Request to Suspend Studies

There may be occasions when you need to apply to take a temporary break from your studies. This may be because you need to take a period of maternity or adoption leave or because a medical condition is preventing you from working on your thesis.

If your studies are affected in this way then you can normally apply for up to 12 months suspension of study across your degree course. Your request will need the support of your supervisor and if granted puts your studies on hold until your circumstances allow you to re-commence them. To apply for a suspension of studies please follow these simple steps:

Request to Suspend Studies

Step 1Check your Eligibility


  • Should normally be for a minimum of 3 months
  • Must be requested in advance (retrospective suspensions cannot be considered under any circumstances)
  • Should not normally exceed a total of 12 months across the duration of a course
  • Must have the support of your supervisor
Step 2   Complete a Request to Suspend Studies Form

You should arrange to discuss your application for a suspension of studies with your supervisor. They will need to support your request and sign your form.

If you are an international student and you are studying full-time then you may also want to discuss your circumstances with one of our International Visa Advisers. They can advise you of the visa implications in placing your studies on hold.  Please see Step 5 below.

Step 3 Submit your Request to the Doctoral College Office

Please submit your completed and signed application to the Doctoral College Office for approval:

By email to

Step 4 Receive the Outcome of Your Request
The Doctoral College Office will contact you by email to confirm whether your request has been approved.
Step 5 International Full-time Tier 4 Students

If you are an international full-time student and you are sponsored under Tier 4 to study at the University then suspending your studies may affect your immigration permission.

We may be able to continue to sponsor students who request a suspension of 60 days or less.  There are criteria and students will still need to be able to complete their studies within their current visa.  The supervisor will be asked to confirm that they believe this is achievable.   A suspension request should be completed as per regulations.  Advice can be sought from the International Student Advisers in the Student Immigration Advice and Compliance Team by emailing or by  visiting the Student Services Centre, Charles Wilson Building. 

If as a result of absence, permitted or otherwise, a student will not be studying for a period of more than 60 days a student should suspend their studies and the University must report the absent student to the UKVI.  Your permission to stay in the UK may be shortened by the UKVI. Students should take steps to leave the UK during the period of the suspension. 

After your period of suspense, you will need to apply for a new Tier 4 student visa before returning to the UK.  To do this you will need to apply for a CAS number by completing an “Application for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If your course requires ATAS clearance you will need to apply for this before you can continue your studies. 

If you have any queries about how your immigration permission will be effected then please make an appointment to discuss your situation with Visa Adviser by emailing

Will suspending my studies affect my stipend/maintenance grant?

If you receive a scholarship package that includes a stipend/maintenance grant then payment of this stipend may be affected by your suspension.

If you have any queries about how your stipend payments will be affected then please contact your scholarship provider directly.

Will suspending my studies affect when I need to re-register annually?

Suspending studies may affect the timing of annual re-registration and change the date this would be due.

Access to University Services / Resources

Your University IT account will remain active during your suspension but you will not be eligible to receive supervisory support or access any labs or classrooms.

Council Tax Exemption / Adjustments

If you are in receipt of council tax dispensation then your local authority will determine whether you can continue to receive this during your suspension.

Suspensions for Medical Reasons

The research student shall be responsible for providing such documentation as shall be required by the University as evidence of their illness or of their fitness to resume the research degree programme.  Medical evidence submitted in support of suspension requests should be in English.  Where the original is in another language students are responsible for ensuring that it is submitted with a verified translation.  Medical evidence submitted should be provided by a qualified medical practitioner. Before resuming, medical evidence must be provided fitness to resume the research degree programme.

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