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Interruption of study


 

 

I'm considering interrupting my studies. What do I need to take into account?

What shall I do first?

It is important that if you wish to interrupt your studies, you inform us as soon as possible. 

You should only complete this form if you have discussed the implications and options open to you from an academic perspective, and gained the approval of your supervisor / department.

You may wish to seek guidance from Student Advisory and Wellbeing by emailing them or going to their webpages.

You can also seek guidance from the Students' Union Advice Centre by emailing them or going to their webpages.

Am I eligible to request an interruption of studies?

If you have not interrupted before, or have interrupted for less than 24 months in total throughout your study, you will be able to request an interruption, which is subject to the approval of your School's Director of PGR Education. However, there are particular issues that you should be aware of if you are funded, sponsored, on a student visa by Royal Holloway, or in your writing up year - see below. 

When should I request an interruption?

  • You should request and interruption as soon as you are aware of any current or future change in your circumstances.
  •  A back-dated (or retrospective) interruption will only be considered on the most exceptional grounds. It is particularly important to avoid retrospective interruptions if you are:
    • sponsored by the UKVI; the College is under a legal obligation to report any interruption for Tier 4 / Student Route visa sudents to the UKVI in a timely fashion.
    • in receipt of a studentship; it is especially important that your request is submitted promptly in order to avoid maintenance overpayments (which may arise when interruptions are approved retrospectively) and result in you having to repay large amounts of money to the College.
  • Interruptions covering circumstances which are planned ahead, such as work placements, should be made well in advance.

What is my status during the period of interruption?

Students who have interrupted their studies remain registered students on the College and are subject to College Regulations but do not have the right to use College facilities or receive supervision, other than occasional access to your supervisor by arrangement. See exceptions to this in the box below. 

Will I still have access to College facilities (e.g. library use)?

No, students who have interrupted their studies do not have the right to use College facilities or receive supervision, other than occasional access to your supervisor by arrangement.

The exceptions are if the interruption is due to one of the following reasons:

In these exceptions, you will retain access to facilities throughout the whole period of interruption.

Is there a time limit on interruption duration?

The College's Research Degree Regulations state that you are permitted to request to interrupt your studies for up to 24 months (whether consecutively or otherwise) on financial, medical or personal grounds on the recommendation of your supervisor / department. You can apply for a maximum 12 month interruption at a time.

I have reached the maximum period of interruption but I really need a further interruption. Is this possible?

Requests for interruption are normally only granted up to the maximum period of 24 months. Should you need to request an interruption that goes beyond this limit, this should only be in serious extenuating circumstances. Please speak to your supervisor / Departmental PGR Lead about the possibility to request this.

A student may only interrupt their studies for more than 24 months, whether consecutively or otherwise, via a Suspension of Regulations request which can be requested via the interruption form, but must be thoroughly evidenced and a full rationale for the request provided.

Interruption during your writing up year

A period of interruption will not normally be granted during the writing up year. Interruption requests at this stage will only be considered for long-term / serious extenuating circumstances which prevent you from undertaking any work at all. Please contact us if you require any advice on this.

I am in my writing up year and I urgently need an interruption, what do I do?

It is only possible to request an interruption in serious extenuating circumstances. Please speak to your supervisor / department about the possibility to request this.

A student may only interrupt their studies in their writing up year, via a Suspension of Regulations request, which can be requested via the interruption form, but must be thoroughly evidenced and a full rationale for the request provided.

I was unable to apply for an interruption previously due to extenuating circumstances and now need to apply for a retrospective interruption, what do I do?

It is only possible to request an interruption in serious extenuating circumstances. Please speak to your supervisor / Departmental PGR Lead about the possibility to request this.

A student may only interrupt their studies retrospectively via a Suspension of Regulations request, which can be requested via the interruption form, but must be thoroughly evidenced and a full rationale for the request provided.

If you are a Student Route or Tier 4 visa student then you cannot request a retrospective interruption. For further advice, please contact the International Student Support Office at InternationalAdvice@royalholloway.ac.uk

What happens to my fees if I interrupt my studies?

You are liable to pay fees for the period you have attended prior to the interruption. When resuming your studies, your account will be credited on a pro rata basis for any fees paid in excess for the previous academic session. 

No refunds will be paid for a period of interruption and any credits on account will be offset against future year fees.

On resuming your studies, your tuition fee will be calculated based on the current year’s fee, not the fee from the year that you started the interruption, and your account will be amended accordingly.

I am funded. Can I interrupt my studies?

If you are in receipt of external (Research Council) or internal (College studentships) funding, you and your supervisor should ensure the Doctoral School is consulted, and that you are aware of the potential implications of this request on both your funding and departmental/College submission rates.

It is essential that you check prior to requesting the interruption that the interruption is permitted within the terms and conditions of your funding.

If you are in receipt of either internal or external funding, please be aware that all payments will normally stop during a period of interruption.

Further information and guidance for funded students can be found here.

I'm in receipt of a Student Finance loan. Can I interrupt my studies?

If you are in receipt of a loan from Student Finance this should stop when your interruption is reported to Student Finance. If you receive any payments during the period of time that you are interrupting, please be aware that you may be required to repay this. It is important that you contact Student Finance to confirm your entitlement to future funding based on your interruption.

You can contact them on 0300 100 0607

I'm on a Student Route / Tier 4 visa. Can I interrupt my studies?

If you interrupt your studies, Royal Holloway will withdraw its sponsorship for the duration of the interruption and you are obliged by the Home Office to leave the UK for this period. Your interruption will be reported to UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) and you will be required to leave the UK within 60 days.

You will have to reapply for a new visa three months prior to resuming your studies at Royal Holloway. The UKVI will be provided with the most recent contact details that we have recorded for you on Campus Connect. For further advice, please contact the International Student Support Office at internationaladvice@royalholloway.ac.uk.

Authorised absence

In exceptional circumstances, you may be permitted an authorised absence for a period less than 60 days:

  • Under this type of authorised absence you are permitted to remain in the UK for the duration, but this will impact the amount of leave remaining on your visa to complete your studies.
  • An authorised absence must be approved in the same way as an interruption. 
  • To discuss the authorised absence process please contact student-administration@royalholloway.ac.uk.

 

I'm in Student Accommodation. Can I interrupt my studies?

If you are currently living in halls of residence, you will need to complete the online notice to leave form and vacate your room, as per the Licence Terms & Conditions within 28 days, ensuring that you check out at your Halls Reception. If you do not check out at your Halls Reception you will remain financially liable for the room and in all cases settlement of any outstanding financial liabilities must made in full. More information can be found on the online notice to leave form. Should you have any queries, please contact studentservices@royalholloway.ac.uk.

What kind of evidence do I need to provide?

You need to provide any document that can adequately support the reason and duration of the interruption. For example, if the reason is medical a sick note, hospital/doctor’s letter could be provided. 

  • See appendix B of the College’s Extenuating Circumstances guidance notes for advice on this.  
  • Where applications are submitted that lack adequate supporting evidence, it is very likely that they will be denied or subject to significant delays.
  • The evidence you provide should support the dates of your request.

If you have evidence that you think would be sufficient, but you are worried about sharing particular sensitive information on the document that is not relevant to the interruption reason, we are happy for you to ‘grey out’ the areas that you do not wish to include.

If your interruption request is a Suspension of Regulations (i.e. interruption of over 24 months, interruption in the writing up year or a retrospective interruption) then your application will only be considered if your evidence is robust enough to support the rationale provided on your application form.

If you are not sure what evidence is suitable to submit, please contact us for advice.

How does the interruption affect my deadlines?

If your interruption request is approved, we will add the period of your interruption to your thesis/dissertation submission deadline, e.g. a student with a 22 September 2021 deadline who interrupts for 6 months would now have a new submission deadline of 22 March 2022.

The same logic is applied to the calculation of your upgrade deadlines, if you haven’t already upgraded.

The Doctoral School will confirm these new deadlines to you by email.

Do I follow the standard interruption request process for interruptions due to maternity, paternity or adoption?

No - there is a slightly different process for requesting maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

Find out more

 

I've read the information above and decided to go ahead and request an interruption of studies. What do I need to do?

How do I request an interruption to my studies?

If you wish to request an interruption of studies and you are eligible for this, you must submit an online interruption to studies form.

  • You MUST read all sections above before completing the online interruption of study form.
  • Your must contact your supervisor to arrange an appointment to discuss the details of your interruption.

Completing the form       

  • You must complete sections A to C of the online form and submit.
  • You must upload all supporting documentary evidence regarding the circumstances pertaining to your request to interrupt.
  • You will be required to provide your College email address to commence this form.

Section A - Student details

This will require your basic details including your student ID number, programme of studies and supervisor details.

Section B - Details of your request

This will require details including the dates for your request, (both start and return from interruption as agreed with your supervisor); the reason for the request including all supporting documentary evidence; details of your progress to date and a timeline for the completion of your research, as discussed with your supervisor.

The online form does not allow you to save your session, so pasting written comments from a Word document is advisable where longer comments are required. You can preview the form here to see what to expect.

The online form will require you to upload evidence of extenuating circumstances in a single electronic file (e.g. a single .pdf). You may need to scan the evidence to produce a single file to upload if there are several separate documents which are relevant to the case in question. If you have any problems with this, please contact us.

You should prepare the following in advance of starting the form, as this should be checked with your supervisor / Departmental PGR Lead before being pasted onto the relevant field in the form:

  • The rationale for your request;
  • A detailed account of your progress to date, e.g. details of which chapters have been written and/or seen by your supervisor;
  • A detailed month by month timetable for the completion of your work, including deadlines for each chapter/element, and when this work will be seen by your supervisor.

If your request is for a Suspension of Regulations, i.e. a request for interruption in the writing up year, interruption over 24 months or retrospective interruption, you must indicate this on the form and provide supporting documentary evidence to fully explain the need for such a request. A request for a Suspension of regulations will not be considered if an application is submitted without any evidence.

Section C - Student's confirmation

This will require your confirmation that you have read, understood and acted on the advice as set out in these guidelines.

Submit

By submitting your form you are confirming that you would like the Doctoral School to start processing your request, in line with the process guidance provided above, and all the information you have provided on the form is true and correct.

You will receive an automated confirmation email, along with a copy of the details of your form once your application has been successfully submitted.

Tips for completing the form

It is advisable that you follow the steps below in order to ensure you submit your request successfully:

  • Use Google Chrome to access the form;
  • Delete cached data and cookies before you start completing the form;
  • When navigating through the form, use the ‘Previous’/ ‘Next’ buttons at the bottom of the page rather than the ‘Return’ arrow of the browser.

I've submitted my interruption request. What happens next?

The interruption form will be sent to your supervisor for academic approval.

The supervisor approved interruption form, and uploaded evidence will be sent to your School's Director of PGR Education for a decision.

If the request is approved, we will process it, update your student record and send you an email to confirm how this interruption affects your:

  • upgrade deadlines (if not already upgraded)
  • thesis submission deadline
  • funding end date (if funded)

 

Interruption of studies form for postgraduate researchers

  • In completing this form I confirm that I have read and acted on the guidance and advice provided above, and understand the consequences of interrupting. I would like to continue with my interruption request
  • To start this process, please enter your Royal Holloway email below:
  • If you answer ´No´ you will not be able to progress further with this form

 

I'm due to return from interruption soon. What do I need to do?

Returning from interruption

We will contact you shortly before you are due to resume your studies with details about the re-enrolment process. You must re-enrol within three weeks of your stated date of return. Failure to re-enrol by the deadline may result in the closure of your student record. If your record is closed and you wish to return to the College you must contact us and will manage your query, possibly re-directing you to the Admissions team.

I'm not ready to return yet. Is it possible to extend my interruption of studies?

If you wish to extend your interruption you must re-apply via a new request form, providing new evidence to support the extension, and clearly explaining in the rationale why this is being requested, and why the previous period of interruption was not sufficient or correct.

Any such request must be discussed with your supervisor in the first instance.

I do not need the full period of interruption requested and would like to resume my studies earlier then planned. Is this possible?

If you wish to return to your studies earlier than planned, you must notify your supervisor and contact us with your new return from interruption date, as agreed with your supervisor.

We will then recalculate all deadlines and fees based on your new return date and update your records accordingly. We will contact you via email with your updated deadlines.

If you are a Student Route or Tier 4 visa student, please contact the International Student Support Office at internationaladvice@royalholloway.ac.uk for further advice.

I've decided not to return from my interruption and withdraw from my studies. What happens next?

If you do not return from interruption and subsequently withdraw, the date of withdrawal is recorded as the start date of the interruption and the fee liability is calculated accordingly.

You can find further information around the withdrawal process here.

  

Contact us

By email:

doctoralschool@rhul.ac.uk

Find out how our Helpdesk team can help you online 

Quick links

A to Z for PGR students

Interruption advice for funded students

Maternity, paternity or adoption leave

Research degree regulations and Code of Practice for research students and supervisors