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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Leave of Absence & Vacation Leave

It is in the University Regulations that students (other than Distance Learning students) must remain in residence in Edinburgh throughout the period of study prescribed. 

It is fine for you to be away from Edinburgh for a short time, e.g. on holiday. If you are going to be away from Edinburgh for a short while (one month or less) then no action is needed.

However, if you are going to be away for more than one month, you must discuss this with your PhD Supervisor or MSc by research Programme Director, and they must complete a Leave of Absence form for you before you leave, and submit this to the Graduate School Office.

This applies:

  • if you are away for one month or more on holiday
  • if you are away for one month or more on fieldwork (you must submit additional required documents)
  • if you are no longer based in Edinburgh (e.g. not living in Edinburgh or commuting here several times a week)

Please note that you have a right to request a Leave of Absence, but there is no automatic entitlement to being granted one. All Leave of Absence requests must be approved by the School, and before you leave Edinburgh.

Leave of Absence means that you are still a student at the University of Edinburgh, you still have access to the University's facilities, and you are still undertaking work in relation to your degree programme, but that you are not physically in Edinburgh. While you are on leave of absence you should remain in touch with your Supervisor, and it will be assumed that you receive any University emails sent to you (e.g. from Registry, the Graduate School Office, etc).

(If, however, you are on an officially approved Interruption of Study you are not a student for the duration of the Interruption and the above does not apply.)

We need to know when you are away for more than one month for the following reasons:

If you are a PhD student with a key to a shared office, and are away for 3 months or longer, your desk will be reassigned to another student, as set out in the PhD Student Desk Allocation Terms and Conditions.  Given the need to use space wisely, it is unfair to leave a desk empty and unused for significant periods of time when other eligible students are waiting for an office space.  Please vacate your office, and return your office (and pedestal) key before leaving Edinburgh.  If eligible, you will be assigned another office on your return.

Vacation Leave

Students may be absent from their studies for up to six weeks of the year without applying for an interruption of study, and should notify their supervisors and the School Postgraduate Office of any such planned absences.
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