Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs on names and pronouns, and how to change them.

What does ‘legal name’ mean and how can I change it?

Your legal name is the one by which you are generally known. This is normally the name that appears on your official documents and records, such as your passport, driving licence, bank account, medical records, etc. As a public organisation, the University has a responsibility to prevent fraud and so we require you to provide some form of documentation to prove your identify when registering at the University.

To make changes to your legal name, you will need to make a written request using the name change form on this webpage. Legally, you can change your name in the UK without amending documents, but we will require you to provide some form of evidence to meet our public duty to prevent fraud. Further details on this are given under the ‘During your studies’ section above.

When making a change to your legal name with the University, we would expect you to notify other external organisations. If you choose not to inform these external organisations, you should be aware that this may impact upon the services that you receive either from the University or these external organisations. You should also be aware that you have a legal responsibility to update some documentation with a change of legal name. Further details on these points are given under the ‘During your studies’ section on the Names, titles and pronouns page.

Download the name change form (.docx format)

What does ‘preferred name’ mean and how can I change it?

Your preferred name is the name by which you choose to be known. Preferred names may be different to legal names for a variety of reasons: they may, for instance, be a shortened version of a forename, one of many middle names, multiple forenames or a different name entirely.

We respect the rights of all individuals to choose their own names and using preferred names helps everyone to feel more included within our University community. In particular, we want to ensure that the identities of transgender and non-binary members of our community are respected and affirmed. This includes avoiding the use of names by which a person no longer wishes to be known, sometimes called “deadnaming", whether or not a formal legal name change has been made.

You can update your preferred forename via the Student Self-service portal at any time during your studies

Student Self-Service portal →

What are 'personal pronouns' and how can I change them?

Pronouns are words that are used to refer to you in the third person, such as 'he/him', 'she/her', and 'they/them'. Further information about pronouns and their usage can be found on the university dedicated webpage on personal pronouns.

You can update your personal pronouns via the Student Self-service portal at any time during your studies.

Personal pronouns on the EDI site

What does ‘title’ mean and how can I change it?

Titles are typically used in more formal communication as a prefix to an individual’s name. Typical titles include Miss, Mr, Mrs, Ms and Mx. However, many people have other titles, such as those used in academia like Dr or Prof, as well as aristocratic, military or religious titles, for instance.

You can update your title at any time during your studies by emailing Student Records & Operations (taught students) or the Doctoral College Office (doctoral researchers).

How can I update my information?

You can amend the data we hold on you, including a range of personal characteristics, your preferred name and your personal pronouns, at any point through the Student Self-service portal.

You will also be asked to confirm your data for each year of study you have at the University through the annual re-registration process.

Student Self-Service portal

What information is shared externally?

We have a statutory duty to provide data on all of the University’s higher education students to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). If you are on our Foundation Art & Design programme, then we are instead required to provide data to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). If you are on one of our degree apprenticeship programmes, then we are required to provide your data to both HESA and ESFA.

Data returned to HESA and ESFA includes your legal name. Information on preferred names, personal pronouns and titles is not provided to these organisations.