School of Social and Political Science

Leave of Absence, Vacation Leave and Parental Leave


Leave of Absence

You may be away from Edinburgh at times during your period of study, 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.

Your supervisor or programme director must complete a Leave of Absence form (Word doc) for you before you leave, and submit this to the Graduate School Office.

When Leave of Absence applies

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 - for example, you are not living in Edinburgh, writing up your thesis elsewhere, on an internship or visiting another university, 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.

What a Leave of Absence means

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.

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.

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.

Reassigning your desk

If you are a PhD student with a key to a shared office, and are away for three months or longer, your desk will be reassigned to another student, as set out in the PhD Student Desk Allocation Terms and Conditions (PDF).

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

You may be absent from your studies for up to eight 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.

Any visa-related queries should be directed to Student Immigration Service.

Parental Leave Policy

Please see our briefing on maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoption leave for more information.

Briefing on Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental and Adoption Leave Pay (PDF)

Student category
PhD Students