Visiting postgraduate researchers

The University is happy to be able to host a small number of excellent visiting postgraduate researchers.

We especially welcome those whose research interests fit closely with those of the research we are currently engaged in our research centres and groups, including those with whom we already collaborate. 

Application guidance

It is possible to come to the University of Surrey as a visiting postgraduate researcher either via an established research collaboration or independently.

As a postgraduate visiting researcher you will be registered on our student records system and provided with an email account, you will also have access to appropriate University facilities for the duration of your visit.

Visiting postgraduate researchers will typically start at the beginning of our semesters in October or February each year.

However, individual arrangements can be accommodated depending on the nature of the visit and in liaison with the school or department.

In the first instance you should contact the academic school/department in which you would like to undertake research, to discuss your plans in order to secure a potential supervisor who will be able to support your application. When you are ready to submit a formal application, you can do so using our online application form.

Applications are only accepted from postgraduate researchers who have liaised with the academic department, and who have then agreed – in principle – to a period at Surrey and a potential supervisor. 

If you have any questions relating to the application process please contact:

For further details about coming as an Erasmus+ Traineeship, visit our incoming Erasmus traineeships page.

Postgraduate researchers from outside of the UK or Republic of Ireland visiting the University for more than six months will require a Student Visa. The International Student Support team at the University of Surrey are able to support on any aspect of the Student Visa application process.

Research students visiting the University for less than six months may alternatively use a Visitor Visa. Any student entering on a Visitor visa is not able to extend their period of leave beyond six months.

Further information regarding applying for a visa and the Immigration Health Surge charge is available on our current students website

If you are a UK, EEA or Swiss national you do not need to apply for an ATAS certificate. 

If you are a non-UK or non-EU national, you may need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in order to undertake research in certain subjects in the UK. Those applying for postgraduate study in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, will need to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK.  

How to apply for an ATAS certificate 

If you have applied and received an offer that requires ATAS approval, you will be sent an email notification about this.

An ATAS certificate is valid as long as the details of your programme and university remain the same. 

Please ensure that the text you enter on your application form is identical as the text provided in your offer letter and the ATAS email we send you. If these two documents do not match, you may have difficulties when applying for your visa. 

When to apply for an ATAS certificate

If you require an ATAS certificate you will need to apply for this before applying for your visa or extension of stay. Visa applications will be automatically refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one. The possession of an ATAS certificate does not guarantee you a visa or extension of stay. You must also provide evidence that you meet the usual student criteria. Visa applications will be automatically refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to six months in advance of the beginning of your visit. We encourage you to apply as soon as you have received further instructions from the Admissions team.

How long will it take? 

Allow at least four weeks (20 working days) for the application process. We advise against making any travel plans before you have received an ATAS certificate. 

All University researchers and students are covered by the University’s liability policies when they are carrying out the work that they have been contracted to do.

If you are a student or researcher of the University but working under your own name rather than under the name of the University, then you are not considered to be working on behalf of the University and will not be covered by the policy.

The University of Surrey does not provide health insurance. 

There is high demand for University accommodation, with all rooms typically being full from early September to late June.

If you are visiting during these times, we recommend securing your own accommodation in the local rental market. The University provides support to those seeking to rent privately, with details of the support on offer available on our University of Surrey Lettings site.

During July and August there is normally availability in University accommodation, details about the accommodation and how to contact the Accommodation team are available on our Accommodation website 

The University wishes to ensure that all visiting postgraduate research students have an adequate grasp of the english language, so that they can get the most from the time they spend with us and carry out their research activities safely.

  • For those who will be visiting for more than six months, the University requires that they have the same level of English Language as all postgraduate researchers, an overall IELTS of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in writing, speaking, listening and reading.
  • For those who will be visiting for fewer than six months and who do not require a Tier 4 visa, the offer relies on the supervisors discretion, and offers will be made based on the supervisors judgement of their English Language level. Students requiring a Tier 4 visa will need to meet the same English Language requirements as listed above.

Currently the University does not charge a tuition fee to visiting postgraduate researchers. However, the University reserves the right to charge a bench fee, in appropriate cases.

These additional expenditures may be incurred if you are required to purchase special equipment, attend field courses, or undertake study periods overseas, etc. Modest charges are also made by some faculties/departments for supplementary materials or services.

Details of such expenses may be obtained from the appropriate faculty/department and you are advised to check this with your proposed supervisor before making an application.

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