Leave of Absence

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students

If you are studying on a taught course it is not expected that you should need to request absence from your studies during term time. However, there may be exceptional and/or unforeseen circumstances that may require you to be absent from studies, in which case you should apply for an exceptional leave of absence.  The exceptional leave of absence procedure applies to all students.

Examples of what the University may consider being exceptional could include:

• Bereavement
• Illness
• Vital medical treatment
• Employer obligations (i.e. students who are being sponsored by their government or international organisation)

*Please note that this list is not exhaustive but is provided for guidance purposes only.

If you believe that the reason for your request for absence also falls into the University’s definition of extenuating circumstances, you should refer to the University’s regulations on Extenuating Circumstances and speak to your Campus Advice Zone. Further information regarding the regulations and procedures regarding Attendance Expectations and Temporary Absence can also be found in the University’s regulations.


Requests for exceptional leave of absence should be submitted through Advice Zone Online. You will need to provide the following information with your Request for Authorisation of Absence form:

  • The dates you are applying for leave of absence for
  • evidence to support your request (i.e. death certificates, medical notes, letters from sponsors/employers)
  • written evidence of support from your course leader and/or module leader(s)
  • your travel documents

Once all the required information has been provided, you should expect to receive a response to your application within 10 working days.

The Associate Registrar (Student Administration) (or nominee) will only authorise an absence in exceptional circumstances, taking into account (in consultation with the faculty/campus), your reason for the absence, the potential impact on your studies and your ability to continue to complete your course within the designated length of the course. 

Please note that the maximum amount of exceptional leave permitted in an academic year is 20 working days.

Leave of absence of more than 20 working days will not be granted. If you require an absence of more than 20 working days you must interrupt your studies or withdraw from your course.  You should seek advice from your Campus Advice Zone.  If you are studying on a Tier 4 visa and you interrupt or withdraw from your studies you must return home and your Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.

Postgraduate Taught Students

If you are studying a postgraduate level course at the University, with the exception of official vacation periods, you are considered to be studying full time; including any time spent writing your dissertation or final project.

You may, in limited circumstances, be granted permission to undertake the later stages of your course from your home country, but this is entirely at the discretion of your academic supervisor and will not be granted unless your supervisor is confident that you have progressed sufficiently and can be adequately supported while away.

Additionally, permission to undertake periods of study away must be academically necessary (i.e. you are collecting data from a company in your home country) and not for personal reasons such as the expiry of a tenancy. Students should be aware, and have planned for, the total duration of the course, including writing up periods and as such have planned to remain in the UK for the total course duration.

Postgraduate Research Students

If you are a postgraduate research student, please see here for more information regarding applying for Annual Leave, Exceptional Leave of Absence, Study Away from USW, Completion of Study Away from USW and Interruption of Studies.

The University of South Wales is committed to promoting an environment, which enables students to practice their religion or belief whilst studying at the University. The University is aware that certain religious festivals may coincide with the Academic Timetable. However, given the diversity of religious observance, the University is unable to arrange its timetable or coursework deadlines around the religious festivals of all faith traditions. The University of South Wales will endeavour to be flexible as is practically possible in order to observe the religion, belief and non-belief of staff and students. However, students who wish to apply for absence in order to participate in and observe their religion should note the following:

• It is your responsibility to make arrangements to catch up on work missed whilst participating in prayer and religious observance. If you wish to take an extended period of leave from your studies due to religious observance, you should first discuss this with your course leader and make every effort to proactively ensure that you are up to date with study, course materials and assignments.

• As some faiths exempt students from religious observance at the time of study and examinations, you should make every effort to take these exemptions wherever possible.

• Attendance at religious festivals will not be normally accepted as extenuating circumstances.

For more information/guidance, please visit the following link.

If you are enrolled on a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate taught course, and you are studying on a Tier 4 visa, you are expected to remain in the UK, specifically within the South Wales area, and comply with the University Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures until your course completion date.

You are required to be on campus, attending and engaging with your course and scanning your fingerprint every 7 days, until the end of each term. Self-directed study forms part of your academic obligations and therefore even if your taught classes have finished, your study has not.  If you have decided that your taught classes have ended for the term and you wish to leave the UK, you will be doing so at your own discretion and without the authorisation from the University.

If you submit a leave of absence request and it is approved, your information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and the University’s student management information system (Quercus). In addition, if you are travelling overseas, you should receive a letter confirming the purpose of your trip in case you are asked for evidence by UKVI personnel when you re-enter the UK.

If your request for leave of absence is not approved, the normal University attendance monitoring processes will apply. 

For further information regarding our absence and attendance monitoring requirements for international non-EU students, please visit our International – Tier 4 pages. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link.

Lack of engagement

If your engagement with the University is considered to be unsatisfactory, you will be contacted by the University. The first contact will be made by Academic staff then followed up by the Progression Team, as part of the Lack of Engagement Process.