Leave of absence

What is Leave of Absence?

During your period of registration, you may experience a range of significant challenges that may compromise your ability to continue to fully engage with your programme of study. In certain situations the most viable course of action may be to take an authorised temporary break from study, known as Leave of Absence. 

Leave of Absence can be from 1 to 12 months depending on your circumstances. 

If your absence is for maternity or paternity, please see the student pregnancy, maternity and paternity guidelines.

Visa implications for international postgraduate researchers

If you are an international postgraduate researcher your right to remain in the UK will be affected by Leave of Absence from study. As a Home Office Tier 4 Sponsor, we are legally required to report any changes in a visa student's registration status to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You are strongly advised to discuss your Leave of Absence with the International Student Team (IST) prior to submitting your request.

Implications for all postgraduate researchers

Registration dates

Leave of Absence taken before the end of the minimum period of registration means that your minimum and maximum registration dates may change to reflect the period of time that you have taken a Leave of Absence. 

If you take Leave of Absence during your thesis awaited period your maximum registration period (the deadline for submission of your thesis) will be amended to take account of the period of Leave of Absence. Regulation 6.2.3 sets out minimum and maximum periods of study for each qualification.

Fees and funding

You will not be charged tuition/continuation fees for the period of your Leave of Absence.

Please ensure that you have contacted your funding body to check that they know your situation and you are aware of your implications for funding. If you are funded by a UK Research Council, you may wish to contact the University Graduate School to discuss the impact of Leave of Absence on your funding.

Telephone: 0121 414 2030
Email: studentships@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

University facilities

When taking Leave of Absence it is important to understand that your registration status will be recorded as Leave of Absence on the University's student records system, and whilst you will still technically have a connection with the University, you will not have an active student registration.

This means that you are not permitted to make use of some the University's facilities. See section 3 of the Code of Practice on Leave of Absence Procedures for details of your access to University facilities whilst on Leave of Absence.

Council Tax

Leave of Absence may affect your eligibility for council tax exemption. You are advised to contact your local council direct to check your eligibility for council tax exemption.

Please contact Guild Advice in the Guild of Students for further advice regarding council tax exemption. 


Early Release from accommodation due to leave of absence

If you are living in University Owned accommodation, you need to submit an application to Living, the University of Birmingham’s Accommodation Service. You can submit this application via the online accommodation portal.

The University will release you from your accommodation contract, and you will only be charged for one month's rent in lieu of a notice period. Your one month notice period will be calculated from the date you check out at your accommodation village reception. You may continue to live in the accommodation until the end of your one month notice period however if you wish to leave earlier, then we may be able to re-let your room. If the University successfully re-lets your room, you will only be charged up until the date that the new student moves in.

If you are living in Partner Accommodation, you should speak directly with your accommodation provider who will advise you of the options available to you.

Will I need to re-apply for accommodation for when I return to University?

Yes, and you will need to apply for the relevant term of study for the relevant academic year. You can do this via the online accommodation portal.

Will I be guaranteed accommodation when I return to University?

If you are restarting your first year of study in September, your application will still fall under the selection criteria for our Guarantee Schemes. Please note that UK/EU students will need to submit their application by 31 May, and International students by 31 July.

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

Taking leave of absence would impact your DSA as this is funding intended for support you in your academic studies. Once you are due to return from leave of absence you will need to reapply for DSA. For more information about DSAs please see the government's DSA webpages.

Requesting Leave of Absence


It is important that you apply for your Leave of Absence at the time that your circumstances affect your ability to study.

You are advised to discuss your intention to request Leave of Absence with your supervisor and/or your Wellbeing Officer before completing the below form.

Leave of absence form (Word - 44KB)

Your application will be reviewed by your Programme Administrator, Grant Administrator (if applicable), Supervisor, PGR Lead, International Student Team (if applicable) and Registry. 

Please remember, you must include supporting evidence.

If further information is required, you will be contacted in due course.

Requesting leave of absence on your behalf

Due to privacy and security reasons, nobody can fill in a leave of absence application on your behalf. If you are unable to fill in and submit a leave of absence application yourself, we would advise that your the PGR administrator in your School is notified of your circumstances and you will be asked to submit retrospective Leave of Absence request when you are able to do so. 

Authorised absence for international students

For information on authorised absence for international students (for holiday, conferences, fieldwork, etc) please go to the authorised absence web page. 

Programmes subject to the Code of Professional Conduct/Fitness to Practice

If you are currently on a programme subject to Code of Professional Conduct or Fitness to Practice, please ensure you discuss this with your supervisor before applying for leave of absence. 

Returning to study

If you have applied for leave of absence before 19th April 2021, it is your responsibility to notify the RSA team of your return to your studies at the end of your Leave of Absence. 

If you have requested Leave of Absence on medical grounds, medical evidence will be required to confirm that you are fit to return to your studies, unless your original medical certificate confirmed that you will be fit to return to your studies at the end of the certified period. 

Find out more

If you have any questions about leave of absence that have not been answered on this page, please visit our dedicated FAQ page or contact the RSA team by submitting an online enquiry.



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