College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Information about concessions for ESRC students.

Interruption of Study

Full details about suspension for illness and funded sick leave can be found in section 8.2 of the UKRI Training Grant Conditions document at the bottom of web page.

Students must obtain approval of a College Concession prior to an ESRC suspension being processed. Students are expected to complete their training in a single continuous period, but consideration is given to requests for suspensions due to personal or family reasons. Suspension of the award, with the exception of parental leave and sick leave, is limited to a maximum of 12 months unless exceptional circumstances prevail.

A student may apply for an Interruption of Study and it may be authorised by the College if there is a good reason for approving the interruption. Students must provide evidence to support their applications. Interruptions of study may not be applied retrospectively. Any one period of authorised interruption of study will not exceed one year, unless authorised by the College. The total period of authorised interruption of study is the same for full-time and part-time students and will not exceed 12 months. To start the process of applying for an interruption you should begin by discussing it with your supervisor.

It is expected during an interruption that you are not able to work on your research or thesis at all. Interruptions cannot be used in place of extensions to grant more time.

Please also note that your stipend payments will be paused during the interruption or will be reduced in the next quarter to reflect any interruption.

Interruptions for illness

If you experience illness during your ESRC studentship, you are able to continue with your award.  All periods of illness must be covered by medical certificates, unless for Covid-19 illness.

Whether your period of illness results in additional funding, is explained below.

If the illness lasts or is expected to last for up to 13 weeks:

Award payments can continue and the studentship will also be extended to cover the period of the illess, in line with UKRI training grant terms and conditions. You will not need to interrupt your studies for these shorter periods of illness. Students are able to claim for up to 13 weeks of paid sick leave within each year of their funded period.  This allows for multiple periods of illness but is capped at a total of 13 weeks within each 12-month period. Your prescribed period and expected submission dates will be extended by the length of the illness.

If the illness lasts or expected to last for more than 13 weeks:

Unless the illness is Covid 19 or related to Covid 19, you should apply for an Authorised Interruption of Study. For illness over 13 weeks, you will receive additional funded time for the first 13 weeks off the illness. Your studentship will be paused for the duration of the interruption and your prescribed and submission date moved on accordingly. Students are able to claim for up to 13 weeks of paid sick leave within each year of their funded period.

Where the illness is Covid 19 or related, students are able to apply for up to 28 weeks of funded sick leave.


Applying for funded sick leave

In order to apply for the additional funded time of up to 13 weeks or up to 28 weeks if the illness is Covid-19 or related to Covid-19, please complete the form below and email it to

Do not attach medical letters to this email, we will contact you further details of how to provide the medical information to our team.

Once medical information has been provided, the Postgraduate Research Student Office will confirm by email if the short-term illness qualifies for additional funded time and how much time you will be awarded. Your supervisor will be informed of any additional funded time you are awarded.

Please note the following:

- We are not able to consider self-certification as proof of a medical certificate.

- Your prescribed and submission dates will be extended at the end of each academic year, in accordance to the amount of sick leave approved that year.

- The additional funding is only applicable when the sick leave occurs during your funded/prescribed period. Should you become ill during your non-funded/writing up period, you should request that your studentship be extended. Please contact for details of how to apply for this.

- We are not able to consider retrospective claims for sick leave for students no longer in their funded period or from those who have submitted their thesis.



Maternity/Paternity/Adoption/Parental Leave

Full details can be found in section 8.1 of the UKRI Training Grant Conditions.

Students are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave if the expected week of childbirth will occur during the period of their award. The earliest maternity leave can commence is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. The first 26 weeks should be paid at full stipend rate, pro-rated as necessary for part time Students. The following 13 weeks should be paid at a level commensurate with statutory maternity pay. The final 13 weeks are not paid. Students should apply for a concession to interrupt and provide a MAT1B document.  Please contact us for details of maternity leave payments -

Partners are entitled to up to two weeks paid Ordinary Paternity Leave on full stipend. Ordinary Paternity Leave cannot start before the birth and must end within 56 days of the birth. Partners are also entitled to an extended period of unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, with their studentship extended accordingly.

Unpaid parental leave must be completed within 12 months of the birth of the child. This leave may be taken in up to three blocks of leave or all at once.

Adoption leave should be granted on the same basis as maternity leave.

There is no qualifying period for maternity, paternity or adoption leave.



Part Time Awards

Studentships are available for students who wish to study on a part-time basis. It is expected that the period of study will reflect the percentage of time spent pursuing doctoral studies, and a minimum of 50% of full time effort is required (with an expected period of study of up to 6 – 8 years). Supervisors will wish to ensure that arrangements are made to incorporate any new research or research developments that are likely to emerge within the extended period of study. In addition you can switch to part-time study if your circumstances change, and your eligibility will be adjusted to reflect your new end dates.



Thesis Submission

You are required to submit your thesis within one year of the prescribed end date of your award. If you are unable to meet this deadline, please discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible and please contact the Postgraduate Research Student Office. It may be possible to apply for an extension, but this is usually only granted in exceptional circumstances.



Extension Requests

Extensions cannot be approved or recorded retrospectively therefore it is important that such cases are brought to our attention in advance of your expected ESRC submission date.

The reason for the extension must be in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award, with sufficient detail regarding the reason for this change recorded. Be sure to apply for consideration no less than 3 months before you need it so there is plenty of time to get it sorted.

While the ESRC will normally accept a submission date extended by us to take account of any period of suspension notified during a studentship, only in exceptional circumstances will they accept extending the target date for submission on account of difficulties that arise during the writing up period. The exceptional circumstances where an extension to a student’s expected ESRC submission date will be considered are:

  • Illness or accident – this refers to any period during the writing-up period where the student was unable to work on their thesis for medical reasons.
  • Exceptional personal circumstances – this includes bereavement and any other difficult personal circumstance that has rendered the student unable to work on their thesis during the writing-up period.

The ESRC will not allow an extension for employment during the writing up period.