Permanent leavers

This page covers the process to follow when a postgraduate researcher (PGR) considers permanently withdrawing from their studies.

A permanent leaver is a PGR who permanently leaves their programme before completion. Permanent leave requests are discussed between the PGR and their Graduate School Office (GSO), and then submitted via the leavers form by the GSO to the Doctoral College Operations (DCO) team.

An alternative to permanent leave is to consider a suspension or extension of studies

Calculating the leaving date

The PGR should enter into the leavers form the date they wish to leave the University. This date should be within 10 days of the date the form is received by the Graduate School.

DCO will calculate the final leaving date using the PGR’s leaving date, as specified in their leavers form and confirmed in their email. If this not within 10 working days, then the date the form is sent to DCO will be used. If this is still more than 10 working days, the date the leave is processed will be used as the leaving date.

If the leaving date requested by the PGR is in the future, DCO will not process the form until on or after the date requested.

Process to become a permanent leaver

Throughout the process, the Graduate School must emphasise the importance of the PGR staying in contact with the School and monitoring their University email address.

  1. PGR contacts the Graduate School Office, who offers the PGR a meeting to talk through the PGR’s options.
  2. The GSO arranges and meets with the PGR within 3-5 working days The meeting should cover the items listed in the table in the “Graduate School and PGR conversations” section of this webpage below (the advice may be given by email if the PGR opts to not meet).
  3. After discussion of the items in the “Graduate School and PGR conversations” table (either during a meeting or by email) the PGR will decide if they want to permanently leave:
    1. If the PGR decides not to leave, no further action is needed but it is suggested that the Graduate School Office to liaise with the PGR in 1 months’ time to check progress and wellbeing. If the PGR wishes to permanently withdraw, the GSO and PGR agree the details of the leave request such as the leaving date. The leaving date is the date the PGR would like to permanently leave the University. This can be no earlier than 10 working days before the current date. Please see above for how the leaving date is calculated.
    2. The PGR completes the leavers form (.docx) and returns to the Graduate School Office from their University email address, stating in their email the date that they wish to leave.
    3. The Graduate School Office must ensure the PGR is aware that they have not left the University – the process is still being carried out and they must continue to monitor their University email account.
    4. The Graduate School should ask for a personal email address so that they have permission to contact the PGR once the leave has been processed. If the personal email address is incorrect in GOAEMAL, email the correct address to
  4. Once approved, the Graduate School emails the leavers form (and email from PGR confirming that they wish to leave) promptly to DCO at  The leave will be processed within 10 working days.
  5. DCO will provide confirmation to the Graduate School Office and relevant teams (PGfees, PG scholarships, PGRprogress and Graduation) once the leave has been processed. The Graduate School Office should contact the PGR, using their personal email address, to confirm that the leave has been processed.
  6. If the PGR has an active CAS, DCO will report the leave to UKVI within 10 working days of the form being processed. The PGR will receive confirmation of their visa curtailment via email to their personal email address.


PGR and Graduate School conversations

GSOs should offer to meet with PGRs who are considering leaving. During the meeting, GSOs should establish the impact of leaving, and signpost to resources to fill any unknown gaps in key areas of impact. The key areas of impact are listed below with links to SES staff site guidance. Further information is available on the For Students website.




Check the PGR has discussed leaving with their supervisors and the Director of PGR Studies 

If they have not, advise the PGR to have the discussion before proceeding with leave. 

Signpost the PGR to relevant support services and information webpages

Support and wellbeing

LUU Help and support

Leeds Hardship fund

Check the PGR is aware of or has considered appropriate alternatives like suspension or authorised absence

If the PGR hasn’t decided to leave there may be more appropriate solutions to explore as appropriate depending on the reason for leaving e.g. including authorised absence, suspension, change of mode of study, change of supervisors

Outline how the leavers’ process works including date of leaving

PGR to stay in contact with the Graduate School throughout the process.

See “calculating the leaving date” section above.

Advise international PGRs and PGRs who have a visa to contact Student Visa Advice

Leaving the University (as a suspension to studies or permanent withdrawal) will affect the PGR’s visa.

Advise PGR to read the student webpage about becoming a permanent leaver, section “fees and funding” and contact funders/sponsors, if necessary. (GSO staff are advised to read this section.)

Advise PGR to check the terms of their scholarship, signpost PGR to the student website about becoming a permanent leaver which explains that the PGR may be contacted by the Fees Team following leaving.  

Discuss if the PGR requires any documents e.g. fall back awards / letters /transcripts

PGRs can request a letter showing dates of study from

Fall back awards may be possible for PGRs registered on an integrated PhD or 4 year CDT, but this is dependent on the point in the year the PGR leaves. PGRs should be made aware of slow time scales for processing of exit awards

If PGR completed taught modules they may be able to request a transcript at the point all marks have been released. However, this may not be possible if the PGR leaves before the marks have been through an Exams Board.

Discuss practical arrangements

Returning keys, clearing desk, returning Student ID card, returning equipment

Advise PGR about precautions they need to take relating to IT/Data

Advise PGR to handover over data/IP to supervisor(s), advise when the PGR’s University IT account and email address will close (immediately when DCO process the leavers form)

Advice the PGR to contact Accommodation Services if they are in University accommodation

This is not part of programme arrangements but does have a significant impact upon the PGR’s personal situation. The University accommodation site outlines requirements to terminate a contract.



Cancelations within the cooling off period

PGRs are able to cancel their contract within 14 days from their start date (first years) or renewal date (returning PGRs), as stated in the Student contract.

PGRs wishing to withdraw in the cooling off period should complete the online form available in the Student contract.

If the withdrawal request comes as a completed standard leave form, the form should be processed in the usual manner, detailed above. The 10-working day processing limit will apply.