This is a guide to UCL’s procedure to interrupt or withdraw from your studies

The full procedure from the UCL Academic Regulations can be found here:

Modular or Flexible programmes cannot be interrupted.

For other changes to your registration status, including changing your degree programme, and completing research status you can read more on the Student Status webpage.

You can contact us to book an appointment so that you can discuss your options with an advisor.

What is an Interruption of Study? 

If you need to take some time out from your course but intend to return to your studies later, you can take an interruption of studies. This time off may be due to a variety of reasons including health and wellbeing issues or parental and caring responsibilities. 

Who can take an Interruption?

Undergraduate, graduate taught students and graduate research students can all interrupt their studies.  

If you are an undergraduate or graduate taught student, you must have the approval of your Department and Faculty. If you are requesting a repeat interruption or an interruption for more than one year, you will need the approval of your Department and Faculty. If your performance in the period leading up to the interruption was affected by your extenuating circumstances and you would like the opportunity to either re-do an assessment or re-attend classes, you may also need approval from the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. 

If you are a graduate research student, you must have the authorisation of the Director of Student Services for first interruptions and interruptions for up to two years. If you are requesting an interruption of more than two years, you will need the authorisation of the Chair of the Research Degrees Committee. 

How do I apply?

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students

Once you have spoken to your department and made the decision to interrupt, you will need to log into Portico and start using the application form here:

Postgraduate research students

Once you have spoken to your department and made the decision to interrupt, you will need to submit an interruption form to your department and submit the form to your supervisor. You can download the application form here:

How do I return to my studies?

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, you will need to let UCL Student Records that you intend to re-enrol no later than one month before your return date. You will receive an email alert with instructions on how to do this. If you have a query relating to re-enrolling you can contact the UCL Student Records team by logging an enquiry via askUCL.

If you are a postgraduate research student, UCL Student Records will open your record for you to enrol on the date you are due to return. If you need to change this date, you can log an enquiry via askUCL.

Both undergraduates and postgraduates must enrol within two weeks of your expected date of return. 

If you are returning to studies after interrupting for health and wellbeing issues you will need to show that re-enrolling onto your studies will not be detrimental to your health, and that you are ready to start studying again. Student Support and Wellbeing will email you approximately 3 months before you are due to return to request you provide any necessary medical evidence and a brief personal statement to:

  • confirm that you feel fit to return to your studies 
  • detail any support you have had during the time of interruption 
  • explain any arrangements for on-going support 
  • list any further support you feel would be beneficial for you as you continue your studies at UCL
  • explain how you will go about following any recommendations for specific support if it is not currently in place

If your course has a fitness to practice or fitness to teach element, for example an MBBS or PGCE, your return to study will be handled by your department and UCL Workplace Health. This may also be the case for some research students.

How do I Withdraw from my studies?

If you would like to permanently withdraw from your course, you will need to first discuss this with your department and then formally apply for a withdrawal of study. Once withdrawn, you cannot return to the programme of study.

To apply, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will need to complete the online application under the ‘C2RS Home’ Menu on Portico.

Postgraduate research students will need to email the Research Degrees team confirming the date of and reasons for withdrawal. 

Important Things to Know

How does it affect my fees and funding?

  • If you interrupt or withdraw from your studies within two weeks of your enrolment date, you will not have to pay any tuition fees. 
  • If you interrupt or withdraw from your studies after two weeks but within the first term, you will be liable to pay 25% of your tuition fees only. 
  • If you interrupt or withdraw from your studies during the second term you will be liable for 50% of your tuition fees. 
  • If you interrupt or withdraw during your third term you will be liable for your full tuition fees. 

For postgraduate taught, affiliate and research students, fees are charged on a pro-rata daily basis for the period enrolled in each academic year. If you interrupt or withdraw in the first 2 weeks of Term 1, you won’t pay any fees.

We would strongly encourage you to get in touch the UCL’s Student Funding team to discuss your financial circumstances, including accessing your Student Loan and the impact interruption can have on Research Grants. It is important that you are aware of your options and any impact on your funding before deciding to interrupt. 

How does it affect my visa?

If you have a Tier 4 visa you must leave the UK for the duration of the interruption and re-apply for a new visa in order to return to UCL. You may not be able to re-enter the UK in the future if you do not leave the UK when you interrupt. According to British law, UCL must inform UK Visa and Immigration of any changes to your student status. 

How will it affect my accommodation?

If you are in UCL Halls: taking an interruption will mean you will be required to leave your room, as you are no longer enrolled as a student at UCL.

Find out more on the UCL Accommodation webpage. If you have a query about UCL Accommodation, please contact the UCL Accommodation office.

If you are in Private Halls: you will need to check your agreement and discuss your decision to leave with your Halls Provider. You may be required to leave the accommodation if you are not a registered student, and you may be liable for finding a replacement or for some of your fees. If you are in this situation we strongly recommend booking an appointment with one of our advisors.

If you are in Private Rented Housing: you will not usually have to leave a private rented house just because you have interrupted your studies. However, you should be aware, especially if you are living with a group of full time students, that as you will no longer be registered as a student that you may become liable to pay Council Tax. If you are the only tenant who is liable for Council Tax then you would get a single occupant discount, so you would usually only be liable for 75% of the Council Tax bill, however you would be legally responsible for this amount yourself so we recommend that you book an appointment with an advisor to find out more.

If you want to move out of your house, for example if you need to return to your home country, or want to move to out of London to your parental home for a while, then you will need to be clear about the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement, and what your options are. As this can be a complex area of law we strongly recommend that you book an appointment with an advisor, and bring a copy of your tenancy agreement with you.