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  • PhD Handbook - Change of Plan?

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Any student can apply for a leave of absence. It can be a good solution for a research student who genuinely finds that medical or personal difficulties are preventing their study for a period of time. However, approval remains at the discretion of the Special Cases Committee (SCC).

As far as possible, you should apply for a leave of absence in advance. Departments should not submit requests to the Special Cases Committee SCC later than one month after the proposed start date of the leave period. Leave of absence that is entirely retrospective will not normally be considered or approved.

For more information on when and how to apply for a Leave of Absence, visit

 Students Students on Tier 4 visas should be aware that a Leave of Absence will impact on their eligibility to remain in the UK, and so should consult with immigration advice before making any decision.


Your funding body may place restrictions on whether and how often you can change status. RSA can give you further guidance.

 For For more information, visit


Withdrawal is the term used when a student decides to permanently leave the University before completing their programme of study. Before deciding If you wish to withdraw you should meet your supervisor to discuss any issues you may have and explore your options. It may be more appropriate for you to take a leave of absence, switch to part-time study, or change programmes.

If you need more advice, or want to speak to someone other than your supervisor, support is available from:


from your course and leave the University you must complete the Intention to Withdraw form, available via the link at the bottom of this section.

Leaving the University is an important decision, so we want to make sure that you are aware of all the options available and that you have access to the right advice and support. Therefore, once you submit the for, a Student Advisor will contact you within two working days. If after your conversation with a Student Advisor you still wish to withdraw, you will be asked to complete a Confirmation of Withdrawal form.

For more information, visit      You are encouraged to speack to your supervisor if you are considering withdrawing, and support is also available from the GSA.