1. General Regulations
The University recognises that students may feel compelled for various reasons to interrupt their studies during/over an academic session. In such instances candidates may request a suspension of their studies. It should be noted that students do not have a right to suspend their studies; rather suspensions must be requested and approved by the University.
Undergraduate students are only permitted to request to suspend their studies during their maximum period of candidature. Requests which fall outside this period should be dealt with through a request for an extension of candidature. Likewise, taught postgraduate students are only permitted to request to be allowed to suspend their studies during the minimum period of candidature. This includes students in Part Two of a Taught Master’s degree. Students pursuing a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma may only request a suspension of studies during the minimum period of study for the programme.
2. Applications for Suspension
Students who request to suspend studies shall be required to make an application to their Faculty/School. Such applications shall include the grounds for the request and evidence to support the case. Normally, students should attend for interview with a member of the Faculty/School and contact a member of Academic Services for advice. If the Faculty/School supports the student’s request, the Faculty/School representative is required to complete the online change of circumstances application and submit this to Academic Services for consideration. Academic Services will check the documentation, time limits and so on, and consider the application on behalf of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board. Any complex cases/requests shall be referred to the Chair of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board.
- 2 The grounds on which a student can request a suspension shall be as follows
[Note: Except in cases of serious health conditions, supported by medical evidence, Academic Services/the Chair of Academic Regulations and Cases Board shall be permitted to refuse a request for suspension.]
- Exceptional personal circumstances
- In cases where a student intends to transfer programme in the following academic session
Students requesting a suspension of studies shall be required to apply to their Faculty/School during the first two terms and no later than the first day of the summer term, unless it is for health or other compelling reasons.
Students on non-traditional programmes for whom these deadlines do not apply shall be allowed to submit an application/request to suspend their studies with the support of the Faculty/School. Such students shall not normally be permitted to suspend their studies immediately prior to the examination period unless it is for health or other compelling reasons.
Requests from students, who are compelled to suspend their studies for health reasons beyond the first day of the summer term, shall be considered on an individual basis and must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
Students will be expected to inform their School/Faculty/the University of the date of their expected return. Approved requests for suspension shall be forwarded to Academic Services who will update the student record and inform the Student/LEA/Sponsor/UKVI of the suspension.
Full-time students will normally be expected to resume their studies at the beginning of the following academic session i.e. return in the following September (with the consent of their Faculty/School) and re-start the year/level of study (students will automatically forfeit any existing credit that has been gained during the academic year of suspension. A request to retain existing credit must be supported by the Faculty/School and in appropriate cases, the UKVI, and will be submitted to Academic Services for consideration. Only existing credit for completed modules may be retained. Partial marks will be forfeited. In some cases, e.g. students who suspend studies after the successful completion of Teaching Block One or part-time students, it may be considered more appropriate for students to resume their studies at the beginning of Teaching Block Two of the following session. In such cases students are required to have provisionally passed all Teaching Block One modules and will be permitted to retain the credit gained.
Please note that this option will not be available to students who are studying modules that span both teaching blocks/the teaching block two modules will be delivered in teaching block one in the following academic session. This decision will be made at the discretion of the Faculty/School and Academic Services.
3. Required to Suspend
In accordance with the University's policies and regulations (including assessment regulations) a student may be required or advised by the University to suspend studies as follows:
i) In cases of Academic appeals the appeal board may require a student to suspend studies where it is deemed that advising the student to withdraw is inappropriate.
ii) In serious Fitness to Practise/Disciplinary cases, candidates may be required to suspend their studies pending further investigations.
iii) In cases of a custodial sentence a student is likely to be required to suspend studies during the sentence. A satisfactory outcome of a risk assessment would normally be required before the student may resume his/her studies.
iv) In cases where a debt to the University exists and the student fails to clear the debt, following a second warning from the University, a student will be required to suspend studies.
v) As part of an outcome/penalty imposed by a University Committee of Enquiry where fitness to practice, academic misconduct or a disciplinary offence has been substantiated, a student may be advised or required to suspend studies.
A student may also be required to suspend studies where the University deems that on health grounds it is not appropriate for a student to continue with his/her studies, whether in exercising its duty of care to others or where it is deemed not to be in the interest of the particular student. The process to be followed in such circumstances is within the Fitness to Study Procedure.
4. Return to Study/Withdraw
Where a student has suspended their studies for health reasons, the student must provide to Student Records, as a condition of their re-enrolment, written confirmation from their treating medical practitioner or GP that they are fit to resume their study and/or such other evidence which is requested by Student Records/ Academic Services.
Students returning from suspension should ensure that they are able to resume their studies and:
- Where they suspended due to personal circumstances, the student should ensure that the personal circumstances are no longer affecting their studies;
- Where they suspended due to financial concerns, the student should ensure that they have met, and can continue to meet, their financial obligations.
The maximum candidature period shall not be automatically extended for students who suspend studies. Students may extend their request to suspend studies provided that they can complete their programme of study within the maximum candidature. Students who require an extension to the maximum candidature period shall apply under the specific regulations.
Where students fail to return to their studies by the date specified and where no response is received to any communication from the School/Faculty/University by the prescribed deadline, the University shall assume that the student has withdrawn from the University. The student shall be informed in writing that they have been withdrawn and their record amended. The student shall have the right to appeal against the decision in accordance with the Academic Appeal Regulations.