Possible to submit one's thesis to another University?


To cut the long story short, things haven't been going my way for such a long time, and after my funding ended 2 years ago my PhD suffered a lot (no need to dwell on reasons but I didn't get to do much work on my thesis). Now I am making time again for my PhD but only have until the end of June to submit my thesis (final-final deadline, no more extensions). But because I owe fees to my University I am now told that I might not be allowed to submit at all even if I finished on time. I still believe that if I try really hard one last time, I can finish by that deadline, but worried that it will be for nothing if they don't let me submit. If this happens, would it possible for me to take the finished thesis to another institution? My supervisor is a really good and positive person and he always supported my work even though he came on board very late at my research. I believe he would help me more if he could. The 'fees' situation seems to be beyond him anyway. It looks like unless I pay these fees (which is impossible for me right now) there doesn't seem to be any option but give up... Shame, because my work is almost complete, just needs another couple of months' effort. What would you do? Any advice would be appreciated.


Hi 404,

I'm sorry you've been having a bad time with the PhD. I think it's extremely unlikely you'd be able to submit your thesis to another university, though you could check the regulations at various uni websites to confirm this. You might be able to publish stuff from your unsubmitted thesis and then on the back of that, try applying for a PhD by publication, if you could demonstrate significant imapct, originality etc, but that would take ages (probably years given the slowness of publishing processes) and might not be possible.

If I was you (and I've been there myself with the final-final deadline situation) I'd try my best to get something ready to submit by June. It's not March yet so there's a fair bit of time, but you'd have to really focus 100% on your thesis to the exclusion of having any semblance of normal life. Just get the thing in - it won't be perfect, but do your best to knock it into shape so you keep within their regulations for submission dates. What's the worse that can happen? You might get a load of corrections, but most people get corrections anyway. At least you'll be a step closer to finishing it and won't have wasted all your work to date. I'm sure you've got enough work behind you by now to submit something PhD-like.

I know it might be a completely vile way of life for a while, hellishly tedious. I know from experience there is a strong possibility of becoming utterly boring and self obsessed, everyone you know is sick of hearing about the bloody PhD, you wave goodbye to any social life and might have to suspend or give up other stuff like teaching. BUT... the good things about this self-imposed torment are that 1) it is short term; 2) you get to submit on time, and 3) after that can set about having a life again. It's a thesis, you can submit something by June. Give it your best shot 404, I'm sure you can do it. I really do think you can!! (up)


Is there any way you could get a loan to cover the fees in the short term? e.g. career development loan from your bank? I don't know what your financial situation and career prospects are like, and I guess you'd have to think carefully about whether you'd be able to pay it back, but if at all possible it seems like it would be worth it to have your thesis submitted and the PhD finally finished!


Most universities require you to be registered for a minimum number of years before they will consider you for phd examination (i.e. accept your thesis). This would require lots of money in fees. Even if you were somehow able to get funding for this you wouldn't be able to use the work you did at the previous university as they generally part own the intellectual property of your research while at their institution.

try your best to concentrate on the thesis to get it submitted on time, whatever shape it's in then. Talk to an education/hardship officer in the college if there is one, and the student bank.

Best of luck.


Hi 404

I'm very sorry to hear about your problem.  For what it's worth, my thoughts are (like previous posters) that the most important thing is to do as good a job as you can on it and get something submitted by the end of June. However, I also note your point that you might not be allowed to do this because of the outstanding fees.  This seems particularly harsh. Might it be useful to speak to someone from your student union because I would have thought that if your institution operates the same way mine did, then when you hand in your thesis all they require at that point is an examination fee (a couple of hundred pounds).  After the examination, there are two possibilities: one, corrections, either minor or major, or an outright pass. If it is the latter, only at that point would the payment of any outstanding debts be necessary in order to graduate. If the former, then payment would effectively be deferred untill the corrections were completed.  And, I would have imagined, that if someone could not pay the fees then, then whenever they did pay them, at that point they could then graduate - which would be a solution to the problem. I think this point about when exactly the outstanding fees need to be repaid needs to be properly clarified. It seems very harsh and you can't be the only person ever to be affected by it.


Thank you ever so much for all your replies. Very encouraging and informative too. I will contact my department first thing again tomorrow. Contacting Student Union also sounds like a good idea. I have checked my registration status online and I was able to sign in to see that I still appear to be registered as student of Research write-up period. I think what you all said make so much sense. I spent this weekend working on my thesis. I think it is realistic that I can finish by June. I can't thank you enough for your comments, really....


Hey 404,

I'm not in the same position but am approaching the end of the end in terms of extensions (for a variety of reasons) and am working on a resubmission following a fairly disastrous first submission! I have only weeks left and a heap of work left.

I honestly believe you can do this. Yes, it might be horrific but once it's done then you're at least on to the next stage and closer to the end of it all!!

The ££ side of things, I really empathise, I'm living off credit cards at the moment as I'm not working (and have not got time to apply for jobs). It is truly awful and very scary. I feel that it is less crazy to carry on than to pull out now though.

In terms of what can be done about the uni fees stuff. I would recommend going past the grad school and maybe approach the Dean of Postgrad Studies direct. This person has been helpful to me in the past couple of weeks and has powers that the grad school do not. If you set out the position in black and white terms and any suggestions/solutions you might think of...?! Whether the university could allow you to submit on the basis that the fees are met in the next six months or something? Or whether there might be some legwork you could do for a research centre or some other work available that you could undertake (I know occasionally research centres have helped people out temporarily).

The very best of luck with it all.



Good luck with your work too Angelofthenorth, I hope you'll finish by your deadline. Thanks for the encouraging words. This might sound a bit silly but is a Dean of Postgrad Studies different than Dean of the school/faculty? I think we have a Head of Research but can't work out if he or the Dean of our school would be more in charge of fees and budget. Hmmmm.... maybe I should contact both?


Hi again 404, your setup sounds a bit like mine - the Head of Research should have a remit for all research in the college, staff and students, but maybe you have another person responsible for PhD students too? We've got Heads of Research, but also Deans of Schools that have a remit for their broad subject area - maybe you have a Dean or Art, or Graphics or wherever your subject fits into the university structure? From my limited experience of Graduate Schools is that the staff seem to be responsible for postgraduate study from Masters to PhDs, so more of a student focussed remit. Do you have an up-to-date research handbook with relevant contacts in, maybe also on their website, or a research student rep who can help point you in the right direction?

Can you talk to your supervisor about the money thing? It's really in their interests for you to submit, so maybe he/she can dredge up some funding from some departmental budget that no-one knows about, people can be surprisingly creative like that when needed.... Good luck with it! (up)


Hello again,

We have a Dean of Postgrad Studies, who is a not the Dean of the School, if this makes sense? I have found the one in my institution very helpful on a situation that the grad school was simply stonewalling me on, and he has power too!!

Hope you can find someone in authority that will listen. And yes, as Ruby suggests, can you get your supervisor on board? I'm sure this might help. In the meantime, work, work, work!!


Thank you again Rubyw & Angelofthenorth. Yeah, I understand now, so I think I've now worked out who that person is. I'll wait to hear from my supervisor first and contact them (don't want to do anything without my supervisor's knowledge as he's been great so far... unfortunately, because I couldn't show him too much progress in the recent months, he can't find a way to argue my case to others anymore).

Everything seems to be so money-oriented in academia. :-( But hopefully it'll work out fine. I've just seen some threads on this forum about other people taking so long to finish due to funding. It's comforting to hear it's not so uncommon and I'm not the only one. Since I never go on and on about the funding side of the things to people I know apart from closest friends, I have been getting so many jokes about my thesis becoming an eternal-loop. I was ok with seeing the funny side but such humor upsets me these days. Oh well... things always get better in the end don't they... (up)


Hey, don't worry about the craic of the 'never-ending-loop' etc. My thesis feels like the never-ending-story and I don't talk to friends or family about it anymore. I bore myself even thinking about it, let alone inflicting that boredom on others! I think almost everyone who has been plugging away at them for years feel pretty much the same - I am trying really hard to focus on how good it will feel when it is over.

Yes, get your supervisor on board - even if s/he says they can't be involved in an approach to the higher eschelons, you at least need to make them aware.

Let us know how you get on x