Suspending your studies or leaving the University
How to suspend your studies, the process for returning to University, or if you want to leave your course, for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students.
Suspending your studies
If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate-taught student you can suspend your studies for several reasons, including:
- academic reasons (suspend and retrieve)
- financial difficulties
- physical or mental health
- family reasons
- immigration matters
- changing programme of study
- sporting commitments
- maternity, paternity or adoption
Getting advice about suspension
If you are thinking about suspending your studies, you can talk about your options in confidence with:
- Student Services
- your Director of Studies
- your Personal Tutor
Please also read our Guide on Suspending Study.
How to request a suspension
You must meet with your Director of Studies or Personal Tutor to request suspending your studies.
You will also need to complete a Change in Circumstances form, which you can get from your department.
You will then get a letter/email confirming the decision. This letter will also include the date when we expect you to resume your studies and any conditions for your return.
Staying registered as a student
You must remain registered as a student while you are away from the University. Maintaining your registration is free and allows you to keep your University email account and access to the University computer network. This will help you communicate with your department and Student Services.
Disability Service users
If you are suspending your studies or leaving the University and are in receipt of Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or other-funded support from a Specialist Study Skills Tutor, Specialist Mentor, Note taker or Study Assistant you should contact the Disability Service so that they are aware.
How suspension will affect your visa if you are an international student
If you are suspending your studies, you should contact the Student Immigration Service to discuss how this will affect your visa status.
If you are in the UK on a student visa, you must be studying to meet your visa requirements. If you hold a Tier 4 visa and suspend your studies, we must report this to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and your visa could be cut short.
You must return to your home country during the suspension. When you want to resume your course, you will have to apply for a new visa.
Extending your suspension
If you can no longer return on the agreed date, you must contact your Director of Studies to discuss.
Resuming your studies
Before the agreed date when you will resume your course, you should contact your Director of Studies to confirm that you will return.
You may need to prove that you are fit to study, or meet any other conditions that have been set. You should do this well before your agreed return date, and provide any evidence you are asked for.
If you suspended due to physical or mental health reasons then Student Services will write to you regarding this, two months prior to your expected return date. You will be requested to complete a Self-Assessment form and provide contact details of your medical practitioner/health professional asking permission to request medical reports for Return to Study purposes.
If you suspended due to a non-health related reason (e.g. Family, Financial, Maternity/Paternity/Adoption) then Student Services will write to you regarding this, approximately two months prior to your expected return date. You will be requested to complete a Self-Assessment form to help you start to think and plan for a successful return. Your answers will also help Student Services identify if you might be entitled to extra support or funding.
If you use the Disability Service and are in receipt of Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) or other-funded support from a Specialist Study Skills Tutor, Specialist Mentor, Note taker or Study Assistant you should contact the Disability Service to arrange for your support to resume.
Student Services can help you assess your needs and talk to you about any ongoing support.
Preparing to return to the University
Talk to your Director of Studies about how you should prepare for your course.
If you are returning to your course in the middle of the academic year, you must notify the Academic Registry so they can update your records.
You should also talk to a Money Adviser about how resuming your course will affect your fees and finances.
Returning to the UK if you are an international student
Once you have confirmed that you will be resuming your course, you must reapply for your visa before you can return to the UK.
Permanently withdrawing from your course
If you have decided to leave your course, you must speak to your Director of Studies.
If you have already suspended your studies and no longer want to return, you will still need to speak to your Director of Studies.
Getting advice on what to do after University
The Careers Service can advise you about your options, including career choices and transferring to another university. You can book a meeting with a Careers Adviser.
Student Services can also give you confidential advice and support.
How leaving your course affects your visa if you are an international student
Leaving your course may affect your visa status and you may have to leave the UK.
If you are planning to withdraw from your course, contact Student Immigration Service to discuss how this affects you.
How suspending or withdrawing will affect your fees and finances
Suspending your studies can affect your fees, grants and loans. How this affects you will depend on your circumstances and how far into your course you are.
Student Money Advice can tell you how suspending your studies or leaving the University will affect your finances and what actions you need to take.
If you are suspending or withdrawing, book an appointment with the team to talk about your finances and any scholarships you have.
The Money Advice team can also help you with any negotiations with the University Finance office and other funding bodies.
Information is also available from Student Finance
If the Student Loans Company (SLC) funds your studies
The amount of fees you must pay depends on when you suspend or withdraw from your course.
- If you suspend or withdraw after 2 October 2017, you must pay 25% of the fee for the year (returning students)
- If you suspend or withdraw after 9 October 2017, you must pay 25% of the fee for the year (new first-year students)
- If you suspend or withdraw after 8 January 2018, you must pay 50% of the fee for the year
- If you suspend or withdraw after 9 April 2018, you must pay 100% of the fee for the year
You will need to pay the relevant proportion of tuition fee whether or not you complete the semester.
How suspending or withdrawing affects your tuition fee loan entitlement
As a student, you can receive SLC funding for the normal duration of your course, plus one year. If you suspend or withdraw from your studies, even after only a few days, this will use up the additional year. This may affect your flexibility to make changes to your studies in the future.
How suspending or withdrawing affects your maintenance loan or grant
You are only entitled to a maintenance loan or grant for the time you are registered as an attending student.
If you suspend or withdraw from your studies, you will probably have to pay some money back. Your awarding authority will adjust your entitlement based on your last date of attendance. If you have been overpaid, your awarding authority and the Student Loans Company will contact you.
If you are suspending or withdrawing because of your health, make sure your department is aware of your circumstances and has seen the relevant medical evidence. If your department records this as your reason for suspending on the Change of Circumstance form, the SLC can extend your maintenance loan or grant beyond your last date of attendance.
If you are suspending or withdrawing for other reasons, you may still be able to extend your maintenance loan or grant. Contact Student Money Advice for more information.
If the Students Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) funds your studies
If you are from Scotland, you are entitled to a fee loan for your tuition fees based on the time you were considered an attending student. This is the length of time from the start date of the academic year until the date you suspended or withdrew from your course.
If you suspend or withdraw from your studies before 1 December, the SAAS will not allow you a fee loan. You will receive an invoice for your tuition fees, based on how long you were an attending student.
If you are an international or self-funding student
The amount of tuition fees you have to pay depends on the number of weeks you attended your course, from the start of the academic year to the day you suspended or withdrew.
If you have paid your tuition fees in full, you will be due for a partial refund. If you have only paid part of your fees, you may have to pay more of them.
Contact the Student Finance team to find out if you will need to pay more fees or receive a refund.
How suspending or withdrawing will affect your accommodation
If you are living in University accommodation
You will need to terminate your accommodation contract and understand the financial implications.
If you are living in private accommodation
The Students' Union can advise you about your legal rights and obligations.