If you need to take a break from your studies you can apply for a leave of absence.
Where to start
- Read the information and FAQs on this webpage
- Speak with your supervisor and/ or your course administrator to see if a leave of absence is the best option for you
- Refer to the University key contacts for additional support
Find more information on this topic
- Making your decision
- Applying for a leave of absence
- During your leave of absence
- Returning to study after a leave of absence
- Key contacts
York Online students
The information contained in these pages does not apply to York Online students taking 100% online part-time Masters programmes. York Online students should refer to Unit 2 (‘Taking a Leave of Absence') of their Orientation module in Canvas which contains all relevant information and the application form.
What is a leave of absence?
A leave of absence is an authorised break from your studies, usually for a maximum of one calendar year. You might want to take a leave of absence if you:
- have a documented medical or personal reason that’s making it hard for you to engage with and concentrate on your studies
- you’re changing from one course to another and restarting your studies the following academic year
- if you’re resitting your exams ‘out of residence’ during the forthcoming academic year
- have financial or motivational reasons, such as undergoing a period of maternity leave or work experience
If you're an undergraduate student you will be able to take a leave of absence for one year at a time for up to four years. Your absence will normally be a minimum of one year unless the leave of absence is to support a transfer to a different course, or you are repeating study.
If you're a postgraduate student you can take an absence of one year at a time up to two years. A minimum of one year at a time is normally expected to ensure you do not miss any teaching.
Significant extenuating circumstances that require more time off require further permission from the Special Cases Committee.
It’s important to discuss your options with your department before you make a decision. If a leave of absence is the option you take, you should try to apply before the proposed start date of your absence wherever possible, and no later than one month after your proposed start date.
Steps to take when deciding if a leave of absence is right for you:
- Read the information and detailed questions on our FAQs
- Check whether there will be an impact on your student finances or on your Student Visa
- Speak with your supervisor and/or your course administrator to see if a leave of absence is the best option for you. (If you're unsure who the right contact is, have a look at your department's webpages.) They will be able to advise you of the academic implications of taking a leave of absence. They could also advise if another option may be more suitable to your situation
- If you're considering a leave of absence due to financial reasons, or would like advice on the financial implications of taking a leave of absence, please refer to our FAQs for detailed information, or contact the Student Support and Advice team for help
- For further support, please refer to the key contacts section below
If you need to take a break from your studies for less than a month, this can be dealt with by your department. You do not need to take a leave of absence in this instance. You should contact your supervisor and/or your course administrator and your department can make arrangements. The weeks you are granted permission to be absent will still count towards your programme and there will be no amendment to your programme end date.
While taking a leave of absence you’ll be expected to spend your time away from the University and move out of accommodation if you’re living on campus. You can make a request to vacate your on-campus accommodation.
You won’t be able to access University resources such as attending lectures or seminars, although you will still have access to IT Services facilities and the library.
If you still have questions that are not covered in this guidance, here are some tips on who to contact:
Firstly, your academic department. Your Academic Supervisor and or your Course Administrator are the best first point of contact to see if a leave of absence is the best option for you. (If you're unsure who the right contact is, have a look at your department webpages.) They will be able to advise you of the academic implications of taking a leave of absence. They could also advise if another option may be more suitable to your situation
The Student Support and Advice team at the Student Hub, if you have questions about the practical impact of taking a leave of absence
If you have questions about on campus accommodation, the Accommodation team may be able to help you at email@example.com
Your funding provider ie Student Finance England / Student Finance Wales
The Student Records team at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a Student Visa Holder, please contact the International Student Support team who can advise you around any impact on your Student Visa