Interruptions of Studies

An Interruption of Studies (IoS) is a formal process in which the School grants the relevant student a term/s absence from the School in which they are not expected to remain engaged. IoS are a serious request to be made when undergoing external pressures that are preventing you engaging with your research. These tend to be personal, financial or medical. An IoS is a total break from your PhD; you will remain registered as a PhD student but you will not be considered active. Any time spent on an IoS will not count towards your period of registration.


  • An Interruption of Study (IoS) should be requested in unexpected personal, financial or medical situations where a student is temporarily unable to continue their programme of study. 
  • Students are entitled to 3 terms of interruption across their period of PhD study up to completion. This includes the post viva period if a Minor or Major Corrections outcome is given. If further interruption is needed, a Suspension of Regulations will be need to be applied for by the Director fo Doctoral Studies of your department. Please discuss this with your supervisor in the first instance. Further information and the SoR form can be found on the SoR site.
  • An IoS cannot neither be applied for, nor conferred, retrospectively, hence we encourage those wishing to apply to do so before the start of each term/academic year. Further information can be found on Key events and Dates site.
  • A student's registration is suspended during the entire period of interruption, they will not pay fees and they will not have access to SOAS resources, including but not limited to their supervisor, systems such as PhD Manager and the Library.
  • Interruption of Study may affect issues such as council tax exemption, travel discounts and visas. Students and supervisors should seek advice from the Doctoral School if they are unsure of these implications. Funded Doctoral Candidates should first check with their funding body if their scholarship allows for a period of interruption.
  • SOAS can only continue sponsorship of a Student route/Tier 4 visa holders on an IoS and therefore not actively engaged on their course for a maximum of 60 days. Student route/Tier 4 visa holders who wish to Interrupt their Studies for more than 60 days should be aware that SOAS is required to notify the Home Office/UKVI of the change to their student status. This will result in the cancellation of their visa sponsorship and their visa will be curtailed (shortened) to 60 days from the date of the report. Once we have cancelled a student’s visa sponsorship, they should leave the UK within 60 days of the cancelation. Students will normally be required to apply for a new visa when they are ready to resume their studies at SOAS Further advice can be sought from the SOAS Compliance team.  
  • If you hold funding it is likely that, dependent on your funder's requirements, this will be withdrawn while you are on the IoS. No fees are due to SOAS while you are on an approved IoS however if you are reliant on a stipend for living costs please be aware that this could be withdrawn until you return to your PhD studies. Further advice can be sought from the SOAS Scholarships team.

How to apply

If you are certain you wish to apply for an IoS, this is applied for via PhD Manager using the Change Request tab. The application needs to be supported by your supervisor as they will also have to approve it before the request moves to the Doctoral School.

Those wishing to apply should use the 'Change Request' form on PhD Manager to apply for the IoS. This will be looked over and approved by their Supervisor, the Doctoral School (DS) and the Director of Doctoral Studies (DDS) for their department. 

The DS will communicate the decision of your application through PhD Manager.