The Doctorate Extension Scheme is designed for international PhD students. If you are nearing the end of your PhD, you can apply to stay in the UK for a further year under the Doctorate Extension Scheme, which comes under the Tier 4/Student visa route.

The Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES) aims to give PhD graduates from outside the EU the opportunity to work in the UK for a year once they have completed their PhD.

Important to know:


  • The UK Home Office introduced a new immigration system which came into effect from 5 October 2020. The new “Student Visa” route replaced the “Tier 4 (General)” visa route. Please read our article New Student Visa Immigration Route for more information.
  • Students who hold this visa can undertake most forms of work on a full or part-time basis, including self-employment, but cannot work as a doctor or dentist in training or a professional sportsperson or coach. 
  • For more information on the scheme and related visa advice, please visit the Doctorate Extension Scheme webpage.