Taking a break in study

Home students

When you join your course, it is generally expected that you will study in consecutive years until the end of your course, provided you meet the rules for progression to each level of study.

However, there are scenarios where you can take a break from your studies for health or personal issues.  Some of these scenarios require approval from the University. 

You are advised to read Annex 2 of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedure for information.  Whether your reason for considering a break in your studies relates to extenuating circumstances or not, you must contact your Faculty Helpdesk/Reception immediately for advice.  This is because you need to consider all your options and understand the possible implications for your tuition fees and funding (and visa implications if you are an international student). 

If, after taking all factors into account, you still wish to take a break from your studies, you must complete a Take a Break form in conjunction with your Faculty Student Services.

Until this form is completed and signed by you and your Faculty Student Support Officer, you will be deemed to be still attending your course and charged fees accordingly.

If you are a care leaver, a student with caring responsibilities or a student estranged from your family you may wish to discuss your situation with a named adviser at one of the Student Services Centres. They will help you to look at all your options and understand the possible implications for your tuition fees and funding.

International (Tier 4) students

International students attending on a Tier 4 visa must engage fully with their course, in accordance with the Tier 4 visa conditions.

If you are a Tier 4 student and you intend to be absent from study for any reason - including personal or family emergencies, conducting field research or to complete work away from Sheffield - you must discuss your intended absence with Faculty Student Services and request an Authorised Absence.

If you intend to work on your dissertation in your home country, you must discuss this with your dissertation supervisor as well as Faculty Student Services.  A dissertation study plan will be agreed, which you must follow.  Your dissertation supervisor will complete part of the Authorised Absence Request Form and you must complete the form and return it to your Faculty Student Support Officer.

An Authorised Absence is an exceptional, temporary period of time when a Tier 4 student may be unable to attend scheduled teaching and/or may be away from the University due to particular circumstances. The University will continue to sponsor your visa during your Authorised Absence period, provided that you continue to meet the conditions of your visa and maintain contact with the University, including keeping your contact details up-to-date. It is essential that the University knows the whereabouts of all Tier 4 students in case we receive queries from the Home Office, the Police or other agencies.

An Authorised Absence is not a complete break in study.

Students must submit assignments and attend examinations / assessments where required during a period of Authorised Absence. Authorised Absence is not grounds for an extension to study.

If you are unsure if your intended absence should be an Authorised Absence or a complete break from your studies please contact your Faculty Helpdesk for guidance.

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