Section 1: Purpose and Contents of this page:
This page has been created to give guidance for students who have, or who are thinking about changing their course of study at Warwick.
Please ensure you have carefully read the guidance provided for your situation BEFORE you contact Student Immigration.
For the purpose of immigration advice, 'changing course' refers to any time a Student Visa holder ceases studying on the programme for which their current visa was issued and starts a different course of study from the same point (If you have already started your course and will start a new or the same course again from the beginning, see Restarts)
This includes where:
- you have started a course but are changing to a different course part way through by;
- adding a year abroad
- adding a placement year
- switching to a Qualifying Law degree
- switching to an Undergraduate Masters
- switching to an Undergraduate course from an integrated Masters
- internal upgrade
- you are required to switch to a lower level course by the University (internal downgrade)
- you have chosen to exit with a lower qualification
- you received a CAS/visa for a new course of study but wish to change to different course before coming to the UK
Whether or not you will need to apply for a new Student Visa depends on your individual circumstances.
If you do need to apply for a new student visa, depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply for it straight away (before starting the new course) or may only be required to do so before your current visa expires. See When Should I Apply?.
You DO NOT need to apply for a new Student Visa for a change of course if:
- The new course will be completed before the expiry date of your current visa
- The study condition (restriction on what courses you can study) of your existing visa allows you to study the new course:
If the new course is at the same level or a higher level than the course your visa was issued for
The new course must either be:
Related to the course your visa was issued for
(your academic department will be able to confirm whether this is the case)
You must be able to justify how the new course supports a genuine career aspiration that you have
(this must be specific, and your statement will be assessed by the University)
Your current CAS and Visa was issued for BSc Computer Science and you wish to transfer to the BEng Computer Systems Engineering. This course finishes on the same date as your original course, and can therefore be completed before the expiry date of your current visa. Your Academic Department has confirmed to you that the new course is related to the old course.
You will not need to apply for a new student visa to complete the new course. This is because it is at the same or higher level, related to the course your current visa was granted for AND can be completed within your current visa.
Your current CAS and Visa was issued for BSc Computer Science and you wish to transfer to the BSc in Chemistry. This course finishes on the same date as your original course, and can therefore be completed before the expiry date of your current visa. Your Academic Department states that the two courses are not related. However, you have specific plans to pursue a career as a secondary Chemistry teacher after graduation, and have already researched how to achieve this. You submit a short statement fully justifying this with your course transfer request, and the University confirms that your course transfer has been successful.
You will not need to apply for a new student visa to complete the new course. This is because it is at the same or higher level, supports your genuine career aspiration, and can be completed within your current visa.
If the new course is at a lower level than the course your visa was issued for
The new course must lead to a qualification that you would have been able to exit with directly from the course named on your CAS. Your academic department will be able to inform you whether this is the case.
Your CAS was issued for the 4-year MMath in Mathematics. At the end of your 2nd year, you wish to (or are required to by the department exam board), transfer to the BSc in Mathematics to complete your final year. The new qualification is at a lower level. Students who remain on the MMath Mathematics course can be, as decided by the MMath Mathematics Exam board, awarded the exit award of BSc Mathematics and leave their studies early.
You will not need to apply for a new student visa to complete the new course. This is because it is leads to a qualification which could have, under other circumstances, been directly awarded from your original course without you changing course.
In most other circumstances, your course transfer will mean that you need to (either eventually or straight away) apply for a new student visa, or switch into another immigration route which allows study, to complete the new course.
If you know that you need to apply for a Student Visa as a result of your course transfer, when you can or must apply will depend on whether the conditions of your current Student Visa allow you to start studying the new course or not.
If your current visa ALLOWS study on the new course
The Student Records Team will process your Course Transfer straight away without further approval from the Immigration Team. You will receive a notification to state that your course change has been reported to the UKVI. This does not affect your current immigration status.
You will need to apply for your new visa before your existing visa expires. It is normally possible to do this from within the UK, although you also have the option to apply from outside of the UK during a vacation period if this is more convenient. See our guidance on Academic Progress.
This normally applies to students in any of the following situations :
- Your new course leads to a qualification above degree level (e.g. a Masters or PhD) and is related to the course your current visa granted for (including where you are adding an intercalated year or progressing to an Undergraduate Integrated Masters from a Bachelors degree)
- Your new course leads to a qualification above degree level (e.g. a Masters or PhD) and supports a genuine career aspiration that you have
- Your new course leads to a qualification at degree level (e.g. a Bachelors) and includes an intercalated Study Abroad or Work Placement Year
Note: this does not apply to students who a restarting on a new course from the beginning of that new course. See our information on Restarts instead.
Your current visa was issued for the 3-year BSc in Mathematics and Statistics. You are transferring to the 4-year MMath in Mathematics and Statistics.
Your current visa allows you to begin studying the new course because it is related to your current course, and because it leads to a qualification above degree level (a Masters). Your course transfer will be actioned straight away by the Student Records team, however, you will need to make an application to extend your student visa for the extra year before it expires.
Your current visa was issued for the 3-year BSc in Accounting and Finance. Your are adding a Work Placement year and transferring to the 4-year BSc in Account and Finance (with intercalated year).
Your current visa allows you to begin studying the new course because it includes an intercalated Study Abroad or Work Placement year. Your course transfer will be actioned straight away by the Student Records team, however, you will need to make an application to extend your student visa for the extra year before it expires, either before or after your intercalated year.
If your current visa DOES NOT ALLOW study on the new course
The Student Records Team will place your course transfer request on hold. You will likely be contacted by the immigration team to ask when you plan to make your new visa application and offer you advice if you need it. You will likely need to apply for your new visa from outside of the UK, in a country where you have the right to reside other than as a visitor. It is important that you find out from your Academic Department what the deadline is for you to start your new course, so that you can plan which vacation period to make your new visa application during.
You will need to apply for your new visa, receive your new visa, return to the UK, and provide the evidence of this to the University before you will be permitted to start the new course.
This normally applies to students in any of the following situations:
- Your new course is not related to the course your current visa was granted for, and you cannot justify how the new course supports a genuine career aspiration that you have
- You are restarting a different course from the beginning of that new course
- Your new course leads to a qualification at degree level (e.g. a Bachelors), cannot be completed within your existing visa, and does not include an intercalated Study Abroad or Work Placement Year
- Your new course leads to a qualification at a lower level than the course your visa was issued for, and that you would not have been able to exit with directly from the course named on your CAS
Your current visa was issued for the 3-year Law Degree at Bachelors level. You are adding a qualifying year to study the 4-year Law Degree (with qualifying year) at Bachelors level.
Your current visa does not allow you to begin studying the new course because it is too short (you cannot complete the new course within your existing visa), the new course leads to a qualification at degree level (a Bachelors), and does not include an intercalated Study Abroad or Work Placement Year. Your course transfer will not be completed until you have applied for a new visa from outside of the UK during a vacation period, and returned to the UK.
Your current visa was issued for the 4-year MMath Mathematics. You are at the end of your 2nd year and wish to transfer to the BSc in Mathematics and Business Studies. This is a 3-year course leading to a qualification at lower (Bachelors) level, and the new course end date is earlier than your current visa expiry date.
Your current visa does not allow you to begin studying the new course because it because the qualification it leads to (BSc in Mathematics and Business Studies) is at a lower level than the course your visa was issued for and is not a possible exit qualification directly from MMath Mathematics. It is not possible to obtain a BSc in Mathematics and Business Studies without studying that course during your 3rd year. Your course transfer will not be completed until you have applied for a new visa from outside of the UK during a vacation period, and returned to the UK.
It your responsibility to ensure you obtain a visa which allows you to study a new course within the correct timeframe. If in doubt, always request advice:
- From your Academic department about whether a course transfer is possible, whether you new course and old course are considered to be related, and, if your new course is at a lower level, whether the new course is a possible exit award directly from the course on your CAS
- From the Immigration Service about whether you need to apply for a new Student Visa, whether you need to apply for that Student Visa before the course transfer can be processed, and whether you can apply for that new visa from within the UK.
Whether you can apply inside the UK or not will depend on your circumstances; in some cases you may have the option to either apply from the UK or overseas.
You can apply for your new Student Visa inside the UK or from overseas if:
- You are adding a 'study abroad' or 'work placement' (intercalated) year
- You should aim to either apply and receive your new visa before you start the study abroad/work placement programme, or, extend your visa after you have completed the study abroad/work placement year AND before your current visa expiry date
- You are progressing from a Bachelors to a Masters degree, or from a Masters degree to a PhD, as part of an integrated programme
If the following applies to you, then you must apply for your new Student Visa from overseas:
- You are adding a year in order to obtain a Qualifying Law degree
- Your new course is at degree-level (Bachelors degree) and the reason for the course change is anything other than adding a 'study abroad' or 'work placement' year
- The new course is at a lower degree level and you changed courses previously without being required to obtain a new visa (you are no longer studying the same course for which your last CAS was assigned)
- The new course is at a lower degree level and the eventual qualification is not the lower award associated with the course you are currently studying
In all the above cases you need to have obtained a new Student Visa, from overseas, before the course transfer can be actioned.
If you are making this kind of course change between academic years, you must act promptly in order to make sure you can obtain your new visa and return to the UK before the start of the Autumn term.
Yes. The University is obliged to inform the Home Office of any significant change to sponsored students' circumstances; this includes when a change of course is approved.
At the point that your student record is updated to reflect the course change and new course end date, a report will be made to the Home Office. You will receive an email when this report is made.
If you have switched to a shorter course at the same degree level, after you graduate, a further report will be made to the UKVI to confirm that you have completed your course. This will trigger the eventual curtailment of your student visa as an 'early completion' (as your original visa would be too long).
If you receive email notification about a change of course which you believe to be incorrect, please contact the Immigration Service immediately.
To apply to the Graduate Route you must have successfully completed the course of study which was undertaken during your last grant of permission to study on the Student route – in other words, the course for which your most recent CAS was assigned.
This means that you must have achieved the award for which your last Student Visa, sponsored by the University of Warwick, was granted, unless one of the following applies:
- You have been permitted to change your course of study and did not need to make new visa application (because the new course was at the same level and duration as the original course)
- You were originally assigned a CAS for a 4-year integrated Masters’ course and chose to complete the 3-year undergraduate course, exiting with a Bachelor’s qualification instead
If you have changed course and obtained a new Student visa you will still be eligible if you exit with the qualification stated on the new CAS used for your most recent Student visa.
If you are transferring to a longer course but spending the additional course length studying outside of the UK (for example, if you are transferring to the Politics Double Degree course) you are not eligible for Student Visa sponsorship during your year abroad and so will not be able to return to the UK with your existing student visa when it expires and apply to the Graduate Work Route.
You will also lose out on the concession policy if your aim is to switch to a Skilled worker visa to work in the UK when you complete your studies. Please check our Skilled Worker webpage for more information.
If you decide to make a Student Visa application outside of the UK you should contact Immigration Service and request a CAS about 3 months prior to the date you wish to make your student visa application from your home country. We expect that most students would make their student visa application over the summer vacation (or Christmas/Easter vacation if there is sufficient time for this visa application), and collect their BRP card in the UK at the start of the next term.
Please note that re-starters on a different course are not considered 'change of course' but 'permanently withdrawn' from the previous course and starting a new course afresh.
Please be aware that if the new course is subject to ATAS clearance you must have obtained the ATAS Certificate before you can make the visa application.
When you prepare for your new student visa application, you may need to prepare financial evidence (i.e., outstanding course fees for the current academic year if applying for your visa before the end of Term 1, or, full course fees for the next academic year if applying for your visa after the end of Term 1, plus maintenance of £1023 per month for the remainder of the course to a maximum of 9 months).
Please ensure that you read the information on our website about Applying for a student visa, and request a CAS online in good time.
If you are going to apply for the Student Visa in the UK and have been living in the UK for 12 consecutive months before the visa application you do not need to submit financial evidence (short holidays/absences of fewer than 3 months are unlikely to count).
If, after reading the guidance above, and you are still unsure of what you should do next, please contact Student Immigration to discuss your situation via the following methods:
Please click on the following links for more information
University of Warwick:
Page Audit Review:
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|All||All||Page Created||ISA: JL||13/Mar/2022|
|All||All||Full re-write and re-format||ISA : JB||19/May/2022|
|Section 3||When you do not need to apply for a new visa||Amended to make clear this includes being transferred to the lower qualification of any integrated Masters||ISA: SM||05/Aug/2022|
|Sections 3/4||All||Updates to reflect policy changes and changes to format||ISA: SM||17/Aug/2023|