Leave of Absence (LOA)

What to do before, during and after a leave of absence and the support services available.

Leave of Absence banner

Before taking a LOA

A LOA is designated time away from your studies and is taken by many students each year for a variety of reasons.

It's designed to provide you with an opportunity to develop your health, your finances and better prepare you for academic success.

When thinking about taking a LOA you should consult with your academic department, funding bodies and relevant support services for information and guidance.

You can talk to a member of the Central Welfare and Guidance (CWAG) team for further advice and support and the options available to you.


If you're living in University accommodation you should contact the Accommodation Office to discuss withdrawing from your accommodation contract, monies owed/refunds, and whether you can remain in University accommodation.

Contact Accommodation Services

Money and tuition fees

Your LOA may affect your Tuition Fees. You may owe money or be entitled to a refund. For more information visit the page below.

Any loans/bursaries you currently receive may alter if you go on a LOA, and you may have to pay some back.

If you receive a loan from Student Finance England (SFE), they will be informed of your LOA via a “Change of Circumstances Notification”. You should contact SFE to ensure they've updated their records once your LOA begins.

To determine how your Student Finance loan will be affected, please visit the page below.

For more information please contact the Fees and Funding Team.

Contact Fees and Funding Team

Health and wellbeing

If you're supported by the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) or the University Counselling Service (UCS), you can speak to them about whether a LOA is the right decision for you. They can also help you prepare for your transition away from studies.

Contact University Counselling Service

Contact Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

Postgraduate Research students (PGR)

The process of applying for a LOA is different for postgraduate research students. Please visit the page below for more information.

International students

The page below provides specific information on applying for a LOA and how this will affect your Tier 4 requirements.

Applying for a LOA

  1. Discuss your intentions with your academic department. 
  2. Complete a Change of Status (COS) form for your intended LOA. 
  3. Have your COS form approved by your academic department.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, if you're taking a LOA due to medical reasons you don't need to include medical evidence with your application. We will accept your LOA application without it in these circumstances. 

You can access the COS form and further information on how to apply via the page below.

Change of Status: Leave of Absence

It may be useful to speak to any support coordinators you're in contact with ahead of your LOA for advice about setting up support if you choose to return to your home address.

During your LOA

Whilst on a LOA you'll still have access to the following University services:

  • University libraries
  • University email account
  • Students’ Union membership
  • University Health Service (if registered)
  • All University support and information services (e.g. SSiD, Counselling, Chaplaincy Centre)

You can't attend any lectures/seminars and shouldn't be engaging in any academic activities.

Money and financial support

If you wish to pursue employment during your LOA, the Careers Service and Student Jobshop can assist you.

University bursaries/scholarships and any maintenance loans from Student Finance England won't be paid whilst you are on a LOA.

If you have any financial queries during your LOA please contact the Student Advice Centre.

Contact Student Advice Centre

Health and wellbeing

You can continue to use the University Health Service if you're a registered patient.

You can still access the Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS) service, as well as a range of online resources.

Returning from a LOA

Medical LOA

If you're returning from a medical LOA you must obtain a medical certificate of fitness from your healthcare professional confirming you're well enough to resume your studies.

The exception to this is if your medical LOA was for reasons related to Covid-19. In this instance, you do not need to provide a medical certificate of fitness to resume study.

You can't re-register with the University until we inform you that the Student Administration Service or Research Services (PGR students) have processed this evidence.

If you're registered with the University Health Service (UHS) please book an appointment via email or telephone, not the online booking system. You must take to your appointment any relevant medical reports from other doctors/specialists who've looked after you during your LOA.

Contact the University Health Service

If you're registered with a different healthcare professional (UK or overseas), please send your evidence confirming you are fit to resume your studies to sheffieldccg.uhs.loa@nhs.net.

Any medical evidence obtained outside the UK must be translated into English before it's submitted to UHS.

The UHS will review the evidence and may contact you for further information and ask you to make an appointment with one of its GPs.

  • Please ask your healthcare professional to document the reason for the LOA and treatment received during the LOA.
  • Please also include a personal statement confirming that your health has improved and you feel fit to return.
  • If you obtain your evidence outside the United Kingdom, the UHS will need to assess it, and may need to request additional evidence from you.

Once the UHS has processed and approved your medical evidence, the Student Administration Service or Research Services (PGR students) will contact you by email with further guidance on how to re-register for your course.

Mental health

If your reason for taking a LOA was due to mental ill health, a Mental Health Adviser can discuss any concerns you may have about returning to university. You can contact them on the details below.


  • You don't have to provide medical evidence if you're returning from a LOA after maternity leave.
  • If you're a student in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, you should discuss with your department how to obtain medical evidence. You may need to book an appointment with Occupational Health.

Financial LOA

If you took a LOA for financial reasons you should consider whether you're in a position to return. The University Financial Support Team and Student Advice Centre can offer you financial information and advice.

Contact Student Advice Centre

Contact Financial Support Team

When preparing for your return, you should contact Student Finance England directly to ensure funding is set up (if applicable).

Contact Student Finance England


You can't resume your studies until you've re-registered with the University.

When prompted by the Student Administration Team, you can complete registration via your MUSE account by visiting 'My Services>Online Registration for Continuing Students'.

For further information about re-registering please contact the Student Administration Service or visit the web page below.


For help finding accommodation ahead of your return, please contact the Accommodation Services.

Contact Accommodation Services

Academic department

You should contact your academic department ahead of your return to access materials and information needed for resuming your studies.

We encourage you to attend events held as part of Orientation and Intro week, as well as the study skills sessions run by 301.

Change of Status

If you want to make any changes to your study, transfer or withdraw from University, please visit the page below for more information.