Taking a break from your studies
We understand that you may encounter exceptional circumstances which require you to take a break from your studies; if you do, then please read the following guidance carefully to ensure that you fully understand the consequences of taking a break.
Taking a break (after completion of an academic year / prior to enrolment)
If you wish to take a break in your studies after the completion of an academic year and before formally re-enrolling for the forthcoming academic year, you simply need to advise the University of the period requested by completing the form below.
- If you are principally studying on a year-long structure you can take a break for a year but not a semester.
- If you are principally studying on a semester-based structure you can take a break for a semester or a year (assuming that there are no academic impediments to this, such as the course/modules not running on your return).
Please submit the completed form to your School Office.
Submission deadlines: your form must be submitted before the first day of teaching; please do not (re)enrol.
Taking a break (partway through an academic year /once enrolled)
If you are considering taking a break from your studies whilst enrolled, you should think carefully about whether this is the correct option for you as any break in studies will count as a year of student funding, a fee may be due and any entitlement to benefits may be stopped for this period. Additionally, during an approved break you are not eligible to sit examinations, submit coursework or undertake any other form of assessment.
If you are an international student studying at the University on a Tier 4 student visa, please be aware that the University is legally required to report any break in studies to the UKVI who will cancel your visa. You will need to apply for a new visa before you can return to the UK. International students must seek immigration advice from the International Student Advice Team before making a decision.
Your request to take a break will only be considered once you have completed the form below and received signed confirmation of:
- financial advice from Student Money and Accommodation Advice (SMAA);
- academic advice from your Course Leader;
- guidance from the International Student Advice Team (for international students only).
If you have unforeseen circumstances that are acute, severe and outside of your control, and that occur immediately before or during an assessment period, you should submit a claim for Mitigating Circumstances rather than request a break in your studies; you would then continue as an enrolled student and still be eligible for financial support.
If you only need to take a short break from your studies you can ask your Course Leader to allow you to have authorised absence of up to 3 weeks.
Please submit the completed form to your School Office.
It is very important that all parts of the form are completed fully and independent evidence provided to support the application. If you cannot continue elements of the course on health and safety grounds (for example, laboratory sessions whilst pregnant) this should be specified in the request.
Refund entitlements for Undergraduate and taught Postgraduate students:
If you enrolled in the Autumn Term and take a break from your studies:
- before the start of the Spring Term, then 75% of the Fees shall be refunded;
- before the start of the Summer Term, then 50% of the Fees shall be refunded;
- on or after the start of the Summer Term, then no refund shall be given
If you enrolled in the Spring Term and take a break from your studies:
- before the start of the Summer Term, then 75% of the Fees shall be refunded;
- on or before the end of the Summer Term, then 50% of the Fees shall be refunded;
- after the end of the Summer Term, then no refund shall be given
What if I have missed the deadlines / I cannot continue my studies this academic year?
Please contact your Course Leader who can advise you of the options and support available based upon your individual circumstances.
Minimum and maximum periods for a break in studies
The minimum period for a break from studies shall be until the start of the next semester for courses principally following a semester-based pattern of module delivery or until the start of the next academic year for courses principally following a year-long module structure.
The maximum permitted break from studies shall normally be one year. Any exceptional request above one year must be approved by the Director of Student Journey who may approve a maximum total break, during the course of a student's registration, in excess of one year.
A break from studies shall be counted as part of the stated period of registration for the award/course a student is enrolled on as will any unauthorised periods where a student is not enrolled.
- The maximum period in which to qualify for an Honours degree (including any breaks) is six years.
- The maximum period in which to qualify for a Postgraduate degree (including any breaks) is three years.
- If you are in receipt of student finance support, the Student Loan Company will be contacted and your enrolment will be cancelled. If you are studying on a student visa, the University is required to inform the relevant authorities.
- We will be unable to progress your request if it results in you being absent for more than two consecutive academic years or if you will not be able to complete your course within the maximum period of registration.
- Once you have started the break from your studies you will not normally have access to University facilities and premises and will not be eligible to sit examinations, submit coursework or undertake any other form of assessment.
- You should contact your Course Leader in the period before you intend to come back so that you can confirm your academic programme. You will re-enrol via your Evision account which will be opened up for you approximately 6 weeks before the start of the semester.
- Your break from studies must be confirmed by the University and you must (unless it is impossible to do so) continue your studies whilst awaiting this confirmation; if you leave without prior approval you are at risk of being deemed to have withdrawn from your course.
If you want further advice please do contact your School Office for help and guidance.
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