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Temporary Withdrawal

A temporary withdrawal is an approved period of time when a student is not studying for their award and is governed by University Regulation 36.1. Students may request periods of temporary withdrawal for the following reasons:

  • Financial (Student proactively seeks a period of temporary withdrawal in order to make arrangements to cover tuition fees and maintenance for the remainder of their period of study.);
  • Medical (e.g. long-term illness, including depression; surgeries that prevent a student from attending their course of study for an extended period of time);
  • Personal (non-exhaustive list):
  1. Family circumstances (including childcare, care for a family member);
  2. Work/Other commitments (often result of appointments to new roles and/or significant changes to a job description, resulting in the student being unable to dedicate required time to their studies);
    • Visa (for overseas nationals who fail to obtain a visa in good time to attend their course).

    A period of temporary withdrawal is usually for 12 months for Undergraduate students, a minimum of 3 months for Postgraduate Taught students and a minimum of 1 month for Postgraduate Research Students. Students may request a period of temporary withdrawal from their course of study. Only the Academic Registrar may approve requests for temporary withdrawal.

    Students requesting temporary withdrawal on medical or health/social care related grounds must supply a recent medical note from a health/social care professional in support of their request.

    The University may require that a student withdraws temporarily for a period of time in the following situations:

    • If a student, an overseas national, does not have the correct visa to study in the UK;
    • As a result of a student’s failure to pay fees;
    • If there are concerns over attendance and/or progress;
    • If there are concerns over a student’s capacity to study.
    • As an outcome of a student disciplinary process.

    Students deemed to be temporarily withdrawn must not undertake any formal study for the period of the temporary withdrawal and must cease to receive instruction from their Department. However, students will retain their IT access and library access and borrowing rights during a period of temporary withdrawal. Students may, of course, choose to undertake relevant reading during a period of temporary withdrawal but this is a decision for the individual to make and cannot be a requirement.

    How to apply for a period of temporary withdrawal:

    1. Students should consult with their personal tutor or a member of the University’s Student Support Services before completing this form. Students requesting temporary withdrawal must complete the electronic request form, available at Student Records On-line.
    2. The request will require the support of the Director of Graduate or Undergraduate Studies in the department department.
    3. Once the request is approved, Student Administrative Services will notify the student and their department by email, confirming last date of attendance, date of expected return and new expected completion date.

    If your request is not approved your department will be in touch to explain the reason(s) and discuss next steps.

    Research Council funded students requesting temporary withdrawal for maternity should also complete the Maternity Pay FormLink opens in a new window and upload a copy of their MATB1 form to their request.

    Requests for retrospective temporary withdrawal will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Such requests must include a clear rationale from the supporting Department outlining why the student was unable to make the request earlier. This should take into account department’s responsibility to monitor a student’s attendance at prescribed classes (Regulation 36) throughout the academic year. The student must also make contact with Student Finance to discuss any financial implications, e.g. paying back loans, grants, bursaries, etc.

    Due to Home Office requirements, we are not able to grant a retrospective temporary withdrawal in excess of one month to students sponsored on a Student Visa.

    Issues to Note:

    Following changes to UK immigration policy overseas nationals will be required to return to their home country during the period of their temporary withdrawal. The University is obliged to inform the Home Office - Visa and Immigration of such temporary withdrawals. Neither the Department nor Student Records are permitted to give advice on immigration matters. Such matters should be referred to either the Student Immigration and Compliance team or the Student Advice Centre in the Students’ Union ( For further information on breaks in studies, please click here.

    Home and EU students should be advised to contact the Student Loans Company for advice as to how a temporary withdrawal may affect their student loan, maintenance grant or other student financial support. Students can also make an appointment to consult the University’s Student Financial Advisor by emailing

    Students who withdraw for medical or health-related reasons will be asked to supply a medical note confirming they are fit to resume their studies approximately eight weeks prior to their expected return date. The University reserves the right to request a second opinion on such medical notes so it can satisfy itself fully that the individual is indeed well enough to resume their studies. In all such cases Student Administrative Services will ensure that the University's Wellbeing Support Services are engaged in the process of enabling a student to return from a medical temporary withdrawal in order that any appropriate adjustments can be made in support of the student.

    Students may request a second consecutive period of temporary withdrawal of 12 months, but any such request must be accompanied both by the support of the Department and by evidence as to the reason for the request.

    Please note that the Maximum Period of Study PolicyLink opens in a new window will apply from the 2022/23 academic year and will apply to all students starting their first year of study from 2022/23 onwards. All periods of temporary withdrawal and placement learning are included within the maximum periods stated.

    A third consecutive period of temporary withdrawal will only be permitted in the most exceptional cases and will be considered by the Academic Registrar/Chair of the Board of Graduate Studies. Students are normally permitted no more than two years (individually or consecutively) of temporary withdrawal during their course of study.

    For PGR students who consider that they may not be able to return to their studies within the short term, may wish to consider withdrawing from the University with the ortunity to request a return at a later date, using the remaining period of registration. PGR students will need to discuss this with their supervisor in the first instance.

    Students funded directly by one of the UK Research Councils will not normally be permitted a period of suspension without the prior approval of the Research Council. If you are considering requesting a period of withdrawal as a Research Council funded student, you should review the information for Research Council funded students and ask your department to contact Student Records in the first instance for advice.

    PGT and PGR students who are in extension are not normally permitted to request temporary withdrawal as they have already gone beyond their original expected end date and should request further extensions.


    Students will not be eligible for residence on campus during their period of withdrawal. If you are living in university managed campus or off campus accommodation and are withdrawing permanently, temporarily or withdrawing to restart, then you will be released from your accommodation contract from the later of:

    • the date of your withdrawal, or

    If you are in privately rented accommodation, you will need to speak to your landlord or agent to check your obligations.

    You should check the council tax implications of your withdrawal. (Students who are temporarily withdrawn retain their classification as a student of the University and should continue to be exempt from paying Council Tax. This is based on an expectation that you will return to your course. If you do not, the Council may require you to pay in retrospect.)

    If you need advice, then contact the SU Advice Centre.