Interrupting your programme of study

An interruption of studies is where a student takes a temporary break from their programme of study for a fixed period. During that period, they do not attend class, do not study, and do not undertake assessment; they effectively pause being a student for the period of the interruption.

A student usually interrupts for a period of one calendar year; they return to UCL in the next academic year at the same point they interrupted. However, the duration of the interruption will depend on the student’s individual circumstances.

Students holding a Tier 4 visa will be required to leave the UK for the duration of their interruption and re-apply for a new visa in order to return to UCL.

Interruptions must be approved by the Departmental Tutor and Faculty Tutor (and, depending on the nature of the interruption, the Vice Provost (Education and Student Affairs.))

Advice and support

If you are considering interrupting your studies then you should contact your Personal Tutor or Programme Director to discuss this in the first instance (see programme contacts.) If you are thinking about an interruption because of a disability, ill health, or bereavement, please also consider the support available to you under UCL’s Reasonable Adjustments, Extenuating Circumstances, and Special Examination Arrangements procedures.

If you have agreed for reasonable adjustments to be made but feel these are not sufficient, please do speak with Student Disability Services; you can also let the Departmental Tutor know if you feel there is more the department could be doing to support you.

Applying for an interruption

If you decide to apply for an interruption, and once you have discussed this with your Programme Director or Personal Tutor, then you must formally apply via an Interruption Form; you can download the form from within Portico. Depending on the nature of your interruption, you may also have to provide some documentary evidence, which we will discuss with you.

You should submit the completed form to your Programme Administrator (see programme contacts.) Applications for interruption of study should be made in advance of the proposed interruption where possible. Retroactive interruptions are possible but require additional approval on behalf of the Vice Provost’s Office.

Detailed guidance

The UCL Students page provides a good overview of the procedure for interrupting and things you should think about if you are considering this. The Students' Union can also provide you with advice and support on interrupting.