Withdrawal from the University
Information and support for PGR students considering withdrawing from their studies.
Information for students considering withdrawing from the University or transferring to another University
Before making a decision on whether to withdraw or continue with their postgraduate research degree, students should discuss their options with their supervisor or other appropriate member of their supervisory team or departmental Postgraduate Lead.
Reasons for withdrawal may include a change in personal circumstances, resulting in the research degree no longer being feasible or appropriate for the student. It is therefore recommended that students discuss their circumstances with their supervisor, and where appropriate consult with other support services within the University, before making a final decision. Students may benefit from first taking a period of leave of absence whilst they consider their options.
Students may also wish to withdraw from the University of Sheffield in order to transfer to another University.
Once a student has decided to withdraw or transfer, they must complete the Notification of Withdrawal or Transfer (PGR) form. Students should then pass the form to their supervisor for their signature. Once the form has been signed off by the department (supervisor and PGR Lead), it must be submitted to Research, Partnerships and Innovation as soon as possible.
When will the withdrawal take effect?
- The Notification of Withdrawal or Transfer (PGR) form will ask for a date on which the withdrawal or transfer should take effect. Processing the withdrawal form normally takes 1-2 weeks after the student has submitted it, so it is important for students to think carefully about the effective withdrawal date when they are completing the form, and to leave enough time for their request to be dealt with. (Please also refer to the Fees and Finance section below).
- The effective date of withdrawal should normally be in the future. Please note that retrospective withdrawals or transfers cannot be backdated more than 30 days from when the student completes the form, as the University has a duty to report PGR withdrawals to some sponsors and other relevant bodies within 30 days. Withdrawals of visa-sponsored students must be reported to the Home Office within 10 days of processing.
- While all teams involved in the processing of the form will do everything they can to abide by the requested date, sometimes this may not be possible, especially if the date is close to when the form was submitted. If a student is transferring to another university, proof of acceptance at the other institution, e.g. a copy of an offer letter, may be requested.
- Students will be informed of the actual date of withdrawal/transfer as soon as this can be confirmed.
Tuition Fees: Students should note that they are still registered as students and are liable for payment of outstanding tuition or tuition-related fees up to the date Research, Partnerships and Innovation processes the withdrawal form and notifies the student that they have been withdrawn.
Other debts: Any outstanding debts to the University will become payable once a student has left.
Stipends: If a student receives a studentship that is paid in advance, they may need to repay any overpayment covering the period from the effective date of withdrawal to the end of that stipend payment period. A precise value for the repayment total cannot be provided until the withdrawal is approved and processed by Research, Partnerships and Innovation, as any changes to the final withdrawal date will affect the repayment total calculation. Communication of this amount may be a few weeks after the withdrawal request is processed to allow time for the Finance team to make the necessary calculations.
Refunds: Some students may also be eligible for a partial refund of tuition fees, depending on when they formally withdrew. Please refer to the University's tuition fee refund policy.
Financial hardship: The Students' Union can advise students facing challenging financial circumstances.
Following a student's withdrawal their access to university systems such as their MUSE account and emails is revoked and their UCard is disabled. Students should ensure that they save any information or emails that they wish to keep before they lose their access.
Where students appear to have stopped attending the University without giving any formal notification of their withdrawal, departments (usually supervisors, departmental administrators or PGR Leads) should report this as soon as possible to their contact in Research, Partnerships and Innovation, so that the student may be formally deemed withdrawn. Research, Partnerships and Innovation will normally make a final attempt to contact the student before their student record is closed down. Problems arise when students are expected to still pay fees they feel are not due, which is why it is essential that the University is notified of their intention to leave as soon as possible.
International students should note that the University is required to report to the Home Office any Student or Tier 4 visa holder who withdraws from the University or transfers to another university. The Home Office will cancel a student’s visa once a report of a withdrawal is made and the student should leave the UK. Students are advised to leave the UK within 60 days of their withdrawal from the University or submit any further visa application that they may be eligible to make inside the UK before this date. Students transferring to another university should seek immigration advice from their new institution.
Students who have withdrawn, or who have been deemed withdrawn from the University, have no automatic right to readmission. If a request for readmission is received by the former student's academic department it should be considered carefully, in particular taking into account any difficulties which may have led to the student's withdrawal in the first place. Requests for readmission can be approved or rejected by the academic department and consideration should be given to factors such as whether appropriate supervision can still be provided and whether the student's research is still current and/or original.
If a department supports the request for readmission advice should be sought from Research, Partnerships and Innovation and also from appropriate professional services, depending on the circumstances of the original withdrawal. For example, if a student was previously withdrawn for medical reasons, it would normally be appropriate to consult with the University Health Service at this point and to request evidence that the student is now fit to resume their degree. Students who were withdrawn due to registration or fee issues would need to have fully addressed these issues in order to be readmitted.
With international students, there may be outstanding issues relating to immigration/visa/leave to remain that require expert advice from International Student Support, Advice and Compliance.