Taking a Break or Returning to Study

Students can submit a request to defer their studies. This means leaving the programme and returning at a later date, normally the start of the next academic year. Deferrals must be approved by the Programme Leader and are normally granted for a maximum period of 12 months.  If you are a new student and have not yet matriculated, please contact the Admissions Team directly to request a deferral.



Registration period for programme/ Professional Bodies

The registration period is the maximum amount of time a student can be registered on a programme. This varies depending on the type of programme; the level and if it is full-time or part-time. Deferrals count towards this time period. It is therefore very important that students considering a deferral are aware of this and ensure they can return to and complete the programme within the registration period. Further guidance is available in the Registration Regulations (section 4).

Students on Health Science programmes which require registration with a Professional Body such as the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) also need to consider the registration period of the Professional Body. This may be shorter than the University registration period and if this is the case the Professional Body time period would apply. Students should be aware that in some cases there are no grounds for appeal relating to registration periods with Professional Bodies.

Deferral of studies for International Students

International students with a Student Route Visa should carefully consider visa/immigration implications before applying for a deferral of studies and should seek advice from the University’s International Student Support Coordinator based in the International Office. Contact international@qmu.ac.uk.

The University is obliged to report any significant changes in students’ circumstances relating to study periods for Student Route Visa holders to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This includes periods of deferral. Depending on the reason and length of the deferral, permission to stay in the UK may no longer be valid if a student is not actively studying and students may be advised to leave the UK. When ready to resume studies, students will have to make a new application for a visa.

Financial implications of a deferral

Students granted a deferral of studies will be liable for the appropriate proportion of the fee based on how much of the semester they have attended. Students paying by instalment who then defer their programme of study, must meet any shortfall between the full fee determined by the University for the period of study undertaken and the total amount of the instalments already paid. For example, if a student defers their studies 28 days after the start of semester, they will be liable for the fees for the remainder of that semester. Semester one fees are equivalent to half a full year fee.

If a student or a sponsor has paid the fees for a full academic session and the student then defers, the tuition fee will normally be retained by the University and carried forward to the next academic session.

Sponsored students should discuss their deferral with their sponsor. Where relevant the University will inform the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Student Loans Company (SLC) once a deferral of studies has been granted.

Students who wish to defer can seek advice from Registry (registry@qmu.ac.uk) on their tuition fee liability.

Returning to studies after deferral

Students will be contacted by Registry with instructions on how to matriculate before the start of the next academic year. Matriculation normally opens around the 1st of September each year. Where required, students who have deferred for medical reasons, must provide evidence of fitness to study to the Programme Leader.

Deferrals are normally granted for a maximum period of one academic year. Failure to matriculate and attend classes will not automatically extend a student’s deferral period. If a student has not matriculated within 4 weeks of their expected return date, their record will be closed.

If a student decides not to return to their studies they should complete the online withdrawal form. The Thinking of Leaving team will then advise the Programme Leader, Academic Administration and any other relevant staff. Registry will close the student’s record. A final transcript detailing any results will be sent to the student’s permanent home address.

If you decide to apply for a deferral you should read the Student Deferral Procedure and discuss your request with your Programme Leader. Once you have done this, you should complete the Deferral Request Form. Remember to save a copy of the form on your computer first before filling it in. The form is a fillable PDF which should be compatible with all platforms.

If you have any questions about the process you can also contact the Thinking of Leaving team.



Thinking of Leaving

For help, advice or if you have any questions please get in touch.

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Thinking of Leaving

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