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Interrupting your Studies

‌‌If a personal emergency or other circumstance arises that requires a student to take a break from their studies, you are able to request an interruption of studies. 

No fees are payable for such a period, during which a student's research registration is effectively suspended. This is not the same as study leave. As of 02 August 2021, students can submit and monitor interruption requests via MyImperial

The College has a detailed page on IoS application and procedure here

Study Leave

‌‌‌If you plan to carry out research away from College for a period of 2 weeks or more as part of your PhD student registration, your department can approve study leave using the External study leave form (which is then submitted by your department to the Registry Records Team for recording). Study leave is normally pursued either as a placement under the supervision of a third party organisation (placements are managed by your department and are subject to College Placement Learning Policy, Good Practice under the College’s overall off-site working protocols) or fieldwork managed by your department under off-site working protocols. Please contact the Senior Postgraduate Administrator for further guidance if you and your supervisor wish to have study leave considered.

External study leave form [doc] is also to be used by a department to record the location of split PhDs (on or around a student’s initial enrolment).

For further information on external study leave, please refer to the Guidelines for external study leave

If you will be carrying out research away from College and seperately to your registration, you can apply for Study Leave for this period using the Application for PGR interruption of studies [doc].

Withdrawing from your PhD Programme

Students who withdraw part way through a course are required to notify their department and the Registry, in writing, of their intention to do so.

Please consider speaking to a member of your department beforehand. Depending on the reason for your decision, there may be Departmental or College support systems in place, which can assist you.

Please see the Procedure for Leavers who withdraw [pdf] for more information.

Extending your Thesis Submission Deadline

The Thesis Deadline Extension procedure is available to students whose progress towards the final thesis submission deadline has been affected by circumstances beyond their control.

Students concerned about their ability to submit on time are advised to speak to their supervisor and departmental administrator as early as possible. 

All requests for an extension to the final thesis submission deadline are subject to departmental approval by the Director of Postgraduate Studies prior to submission to the Registry Assessment Records Team for processing.

Requests to extend the thesis submission deadline may also be subject to review and approval by a panel comprising of two senior members of the Imperial College London Graduate School, on behalf of the College's Postgraduate Research Quality Committee. 

All requests should be submitted to Senior Postgraduate Administrator using the Thesis Extension Request Form. They will then proceed to make the arrangements with Registry and the Graduate School. This process can take several weeks, so please discuss the possibility of applying for an extension as early as possible. 

For further information, please refer to our Guidelines for requesting an extension to the thesis deadline. ‌‌

If you have any queries relating to this procedure, please contact the Assessment Records Team ( 

Change in PhD Supervisor(s)

Should a change of supervisor be required partway through your research programme, your department will need to complete the Research degree registration amendment form. The completed form is submitted to the Registry Student Records Team by the Senior Postgraduate Administrator. 

What Happens if you are Late with a Milestone?

Milestones are there to help you and ensure that you are on track and making appropriate progress in the correct direction. Their timings have been designed to optimise your PhD experience, and it is important that you stick to them. Some flexibility (a few weeks max) is possible to compensate for delays caused by your supervisor or assessor’s schedule. However, you should not rely on this time to complete your milestones.

If a deadline is missed, then you must meet with your Primary Supervisor and explain the reason for the delay. Your Primary Supervisor will then meet with the Director of Postgraduate Study to discuss your performance and the reasons for the delay.

A) If your Supervisor and PGR Tutor decide that there are justifiable reasons for your delay, then an adjusted milestone due date will be agreed.
You will be informed of the new deadline and it will be added to your School record (but not your College record). Failure to meet this new date will trigger the process below (B).

B) If it is decided that there are no justifiable reasons for your delay in delivering the milestone, then you will be switched to 6-weeks’ notice period. You need to demonstrate significant engagement and progression in your research during this 6-week period or face withdrawal from College.

You will be given specific goals to meet during the 6-week period. These will be decided by the Postgraduate Research Tutor and your Supervisor. These may or may not include the missing milestone. If the missing milestone is not one of the goals during the six-week period, a new date still needs to be agreed.

The six weeks’ notice process

  1. Primary Supervisor tells you the specific goals that you must meet within 6 weeks and consequences of failure to comply (withdrawal).
  2. The Senior Postgraduate Administrator sends a letter to you outlining above details. This is cc’d to School and College officials.
  3. If you miss the outlined goals you are invited to voluntarily withdraw from College. This will end your student status.
  4. If you decline to voluntarily withdraw from College then you must stand before the School Ad hoc Assessment Committee who hear your case and write a report.
  5. Head of School makes a final decision on whether or not your are withdrawn from College based on the Committee Report.