When you start a course with us, we hope that you are able to follow it through to completion in the normal way. However, we recognise that for some students, circumstances may arise where you may need to take an unplanned break in your studies for unexpected reasons, which may be out of your control.
We encourage you to chat to the Student Wellbeing Officer about your options and the support we can offer you. For course-specific advice and guidance, you should speak to your Course Manager or Course Tutor.
Please read the following information thoroughly before you completing a request, to ensure you are fully aware of the implications of taking a break in studies.
If you are thinking of taking time out of your studies it is important to seek our advice and support as early as possible. We have dedicated staff able to give you advice and guidance on your options based on your own particular circumstances. It may be that we are able to make reasonable adjustments to allow you to remain on your course of study on either a full-time or a part-time basis.
Our standard policy is to allow students, who may experience such unexpected circumstances, to postpone their studies for a limited period of time. The main reason that students are permitted to take a break in studies is due to health reasons, which prevent the ability to study. We also will consider ‘significant changes in life circumstances’, which may include events such as a family bereavement or a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ related to career aspirations and programme of study. There is no automatic right to a break in study under any circumstance; each request will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Course Manager and Planning Officer, in discussion with the Student Wellbeing team.
The only other time where a student is permitted to take a break in study is where they are placement exempt and wish to remain with their original cohort. Such a request is at the Course Manager’s discretion.
It is important to note that breaks in study are normally granted for up to a maximum of one academic year. Regardless of when the period starts during one academic year, you are expected to be in a position to restart your studies at the start of the next academic year. If it is anticipated that a break may be longer than this, it may not be agreed and a student may be advised to withdraw from their studies and reapply when they are in a position to recommence their course. As courses can change from year to year, the continued availability of the study programme will also be taken into consideration when a request is made.
Breaks in study may also have financial implications. If you are in receipt of student loans, you are strongly advised to contact your Student Finance authority to get a clear statement based on your current position. You may be required to fund one of the additional future years yourself, so you should make enquiries so you can prepare for this if it is the case.
It is also important to note that if you have had to take a break from studying for certain health reasons, there is no automatic right to return to your course without first undertaking a ‘Fitness to Study’ assessment, in line with the arrangements set out in the University’s Student Health and Wellbeing Policy.
Having decided to take a break in study, you need to complete a request form, with the assistance of your Course Manager or Course Tutor. The form may be accompanied by evidence from an independent accredited professional (for example a GP, consultant, or therapist) supporting your reason(s) for the request. Where evidence is not provided, we may ask you to provide it to help us determine any specific support needs during your break in studies or on your return. You will be notified if any information or evidence additional to your formal request form (and any accompanying documentation), is required once the form is reviewed.
Please refer to the Break in Studies Policy to navigate to the electronic request form.
The best starting point for general support is the Student Wellbeing Officer, or for course specific advice and guidance you will need to speak to your Course Tutor or Course Manager. They may advise you to, or you yourself might wish to, seek additional guidance from other staff at the University who can help you make an informed decision about your options and future steps.
Student Wellbeing Officer Lesley Plimbley (01952) 815176 email@example.com
Learner Support Jane Hill (01952) 815417 firstname.lastname@example.org
Academic Guidance Jon Bentley (01952) 815064 email@example.com
Careers Counsellor Maria Simpson (01952) 815239 firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning & Policy Nora Stokes (01952) 815320 email@example.com
Finance Office Michelle Bartley (01952) 815214 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Williamson (01952) 815395 or 07875 103015 email@example.com
Libby Leech (University Chaplain) (01952) 815438 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev’d Helen Morby (Anglican) (01952) 820217 email@example.com
Rev’d David Hill (Roman Catholic) (01952) 813004 firstname.lastname@example.org (term-time only)
Rev’d Fiona Brown (URC/Methodist) (01952) 815140 email@example.com (term-time only)
Lay Chaplain John Fowler (URC/Methodist) (01952) 812458 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or send a message via one of the student wardens or Student Services
The amount that you will be charged for the academic year depends on the date you finalise your request for a break in study and it is recorded as received by the University. If you have paid tuition fees and accommodation in advance, you may be eligible for a refund. Therefore, it is essential that you contact the Finance Office for clear information about your own financial liabilities.
You will be charged both tuition fees and on-site accommodation fees (if applicable) in line with the liability points as set out in the Fees and Charges booklet, which can be found on the Key Information page. It is important that you pay attention to the dates, particularly if you are suspending study near the end of a term. You will be charged in full for the tuition which has taken place while you have been registered and up to the next liability point. If you live in off campus accommodation, you must speak to your landlord directly about your charges as your rental agreement is unlikely to contain liability dates.
When you return to study, you will return at the start of a new academic year. You will need to undertake the entire year again, except for any modules which you completed in full before your postponement. All assessment components of partially completed modules are disregarded. You should expect and be prepared to pay full tuition fees for the year that you return. Even if you postponed your studies mid-way through the previous year, and paid fees for part of that year, you will still be required to pay for fees in the year that you will be repeating, either partially or in full. The University has the discretion to apply a 50% fee waiver to any study period for which the fee has already been paid in the pre-postponement period, if the reason for needing a break in studies is beyond the student’s control. You will still be required to pay the full rate for the part of the year you haven’t previously studied.
If you are returning to on-site accommodation, you will be required to pay the full charges for the time that you are resident.
If you are returning to study on a different course you will be required to pay the full tuition fee for the new course of study, regardless of any pre-agreed waiver, which would only be applied to the original course of study, as you are accessing a different course of study.
Please also note that tuition fees may increase in line with an approved inflationary rate and you will be liable for the fees that apply in the year you return to study, based on your year of entry.
Postponed undergraduate students are only able to return at the start of the academic year. Postgraduate students can return when the next module is available. There is no automatic right to return to your studies. The Planning Officer contacts all affected students before their intended return to ask them to confirm that they are indeed returning. You must reply to communications to confirm your return (or otherwise) so arrangements can be made.
If you have postponed due to health grounds you will be required to complete a ‘Fitness to Study’ assessment. Details of this are in the University’s Student Health and Wellbeing Policy. Once the completed form is received, the procedure set out in the policy will be followed, in order to assess your case. Therefore it is important for you to complete the form as fully as possible and return by the stated deadline, as there is no automatic right to return without completing this process.