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Academic Registry and Council Secretariat

Interruption of studies

This guidance applies to students of the following research degrees programmes: PhD, MD(Res), EngD, DClinDent, MPhil and ResM. 

Students may request permission to interrupt their studies if their studies are being affected by personal circumstance and they will not be able to work on their research programme for a period of time. 

Students are permitted to interrupt their research degrees 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/Institute 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. 

Students are advised to read the Advice and Counselling 'Advice Guide on Interruptions' before completing the form, particularly if their tuition fees are paid by a sponsor or they hold Student Immigration permission visas for which Queen Mary has issues 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:

  1. When interrupting, students will not be required to pay fees
  2. Students in receipt of studentships may be entitled to paid leave for a limited period, depending on the terms of their studentship, for example maternity leave and sick leave. Please contact the Research Degrees Office for further information
  3. Students are not normally allowed to live in College residences during periods of interruption. Please contact the Residential Team for advice
  4. Students will not be entitled to letters from the Research Degrees Office confirming student status, such as Council Tax exemptions or letters via Gradintel
  5. If you have a Student Oyster Card, we will notify Transport for London, who may revoke your card
  6. Students holding Student Immigration permission where Queen Mary issued a CAS cannot interrupt to gain work experience or to earn money to pay for their studies
  7. If you have a Tier 4 or Student visa, we will notify the Home Office that you have interrupted your studies. The Home Office may then cut short or cancel your immigration permission. Please read the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service Guidance on Immigration Reporting and Curtailment. Students with Student Immigration permission who interrupt their studies may be required to leave the UK, even if interrupting because of personal or medical reasons
  8. Students may not conduct major work towards completion of their studies while on interruption of studies. They may not submit material for assessments, progression review, or the thesis for examination. Supervisors are not required to hold supervision meetings or to comment on draft chapters of the thesis while a student is on interruption
  9. Students in receipt of a studentship cannot access Research Training Support Grant (RTSG funding) to support research activities (including training courses and conferences) during an interruption of studies
  10. Students should not have access to laboratories or carry out fieldwork
  11. 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. 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 supervision meeting.

 The Academic 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 maximum or minimum 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 Data Futures as being fully enrolled and in attendance. Therefore, changes to a student's enrolment record will not normally be backdated into the previous academic year. 

When the student has completed the PGR Interruption of Studies Form [XLS 133KB], and attached documentary evidence in support of their request, they must pass it on to their supervisor. The supervisor must provide a statement to explain the reason for the interruption. The principal supervisor and Director of Graduate Studies will then countersign the form. The completed form and the evidence will be sent to the RDO, who will arrange for the request to be considered by the RDPEB. If the interruption is approved, the RDO will notify the student and the School's postgraduate research administrator, who will notify the student's funding body. If the student holds immigration permission for which Queen Mary issued a CAS, Queen Mary will also notify the UKVI. 

DClinDent students should see the additional guidance and us the form found here Interrupting your Studies


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