Please note that in light of the Covid-19 situation, there may be different information and procedures related to the below. We ask you to check here first of all where we are maintaining an up-to-date guide on what we know. If you are still not sure or have any questions, please get in touch.


During their time at University, it is quite common for students to experience something that interferes with their studies. Whether this is a family problem, a financial issue, a health concern or something else entirely, sometimes it can be difficult to put things aside and concentrate on University.

The University recognises this, and there are procedures in place such as Voluntary Suspension and Personal Circumstances to try make sure that whatever’s going on with you, it is supported sensitively and appropriately.

Personal Circumstances

Personal Circumstances is your way of telling the University when something’s happened that’s had an impact on your studies, whatever that may be. It’s part of the Academic Appeals and Personal Circumstances Procedure.

It’s important that you let the University know as soon as possible when something’s happened to make sure that you are supported appropriately and that academic support can be put in place to make sure your studies aren’t affected too much. You can submit at any point during year, but if something has affected you during the exam period, then you must submit by 5 working days following your final exam/assessment.

It is very important to realise that the Personal Circumstances policy is a compulsory step in having your situation taken into account. If you are having problems, and you do not use the Personal Circumstances procedure without good reason, you will not be allowed to make an academic appeal based on those circumstances.

If you’re not sure whether or not you should submit Personal Circumstances then check out section 8 of the linked procedure for examples of circumstances that will and won’t be considered.

If you are experiencing any issues that are or may affect your ability to study or take exams:

  • Complete the Personal Circumstances form.

  • Gather relevant official evidence (see section 2.23 of the procedure linked above for appropriate evidence).

  • Submit the form and original versions of your evidence to Student Business on the 1st floor of the McCance Building or by email to

  • Alternatively, for short-term illness (less than five days), you can upload information on the Personal Details section of Pegasus. This only allows for a short explanation of what’s happened, however.

If you are unsure what to write, or what evidence you need, or have any other questions contact the Advice Hub and we can give you advice and guidance on what to submit.

Voluntary Suspension

Voluntary Suspension may be an option for you if your studies are being severely or significantly interrupted by circumstances in your personal life. These could be physical or mental health related, financial, caring responsibilities, or to allow you to undertake one-off career and life enhancing activities (such as competing in an international sporting event).

Voluntary Suspension requires an application where you explain clearly the reasons why you would like to interrupt your studies, for how long, and why time away would benefit. There is a form to complete here.

It’s important to be aware of the financial implications of taking time out of study and you should seek advice on your individual circumstances from the Advice Hub or from your funding body (e.g. SAAS).

If you are on a Tier 4 student visa then you should seek advice from the International Student Support Team.  

Your application should be submitted to your Course Leader or Head of Department for consideration.

The full Voluntary Suspension Guidelines are available here

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