School of Social and Political Science

Authorised Interruption of Study


If you are temporarily unable to engage with your studies, you can apply for an authorised interruption of study. An interruption of study involves taking a complete break from study for an agreed period of time. This can be for a few weeks, a single semester or a whole academic year. 

Before you apply

We advise you first speak with your Student Adviser or Personal Tutor if you are considering requesting an interruption of study.

Taking an authorised interruption of study may have financial and visa implications. You are encouraged to speak with an advisor at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Advice Place who can provide independent advice about the potential financial and other implications of taking an interruption.

The Advice Place

International students may also wish to speak with a member of staff at the Student Immigration Service, who can provide advice and guidance in relation to any visa implications which may arise as a consequence of taking an interruption.

Student Immigration Service

If you are undertaking a taught programme, or a programme with taught components, you should be aware that courses and programmes may change while you are interrupted, which may mean, for example, returning to a different set of course options from those available before you took an interruption.

All students requesting an interruption of study should complete a return to study plan with their Personal Tutor.


Complete the authorised interruption of study application form below. Please email your completed form to

You can also ask for advice and assistance in completing the form from your Student Adviser or Personal Tutor, who can help you put together a return to study plan.

Authorised Interruption of Study application form (Word document)

How will the decision be made?

The University is committed to supporting students who require time away from their studies, where this will assist them in gaining the best possible outcome in their studies, or support their career aspirations.

Once you have emailed your form to it will be sent on to the SPS Director of Student Engagement and Experience for review. 

Applications will be considered sympathetically and decision makers will consider whether the interruption would support successful completion of your programme.

You will be informed of the decision via email. 

While you are interrupted

While you are interrupted, you will not attend classes or complete assessments, but are still regarded as a student of the University. You can still access campus facilities and student support services including:

During an interruption you will still be subject to University policies, rules and regulations, including the Code of Student Conduct.

Return to study

Ahead of your return to study, we will make contact with you to make sure that any necessary arrangements can be made to support your return.

If you do not feel able to return to your studies, it may be possible to request an additional interruption.

More information

Please see the University website for full details:

University information on authorised interruption of study

Student category
Student support