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Academic Registry and Council Secretariat

Interruption of studies

Students may request permission to interrupt their studies if their studies are being affected by personal circumstances and they will not be able to work on their research programme for a period of time. During a period of interruption, the student is not enrolled with Queen Mary. Students are advised to read the Advice and Counselling  'Advice Guide on Interruptions' before completing this form, particularly if their tuition fees are paid by a sponsor or they hold Student Immigration permission visas (formerly Tier 4 visa) where QMUL issued a Confirmation of Studies (CAS). If a student is in receipt of a studentship, then the terms and conditions of the award take precedence over Queen Mary’s Regulations.

Interrupting their studies means that although students remain registered they cease to be enrolled with Queen Mary; this has consequences for their student status, funding, and right to remain in the UK:

  • When interrupting, students will not be required to pay fees.
  • Students in receipt of studentships may be entitled to paid leave, depending on the terms of their studentship: please contact the Research Degrees Office for further information.
  • Students are not normally allowed to live in College residences during periods of interruption.
  • Students will not be entitled to letters from the Research Degrees Office confirming your student status, such as Council Tax exemptions or letters via Gradintel.
  • Their TfL discount may be revoked.
  • Students holding Student Immigration Permission visa (formerly Tier 4 visa) where QMUL issued a CAS cannot interrupt to gain work experience or to earn money to pay for their studies. Queen Mary is required to notify the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) of study for students sponsored under Tier 4 of the Points Based Immigration System where QMUL issued a CAS. Students with Student Immigration permission (formerly Tier 4) who interrupt their studies may be required to leave the UK, even if interrupting because of personal or medical reasons.
  • Students may continue to work personally on their research during interruptions of study and have access to the library with limited borrowing rights. Any arrangements for contact between a student and their supervisory team during a period of interruption should be agreed in advance of the period of interruption, for example to keep in touch and to plan the return to study. During a period of interruption students should not have access to laboratories or carry out fieldwork. 

    Examples of contact between student and supervisor during an interruption might include:

    - advice on reading to help the student keep up-to-date with new developments in the field and recent publications to review;

    - preparing a timetable for return to study and plans for the first few weeks back, and to arrange the first meeting;

    - keeping in touch with a few phonecalls, emails, Skype/Zoom etc. from a pastoral perspective and to discuss research matters.

  • Interruptions of study will not be approved as a means of ‘stopping the clock’ for students who are not making adequate progress.

Students are permitted to interrupt their research degree programme for up to one year in the first instance on the grounds of illness or other good cause with the permission of their School and the approval of the Research Degrees Programmes and Examinations Board (RDPEB). Please note that research degree students are permitted to interrupt their studies for whole months only, and must re-enrol on an agreed date. Interruptions may be permitted for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: illness, maternity/paternity/adoption leave, personal and family reasons, employment, financial difficulties, and teaching commitments. Interruptions of study will not be approved as a means of ‘stopping the clock’ for students who are not making adequate progress.

The Regulations permit up to two years’ interruption in total during the course of the programme of study. Interruption for a longer period is only permitted in exceptional circumstances. The period of interruption does not count towards the minimum or maximum period for the research studies programme. Interruptions of study will not normally be approved retrospectively as the student will already have been returned to HESA as being fully enrolled and in attendance.

When the student has completed the interruption of study form (below) and attached documentary evidence in support of their request, they must pass it to their supervisor. The supervisor must provide a short statement to explain the reason for the interruption. The principal supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies will then countersign and forward the form and evidence to the Research Degrees Office, who will arrange for the request to be considered by the RDPEB. If the interruption is approved, the Research Degrees Office will notify the student and the School’s postgraduate research administrator, who will notify the student’s funding body. If the student holds a Tier 4 visa where QMUL issued a CAS, Queen Mary will also notify the UKVI.

Use this form if a student wishes to request permission to interrupt:

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