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Concessions

Interruptions of study and Extensions of study are collectively known as 'Concessions'. Please see below for more information on each of them and how to apply for them.

If you are looking for information about absences from Edinburgh when you are still working on your PhD, or vacation allowance, please see here.

Interruption of Study

There may be points during your PhD when you are unable to work on it for a period of time, this could be due to ill health, personal/family issues, job opportunities, etc. At those points it may be appropriate to request an interruption of study, with agreement of yourself and your supervisor.

What is an interruption of study?

An interruption of study is 'time off' from your PhD. It can be requested in month long periods and any single period of interruption cannot exceed 12 months. It must be requested in full calendar months* and the total period of interruption that can be requested for a PhD is 36 months. An interruption 'stops the clock' on your PhD for the length of the interruption and will subsequently push the end date (submission deadline) back by the length of the interruption, for example if your end date is the 31 Aug 2016 and you are granted a 2 month interruption of studies, your end date will be amended to the 31 Oct 2016.

*the interruption should start on the 1st of a month and end on the last day of a month - as circumstances that mean you will require an interruption do not generally fall on those exact days, you should pick the closest full months.

How to apply for an interruption of study:

  • If you and your supervisor agree that you need a break from your studies, your supervisor should complete the 'Online concessions pilot' form, available here, and attach any relevant supporting documentation (medical letters etc.).
  • The Graduate School Office will then check the request and assuming it is in order, send it for approval to the Graduate School Director (PGR). Once approved it is forwarded to the College of Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Office for further approval. The College PG Office will notify you once it has been approved and will arrange for your student record to be updated.

Important things to note:

  • You should check the implications on your visa (if applicable) prior to applying for an Interruption of Study. The International Student Advisory Service can help with this.
  • If you are funded for your PhD you must check what the rules of your funding body are with regards to interruptions of study - it may be that they have tighter restrictions on length and/or reasons for interruptions than the University does, or it may simply be that they have to be kept informed.
  • Interruptions of study cannot be applied for retrospectively, you must therefore notify your supervisor as soon as the need for the interruption arises, or encounter a problem that will affect the progress of your study. If the need for the interruption is sudden and unforeseen then the application must be made as soon as is practical.
  • You should check the implication on your fees, the fees policy is here.
  • If you are a full-time student your Council Tax exemption may be affected, please check this with Student Administration (formally known as Registry).

Extensions of Study

If you are unable to submit your PhD within your maximum period of study (this is 4 years FTE for a standard PhD), you and your supervisor will need to apply formally for an extension. Extensions to the period of study are exceptional and not automatic.

What is an extension of study?

An extension of study is an extension to your submission deadline. It can be requested in full calendar months* and up to 12 months can be requested at a time. The maximum total period of extension cannot exceed 24 months. As stated above, an extension to your period of study is exceptional, not automatic and there must be a strong reason for the request. Circumstances for consideration of an extension are unforeseen difficulties that have hampered progress, these can include, but are not limited to:

  • unforeseen difficulties with facilities or equipment and hence completion of the thesis has been delayed;
  • unforeseen difficulties in obtaining or analysing data;
  • serious and unexpected fieldwork difficulties (not simply that it took longer than expected);
  • ongoing medical problems that did not necessitate an interruption of studies;
  • ongoing personal issues which have hampered progress (e.g. childcare, serious illness of a family member, caring responsibilities etc.);
  • Supervision problems;
  • substantial financial difficulties.

All extension requests are closely examined and must include details of work completed to date and a timetable to completion (with interim deadlines). The length of the extension must match the timetable. Any additional extension requests must provide reasons why the original extension timetable was not met.

*as for an interruption, an extension request must start on the 1st of a month and end on the last day of a month. The start date must be the day after your current maximum end date.

How to apply for an extension of study:

  • If you and your supervisor agree that you require an extension to your period of study, your supervisor should complete the 'Online concessions pilot' form, available here, and attach details of work completed to date, a timetable to completion (with interim deadlines) and any relevant supporting documentation.
  • The Graduate School Office will then check the request and assuming it is in order, send it for approval to the Graduate School Director (PGR). Once approved it is forwarded to the College of Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Office for further approval. The College PG Office will notify you once it has been approved and will arrange for your student record to be updated.

Important things to note:

  • You will be charged an 'Annual Continuation Fee' during your extension period, the fee amount is stated here and is charged pro rata for the length of your extension.
  • You should check the implications on your visa (if applicable) prior to applying for an extension of study. The International Student Advisory Service can help with this.
  • If you are funded for your PhD you must check what the rules of your funding body are with regards to extensions of study - it may be that they have tighter restrictions on length and/or reasons for extension than the University does, or it may simply be that they have to be kept informed.
  • You may not continue to be entitled to Council Tax exemption during your extension, you should check this prior to applying for an extension. Information on the criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for continued exemption is available here. If you are entitled to continued exemption, the letter required by Student Administration can be requested from the Graduate School Office.
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