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. 

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 Advisory Service (ISAS) prior to submitting your request.

Implications for all postgraduate researchers

Registration dates

Leave of Absence taken in the period of normal registration means that your minimum and maximum registration dates will 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.

Fees and funding

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

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 your award. 

Telephone: 0121 414 2898
Email: studentships@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

University facilities

When taking Leave of Absence it is important to understand that your 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 (PDF - 158KB) for full 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. 

Requesting a Leave of Absence

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

You are advised to discuss your intention to request Leave of Absence with your supervisor before completing the Leave of Absence form. 

Part A - to be completed by the postgraduate researcher and passed to the supervisor 

Part B - to be completed by the supervisor and passed to the Head of School (or nominee) 

Part C - to be completed by the Head of School (or nominee) and sent to RSA team 

Remember, you must include supporting evidence.

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. 

Returning to study

It is your responsibility to notify the RSA team of your return to your studies at the end of your Leave of Absence. This should be done by email to the member of staff that sent confirmation of the approval of your Leave of Absence. 

If you have requested Leave of Absence on medical grounds, a medical certificate 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 leaves of absence that have not been answered on this page or in the downloadable guidance notes, please contact the RSA team by submitting an online enquiry.