Postgraduate study

Leave of absence

Apply for leave to study away from Edinburgh for a temporary period.

During your period of study, you may need to be away from Edinburgh for research purposes.

Whether you need to complete a Leave of Absence form depends on how long you intend to be away for, and what stage of study you are at.

Here's our detailed guide to what to do, when.

What it means to take a Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence means that you:

  • are still a student at the University of Edinburgh
  • have access to the University's facilities
  • are continuing to undertake work in relation to your degree programme
  • are not physically in Edinburgh

A Leave of Absence does not change the end date of your programme.

While you are on Leave of Absence you should remain in touch with your supervisor, and it will be assumed that you receive any University emails sent to you. We advise you to check your University email account weekly.

Do I need to apply for a Leave of Absence?

You need to apply for a Leave of Absence if:

  • you are away for one month or more to undertake research out of Edinburgh, including if you are on a internship or visiting another university. Additional documents are also required – contact the PGR Support Team
  • you are an MSc By Research student and are away during your dissertation period

In all other cases, no formal action is needed. However, you should inform your supervisor and the PGR Support Team.

How to apply for a Leave of Absence

Step 1

Consider your programme requirements, tutoring or employment obligations, and any scholarship funding terms and conditions to ensure this is the right time to go.

Step 2

If you are a visa holder, consult the Student Immigration Service, and keep a record of your conversation with them. We will need to see evidence that you have been in touch. 

Visit the Student Immigration Service website

Step 3

Discuss your intentions with your PhD or MSc by Research supervisor. They will need to sign off your form - see Step 4

Step 4

Complete a Leave of Absence request form, and get it signed by your supervisor, before the requested leave period.

Step 5

Email your form to the PGR Support Team and wait for our response. All Leave of Absence requests must be approved by the School in advance of the leave period.

Submit your form 

Please note that you have a right to request a Leave of Absence, but there is no automatic entitlement to being granted one.

Need more help?

Read the Academic Services guide to Leave of Absence