pausing your studies for a year

Interruption allows students to take an authorised break in their studies for one calendar year

An interruption allows you to take an authorised break in your studies for one calendar year. Following the interruption period, you will return to your studies at the beginning  of the respective term. For example, an interruption at any point in the Lent term will require you to return at the beginning of the Lent term the following year.

You should discuss the options with your Academic Adviser or Supervisor before making the decision to interrupt. Requests to interrupt studies will usually only be considered on the basis of exceptional circumstances.

When can you interrupt?

You can interrupt during the Michaelmas or Lent terms only. 

If you are experiencing health or personal problems that are causing you to miss classes then requesting an interruption at the earliest opportunity is often the best option. This enables you to take a break and then return the following year to properly benefit from teaching.

If you have received full tuition for the year you will only be permitted to apply to interrupt from the beginning of the next academic year. If you have received all of your teaching but are experiencing unexpected circumstances which may affect your exams, you may want to consider applying for a deferral instead. 

If you are considering interruption in the middle of a term, you should discuss with your Academic Adviser or Supervisor whether it would be beneficial to continue to the end of that term or to interrupt immediately.

The deadline for interruption applications is the last day of the term in which you wish to interrupt. 

It is not possible to back date an interruption so if you are experiencing difficulties it is important to discuss the options and make a decision as early as possible. Students can contact either their department or the Advice Team for guidance. 

Applications recieved after the deadline cannot be considered.  

How to interrupt

1. If you think that you would like to interrupt then arrange to speak with your Academic Advisor or Supervisor.

2. Students living in Halls of Residence should also discuss their intention to interrupt their programme with the Residential Services Office, as an interruption will have implications upon their right to continue to live in the hall.  

3. If everybody agrees that interruption is appropriate, complete an Interruption of Studies form. This form can be edited, signed and saved digitally, using the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC application which can be downloaded free of charge from the Adobe website.

4. You will need to provide evidence of your exceptional circumstances with the form.

5. The form should be completed and signed by the student, the student's Academic Adviser or Supervisor and the Departmental Tutor or Programme Director and then returned to the Student Services Centre.

6. You will be notified, via your LSE email address, once your application has been processed successfully. This will usually be within five working days.

If you also wish to apply for repeat teaching it is advisable to do so at the same time as interrupting. Please ensure that the relevant section on the form is completed by your department before submission. Further information can be found on the repeat teaching webpages.

Both departments and students are encouraged to ensure that only completed forms with relevant supporting evidence are submitted to the Student Services Centre. This will avoid any delay in processing the request. 

Standards of evidence

You must attach an original version of official, corroborating evidence of your circumstances. Any evidence that you present must normally* meet the following standards and should be: 

  • Written by appropriately qualified professionals (e.g. health professionals, police authority) who are independent from you. 
  • On headed paper and signed and dated by the author. Evidence presented by email may be acceptable in some circumstances and only if the email has been sent by the author from the official domain name of the author's organisation. Where evidence is submitted in email form, the School reserves the right to request further information from you.
  • Confirming specifically that the circumstances were witnessed on the relevant date as opposed to being reported retrospectively.
  • In English. If your evidence is not in English then you must submit an original source-language copy of the evidence together with an officially translated copy. The translation must include a statement signed by a Notary Public, attesting that the translated text is an accurate and complete translation of the source-language text.

The LSE Language Centre may be able to help with official translations of some languages. It is your responsibility to attach all relevant documentation and to obtain an official translation at the time of submission.

  • Original. Copies will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
  • Unaltered. Documentation that has been amended for any reason will be deemed inadmissible by the School. 

It is your responsibility to attach all relevant documentation and to obtain an official translation at the time of submission. The School will not obtain any documentation on your behalf. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes if you have submitted evidence to the School through another procedure. If there is evidence that you have fraudulently presented documentation to the School, the matter will be referred to the Disciplinary Regulations for Students.

Please refer to the Standards of Evidence Table for a list of the types of evidence the School would expect for various types of exceptional circumstances. Please note this list is not exhaustive.




Required evidence


 Acute illness


A medical certificate/letter dated from the time of your illness. It must confirm the nature of your symptoms, the likely impact these symptoms may have on your performance, the diagnosis (if possible) and the time during which this has affected you.





As 1 above but also confirming any time period during which you were an inpatient




External Factors: E.g. Family illness; bereavement; victim of crime


Evidence of external factors where possible. In the case of bereavement you must normally provide a death certificate. You must also normally provide evidence to confirm the impact this has had on your wellbeing and performance.




Unexpected financial problems


The School expects students to have registered with sufficient funds for the duration of their programme of study. Therefore, students need to clearly demonstrate something unexpected has subsequently occurred to disrupt these arrangements or to cause additional expenditure. The unexpected circumstances must have occurred after you commenced your studies. The School cannot consider students who have knowingly registered without sufficient funds for their fees and living costs. The types of evidence you need to provide are as follows: Medical certificates (as 1 above), if the financial difficulties relate to illness; A death certificate; Original scholarship/sponsorship letter and evidence of non-continuation; An employer's redundancy letter, if you or a member of your family has been made redundant; Suitably redacted bank statement from the time of affected assessment.





Only where there is a specific illness or injury during pregnancy. Medical evidence must be provided as 1 above.


The following evidence is normally not acceptable:

  • Technical medical reports that do not contain the required information set out at point one in the table above.
  • Prescriptions.
  • X-rays.
  • Photographs.
  • Statements from friends or family.

*If you are unable to meet the standard as set out above then you must submit any corroborating evidence that you do have. 

What if my programme or courses change?

It is worth noting that the courses on the programme may change whilst you are on interruption and you should be prepared to take alternative courses upon their return, if need be. 

Can I interrupt more than once?

Second interruptions are only approved in very exceptional circumstances.  Any second interruption requests require authorisation at School level.

MPhil and PhD Students

MPhil / PhD research students should contact the PhD Academy for advice on interruption. 

Executive Masters

If you are on an executive Masters programme you should submit an Executive Programme Interruption form. This form can be edited, signed and saved digitally, using the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC application which can be downloaded free of charge from the Adobe website.

The format of executive Masters does not lend itself to the usual stipulations associated with an interruption of studies, so it is important that the correct form is completed and submitted to your department for approval. It should then be returned to the Student Services Centre for processing.

Forms can be completed electronically and submitted to your department via email if need be.

Interruptions must be requested before the teaching block, that you wish to interrupt, ends. The School will not consider retrospective requests to interrupt. 

Fees and financial support


You are not required to pay fees during an approved interruption , but are liable to pay fees for the period you have been registered prior to interrupting. Once an interruption has been processed, the Fees Office will be notified, who in turn will refund any payments to you, as necessary.

When recommencing your studies after an approved interruption period, you will be charged the fees effective in the academic year of your return.

If you are granted an interruption of studies and decide to permanently withdraw from your programme during the interruption period, you will have your fees recalculated to account for the teaching you received prior to interruption. For more information about the tuition fee policy as it relates to interruptions and withdrawals, please visit Fees Income and Credit Control

Student Loans Company

If you are reliant on funds from the Student Loans Company (SLC) to pay your fees and interrupt during the Michaelmas or Lent Term will be charged a fee in line with the schedule of loan payments from the SLC (i.e. 25% of the fee if the interruption applies after the end of Michaelmas Term and 50% of the fee if the interruption applies after the end of Lent Term).

Financial Support

Once you have interrupted your studies, you will not be eligible to apply for financial support from LSE. If the reason for interruption is financial difficulty, you may wish to contact the Financial Support Office prior to interrupting to check if there is any support available that may permit you to continue with your studies. 

If you have interrupted your studies and re-registered in a subsequent academic session, you will not be eligible to apply or re-apply for pre-entry financial support schemes, such as the Graduate Support Scheme, the Undergraduate Support Scheme or other awards and scholarships. 

If a you have a LSE or external scholarship, you should check the terms of their award before requesting an interruption, since there may be implications for your scholarship. 

During interruption

While on an approved interruption of studies the following applies:

  • You will have access-only rights to the Library; you will not be permitted to withdraw books (unless their department authorises it on your behalf)
  • You will keep their LSE email accounts, but must remember to update your password in line with the password policy.
  • You cannot stay in LSE accommodation
  • You are not entitled to a TfL student-rate Oyster Card
  • You are not entitled to council tax exemption

Unapproved interruptions

On occasion students will take an unapproved interruption from their studies, in what the School calls an unauthorised break. These are not permitted and students are encouraged to communicate with the School if they intend leaving for any period.

However, in cases when this happens the School’s Break Unauthorised Policy is as follows:

  • Students who take unauthorised breaks will have their student records amended to reflect this. They will not be considered to be registered students and will have no right to access School facilities or teaching. This status will remain in place for one academic year. 
  • If the student makes contact with the School during this time, they will be encouraged to meet with the Head of Student Services to discuss their situation. Whilst there are no guarantees, the School will do what they can to facilitate a return to studies if the circumstances have been extenuating and can be supported with appropriate evidence.
  • If the student does not contact the School in this time, when that academic year ends they will be formally withdrawn from their programme. If students wish to re-join that programme again they will have to go through the admissions application process.

The School encourages all students to avoid this route if at all possible. Full advice can be given on interruption and formal withdrawal processes, which students should seek in cases where they are unsure.

Support and advice

If students are facing difficulties with their studies, whether for academic or personal reasons, there are lots of people that may be able to help. 

Students that hold a Tier 4 visa are encouraged to contact the International Student Visa Advice Team about their options. 

If you are not sure who is best to ask for help please contact the Student Services Centre in the first instance. 


Meet the team

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