Leave of absence

Leave of absence from your studies and annual leave.

Postgraduate Research students are normally required to be resident in Edinburgh, or fully engaged in study, during their Prescribed Period of Study; however:

  • periods of absence of less than two weeks must be agreed with the Supervisor in advance and notified to IGS
  • periods of absence over 2 weeks require a formal Leave of Absence request that must be approved by the Deputy Head of Graduate School (DHoGS)
  • Leave of Absence applications from all students with a Tier 4 visa, and from non-Tier 4 students requesting leave for 12 months or longer, must also be approved by the College Postgraduate Studies Committee.

Short periods of absence (less than 2 weeks)

Students may be absent from Edinburgh for short periods to allow for vacations, attendance at conferences, workshops, etc. This does not require formal School approval but should be agreed with the Principal Supervisor in advance.  Students and supervisors should agree a start and end date for the absence and the student should then complete the following online notification form with the details (the supervisor will be unable to complete this). The form will then be automatically submitted to the Informatics Graduate School and a copy sent to the Principal Supervisor for records.

Short LoA Webmark Form

Note for CDT students: If you have completed a travel request form for travel of less than two weeks and this has been approved, we will refer to this form and therefore you will not have to complete the above form as well.

Leave of Absence Request (more than 2 weeks)

Where students will be absent from Edinburgh for longer than 2 weeks (for example, research visits and internships), the student and supervisor must apply for a formal Leave of Absence. During this time, the student is expected to continuing working on their thesis and supervision is expected to continue. Therefore, the period(s) of absence:

  • should be to allow for fieldwork, academic research, work experience, etc. at another institution or location
  • must not delay the completion of a student's thesis

Applying for a leave of absence

An application for a leave of absence should be made following discussion by both the student and the principal or lead supervisor. Applications may be made by submitting the application form to the Graduate School office, please do this via the Graduate School email address: igs@inf.ed.ac.uk :

  • Students should complete the Leave of Absence Request Form, which must be signed by both the student and the principal or lead supervisor. The signature can be provided electronically but must be sent from your University email address.
  • if you are on a Tier 4 visa, or the leave of absence exceeds six months, you must also complete the Leave of Absence Checklist.
  • if you have a visa, you must seek advice from Edinburgh Global on any impact that the leave of absence might have. You also will be asked to include details of how contact points will be arranged to maintain engagement during the period of leave. 
  • all applications are subject to approval by the Deputy Director of Graduate School.
  • applications from all students with a Tier 4 visa, and from non-Tier 4 students requesting a leave of absence of 12 months or longer, will also be subject to approval from the College Postgraduate Studies Committee.


Once the request has been considered by the DHoGS, and College Postgraduate Studies Committee if applicable, the outcome of the request will be communicated to the student and supervisor by the Graduate School Office.

Tier 4 visa restrictions

  • Visa restrictions may also apply in the case of International Students; they should contact the Edinburgh Global for advice.
  • Any change to a student's 'location of study' must be notified to the UKV&I within 10 days.
  • The student must be working on their research full-time.

Edinburgh Global

Annual leave

All Postgraduate Research students are permitted to take up to 6 weeks (30 working days) annual leave per academic year.  The student is still a fully-matriculated student at the University of Edinburgh during this time.  Annual Leave of up to 2 weeks must be agreed by the Principal Supervisor and recorded by the student using the webmark form.  For annual leave of more than 2 weeks, a Leave of Absence request must be submitted for approval. For this please follow the guidlines for 'Leave of Absence Request (more than 2 weeks)' and please state on the form that this is for annual leave. 

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