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Medical Intermission

A medical intermission is a complete break from study for medical reasons.

If you find yourself unable to study for more than two weeks due to a medical condition, you should apply for a period of medical intermission.

Intermission can be backdated by a maximum of 30 days from the day you make your application.

Applying for Medical Intermission

You can apply for medical intermission via your CamSIS self-service. Information on how to do this is available on the ‘Applying for a change in your student status’ page.

You will need to attach medical evidence to the online application form. More guidance about acceptable forms of medical evidence is available below.

Once submitted, your application will be considered by your supervisor, department, College and Degree Committee before arriving at the Student Registry for the final decision. The Student Registry will refer your medical evidence to the Board of Graduate Studies Medical Advisors, who will confirm whether the period of intermission you have requested is warranted by the medical evidence you have provided.

If your application for medical intermission is approved, you will need to apply for permission to return to study at the end of your break from study. Information about this process can be found on the ‘returning from medical intermission’ page of the Cambridge Students website.

Length and timing of intermission

You can apply for a period of intermission if your break from study lasts more than two weeks.
Full-time students can apply for up to a maximum of three consecutive terms. Part-time students can apply for a maximum of five consecutive terms.

PhD, MSc and MLitt students are not permitted to intermit for more than six full time terms (ten part-time terms) in total.

Masters students (or students undertaking any other one year programme) are not permitted to intermit for more than three full time terms (five part time terms) in total.

Intermission during the first term of study will only be approved in exceptional circumstances, and can’t be used as a way of deferring admission. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis and will need the strong support of the student’s Degree Committee.

It is not expected that you would apply for intermission in the late stages of your course of study, where it would be more appropriate for you to either take a short extension of up to 30 days for medical reasons, or temporarily withdraw from the Register of Graduate Students.

Medical Evidence

When you submit your application for medical intermission you must include medical evidence. The medical evidence must be a detailed letter from a medical professional on headed paper. It must be signed and recently dated.

The medical evidence you submit must be in English. If the documents are not originally in English, they must be translated by a professional translating service. In some cases, it is acceptable for documents to be translated by a member of your College.

The University is not able to cover the cost of medical documents submitted in support of an application for intermission.

During medical intermission

Medical Intermission is a complete break from study. If you are studying for a research degree, your submission date will be extended to take account of the time you have not been studying.

Whilst intermitting, students are not permitted to study or undertake any form of employment. You can remain in Cambridge during a period of intermission and may choose to maintain contact with your Supervisor, but you are not expected to be actively engaged in your studies or to be accessing laboratories or other facilities. 

You should not use College facilities during intermission, nor engage in social activities within College, without the express permission of the College.

If you do wish to take up employment during a period of intermission, you will need to contact the Student Registry ( to let them know this is your intention.  In most cases you will be temporarily withdrawn from the Register of Graduate Students and will need to apply for reinstatement when ready to resume study. The ‘Reinstatement to the register’ page has more information about applying for reinstatement.

Keeping Term

Depending on the timing of your intermission, it is possible that will not ‘keep’ one or more terms.

If the length of your period of intermission means that you won’t be actively studying for at least three-quarters of a term, it will not be marked as kept.

If your term is not marked as kept, you will not be liable for fees for the term and it will not count towards the number of terms you are required to complete for your degree.

You can find more information about terms on the Terms of Study page.

Intermission and Funding

If you are funded by the SLC, a Research Council or other funding body, you should always discuss your plans for intermission with the relevant administrator before submitting an application. Depending on the reason for your intermission, your award may continue or be suspended for the period of your intermission. 

If you are not eligible for funding during your intermission, it is possible that any maintenance payments received during a period of intermission may be considered an 'overpayment' which will have to be repaid.

Hardship Funds 

If you are not in receipt of funding for a period of intermission and are experiencing financial hardship because of this, you may be eligible to apply for hardship funding.  You should talk to your College Tutor about any college hardship funds for which you may be eligible. You may also be eligible for support from the Postgraduate Hardship Fund

The Students’ Unions’ Advice Service  can also signpost to other relevant sources of funding (see also Turn2Us).

US/Canadian Federal loans

If you are planning on applying or have been granted intermission whilst in receipt of a current federal loan or hold one that is in deferment or require further information please contact:

Information for students studying on a Tier 4 sponsored visa
A Tier 4 visa is granted for the purpose of full-time study in the UK. If a student is not engaged in full-time study for a period of time, the terms of Tier 4 sponsorship no longer apply and the Home Office expects the student to leave the UK.

If a period of intermission is granted, the University is required to cease Tier 4 sponsorship and report the change of circumstances to the Home Office. The Home Office act on this change by curtailing the Tier 4 visa to sixty days and the student is advised to leave the UK.

In certain circumstances the University is able to continue sponsorship for a Tier 4 visa for a period of intermission up to a maximum of sixty days. This would only be considered in cases where the student can still complete their course within their existing visa expiry and would not include intermission for the purpose of either internship or course which does not contribute to studies at Cambridge. If sponsorship is continued but the sponsored student does not return to studies after this intermission, the University is required to cease sponsorship in line with the above.

In exceptional circumstances, such as serious illness or injury, Tier 4 sponsorship can be continued for an intermission providing the student can still complete their course within their existing visa expiry. The maximum period of continued sponsorship would be four months. Applications where there may be grounds for continued Tier 4 sponsorship during an intermission period greater than 60 day should be referred to the International Student Office for approval unless it is for maternity or paternity leave which can be granted for a maximum of 4 months.

Any previous intermission will be taken into account when considering whether Tier 4 sponsorship can be continued.

In cases where Tier 4 sponsorship is ceased, the University will be able to issue a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a new visa application once return to study is approved; please contact the International Student Office to request this CAS.

For further information please contact the International Student Office:


If you have any questions about medical intermission, please write to the Student Registry: