Sometimes postgraduate research students may need to take leave or be absent from studies. Find out what this means for you.
Absence from study
Doing a research degree is a rewarding process, but circumstances sometimes mean you may need to take a period of absence. Absences may include:
- maternity or partner/other parent leave
- adoption leave
- temporary suspension of study
- an exceptional short-term absence.
It is important that you follow the University's policies and Postgraduate Research (PGR) code when managing any absence.
Funded students will also need to consider the regulations and stipend entitlements of their funding provider. Full details are available in the Absence payments for postgraduate research students (PDF, 122kB).
How to request an absence
If you think that an absence is required then you should discuss this with your supervisor/s or your School PGR Director. They will be able to help you make an informed decision and help you consider any other support that may be suitable.
Where an absence requires a suspension of study, this should be requested following the Suspend your studies guidance.
Absence entitlements and funding
All students are entitled to take leave or absence. Your student status will impact whether this is funded and your ability to take it. For more information, refer to the option that best reflects your situation.
If you are a sponsored student (where your stipend is paid to you directly and not by us), we highly recommend you contact your sponsorship provider to understand their funding terms.
Provisions such as medical leave, maternity, paternity, adoption leave, are all determined by your sponsor.
These conditions may be different from the terms of our PGR Code. You will always need to follow your sponsor’s regulations, which should be shown in your sponsorship contract.
If you are unsure about who to contact for information about your sponsorship, contact your School PGR administrator.
If you are an international student and you want to:
- take leave
- an absence from study, or
- require an extension to studies
you must review visa requirements.
Visa terms may mean you cannot follow our leave entitlements set out in the PGR Code, or your funder’s conditions. You will always need to meet the terms of your visa.
Our Student Visa Advisors can offer specialist guidance about visas and study absences.
UKRI Research council students
If you receive funding from a UKRI Research council, your entitlements are outlined in our Absence payments for postgraduate research students (PDF, 122kB).
Your first point of contact will be your school/ doctoral training centre office who can answer any questions you have about leave entitlement and how to apply for leave.
If you are an international student, your home government and visa may set out specific requirements, and these may be different from the Research Council you are funded through.
You will always need to meet your national and visa requirements.
Students funded by us (University of Bristol)
For students funded by us, through central, faculty or school funds, your absence entitlement is outlined in the absences payments policy for funded PGR students.
We recommend you familiarise yourself with these terms early in your studies, so you are aware of your entitlements and the processes involved in applying for leave.
Your school is the main contact for enquiries about leave entitlements and processes.
Students funded by other sources
If you are funded by an external institution and we pay your stipend on their behalf, your entitlements to funded leave will depend on the funder's terms and conditions or the contract that underpins your funding.
We recommend you contact your school/doctoral training centre who can advise on the exact nature of your funding and the terms of your award. We will administer any funded leave in line with the funder or contract terms.
Self-funded students are still entitled to leave but will not receive financial support during their absence. Your leave entitlement is outlined in our PGR Code.
All research students should take annual leave from their studies.
In exceptional circumstances, you can take short-term absences. The length and circumstances that may make you eligible are in the short-term absences policy.
Exceptional short-term absences
Understand the circumstances that may make you eligible for a short-term absence.
Absence and stipend payments policy
Our policy provides information about Absence payments for postgraduate research students (PDF, 122kB).