skip to content

Faculty of Mathematics


In line with the Code of Practice for Research Students it is expected that all graduate students will formally request permission from the University if a change to their student status is required.

A change to your student status is required if you are contemplating any of the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • working away from Cambridge to attend a summer school or research programme, or to undertake a research visit related to your studies, or to conduct fieldwork;
  • undertaking an internship/placement directly related to your research;
  • undertaking an internship/placement unrelated to your research;
  • returning home to write up your thesis;
  • requesting an extension to your end of registration date (end of year four);
  • requesting a break from your studies because you are unwell, or need to support a relative, or to take maternity or similar leave;
  • planning on withdrawing from your studies (temporarily or permanently);
  • requesting a change to your course of study or transferring to a different department.

The Student Registry publishes full guidance on the procedures, requirements and implications for requesting a change to your student status. This guidance includes examples of what are and what are not considered appropriate grounds for a request. You are strongly advised to consult this guidance for the most up-to-date information prior to making an application.

Below is an overview of the types of request that the Mathematics Degree Committee most frequently receives.

Leave to Work Away

Leave to work away is granted for time away from Cambridge to undertake activity which is directly related to your approved topic of research. Any absence over two weeks requires an application unless it is holiday agreed with your Supervisor and College Tutor. There must always be a good academic case for seeking permission to work away. This applies throughout the period that you are a registered student. Applications for Leave to Work Away may not be made retrospectively.

An application to work away can be initiated for:

  • fieldwork;
  • to complete an internship relevant to your research or sponsored by your funding body;
  • returning home to write up or make corrections to a thesis.

Risk Assessment for Leave to work away

As part of your application you will be required to indicate that an appropriate risk assessment has been undertaken. Responsibility for checking risk assessments falls to the Department and you should upload a copy of your risk assessment, signed by your supervisor, to CamSiS when you submit your application. Departmental approval for your application will not be given until copy of an appropriate risk assessment has been received. The type of risk assessment required will depend upon the activity to be undertaken. A basic template is provided below, which may be adapted. Alternatively the Safety Office provides information on more detailed risk assessment. If in doubt as to the extent of the risk assessment required, consult with your supervisor.

Short trips to attend conferences

Agreed absences of two weeks or less do not require an application for Leave to Work Away.

Leave to work Away Research Fund

This fund supports research students with essential extra costs associated with a major piece of work carried out whilst away from Cambridge and which is an integral part of their research.


As a graduate student you are expected to be resident in Cambridge throughout the year, working full time on your research, unless you have permission from the University for Intermission or Leave to Work Away. The only exception is for short periods of holiday which must be agreed with your Supervisor and College Tutor.

Writing-up and post-examination corrections

  • If your research is complete you may apply for work away prior to submitting in order to return home to complete writing-up. In all cases this will only be approved with the agreement of your supervisor. A risk assessment is not required.
  • You may also apply for work away when completing post-examination corrections to your thesis. If you don’t have permission to work away during this period, you must remain in Cambridge to work full time on your corrections.
  • If you have submitted your thesis and you are waiting for the outcome of your examination, you are not required to apply to work away for this period.

A note on paid employment

Please note that undertaking paid employment is not viewed by the University as compatible with retaining your student status. In such circumstances the University expects you to temporarily withdraw from your studies. The University sets out guidance on the level of paid work which is considered acceptable whilst conducting full time study.

Intermission (medical or non-medical) – an authorised break from study

Intermission is an authorised break from your programme of study. Normally your submission date will be extended for the same amount of time as the period of agreed intermission. If granted intermission you may continue to engage with the Department or your Supervisor on an occasional basis, but you are not expected to be actively engaged in research or study.

Note that retrospective intermission is only permitted for a maximum of thirty days from the date your application is initiated in CamSiS.

An application for intermission can be initiated for:

  • Illness;
  • Maternity, parental or adoption leave;
  • Family circumstances (such as to nurse/support a sick relative);
  • Deal with an emergency situation – specific details will be required;
  • Language course that is not intrinsic to your research;
  • Research fellowship that is not intrinsic to your research;
  • Internships/placements which are not intrinsic to your research but may be for your career development or personal interest.

Extension to Submission Date

The submission deadline for all full time PhD students is automatically set at the last day of the fourth year of study. You are expected to make every effort to submit before this deadline. Extensions to this deadline are not automatically agreed, even with the support of your supervisor.

If the deadline is reached and no extension has been granted you will be automatically (if temporarily) withdrawn from the Register of Graduate Students. This does not prevent submission at a later stage. Retrospective applications are not permitted.

Legitimate reasons to request an extension:

  • Unavoidable delays: such as lab moves, equipment failure.
  • Academic: where there is a strong academic case that you are actively working on your writing up and need a short extension to complete to enable you to submit. You must make it clear why it is essential for you to remain registered as a graduate student at this stage. You must provide clear academic reasons to justify and explain why submission has been delayed.
  • Short delays of no more than 1 month due to medical issues (medical evidence required). You are expected to have applied for intermission at the appropriate time for longer periods of illness.

Note that if an extension is granted you are expected to be based in Cambridge working full time towards submission, unless a separate application for leave to work away has been approved. Requests for extensions will not be approved if we know that you are no longer in Cambridge, have taken up employment, or are engaged in activity which means you are not committed full time to the write-up of your thesis.

Making an application

Your application should be initiated via your CamSiS Self-Service page.

Before making an application:

  • Please consult the most up-to-date guidance from the Student Registry website;
  • Make sure that you understand any implications of a successful application (such as a curtailment of your student visa or a suspension of your funding);
  • Make sure that you have discussed your plans with your Supervisor(s), and if appropriate your College Tutor;
  • If required, make sure you have any supporting documentation to upload to your application;
  • If required, make sure you have conducted an appropriate risk assessment and submitted a copy to the Graduate Office.
  • If you are requesting an extension consider carefully how much extra time you will genuinely require and, if possible, justify the time you are requesting in your application.

It is your responsibility to provide a clear account of the reasons for your application. Sufficient information must be provided in the application for the Registry to make a judgement on the case presented. When writing your application please make sure that you:

  • Include all required information (e.g. dates that you will be away, where you are going, who you will be working with, why you are going);
  • Make sure that you frame your case in keeping with Registry guidance (e.g. if applying for leave to work away from Cambridge make it clear how the work to be undertaken directly relates to your research).