Information on absences, interruption of studies and welfare information and support

Absences and break of study

Absences during training activities

Attendance at DTP workshops and events is mandatory but we recognise that occasionally other obligations may clash with our events. In these instances you must seek, with as much notice as possible, authorisation from the SSCP DTP management team to be excused. Please contact the SSCP DTP Doctoral Training Coordinator in the first instance.

Interruption of studies

This should be requested when a personal emergency or other circumstances arise which mean that you need to take a break from your studies. No fees are payable for such a period, during which your research registration is effectively suspended.

To arrange this you should liaise with your supervisor and Departmental Postgraduate Administrator and ensure you inform the SSCP DTP Doctoral Training Coordinator of the dates that cover your interruption.

If you are an international student you will have to leave the UK for the period of your interruption, an exception to this would be if you had been declared unfit to travel. Please see further information for international students on how your visa may be affected by an interruption of studies.

Absence through illness or for personal reasons

If you are unable to attend College because of illness or urgent personal circumstances you should inform your supervisor or the Department as soon as practicable. College regulations require that postgraduate students inform their Postgraduate Tutor if they are absent from College for more than three days during term. If the absence is due to illness, a medical certificate must be produced after seven days. If the absence is prolonged, normally four weeks or longer, it will be necessary to request an interruption of studies.

Where an interruption of studies is taken on health grounds, a condition of the interruption being granted is that you will be required to provide medical evidence as to your fitness to return to your studies and you will need to arrange to be seen by the College Health Centre prior to your return.

For some illnesses the College Health Centre may also wish to assess you, for comparative purposes, at the commencement of your interruption of studies. Further details on these conditions can be found online.


We take the welfare of our students very seriously and will try to provide all the assistance we can if you encounter problems of any kind. It is not uncommon for students to feel periods of intense pressure, if you are having any difficulties, either with your research or with personal matters, your first contact should be your supervisor, and please also contact Anne Houston.

Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service

Within the College there are a number of services available to support you, most notably the Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service. They have a student mental health adviser (SMHA) whose role is to provide support for students who may have had, or are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties.

Students need to be referred by a member of College staff, with the student’s permission, in order to be seen by the SMHA. The SMHA is unable to take self-referrals from students or their family and friends.

The Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service also delivers workshops on relaxation, self-esteem, procrastination and mindfulness.

The Graduate School 

The Graduate School is for all Master's and Doctoral students at Imperial College London. Students automatically become members when they register for a Postgraduate taught or research qualification at Imperial. More information on the support and services provided by the Graduate School is available online

Departmental support

Most departments will have a Postgraduate Welfare Advisor. Outside the Institute and Departments, the College provides extensive services for health, counselling, English language support, etc. Information about these services are available on the current student pages

Student Welfare Officers

The Student / Staff Committee have two student Welfare Officers (Lily Peck and Galina Jönsson) who you can speak to at any time. They have also set up a form for you to submit any concerns or issues privately.