Leaving or returning to study

Updated on 9 January 2023

Leaving or returning to study can be a big step. There’s support available to help you make the best decision and point you in the right direction.

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It’s really important to think carefully about why you want to leave University – it is a big decision!

You might be feeling homesick, experiencing exam stress, or have medical or other concerns. Perhaps you think you have chosen the wrong course, or money worries might be causing sleepless nights.

It may seem that difficult issues leave you with no choice but to leave University, but there are often solutions to make it possible for you to stay on course or take a break from your studies for a shorter period of time.

If you want to discuss your situation, and find out more about the options available, arrange to speak with the Student Support Team.

You may be able to change your course

Instead of leaving, you may be able to change course to one you enjoy more or better suits your needs.

See our guide on changing course before you consider full leaving.

Withdrawing from study

If you’re going through a difficult time, or you’re unwell and need to take a break from study, then you don’t need to withdraw permanently. There are a few options available to you.

Temporary withdrawal

A temporary withdrawal is usually until the end of an academic year, or the start of the next Semester 2, depending on when your break starts.

You will need to discuss with your School when you will need to return to study, and inform your funding body as explained below.

Speak to: your Adviser of Studies

Medical break

For a medical break you will need a note from your doctor (GP) saying that you aren’t fit to study just now. This could be for a mental or physical health issue.

A medical break can be either for a relatively short period or for up to two years.

It is important to speak to your funding body (see below) if you will be taking a medical break to see if they can support you whilst you recover.

Speak to: your doctor (GP) and your Adviser of Studies

Withdraw permanently

If you have made the decision to withdraw permanently, then you should speak to your School about the process for doing this.

Remember, once you’ve withdrawn permanently you will no longer have access to University services (except for Careers Service).

If you choose to return to study, then you would need to apply again to the University or through UCAS, as you did before starting your first year of study.

Speak to: your Adviser of Studies

    Until you have submitted a withdrawal form to your School Office, you will be deemed to be still attending your course and charged fees accordingly.


    Withdrawal from your course may not release you from your accommodation contract.

    Tuition fees and funding

    Withdrawing might affect your funding or ability to access funding for a new course. This is especially important if you will need to retake a year or have already used funding for College.

    The Student Funding Unit can give you more information about the potential costs of withdrawing.

    NHS funding

    If you are withdrawing from a course supported by the NHS, you must let the NHS know by calling +44 (0)300 330 1345 and tell your School Office. Delays could lead to overpayments, so it's important to let them know quickly.

    Undergraduate students

    SAAS funded (Scottish)

    You need to contact SAAS yourself.

    If you fully withdraw from your course by 1 December, SAAS will not pay the University your Tuition Fees for that academic year.

    This means that if you decide to change course, or move to another institution, you will often be able to re-apply for SAAS tuition fee funding for your new course (exceptions apply, and you should seek advice from the Student Funding Unit).

    You may still be charged by the University of Dundee for any teaching you have undertaken until the date of your withdrawal. You should speak to the Student Fees team in Registry as soon as possible to find out if you are liable for any fees and discuss payment options.

    Student Loans Company funded (Rest of UK)

    You will need to contact

    If you take out a Tuition Fee Loan from SLC, you are charged a proportion of tuition fees per semester. However you are allowed a period of four weeks grace at the beginning of each semester to withdraw without attracting further charges.

    • Semester one: after four weeks teaching, you will be charged 25% of the total tuition fee cost for the year
    • Semester two: after four weeks teaching, you will be charged another 25% of the total tuition fee cost for the year
    • Semester three: after four weeks teaching, you will be charged a further 50% of the total tuition fee cost, in other words, you will be charged the full 100% of tuition fee cost.

    Self-funded and international students

    See our student tuition fee refund policy for details.

    Postgraduate taught, Postgraduate research, and Distance Learning students

    See our student tuition fee refund policy for details.

    If you have a Student visa

    If you are an international student, you must contact the Immigration Compliance team to find out how your withdrawal might affect your visa.

    You can also contact the International Advice Service for guidance.

    Returning to University after a break in study, or repeating a year?

    Understandably, coming back to University from time away can be difficult, whether you’re returning from a medical break, temporary withdrawal, repeating a year or having spent time away taking part in an Exchange programme.

    We are proud of our reputation for a great student experience, and for developing a supportive, caring, and compassionate culture on campus.

    Before you return from a break, you can speak to the Student Support Team about preparing for your return to study, or you can contact Disability Services if needed.


    Student Services

    Stay on Course Team

    Complete our online form

    Guide category Student support