition fees. £500 seems alot, in my case I think it was ~£85. Although at my University if you took a 'suspension of study' which sounds like what you did, that would 'stop the clock' on your time at University and you would only have to pay the fee when the clock had been running for over 36 months. Also I believe you didn't have to pay the fee if you were close to submitting (although you had to get a confirmation that this was the case from your department).


Crumbs... £500 seems a bit steep. At my university they begin charging at the end of the three years, as long as your supervisor has said you're eligible to enter write-up status; if not, you get hit with full fees. However, I later discovered that if you hand in before the write up 'year' is complete, they do offer some reimbursement; the process for getting your money back is long and circuitous though, and not very well advertised.

In your situation, Uncutlateralus, have you tried challenging them over this? Surely the period of suspended studies should be taken into account. At the very least, complaints might make them rethink the situation (one hopes!).