This information applies to undergraduate students and postgraduate taught students studying at Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia campuses. Postgraduate Research students should seek advice from their Supervisor.

Temporary suspension of studies (TSS) explained

In certain situations it may be in your best interests to suspend your studies temporarily, it sometimes helps to take time out to deal with issues that are stopping you studying effectively – this might be a health or personal issue – and return to University at an agreed date. A Temporary Suspension of Studies (TSS) is when a student stops studying at the university for an extended period of time (usually no longer than one academic year) and can be applied for and approved on the basis of genuine medical, personal, financial reasons or military service.

Sometimes a TSS may be enforced by the University in cases where this is considered necessary. In exceptional cases a suspension may also be granted for industrial placements or a semester/year abroad, where these are not a formal part of the study programme, if it can be clearly demonstrated that it is nevertheless directly related or beneficial to the student's programme of study.

For postgraduate taught students completing a dissertation a suspension of studies commencing within six weeks of the submission deadline will not normally be permitted.

What to do

Firstly, you should read the Guidelines on Student Temporary Suspension of Studies.

You should then talk through your intention to apply for a TSS and options with an appropriate member of university staff to determine if such a course of action is applicable for your situation. Ideally this person should be your personal tutor or programme director (programme leader at HWUM), but you can also contact the Thinking of Leaving service. Please see the contact details for your campus here.

It is essential that you seek advice to determine the impact a TSS will have on your own situation (e.g., academic performance, financial situation and student or immigration status).

How to apply

You should download and complete the appropriate amendment to registration form available here.

Under the 'School Comment' section a statement will need to be completed by your personal tutor or programme director (programme leader at HWUM). With your completed application you should submit supporting evidence.

You should submit your application electronically from your Heriot-Watt email address to the relevant school administrator. You can find out who this is by contacting your school office.

School office contact details
Textiles and Design (Scottish Borders) High Mill Building 311
Gayle Poddubecki
01896 892267
Engineering and Physical Sciences James Nasmyth 1.09
0131 451 4100
Social Sciences Mary Burton 1.23
0131 451 3865
Mathematics and Computer Science Earl Mountbatten 1.25
0131 451 3324
Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society Edwin Chadwick 1.03
0131 451 8363

Malaysia campus students should submit their documents to the Student Service Centre or write an email to

What happens next

Following the application process your application for a TSS will either be approved or refused. You will be notified of the decision in writing within seven days of the decision being taken.

Returning to your studies

You must contact your school administrator to determine your enrolment status and to re-enrol on your programme of study. If you are unable to return at that point to your studies you must contact your programme director to discuss the options available to you.