skip to content
 

With effect from 17th April 2022, the policy enabling students to work remotely in exceptional circumstances relating to the covid-19 pandemic is no longer in place, and normal residency requirements apply.

https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus/students/guidance-for-all-students/guidance-on-exceptional-circumstances-2021-22

Working Away 

Applying for leave to work away

You apply for leave to work away via your CamSIS self-service. General information on how to apply for a change in your student status is available on the ‘Applying for a change in your student status’ page. 

Detailed guidance specifically on how to apply for leave to work away can be found here. A training video can be found here.

Approval to work away can take several weeks, so you should submit your application at least two months before you plan to leave. You cannot apply to work away retrospectively. You must obtain permission to work away before you leave. 

Risk Assessment and insurance

You must upload a risk assessment to your application. This is to ensure that risks have been considered and where possible mitigated before you travel.  Even if you are working away for less than two weeks and are not required to apply for leave to work away, you are advised to still complete a risk assessment. Similarly, if you are undertaking research (other than a placement or internship when leave to work away and a risk assessment are always required) at sites outside Cambridge but you will be continuing to reside in Cambridge (ie: travelling to and from sites within a day), although you do not need to apply for leave to work away, you are strongly advised to still complete a risk assesment to ensure you consider all potential risks of your planned trip(s). Please contact your Department’s Postgraduate Office for the appropriate risk assessment form.  Useful information on assessing risk and other safeguarding measures can be found at https://www.safeguarding.admin.cam.ac.uk/

Working away activity Risk assessment required? Insurance required?
Any kind of data collection or fieldwork away from Cambridge, including archival or library-based work within the UK Yes No
Any kind of data collection or fieldwork away from Cambridge, including archival or library-based work overseas (in home country or elsewhere) Yes Yes (University Travel Insurance)
Internship/placement/Overseas Institutional Visit Yes Yes (University Travel Insurance)
Writing up or completing corrections to thesis in home country No* University insurance not available
Writing up or completing corrections to thesis in a location other than home country Yes University insurance not available
Exceptional circumstances (see below under 'reasons to apply') No No

*However, you will need to upload a statement saying that you are not required to upload a risk assessment as you are writing up or completing corrections at home in order to be able to submit the application. 

If your risk assessment is revised after you have submitted your leave to work away application, but while the application is still pending, your Department will be able to upload a revised risk assessment to your application.

More information about University insurance can be found on the Insurance Section website. You can also find useful information here.  Also, see the updated guidance for working away as there may be things not covered by insurance policies.

Reasons to apply for leave to work away

Non-research postgraduate students (such as ‘taught MPhil’ students) are expected to live and study in Cambridge during term time, but do have holiday breaks between terms (depending on the requirements of their course).  Students on taught programmes who need to undertake research away from Cambridge for their dissertations for more than two weeks must apply to work away (whether the trip falls during term time or a scheduled 'holiday break').

Students on taught courses should remain in Cambridge for the duration of their course. However, if students have met the residence requirement and want to complete their course elsewhere and are able to study remotely without this having a detrimental impact on their progress, they should apply for leave to work away.

Full-time postgraduate students undertaking a research course (such as a PhD) are required to live and study in Cambridge throughout the year, with no breaks between terms. Full-time students who want to study or carry out research away from Cambridge for more than two weeks and who will be resident away from Cambridge during this period must apply to ‘work away’. The University strongly encourages students to adopt climate conscious travel behaviours - you may wish to consider the Guidelines on Sustainable Business Travel when planning your trip.

Reasons for working away  Required to apply to work away?
Working away from Cambridge for up to 2 weeks (including writing up or completing corrections to thesis) No

Working away from Cambridge for more than 2 weeks

Doctoral students are unlikely to be given leave to work away until they have successfully completed their first year registration exercise. If you have not yet passed your registration exercise, you should speak to your Degree Committee before submitting an application.

To work away during your period of research there must be good academic reasons why you need to be in that particular location, for example:

  • Undertaking essential fieldwork*
  • Completing an internship or placement that is integral to your course or research - you must explain in your application how the internship/placement is integral to your research or your course. If the internship/placement is beneficial to your career development or relevant, but not integral, to your research, you should apply instead for non-medical intermission.
  • Completing language training required by your course or integral to your research
Yes

Writing up (doctoral students)

If you are in the final (4th) full-time year of your doctoral degree you can apply for leave to work away if you wish to finish writing your thesis from home, or finish writing up somewhere other than your home country provided there are good reasons for this. Permission will not normally be granted to work away until you have kept the minimum terms of research required for your course (eg: 9 terms for a full-time doctoral student).

Masters students who have met the residence requirement and want to complete their course elsewhere and are able to study remotely without this having a detrimental impact on their progress, should apply for leave to work away.

Yes

Working away between submission of thesis and notification of outcome of viva

You are not required to apply for leave to work away for a period away from Cambridge between submission of your thesis and formal notification by Student Registry of the outcome of your examination.

No

When completing corrections or revisions to your thesis after examination

If you are required to make corrections or revisions to your thesis, you need to apply for leave to work away if you are planning to complete these outside Cambridge. Working away will not be approved beyond the deadline for submission of your corrections/revised thesis.

Yes
Placement/internship integral to your course/research in a location that means you will continue to be resident in Cambridge* Yes*
Fieldwork/data collection/archival research away from Cambridge but you will still reside in Cambridge (ie: travelling to and from sites within a day) No
Holiday** No

Exceptional circumstances 

If you need to take a break from study because of illness or personal reasons, you should read the pages on medical intermission and non-medical intermission. Applications to work away for non-academic reasons will not normally be approved.

However, for doctoral students, exceptionally applications for a short period of remote study might be considered for compassionate reasons such as serious illness or bereavement of a close relative, an unforeseen emergency involving dependents, or in-country travel restrictions. Students will not be permitted to study remotely for financial reasons. The period of remote study will be determined on a case-by-case basis taking into account the student’s personal circumstances and course requirements.  In all cases, the student should discuss with their supervisor before applying for leave to work away and a study plan should be agreed. In some cases it might also be beneficial for the College to agree a welfare support plan with the student. The study plan should be uploaded to the application. If applying on medical grounds, supporting medical evidence must also be submitted.

The permitted period of remote study will always be as short as is compatible with fulfilment of its purpose, and will not normally exceed four weeks in any given academic year. 

Please note that remote study is not permitted on a Student visa except for permitted activities such as fieldwork approved under Leave to Work Away procedures in advance.

Yes, but only in exceptional circumstances

*This is because we need to record that you are doing a placement/internship. 

**​You do not need to apply for leave to work away if you are going on holiday. Research students are entitled to eight weeks of holiday per year. Information can be found here. In planning your holidays you are expected to ensure that you still keep term.

Part time students, who are not required to live in Cambridge, need to apply to work away if they will be studying, carrying out research, writing up or completing corrections away from their normal place of residence during their course for more than two weeks.

Residency requirements

All full-time postgraduate students are required to keep at least three of terms of residency in Cambridge in order to be eligible for their degree. Information about the dates that a student must be in Cambridge in order to keep term can be found here.

This residency requirement is particularly relevant for students undertaking a one-year MPhil degree, as it restricts the amount of time they can spend away from Cambridge. It is expected that any fieldwork or research activity taking place outside Cambridge will normally be scheduled at a time and of a duration to allow students to comply with the residency requirement. Under limited circumstances, MPhil students working under supervision outside the University may be granted an exemption from the residence requirement for up to one full-time term. Applications may be considered from:

  • students on certain taught MPhil programmes which require a mandatory period working under supervision outside of Cambridge, such as a placement or internship, of a duration or timing that means residency cannot be kept;
  • MPhil students who need to conduct essential, but non-mandatory, fieldwork or research activity that cannot take place in Cambridge and:
    • is of a duration that the residency requirement cannot be kept irrespective of the departure date; or
    • the nature of the activity constrains the timing of the work away (for example, field study of a natural event that only occurs for a short time window each year).

In all cases, students should make an application to work away in the normal way. Applications are considered on an individual basis. Exemption from the residency requirement does not alter the student fee liability.

Students on taught courses should remain in Cambridge for the duration of their course. However, if students have met the residence requirement and want to complete their course elsewhere and are able to study remotely without this having a detrimental impact on their progress, they should apply for leave to work away.

Students studying on a Tier 4/Student visa

If you hold a Tier 4/Student visa, the University can continue visa sponsorship during a period of approved working away. This is because you will continue to be engaged with your studies during your time away. From a visa perspective, it is considered you will be studying at an authorised temporary location.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your Tier 4/Student visa you should contact the International Student Office at international.students@admin.cam.ac.uk