Suspending your studies - Postgraduate Research students

If something is affecting your ability to work and you need to take some time away from your study then you can apply to suspend your research and return next year.
More information about:
International students

This is, obviously, a big decision with a lot of implications, although it should not ultimately affect your long-term prospects. You will graduate with exactly the same qualification.

Your first step should always be to talk with your supervisor, and you should also speak with the Doctoral College Office. Remember that suspension isn’t the only option when problems arise. If you have taught elements on your course (Doctor of Social Sciences, Doctor of Education or Doctor of Clinical Psychology) you may be able to apply for mitigating circumstances. (In an extreme situation, it is possible to withdraw completely. You could leave with an exit award if you are studying towards a Doctor of Social Science of Doctor of Education. We will always help you explore other options before making this decision).

Periods of suspension shall normally be at least three months in duration. Research students shall not normally suspend their programme for a period exceeding twelve months over the duration of the research degree programme. Research students returning from a period of suspension shall normally resume their programme as of the first day of the relevant month. The suspension period shall not count towards the specified minimum and maximum registration periods.

Points to consider before you decide to apply for suspension:

  • Fees, bursaries, scholarships, loans, maintenance grants, accommodation costs – you should thoroughly explore how this will affect you financially.
  • You will be working among a different cohort and may need to make new relationships with your fellow students.
  • If you are an international student, you should check how this will affect your visa/immigration status.
  • If you are studying for a DClinPsy there are NHS regulations to consider.

While your research is suspended, you will still be able to contact University staff and you will still have access to:

Over the suspension period you are not entitled to supervision and you will not have access to your research facilities. You must not actively research during this period.

If you are working for the University through Unitemps (and are able to continue that work), this will be unaffected.

Suspending your studies could affect your contract of employment as a GTA or GRA. In some instances, it may be that your contract comes to an end. You must inform the Head of Department at the earliest opportunity so that discussions can be held about how this might affect your employment. You should refer to the GTA handbook or the GRA handbook for further guidance.

Health-related suspension

If the reason for your suspension is medical or health-related, you will need to provide written evidence, in English, of your condition from your doctor.

If you have been diagnosed with a long-term condition or disability, please contact the AccessAbility Centre about support and services available to you at the University.

Applying for suspension

Once you have discussed your situation with your supervisor, the Doctoral College Office and everyone else who can advise you, and after you have considered other options, if you definitely want to suspend your research you need to complete this form.

You should email the form from your University of Leicester email address, there is no need for a signature when your form is sent from this email account. You must attach any supporting documents such as a doctor’s letter. Please send the form to your department's email address.

Once your request has been processed we will confirm this by email (to your university email address).

We will notify as soon as possible UK Visas and Immigration (if applicable) and any other relevant organisations.


Your suspension formally starts on the last date that you ‘engaged with’ the University, which will normally  mean engaging with your supervisor. Your suspension will normally be for a set number of months (minimum three months; maximum 12 months) which do not count towards your overall period of registration as a student.

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