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The Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, regulation 4 outlines the minimum, normal and maximum periods of study for a student completing a RDP.  These periods exclude approved temporary withdrawal periods, in line with regulation 5.

In exceptional circumstances, students/Schools may request a concession to the regulations to seek an extended period of temporary withdrawal, or an extended registration period and thesis submission date by completing the appropriate Research Degree Programmes Exception Request form as linked below:

  1. RDP Exception Request - Temporary Withdrawal‌.
  2. RDP Exception Request - Registration and Thesis Submission

This document describes current practice for handling RDP Exception Requests.  Completed forms should be submitted, by the School, to

The following information provides guidelines for staff and students registered on RDPs regarding holidays and other absences for postgraduate research students.  Funded students should also refer to their funder’s terms and conditions (or contact the Postgraduate Awards Team, for any implications to their funding arrangements. International students should contact International Student Support to determine any implications for their visa.

  • Holidays

    All holidays should be agreed with the principal supervisor/School in advance. Full-time, registered students are entitled to take up to 40 days of annual leave, including public holidays and University closure days, each year (or pro rata for part-time, registered students). Holidays for incomplete years may be allowed pro rata.

  • Maternity Leave, Maternity Support Leave and Adoption Leave

    The Student Maternity, Maternity Support and Adoption Policy provides advice and guidance on issues related to study, health and safety, and finance to:

    1. Students who become pregnant during their studies; prospective students who are already pregnant when they commence study; students who have given birth within the previous 26 weeks (or are continuing to breastfeed); their partners and those who have recently become parents (e.g. through adoption).
    2. University staff who may have a role in advising students coming to them with these issues.
  • Suspension of Studies – Temporary Withdrawals

    In general, students are expected to complete their RDP in a single continuous period. The suspension of studies (temporary withdrawal) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, such as:

    1. Illness.
    2. Compelling personal reasons that require the student to be absent from the University.
    3. For the purposes of taking up an internship at a centre of excellence or an industrial placement. Normally only one such visit may be considered during the period of the RDP and must not exceed 12 months’ duration.


    Suspensions will not normally be granted for the following reasons:

    1. Employment, temporary lectureships, exchanges, voluntary service overseas or expeditions/sport.
    2. On the grounds of financial hardship due to not completing the RDP within the maximum period of study (i.e. 4 years FTE for the PhD programme).


    The Study Regulations for Research Degree Programmes, regulation 5 outlines the procedure for considering periods of temporary withdrawal.  Students should discuss a request for a period of temporary withdrawal with their principal supervisor/School in advance of the period of withdrawal requested.

Code of Practice for RDPs

Main RDP Page

Resource Library

RDP Resources