An interruption of studies means taking a temporary break from your studies. The break is usually for the remainder of the academic year or a full calendar year and most often is needed for health-related, financial or other personal / work-related reasons. Use this site to understand what you need to think about and how to apply for an interruption.

If you decide to pause your studies your student status will change (you will still be registered but not enrolled). This may affect things like your funding, your right to remain in the UK or services that depend on being a current student. It is important that you understand the implications so use the information here and speak to someone like your Senior Tutor, supervisor, or Programme Director to make sure you are well-informed. They will be able to advise you and support you along the process of taking a break from your studies.

This page provides guidance and information on how pausing your studies may affect your student status.

Taking a break from your studies

Things to consider before applying

Before you apply to take a break from your studies you should discuss your circumstances with a member of your programme team, ideally your Senior Tutor, supervisor, or Programme Director. They can provide you with the best possible guidance. You can discuss any impact on your future plans, including when you can re-join the programme, as it is not normally possible to interrupt and pick your studies back up in the same academic year. Some of the things you need to consider will depend on the reason for your interruption:

  • Health reasons - you may be required to provide medical evidence, such as a medical certificate or letter from your doctor, hospital admission note or letter from your counsellor.
  • Financial reasonsyou may need to provide evidence that you have financial difficulties.
  • Other personal or employment-related reasons – you may need to provide evidence about your personal circumstances to support your application to pause your studies. The information required will vary according to your situation.

Whatever reason you have for interrupting your studies, it is really important to think about what you will do during the interruption and what will be different or better about your situation when you return.

Students studying on a visa – a break in your studies may affect your student visa. For more information read our guidance below. Alternatively, you can contact the International Student Support team to discuss your options.

Students receiving funding - if you receive funding from the Student Loan Company or a sponsor you will also need to let them know your student status will temporarily change once you interrupt.

Taking an interruption

Students having a tea and talking

Submitting a request to pause your studies

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student, please discuss your intention to pause your studies with your Personal Tutor, Postgraduate Tutor, or Senior Tutor, or another member of department staff first. 

Once you have done that you can submit a request to interrupt your studies via MyImperial by following the steps below:

  1. Log into My Imperial using your username and password
  2. Click on the “My Interruption of Studies” tile
  3. Select your current programme of study and click on the “Submit a request to interrupt your studies” button
  4. Fill in the application form and upload your supporting documents
  5. Submit and track the progress of your application

A step-by-step video tutorial of how to apply for an interruption is available here. Access it by loging in using your Imperial username and password.

Please note that you can only apply for an interruption lasting a maximum of two years (24 months) or less if you've already taken an interruption before.

You are not able to backdate an interruption request, it can only start from the date you are applying or a date in the near future. You are able to submit an interruption request in advance, but please be aware that your record will not be updated until the planned interruption start date is reached.

 

Student with a bike talking to another student outside the Natural History Museum

While you are taking a break from your studies

While you are taking a break from your studies you will still be a registered student at the College but not enrolled. This means that you will not pay fees during this time and your student access to some College services and the Students’ Union will be revoked. If you would like to continue engaging with a particular club or society during your interruption you can become an associate member on a temporary basis which would allow you to buy memberships.

Additionally, it is likely that you will need to pay for things that students are typically exempt from, like council tax, and you will not receive student discounts.

The Student Hub advisors can provide further advice about the implications of your change of status and support you in identifying things you need to consider whilst taking a break from your studies.

Returning from your interruption of studies

Your student status will usually change to “eligible to re-enrol” 30 days before you are due to return, which means you can access My Imperial and complete your re-enrolment. Your department will normally get in touch in good time before you return but you may also need to contact your Senior Tutor, supervisor or Programme Director. You can also get in touch with them during your interruption at any time. They will be able to help guide you through the process of re-enrolling as a student and answer any questions you might have. As part of your return your department will also have a discussion with you about the modules you will be registered on (both core and elective) as well as how coursework may be carried forward.

If you have interrupted for health reasons you will need to provide medical evidence to show that you are fit to return to your studies. We normally require you to book a medical assessment at least four weeks before you are due to return. You will not be able to re-enrol until you have provided satisfactory evidence that you are fit to study.

If you have interrupted for financial or other personal reasons, you may need to show evidence that the situation has improved and that you can focus on your studies before you can enrol again.

If you are studying on a visa and you paused your studies for more than 60 days, you may need to request a new CAS in order to make a new Tier 4 application to resume your studies. For more information, read our guidance on visa implications below.

Guidance on interrupting your studies

How can I apply for an interruption of studies?

You can submit a request to interrupt your studies via MyImperial by following the steps below:

  1. Log into My Imperial using your username and password
  2. Click on the “My Interruption of Studies” tile
  3. Select your current programme of study and click on the “Submit a request to interrupt your studies” button
  4. Fill in the application form and upload your supporting documents
  5. Submit and track the progress of your application

A step-by-step video tutorial of how to apply for an interruption is available below. Access it by loging in using your Imperial username and password. To begin, click on Play.

 

 

Where can I see my student status?

You can access a range of official documents confirming your current registration status or your registration and attainment history from My Imperial, the College student portal.

What are the visa implications I should be aware of?

Information for students on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa

Interruptions of longer than 60 days

As a Tier 4/ Student Route sponsor, Imperial College has a legal obligation to inform the Home Office if there has been a change to your academic circumstances. Your visa is issued in order for you to study at Imperial College. If you are taking a break from your studies, the College is unable to meet its obligations as a sponsor and therefore has to withdraw sponsorship of your visa during the period that you are not attending. The Home Office may then take action with this information to curtail (shorten) your current visa.

If you have more than 60 days left on your visa when the report is made, they will bring forward the end date of your visa to 60 days from the date they take action on the report from the College. You should assume this will be around 60 days from the date the College notifies you that a report has been made. If you have less than 60 days remaining on your current visa, you will need to leave the UK before your visa expires.

Interruptions of less than 60 days

If your interruption is for 60 days or less, a report will still have to be made to the Home Office from the College to inform them of your change in circumstances. However, the Home Office will not take curtailment action as the period of interruption is quite short, and you can still complete your course within the length of your visa. If you extend your period of interruption beyond 60 days, you will be required to leave the UK as the College will, at that stage, be required to report that the interruption is longer than 60 days. Please refer to the information above (Interruptions longer than 60 days).

Visa curtailment

The Home Office will normally serve you with a Curtailment Notice if your visa has been curtailed. They will send this to you by email or by post to the last-known details that they hold. It is really important that you make sure you keep your contact details up to date with the Home Office and with the College. You can check and update your current postal address using My Imperial. You can also inform the Home Office by completing Change of Address online form. If you are not sure whether your visa has been curtailed, we can check for you with the Home Office if you send an email to international@imperial.ac.uk with your name, your CID number and confirming your permission for us to contact the Home Office on your behalf.

Returning to study

If you are studying on a visa and you interrupted your studies for more than 60 days, you will need to request a new CAS in order to make a new Student Route application to resume your studies. If your programme requires Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance you will need to have obtained your new ATAS clearance certificate before a CAS will be issued. See our guidance for more information. Please contact international@imperial.ac.uk to request a new CAS and refer to our guidance about making a visa application overseas. Your department will also need to confirm the date you are returning to your programme to international@imperial.ac.uk before a CAS can be issued.

Help?

If you have any questions or require advice about taking an interruption if you are on a Tier 4 / Student Route visa please email international@imperial.ac.uk.

What do I need to know if I am interrupting due to health reasons?

You will need to provide medical evidence to support your application. The evidence should be a letter, certificate or other medical documentation from your GP or the doctor / medical team that is treating you. The Imperial College Health Centre can only certify your illness if they have assessed or treated you during your illness. They cannot provide documentation after your illness or instead of another medical team or doctor. Similarly, the Student Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service can only provide information if you have already been using the service.

Before you return from an interruption, you will need to provide evidence from your doctor / medical team to show how your health has improved or how you are now able to manage a health condition which was a problem for you. Your department will use this information to check that you are fit enough to return to your studies. We normally require you to book a medical assessment at least four weeks before you are due to return.

Examples of suitable evidence include:

  • Medical certificate or doctor’s letter (if from a UK based practitioner, they should be GMC registered)
  • Hospital admission note
  • Email or letter from your counsellor

Please note that evidence submitted in other languages will also need to be officially certified and translated in English. If you are not able to provide any of the abovementioned evidence, you may be asked to explain why.

What do I need to know if I am interrupting due to financial reasons?

You can use this category if you are struggling to pay your fees and / or maintenance, but it is expected that it can be resolved at a later date.

You may decide you want to take a break from your studies during times of financial hardship. If this is the case for you, please be reminded that the College has a Student Support Fund which is there to help you if you are experiencing financial difficulties or a change in your circumstances.

Additional year of student funding

Students eligible for support from Student Finance England (or regional bodies) are normally eligible for support for the ordinary duration of their programme plus one additional year. This can be applied to one year of repeat studies. Please note that students on a repeat year are not eligible for the Imperial Bursary.

Upon returning from your interruption we can help you with advice and working out a plan on how to prevent financial issues in the future. This includes how to manage your money and budget efficiently, and other money saving tips. For more information get in touch with the Student Financial Support Team.

What do I need to know if I am interrupting due to personal reasons?

You can use this category in cases where there is bereavement, caring responsibilities, an accident or if you have been a victim of crime. You can also use it for other personal reasons that do not clearly sit within the other categories.

Once again, you must provide suitable evidence such as a death certificate, police crime number or letter. Your Senior Tutor, supervisor or Programme Director will discuss with you what paperwork may be required.

What do I need to know if I am interrupting due to work committments?

You can use this category to cover work commitments during busy times. For example, if you are undertaking clinical work during writing up your thesis. Suitable evidence should be attached to your application and may include a letter from a line manager.

Can I apply for College accommodation in halls if I took an interruption of studies during my first year?

If you studied at the College for the full academic year before taking your interruption of studies, you will not be eligible for a place in college halls of residence. Once you return to the College, you will be starting your second year of study here, even if you are repeating your first-year studies.  

If you took a break during your first academic year and stayed in college halls of residence for the first term only (or less), you will be eligible to apply for a place in halls of residence when you return, but this is not guaranteed. You will not be sent an invitation to apply online; we recommend that you check our vacancies page from the second week of September onwards. 

If you took your interruption of studies during your first academic year and stayed in college halls of residence beyond the first term, you will not be eligible for a place in halls of residence when you return. 

If you are unsure of your eligibility, please discuss with your Senior Tutor or equivalent, or contact us with your query including your College ID number at accommodation@imperial.ac.uk.

What is your policy on maternity, adoptive and paternity leave?

An application should be made for a period of interruption of studies to cover the period of maternity leave, normally for 16 weeks (for both maternity and adoptive leave), which may be extended for up to one year.

If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student we would normally recommend to interrupt studies for one year. If you are a postgraduate research student an interruption may last anything from 16 weeks and over.

The maximum period of paternity leave normally allowed is 4 weeks. For more information see the College Policy on Maternity, Adoptive and Paternity Leave Provision for Students.

What will be the impact on my tuition fees?

As you are not enrolled during your break from your studies you will not be liable to pay tuition fees during this time.

If you decide to resume your studies during the same academic year we will calculate your fee pro-rata per week.

If you interrupt your studies for a full academic year or longer your new annual rate of tuition fee will be adjusted in line with inflation. This may result in a higher fee than you originally paid.

If you repeat a term or an academic year after your interruption you may be required to pay tuition fees.

What will happen to my TFL Oyster Card?

The College will notify TFL of your change of circumstances if you decide to take a break from your studies. Following this your card will be stopped and you will no longer be eligible for the discount.

When you resume your studies you will be able to re-apply for the 18+ Oyster Card. Make sure you have fully re-enrolled at the time of your application to avoid delays. Please also ensure that the details you enter on the application form match those on your student record, including your full name, as otherwise your application may be rejected