Interruption of Study
The University’s Interruption of Study Procedure allows you to request an authorised absence from your course for between 2 weeks and 12 months. If you plan on being absent for 14 days or less, you do not need to apply for an Interruption but you do need to report your absence to your School and let them know the reason.
If you will be absent for longer than 14 days, the University’s rules state that you must apply for an Interruption of Study (often referred to as an IoS).
If your IoS is granted you will remain registered on your programme of study but your student record will be updated to show that you are not actively engaged with your course.
During an approved IoS, you are permitted:
- access to your university IT account (including email and SIMS),
- limited access to Student Support and Wellbeing services,
- access to Careers and Employability service,
- public access to libraries and University buildings.
You are not permitted to:
- attend programme sessions including lectures, seminars, laboratory sessions, and supervisory meetings;
- access learning materials via Learning Central;
- participate in formal assessments including taking formal examinations or submitting coursework;
- depending on the length of interruption, remain in University accommodation. If you have to leave, your contract will be adjusted without penalty.
Grounds for an Interruption of Study
An Interruption of Study is not granted as of right but will need to be applied for with at least one valid ground and with appropriate evidence.
The grounds for submitting an application for an interruption of study are as follows:
- Ill health, mental or physical health concerns.
- Maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption leave.
- Sabbatical Office – an interruption of study may be granted to a student who has been elected to a sabbatical post in the Students' Union.
- Work experience, professional non-credit bearing placement, or internship. Students who are pursuing a programme with integrated placement learning opportunities will not be granted an interruption of study in order to obtain further work experience, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Students in the UK on a Tier 4 student visa cannot submit an application on this ground.
- Exceptional professional commitments (only applicable to part-time students) if a student is on a part-time, distance or blended learning programme, and where they have increased unforeseen work commitments which prevent them from studying.
- Study abroad: students who are pursuing programmes with integrated study abroad opportunities will not be granted an interruption of study in order to obtain further study abroad opportunities, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- Compassionate grounds: for personal, family, or domestic circumstances.
- Exceptional financial hardship.
- Academic grounds, when this is in the student’s best interest. The student will return to study at an appropriate point in the academic year.
- You cannot apply for an IoS during a formal examination period. If you are experiencing circumstances that are impacting your study during a formal examination period you will instead need to report them using the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure. If your circumstances continue after the examination period, you can submit an IoS application for when it ends.
- You are permitted a maximum of 12 months’ Interruption per programme of study. This can be taken as one absence, or an accumulation of multiple shorter terms Interruptions. In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of the Academic Standards and Quality Committee may approve longer periods, provided they do not exceed 24 months in total.
Evidence for an Interruption of Study
You will normally need to provide evidence to support what you say in your IoS application. Evidence should ideally be independent, such as a letter from a doctor or other professional. Some circumstances can be difficult to evidence so please speak to Student Advice if that applies to you.
Process of Applying for an Interruption of Study
Applications for Interruptions of Study should be made to your academic school through your SIMS account.
Your application will be considered by the Head of School, who will look at
- The reasons for the request,
- The continuity and currency of your programme content,
- How you will be assessed on your return to study for any assessments not already completed,
- The date of your return to study,
- Any other periods of interruption previously agreed for you for the same programme of study.
The Head of School will then decide whether to approve or reject your application and should inform you of the outcome within 14 days of your IoS submission.
The length of the IoS you request will need to be enough for you to address the reason for needing the time away from your course, but the return date will also have to fit with the teaching of your course and the timing of assessments. You can discuss this with your School but it is unlikely that you will be able to return part way through a semester.
If your application is rejected or you disagree with the return date, you can appeal the decision in accordance with the University Review Procedure.
Important Points to Consider
- Your return date: It is normally recommended that you consult with your personal tutor prior to making the IoS application. Your tutor can support your application and may be able to help liaise between you and the rest of the academic school. You may also want to have a conversation with your personal tutor / academic school as to the structure of the IoS and when exactly you would return. Your return date must fit with the delivery of your course and you may be given return requirements, such as an appointment with the University’s Student Support and Wellbeing Team, if you are interrupting on grounds of ill health.
- Any time limits for completing your course: You can find these limits in the Regulations specific to your Programme of Study, within the University’s Academic Regulations. If in doubt, speak to your School.
- Any Visa implications: The University has a legal obligation to inform your funding body/sponsor and the UK Visa and Immigration where applicable. If you are on a Tier 4 visa and apply for an interruption of study, you may need to return to your home country and reapply for a new visa before your return to study date. For further advice on any visa implications you can contact the University’s International Student Support.
- Financial implications: As a general rule, your student funding (loans, grants, disabled student allowance etc.) stop from the date you interrupt until the date your return. Student Finance will re-calculate your funding entitlement for the year, and write to you about any overpayment. You will usually be asked to repay any overpayments, but you can negotiate with your funding body if you are not in a position to do so. If you are interrupting for reasons of ill-health, your funding body will allow you to keep 60 days’ worth of Maintenance Loan and Grant to help cover the initial period. After this you will not usually receive student funding while on IOS. The University will not charge you tuition fees while you are on an IoS. For further advice on the full implications of an IoS you can contact the University’s Advice and Money Team.
- Council Tax: You will retain access to all Council Tax certificates which have been issued to you before you commence an interruption. Some students on an Interruption will be entitled to a new certificate, but this is dependent on the Council Tax regulations in force at the relevant time.
- Your accommodation: If you are in University halls of residence, you will need to speak with your Residences Manager. You are not usually allowed to stay in University halls of residence during your IoS, but this does depend on the length of your absence. You will only pay rent until the day you return your keys or when the IoS appears on SIMS – whichever is later. You can ask for any overpayment to be repaid to you. If you are living in private rented accommodation you will likely be bound by the tenancy agreement. Please speak to Student Advice if you need further advice on this point.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410