Postgraduate Researchers leaving the University

While we hope everything goes well with your studies, sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. If you’re thinking about permanently leaving university before completing your studies, support is available to help you make a decision that’s right for you.

Initial enquiry

If you think you need to leave the University either temporarily or permanently before completing your studies, please discuss this with your supervisor, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies or Graduate School Office staff.

Withdrawing from the University may affect your maintenance grant, scholarship or doctoral loan payment so please contact your sponsor if you are thinking about leaving the University. If you have a University of Leeds scholarship or loan, please see the Fees and Funding section below for more information.

You should consider the implications leaving your studies may have on your visa. See the ‘Implications on your visa’ section below for more information.
Please ensure that you monitor your university emails during your enquiry.

Leaving temporarily

If you wish to leave the University temporarily, instead of permanently leaving, a request for an authorised absence or a suspension must be made in GRAD. The webpage on Absences, suspensions and extensions of your research has more information and guidance on these options.

Asking for support

If you’re thinking about permanently leaving the University, talk to your supervisors, Graduate School or Director of PGR Studies. They’ll tell you how your school can support you and suggest any different options you might not have considered. They’ll point you to the right resources and help so you can make an informed decision and understand the processes involved. 

Help and support is available at the University so please reach out to the teams and contacts available on the Help and Support pages.

Implications on your visa

If you have a Student or Tier 4 Visa and permanently withdraw from your studies, you will be required to leave the UK. The University is required to report all permanent withdrawals to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You should seek immigration advice from the Student Visa Advice Team on

Fees and funding

If you leave before the end of your course, your fees are calculated based on your leaving date and not your last date of attendance, unless these dates are the same. Please refer to the section “Process – how to become a permanent leaver” regarding the calculation of the leaving date. If your account is in credit once the fees are recalculated, refunds will be made to the account from which the original payment was made. If this applies to you, you will be contacted by the Fees team after your permanent leave has been processed. This will be via your personal email address, so please check with your Graduate School that the correct address is on your record. Find out more about fee payments when leaving the University early.

There are some situations where you may lose some, or all, of your student financial support:

  • If you are in receipt of funding, such as a Doctoral Loan, overseas loan e.g. American Federal Loan, military funded schemes etc, you should contact

  • If you are in receipt of a scholarship that is administered by the central University Research Degree Scholarships Office, you should contact If you are in receipt of a scholarship that is administered by your School or Faculty, you should contact your Graduate School Office.

  • If you are a sponsored PGR, you should contact your sponsor to find out how your funding might be affected.

For further information and support, you can contact Leeds University Union Advice.

Cancelling your contract

After you have received your offer and up to 14 days after your start date (your start date is noted on your offer letter), you may cancel your agreement with the University and withdraw from your study, without reason. For more information and to cancel your contract, please see the Student Contract.


If you’re in University accommodation, check the notice period on the Accommodation webpage regarding when you will need to continue paying accommodation fees. 

If you’re in private-sector accommodation check the terms of your contract with your accommodation provider. Leeds University Union Advice offer advice on your rights and dealing with your landlord in this situation. 

Council tax

It is your responsibility to inform the council if your circumstances change and you’re no longer a full-time student. There could be legal implications if you fail to notify the council of any changes. More information is available on the Council Tax exemption webpage.

Process – how to become a permanent leaver

You should ensure that you monitor your university emails throughout this process. You will not be classed as a leaver until the process has been completed – input from you may be required at various stages of the process.

  1. Contact your Graduate School Office. They will offer to meet with you to talk through your available options. 

  2. They may suggest you get advice from the following people: university/LUU support services, our Fees team, the Funding team, the Student Visa Advice team, the Accommodation team. You should also speak to your supervisor.

  3. If you are considering an authorised absence or suspension from your studies, your Graduate School Officer will advise you on this process instead of permanent leave.

  4. Following your meeting with your Graduate School Officer you will be given time to consider your options, should you wish it. If you have any more questions, you can discuss these with your Graduate School Officer.

  5. Should you decide to leave permanently, you should complete the leavers form and return this to the Graduate School promptly from your university email address, confirming in the email that you wish to permanently leave the university and confirm your leaving date. A note on the leaving date: you should enter the date that you wish to leave the University. This should be within 10 working days of submitting your form to your Graduate School. This will be used by Doctoral College Operations as an indicative date only.

  6. Your Graduate School will check this form and will forward your form to Doctoral College Operations for processing. Doctoral College Operations will update your record and make you a permanent leaver. Be aware that your University IT account will close immediately when your record is updated and you will no longer have access to your Leeds University email address. You should hand over any data/IP to your supervisor(s). You may need to meet any school-specific requirements for example, hand in any placement uniform/keys etc. to your parent school. Your Graduate School will let you know if this is something you need to do.