Interruption of study information and guidelines.

Interruption of study 'stops the clock' when a student is unable to continue with their studies due to illness or absence. It is important to note that students who fail to submit a thesis on time, and who have not been granted an interruption or extension, may be deemed to have withdrawn and will have their registration recorded as lapsed.

What is an interruption?

An interruption of study concession is applicable where a student is unable to work on the thesis for a significant period of time due to circumstances that are largely beyond their own control. Periods of interruption do not count towards the student’s total permitted period of study and do not incur any additional fees or charges. These circumstances can include, amongst others,

  • Health reasons (mental or physical health problems)
  • Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Family Leave
  • Extra-curricular opportunities e.g. elite sport, art/music related opportunities
  • Employment opportunities/internships
  • Financial circumstances
  • Military Service

The total period of authorised interruption of study will not exceed 100% of the Prescribed Period of Study. Any single period of interruption should not be shorter than one month and must not exceed 12 months.

Authorised Interruption of Study Policy

When is an interruption not appropriate?

Interruptions are not appropriate where the student is able to work on the thesis but is not progressing at the expected rate where the reasons are foreseeable or to allow a student to undertake long-term periods of paid employment. In addition, interruptions are not available to permit students to take extended annual/holiday leave or to effectively extend the period available to the student to complete their thesis. In some circumstances an Extension to the Maximum End Date may be awarded.

Extension to the Maximum End Date

Before applying

Before applying , it is important to check whether there are any implications of interrupting your studies.


If you receive funding for your studies, it is really important that you check the rules of your funding body before submitting the interruption of studies request form. The following could be affected:

  • The length of time permitted - some funders have tighter restrictions about the total length of time that will be permitted than the University has.
  • The reasons permitted for granting an interruption
  • Whether stipend payments will stop. In some circumstances, there might be a requirement to pause the stipend payments during the interruption. This is the case for interruptions to undertake paid internships.

If you receive funding administered by the School of Informatics, please contact the Graduate School Office at for guidance. If you receive external funding, please contact your sponsor or funding body directly. You will be asked to confirm that you have done this when completing the request form.

If you are a full-time student, your Council Tax exemption may be affected. Please check this with Student Administration.

Tier 4 students

Students on a Tier 4 visa who receive an interruption of more than 60 days duration (applies also to successive periods of interruption adding up to more than 60 days) are required by UKV&I regulations to leave the country.  If you are on a Tier 4 visa then you must seek advice from Edinburgh Global about any impact that the interruption might have on your visa.  You will be asked to confirm that you have done so when completing the form.

Edinburgh Global

Applying for an interruption

An application for interruption should be made following discussion between the student and the principal or lead supervisor. Applications may be made by submitting the application form to the Graduate School Office:

  • the form should be completed by the student and approved by their principal or lead supervisor (please note that forms that are sent from a University email address do not require a physical signature, just a typed name in the signature box).
  • the exact start and end dates should be stated on the form.
  • appropriate documentary evidence should be attached to the application form, e.g. medical or hospital certificates.
  • a proposed return to study plan should be included
  • please submit as soon as possible after the problem has emerged or been discussed as retrospective interruptions cannot be granted.
  • the form and supporting documents should be submitted electronically to the Graduate School Office at
  • all applications are subject to the approval of both the Deputy Director of Graduate School and the College Office
  • Once the request has been approved, a notification will be sent to confirm and the student's programme details will be amended accordingly in EUCLID. This will then be visible through MyEd.

The Authorised Interruption of Study Reques Form is available through the following link:

Authorised Interruption of Study


Travel Insurance

All Postgradauete Research students should make sure they have travel insurance in place before going on a trip. Please note that travel insurance provided by The University of Edinburgh will not cover you for personal travel. For more information and where to apply please click here: Travel Insurance


Related Links: 

Available Benefits and Funding

Additionl Finance Assistance