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Section 6: Interruption of Study

Published for 2022-23

Interruptions: Student Information

Our Student site now provides all of the key information for Students regarding the new Interruption of Study Procedures, including how to apply and what happens to Fees & Funding, Visas, Accomodation, and more.

This can be found via: Interrupting or withdrawing from your studies


6.1 Introduction6.7 Approval
6.2 Categories of Interruption6.8 During Interruption
6.3 Extenuating Circumstances Prior to Interruption6.9 Preparing to Return: Three Months Before
6.4 Other Important Factors to Consider When Applying6.10 Welfare Review
6.5 Making an Application6.11 Re-Enrolment
6.6 Date of Interruption and Return 

6.1 Introduction

1.Interruption of Study is for students who wish to take a break from their studies and return at a later date. You can take time out from your studies for a wide range of reasons - you might want to take up an internship or placement, take time out to travel, be planning to have children, or be facing personal challenges which are making it hard to study. 
2.These regulations should be read in conjunction with: 
 a)The Interrupting or Withdrawing from your Studies webpage 
 b)Interruptions Guidance for Departments
 How to apply
3.Applications are made via the online form in Portico
 Help and advice 
4.If you need any support with using these procedures, Section 1.2: Help and Advice includes more information. 
 Confidentiality and looking after your data 
5.UCL will look after your data carefully and sensitively, and your personal information will only be shared with UCL staff on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Section 1.4: Confidentiality and Looking After Your Data includes more information. 
6.If you are concerned about disclosing sensitive information to staff in your Department, you should contact your Faculty Tutor for advice prior to completing your interruption request. 
 Supporting evidence
7.You may be asked to provide medical or other evidence to support your claim. Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence includes more information.

6.2 Categories of Interruption

6.2.1 Category 1: Standard Interruptions 

1.For a standard interruption, you need to submit the following and gain approval at Departmental level (each of these requirements is explained in more detail below): 

Category 1: 

A first interruption of up to twelve months for a Full Time or Part Time student 

Application Requires: 

Complete an online Interruption Application Form, including the ‘Return to Study Plan’ section 

Approval Required: 

Departmental  


6.2.2 Category 2: Interruptions Requiring a Higher Level of Approval  

1.Some interruptions require you to submit more detailed information and need to be approved at Faculty level (each of these requirements is explained in more detail below): 

Category 2a 

A first interruption of more than twelve months but less than two years for a Full Time or Part Time student (interruptions of more than two years are not permitted) 

Category 2b 

A second interruption of up to twelve months for a Full Time or Part Time student, where the total interruption will not exceed more than two calendar years 

Category 2c 

An interruption of a Flexible student in their final year of registration 

Category 2d 

Any interruption requiring Repeat Tuition for Academic Reasons (e.g. group work, multi-term modules) 

Application Requires: 

  1. Complete an online Interruption Application Form, including the following sections: 

  • Statement of Need  
  • Supporting Evidence 
  • Return to Study Plan 
  1. Complete a separate Extenuating Circumstances Form if seeking mitigation for the period leading up to the interruption (see Section 6.3

Approval Required: 

  1. Departmental and 

  1. Faculty and 

  1. Extenuating Circumstances Panel if seeking mitigation for the period leading up to the interruption (see Section 6.3


6.2.3 Return to Study Plan (all applications)

1.You should meet with your Department (either in person, online or on the phone) and together complete the Return to Study Plan section of the online form.  
2.The Return to Study Plan: 
 a)Should set out your current academic position, including assessments completed and pending 
 b)Should consider the way in which you will reintegrate with modules and manage your workload on your return 
 c)Must identify the main point of contact for support while you are away and when you return 
 d)Must be approved by your Department before you interrupt. 
3.Further information about the Return to Study Plan is available on the Interrupting or Withdrawing from your Studies webpage. 

6.2.4 Statement of Need and Supporting Evidence (all Category 2 Interruptions)

1.Category 2 interruptions require completion of the Statement of Need section of the Interruption Application Form and you will need to provide appropriate supporting evidence. See the Interrupting or Withdrawing from your Studies webpage for further details. 
 Flexible/ Modular Students (Category 2c only) 
2.UCL’s Flexible Mode of Attendance gives you a period of five years in which to complete your studies, and is specifically designed to enable you to fit your modules around your work, family, caring responsibilities and other commitments, including maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave. There is a five-year time limit to ensure that students graduating with a UCL degree are in possession of up-to-date knowledge in their subject area. As a result, if you are a Flexible student, you are only able to apply for an Interruption of Study in your final year. You must demonstrate a clear and unavoidable need for the interruption in the Statement of Need section of the Interruption Application Form, and provide appropriate supporting evidence. 
 Repeat Tuition for Academic Reasons (Category 2d only) 
3.Your Department should discuss whether you might need to re-attend any classes for academic reasons. Examples include (but are not limited to):
 a)If you interrupt part-way through a module 
 b)If a module runs over more than one term 
 c)If a module includes group work 
4.If you need to re-attend classes for personal reasons (i.e ‘Extenuating Circumstances’) you will need to request a ‘Deferral with Tuition’ – see Section 6.3 for further details. 
5.Repeat Tuition for Academic Reasons and/ or an earlier Return Date will only be considered for the affected modules.  
6.You must demonstrate a clear and unavoidable need for both the interruption and the repeated period of teaching in the Statement of Need section of the Interruption Application Form, and provide appropriate supporting evidence. 

6.3 Extenuating Circumstances Prior to Interruption 

1.Interruptions of Study must not be backdated. However there may be times when your performance has already been affected by illness or other Extenuating Circumstances in the period leading up to the interruption and you would like the opportunity to either re-do an assessment or re-attend classes (known as a ‘Deferral’).  
2.To access a Deferral, you must also submit a separate claim following the procedures in Section 2: Short-term Illness and Other Extenuating Circumstances, in addition to completing the online Interruption Application Form. 
3.You can apply for a Deferral with or without Tuition: 
 Deferral without Tuition 
 a)A Deferral without Tuition may be needed to cover any assessments in the period leading up to your interruption which have been affected by Extenuating Circumstances (e.g. you missed the assessment, or your performance in the assessment was affected). You can apply to defer the assessment without additional tuition, and take it again when you return from interruption, without penalty. 
 Deferral with Tuition 
 b)A Deferral with Tuition may be needed to cover any lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervision, laboratory sessions or other teaching events in the period leading up to your interruption which have been affected by Extenuating Circumstances (e.g. missed classes, low attendance and/or engagement). You can apply to defer the affected module ‘with tuition’, which means that you can attend the classes again and take the assessment when you return from interruption, without penalty. 
4.On your Extenuating Circumstances application, you should outline your needs and preferences in relation to the type and length of Deferral needed.  
5.Interruption Applications cannot be approved until the outcome of your associated Extenuating Circumstances application is known. It is therefore important that you submit any Extenuating Circumstances claims and evidence as quickly as possible. 

6.4 Other Important Factors to Consider When Applying

1.You should read the following carefully and discuss any of the issues which apply to you when you meet with your Department. The online Return to Study Plan includes prompts to guide you through these issues: 
 Professionally-accredited programmes 
2.Many UCL programmes are accredited by Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Bodies which have their own criteria and requirements for interrupting which may mean that some options are not available to you. Departments must ensure that any such requirements are discussed with you when you meet. 
 Students on Study Abroad or Placement 
3.If you are on a Study Abroad or Placement you are able to interrupt but UCL cannot guarantee that you will be able to return to a Study Abroad/ Placement on your return to study. If suitable arrangements cannot be made, you may be required to transfer to an alternative programme without a Study Abroad/ Placement requirement, as a condition of interruption. 
 Maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave 
4.There are additional entitlements and requirements which apply if you are interrupting for maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave. UCL’s Support for Pregnant Students policy provides more information as well as sources of advice. 
 Students holding a Student Visa 
5If you hold a Student Visa you must leave the UK for the duration of any interruption and re-apply for a new visa in order to return to UCL. You must comply with visa requirements to safeguard your immigration status and future entry to the UK. UCL is legally required to notify the immigration authorities of any changes to your status. Further information is available from the Immigration and Visas webpage, and you can also contact the Visa Compliance Team - go to askUCL and log an enquiry

6.5 Making an Application 

1.Applications must be made in advance of the period of interruption. With the exception of cases covered by the regulations in Section 6.3 above, you must continue to engage with your studies until your interruption has been approved. 
2.If you are unable to make an application for yourself, your next of kin (e.g. parent, partner) may submit a request on your behalf. A member of staff can assist you or your next of kin in completing an application, but they are not permitted to submit a request without your consent.  
3.When your Department receives your application and supporting documentation you will be invited to a meeting (in person, online or on the phone) with your Departmental Tutor, Departmental Graduate Tutor or Programme Leader (the ‘Departmental Approver’) to discuss your interruption, and agree your Return to Study Plan.  
4.Following the meeting, you should complete and submit your online application and any supporting evidence, and ensure that you submit any applications for Extenuating Circumstances that you wish to make (see Section 6.3 above). 

6.6 Date of Interruption and Return 

 Date of Interruption
1.Your Date of Interruption will be the date on which the highest level of required approval is given. It is the date which will be formally recorded in UCL’s student records and communicated to the Student Loans Company and other funding bodies, as appropriate for the individual student. 
2.Your Date of Interruption must not be back-dated. If your tuition, attendance and/or engagement has already been affected by Extenuating Circumstances, you must separately submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim as described in Section 6.3
3.Unless a Deferral has been approved via the EC process, you must complete any assessments due before your Date of Interruption. The marks from such assessments will be carried forward. 
4.Where the primary purpose of interruption is to avoid assessments (e.g. undergraduate students wishing to interrupt after term 2), your Department may require you to complete the Statement of Need section of the online application and may ask you to submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim and evidence. If the EC is not approved, you must take the assessments and any interruption will commence at the start of the following academic session. 
 Date of Return
5.Your Date of Return must be recorded before an application can be formally approved. 
6.The Default Return Date will be in the Academic Year following the Date of Interruption, at the start of the corresponding term in which the interruption took place. 
7.If you return at the Default Return Date you will incur no additional tuition fees, other than those resulting from inflation, for the remainder of the academic session. 
8.At the point of interruption, you should talk to your Departmental Approver about any anticipated changes to your modules upon your return. However UCL reserves the right to change modules, assessments and timetabling from year-to-year in order to maintain an up-to-date curriculum and for reasons of operational efficiency. As a result, a module might not be available upon your return. If there are any affected modules, your Department must contact you to discuss the options and agree alternative arrangements, such as a module substitution. 
9.If an assessment deadline will fall immediately after your Date of Return, this should be taken into account in your Return to Study Plan, and a suitable assessment deadline agreed.  
 Alternative Return Date 
10.Your Faculty Tutor/ Faculty Graduate Tutor may permit you to return before the Default Return Date, either to Repeat Tuition for Academic Reasons or, on the recommendation of the EC Panel, to complete a Deferral with or without Tuition, for the affected modules only. The Return Date should be set at the latest date which allows you to engage with the affected module(s). 
11.Your Faculty Tutor/ Faculty Graduate Tutor may permit you to return at the start of the half term in which you interrupt. 
12.Your Faculty Tutor/ Faculty Graduate Tutor, in consultation with your Programme Leader and with the approval of the External Examiner, may permit you to undertake an alternative method of assessment, enabling you to return at the Default Return Date. 

6.7 Approval

 Departmental Approval
1.Departmental approval is required for all applications.
2.After receiving your completed application, the Departmental Approver will make one of the following decisions: 
 a)Approve 
 b)Reject 
 c)Refer your application to your Faculty Tutor/ Faculty Graduate Tutor to consider an alternative Category of Interruption and/ or an amended Return Date. 
3.The Departmental Approver may recommend a Welfare Review with UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team as a condition of your return to study (see Section 6.10 Welfare Review). 
4.Where applicable, your application will be forwarded to your Faculty Tutor for consideration. 
 Faculty Approval
5.Faculty approval is required for Category 2 interruptions and amended Return Dates. 
6.Applications requiring a Deferral with or without Tuition cannot be considered until the outcome of the associated Extenuating Circumstances application is known. 
7.The Faculty Approver will make one of the following decisions: 
 a)Approve 
 b)Reject 
8.The Faculty Approver may amend your Return Date prior to approval (see Section 6.6: Date of Interruption and Return).  
9.The Faculty Approver may recommend a Welfare Review with UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team as a condition of your return to study (see Section 6.10 Welfare Review). 
 Communication of Decision 
10.Once the final decision is made, you will be notified to your UCL email address. If your application is approved, the notification will include the formal Date of Interruption and Date of Return. 

6.8 During Interruption

1.You are expected to discontinue your studies whilst on interruption. 
2.As an interrupting student, you are not an enrolled UCL student and you do not have access to the full range of UCL services and resources. 
3.As an interrupting student, you will retain your access to many UCL digital resources (including email and digital resources in the Library) but you may find that you are removed from Moodle courses until you re-enrol. Access to the Library, with limited borrowing rights, is available on request. 

6.9 Preparing to Return: Three Months Before

1.Three months before your Return Date, UCL Student Records will notify you, your Department, your Faculty and relevant sections of Student and Registry Services to initiate the return to study process and commence the following actions: 
 a)You will be asked to confirm your intention to return to UCL, no later than one month before your recorded Return Date. 
 b)Upon confirmation of your intention to return to study you will have your access to UCL facilities and services reinstated for three months before your return date so that you can start to re-engage with your programme team, module organisers and other students. During this three-month period you must not attend formal taught sessions, laboratories or similar activities and will not receive formal teaching. However, you may seek advice on academic matters and attend staff office hours. 
 c)If a Welfare Review is a condition of your return to UCL, Student Support and Wellbeing will contact you to arrange a date and time to meet (in person or online) (see Section 6.10). 
 d)UCL Student and Registry Services will: 
  i.Inform you of when and how to re-enrol. 
  ii.Inform you of the appropriate tuition fees, and how to make payment, apply for necessary funding or provide evidence of sponsorship. 
  iii.If applicable, provide advice about arranging a visa for your return. 
  iv.Remind you of the UCL support services which can give advice and guidance. 
 e)Your Department should: 
  i.Remind you of the modules and assessments which you have already completed, and those on which you need to enrol for the coming year. 
  ii.Remind you of any marks for assessments already taken which will be carried forward. 
  iii.Inform you of any changes to your timetable or programme diet which might affect your Return to Study Plan. 
  iv.Reassess the feasibility of your Return to Study Plan. 
  v.Introduce you to your new cohort, if you give your consent to this. 
  vi.Arrange an informal one month catch-up to trouble shoot any issues that have arisen. 

6.10 Welfare Review 

1.If you have any queries about returning from interruption you are encouraged to contact UCL Student Support and Wellbeing by going to askUCL and logging an enquiry
2.If a Welfare Review is a condition of returning to study, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing will contact you approximately three months before you are due to return to arrange a suitable time and date to meet (in person or online). 
3.The purpose of the review is to ensure that renewed studies will not be detrimental to your health, or your health to your studies. You may be asked to provide medical evidence to indicate that you are well enough to live and work in a university environment. Section 1.5: Providing Supporting Evidence includes more information.  
4.UCL Student Support and Wellbeing will submit a report to your Faculty Tutor/ Faculty Graduate Tutor who will make a decision on whether you can return to study.  
5.If the Faculty rejects your return to study you should contact Student Support and Wellbeing as soon as possible to discuss your options. You may be supported to return to your studies through UCL’s Support to Study Procedure
6.If you fail to engage with a required Welfare Review you will not be permitted to re-enrol. 

6.11 Re-Enrolment 

1.When UCL Student Records receives notification of your return, they will reinstate your student record and invite you to enrolment. You will not be able to enrol until your record is re-instated. 
2.You must have paid the appropriate tuition fees, or provided evidence of sponsorship, before you can re-register. 
3.You must re-enrol within two weeks of your re-registration. Failure to re-enrol may result in the closure of your student record. See Chapter 3, Section 1.2: Enrolment and Re-Enrolment for further details. 
4.If you are a visa national student you must present your passport and current visa before you will be permitted to re-enrol. 
5.If you do not re-enrol within the required timeframes, UCL Student Records will close your student record.