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Postgraduate Research Handbook


If you experience serious problems during your studies, you may apply to interrupt your degree.  Interruptions are only considered in exceptional circumstances (such as ill health, family issues, bereavement). If you interrupt your studies, your registration will be temporarily suspended, “stopping the clock”.  Your submission deadline and any formal reviews will be postponed accordingly.  The usual schedule of milestones and requirements will resume when you return to your studies.  The total period of interruption must not normally exceed 12 months during the full period of the degree, and any further interruptions beyond 12 months will only be permitted under the most exceptional circumstances.

During the period of interruption, students’ registration status is put on hold and no tuition fees are payable.

If you are in receipt of an official sponsorship, you should also discuss your situation with your sponsor to ensure that you understand the financial implications of an interruption (for example, in most cases, a sponsor will stop paying any fees or maintenance awards during an interruption).

Approval Process

Interruptions of up to 6 months can be granted by the School. If you request more than 6 months in the first instance, the School can only grant a maximum of 6 months and you will then have to re-apply for a further interruption at the end of the 6 months. (Please note that Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave are exempted from this process).

If you request a second interruption, the application will be submitted to the Faculty for consideration regardless of the length.

You should apply for an Interruption using the Special Permissions Application Form, attaching all relevant documentation. Your application must also include a detailed study plan detailing the stage you have reached with your work and the remainder to be completed upon your return from interruption and how you will go about this. Your application will be reviewed in the first instance by the School PGR Director, with whom you will be required to discuss your application before a decision is made.  If it is a second interruption request, your application will also be reviewed by the Faculty of Humanities Associate Dean for PGR. The Associate Dean for PGR will endeavour to make a decision on the case and communicate this to the Doctoral Programmes Office within 10 days of receiving the completed request.

During the Submission Pending Period

Students in the Submission Pending Period will not be granted permission to interrupt.  Because the Submission Pending Period is not part of the programme period, effectively there is no programme to interrupt.  

Students with mitigating circumstances in Submission Pending will instead be considered for an Extension.

Interruptions of more than 60 days - International Students

The University of Manchester is responsible for monitoring student attendance and progress and reporting poor attendance, withdrawal and interruption to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).   If you hold a Tier 4 visa, you must check its conditions carefully to ensure that you will be able to comply with them before requesting an interruption period as you may not be permitted to remain in the UK for the duration of the interruption. Retrospective interruption requests will not be considered.

If you think you may need to extend your visa as a result of having an interruption, you should contact the Student Immigration Team in the Student Services Centre for further advice.