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Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence

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 between 2 weeks and up to 15 months must be approved by the Deputy Head of Graduate School (DHoGS), in writing, using the following Leave of Absence Request Form.
  • periods of absence totalling more than 15 months must 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. with the agreement of their principal supervisor. PGR students are permitted to take up to six weeks (30 working days) of annual leave throughout the year; although a formal Leave of Absence is not required, students and supervisors should agree a start and end date for the absence in advance and the Principle Supervisor should keep a record of this.  Visa restrictions may also apply in the case of International Students; they should contact the International Office for advice.

Longer Periods of Absence (more than 2 weeks)

Where students will be absent from the University for longer than 2 weeks (for example; holiday, personal time, illness, and internships), the Principal Supervisor must apply for a formal Leave of Absence.   The period(s) of absence should:

  • be to allow for fieldwork, academic research, work experience, etc. at another institution or location
  • not normally be more than 15 months in total during the prescribed period of study
  • must not delay the completion of a student's thesis
  • not fall in the first three months of the prescribed period of study.

    Tier 4 Visa restrictions

  • Visa restrictions may also apply in the case of International Students; they should contact the International Office 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.

Applying for a Leave of Absence - Request Form

To apply for a Leave of Absence the Principal Supervisor should provide the following information on the Leave of Absence request form and submit it to the Graduate School Office:

  • the exact start and exact end dates of the proposed absence
  • the reason for the proposed absence - giving as much detail and evidence as possible
  • if for research purposes; an indication of how the proposed fieldwork, research, etc. will contribute to the student's research project
  • details of the arrangements for continued supervision during the absence.


Once the request has been considered by the DHoGS, the outcome of the request will be communicated to the Supervisor.