Postgraduate Research Essentials: outside your research degree

Updated on 27 March 2024

The process for booking annual leave and medical absences, as well as more information about undertaking additional work alongside your research degree, including teaching

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Annual leave

Full-time postgraduate researchers are entitled to a minimum of 30 days of annual leave per year, with part-time postgraduate researchers being entitled to the same amount of time off pro-rated by their Full Time Equivalence (FTE) percentage. This annual leave allowance includes days when the University is closed (e.g. the winter closure period over the Christmas and New Year period); you will not normally be permitted to work on a closure day unless your School has a policy in place to allow this and you meet all the necessary conditions and obtain the approval required.

To book annual leave, you must seek approval from your supervisor in the first instance. If you are also a staff member, you must also seek approval from your line manager in accordance with University policy. You should request your annual leave at least one week before your first day of absence.

Your School may also require you to complete an absence form to book holiday time; please check your School’s guidance about this and contact your School PGR Office if unsure.

Please note that your scholarship or degree programme may have restrictions on when you are able to take annual leave, which you should check before booking annual leave.

If you are on a Student visa, it is very important that you follow Immigration Compliance’s absence request process. The Home Office requires the University of Dundee to monitor the attendance of all visa-holding postgraduate researchers and students, and you must have your absence properly recorded and authorised. After gaining pre-approval from your supervisor, you must fill out the Absence Request Form (available at the absence request link above) and send it to your School’s PGR Office. You must then also use eVision to request approval for the absence. You must have your absence approved by your School before making any travel arrangements. If you have any questions that may impact your visa, please contact the Immigration Compliance Office:

Medical absence

If you are ill, please contact your supervisor and your School’s PGR Office straight away to advise them of how long you are expecting to be absent.

If your absence is seven days or less (including weekends), you will be able to self-certify your absence. Your School’s PGR Office will ask you to complete an absence request, either on eVision or on a PDF form. Please make sure you do this in a timely manner to avoid your time away being counted as an unauthorised absence.

If you need to take a medical absence of more than seven days, you will need to obtain a medical certificate from your doctor and submit this to your School. Your School’s PGR Office will be able to advise you on when and how you will need to supply this. PGRs on Student visas must also follow the Immigration Compliance medical absence process.

If you are funded by an external body (e.g. a research council or sponsor), they must be made aware of any extended periods of absence. Please liaise with your supervisors and School PGR Office in the first instance on who should communicate this to your funding body.

You should keep your supervisors and School updated with your plans to return to work, and let them (and, if on a Student visa, the Immigration Compliance team) know as soon as you are back. If you need additional support to facilitate a return to work, your School will be able to direct you towards the right team to help you.

If you need to take a longer-term medical absence, you may wish to consider a temporary withdrawal from study. Please see the information on temporary withdrawal in our guide on finding support or making changes for more information.

Teaching and other work by PGRs

If you decide to teach, then there is a mandatory requirement to complete the University’s short course on Learning to Teach in Higher Education (LTHE).

If you are funded by a studentship, award, grant or other similar funding source, you must check the terms and conditions of your funding and ensure that any work you are planning to undertake does not breach the terms and conditions of your agreement with them. Your funding body may restrict your work hours and/or earnings, or impose other restrictions.

If you are on a Student visa, you must comply with the conditions of your visa fully, including all restrictions on the number of hours you can work per week. Most postgraduate researchers on Student visas at the University of Dundee are eligible to work up to 20 hours a week while they study, but it is your responsibility to check your own allowance. Please read the Immigration Compliance team’s guide to working during study, and contact with any questions.


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