Section 5: Interrupting, Withdrawing or Transferring from Studies Regulation


We would advise you to seek impartial advice and support from the Students’ Union Advice Centre if you wish to apply for an interruption, transfer or withdraw from your studies.


5.1 Regulation Introduction

5.1.1 This procedure may be right for you, if you are considering interrupting, withdrawing or transferring your studies out to another institution. This information is designed to help you decide what to do in these circumstances.

5.1.2 If you are studying with us on a student visa and you withdraw from your course, you will be required to leave the UK. If you decide to interrupt your studies, this could result in your visa being curtailed or cut short. You may be required to leave the UK during the period of interruption until you are in a position to resume your studies. This will mean you will be required to apply for a new visa for your resumption of studies. You should discuss your circumstances with the International Office before making a decision.


5.2 Interruption of study

5.2.1 We expect you to study with us over a continuous period. This is because we know that PGRs who take long periods away from their research often subsequently fail to complete their degree and withdraw. Our aim is to support you to stay engaged with your studies through to successful completion.

5.2.2 We understand that exceptional circumstances might have an impact on your ability to make progress at times. In most cases involving minor disruption of a week or two, your supervisors should support you to recover the lost time over the course of your research degree, without extending your end date. We may also discuss the possibility of making other reasonable adjustments for you.

5.2.3 Where that is not possible because of the serious or ongoing nature of your circumstances, you may wish to apply for a period of interruption to your studies. However, we will only agree to this in exceptional circumstances, and in most cases, we will not agree if you are close to a submission point or early in your studies.

5.2.4 We will not backdate an interruption of study, so you must contact us as soon as a situation arises.

5.2.5 If you are studying for a PhD by Publication, interruptions are not normally allowed.

5.2.6 We expect you to submit your work by the agreed date. If we have not agreed an extension or interruption of study and you fail to complete your assessment by the set deadline, we may withdraw you from your course.

5.2.7 An interruption is a formal break from your studies for a defined period of time. If we agree to a break:

  • Subsequent deadlines and your end date will change.
  • Your registration with us will be temporarily suspended and all relevant authorities (where known) will be informed.
  • You must ensure that you comply with any sponsor or legal requirements before, during and after an interruption of study.
  • You will be able to access advice and support from our support services.
  • You will retain access to your email account.

5.2.8 Prior to returning to your studies, you should make contact with your supervisor to discuss how your return will be managed.

5.2.9 We do not expect you to work during an interruption and an interruption of study should never be used as an extension to allow you further time to complete your work.

5.2.10 If you have an agreed interruption of study, you are not permitted to submit work during this period.  

5.3 Length of interruption

  • We keep periods of interruption as short as possible, and you should only request the time you need to deal with your circumstances.
  • You are expected to return to study immediately after your period of interruption has ended.
  • We always calculate periods of interruption on the basis of whole months.
  • For pregnant students we would not normally count any maternity leave towards the total period of interruption and interruption periods may exceed the normal total periods provided below.

5.3.1 For Doctoral students, which includes Professional Doctorates where there is a taught element, the total period of interruption permitted across the full period of studies will not normally exceed 12 months. In extreme circumstances, we may allow a maximum of 24 months.

5.3.2 For Master’s students, the total period of interruption permitted across the full period of studies will not normally exceed for months. In extreme circumstances, we may allow a maximum of eight months.

5.3.3 In exceptional circumstances, we may consider approving an interruption beyond the maximum permitted.

5.3.4 Where a PGR submits a request that will take their total period of interruption beyond the ordinarily permitted maximum, or they have already reached the limit, a senior member of Registry will consider the request for exceptional approval. Circumstances in which this may be approved include where a PGR has experienced a combination of unrelated, extenuating circumstances throughout their studies.


5.4 Applying for an interruption

5.4.1 You can find full details of how to apply for an Interruption to your studies on our website.


5.5 Withdrawing from your studies

5.5.1 If your circumstances significantly impact your ability to continue studying on your current research programme, then it may be appropriate for you to withdraw from your studies. This might be because you cannot currently commit to your work or you have decided that studying is no longer right for you at this time. Withdrawing from your studies means you will be leaving your degree completely, with no intention of returning.

5.5.2 When you have withdrawn, you will no longer be considered a student and you will not be permitted to return to your research programme at a later date. If you decide you would like to study with us again, you will need to complete the admissions process. PGRs wishing to withdraw from their programme should be aware that they will lose access to their University files and email account within 10 working days of their withdrawal being processed. You should ensure that you have saved an alternative copy of all of the documents you need prior to submitting your withdrawal request, to prevent losses.


5.6 Applying to withdraw

5.6.1 You can find full details of how to Withdraw from your studies on our website.


5.7 Transferring your studies

5.7.1 Transferring means you are considering moving your candidature to another University. This may be because your supervisor is moving to work at another University, because of a personal reason, or you may be unhappy with an aspect of your research programme.

5.7.2 If you are experiencing a personal issue or you are unhappy with an aspect of your programme, you can discuss this with your supervisor, or with the School’s Director of Graduate Education. If preferable, you can discuss issues with someone outside of the School. Independent support can be provided by our Researcher Environment team, the Dean of the Graduate School or the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

5.7.3 To transfer, you will require approval from the supervisor and the School’s Director of Graduate Education that the research be released and provide permission to transfer. This must take into account any studentship or collaborative agreements that may be in place.

5.7.4 Having considered your options, if transferring to another University is the right decision for you, you will need to apply to your chosen University and follow their admissions procedures. We are unable to complete any applications for you or advise on the procedures of another institution.

5.7.5 If you are an international student with a student visa you should discuss the implications of any transfer on your immigration status with the International Office, prior to making your transfer request.

5.7.6 If your current research programme tuition fees are fee waived or sponsored and/or there is a stipend in place from any source, transferring to an alternative University is likely to effect this and it is advised that you take this into consideration.

5.7.7 If you are studying towards a Professional Doctorate and you decide to transfer out of the University, you will normally be entitled to any credit you have passed as part of your taught phase before you transferred. Where your total credit achieved meets the requirements for the interim award of PGCert/ PGDip, you will be awarded this at the next available course assessment board. You may be able to use this credit as part of your transfer to another institution’s Professional Doctorate if they operate a Recognition of Prior Learning policy. Please note that this is not always possible and you should check with the specific institution upon your application.