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Working away due to Coronavirus/covid-19

If working away for any reasons other than covid-19 please see the information in the main section 'Working Away'. You will still be required to make an application via CamSIS in the usual way.

Postgraduate research students

We are not in a position to approve applications for leave to work away on grounds of covid-19 beyond 30th September 2021. Information about working away due to the impact of covid-19 in Michaelmas Term 2021 can be found here:

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

If you were working away from Cambridge in Lent Term 2021 due to the impact of covid-19 and you need to continue to do so in Easter Term 2021 (again due to the impact of the pandemic), you do not need to apply for leave to work away or to email Student Registry as we will assume that you are still away from Cambridge. Instead, you should email recordsandexams@admin.cam.ac.uk if you return to Cambridge before 30th September 2021 so that we can update your record to reflect this. If you are currently in Cambridge and want to work away in Easter Term 2021 due to the impact of covid-19, you need to email recordsandexams@admin.cam.ac.uk to advise us of this. Please check government guidance about international travel:

If you have already applied for leave to work away via CamSIS, your application will still be processed in the usual way - it is not necessary to also email Student Registry.

Postgraduate Taught courses

Students on postgraduate taught courses do not need to request permission to be away from Camridge on grounds of covid-19 in Easter Term 2021. Students who are already in Cambridge cannot leave during the national lockdown, save in exceptional circumstances (please contact your College if you wish to leave Cambridge at this time).

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. Students working at home because of covid-19 should read the information at the top of this 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. 

Please see updated guidance on the criteria for travel/working away following travel restrictions starting to be lifted from 17th May 2021.

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/

Reason for working away Risk assessment and insurance required?
Any kind of data collection or fieldwork away from Cambridge, including archival or library-based work in home country or elsewhere Yes
Internship/placement/Overseas Institutional Visit Yes
Writing up or completing corrections to thesis in home country No*
Writing up or completing corrections to thesis in a location other than home country Yes
Covid-19 See information at the top of this page

*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. 

Please see updated guidance on the criteria for travel/working away following travel restrictions starting to be lifted from 17th May 2021. You risk assessment must address these criteria.

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. Please see above under 'Coronavirus' if you have applied for leave to work away for fieldwork since the start of the pandemic. 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

If you are considering applying for leave to work away because of the covid-19 pandemic, please carefully read the guidance at the top of the page. 

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').

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’

Reasons for working away (see also below under 'When to apply') 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 Yes
Placement/internship 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
Illness or personal reasons*** No

*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, to be taken at times agreed with their supervisor. Information can be found here. In planning your holidays you are expected to ensure that you still keep term.

***If you need to take a break from study because of illness or other reasons, you should read the pages on medical intermission and non-medical intermission.

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.

When to apply for leave to work away (at what stage(s) of your course)

During your period of research

PhD and EdD 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 for leave to work away.

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
  • Completing language training required by your course or integral to your research
When writing up  You can apply for leave to work away if you wish to return home to finish writing your thesis before submitting. You can also apply for leave to work away if you wish to finish writing up somewhere other than your home country, provided there are good reasons for this. 
Between submission of thesis and notification of outome 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.
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.

*Please see updated guidance on the criteria for travel/working away following travel restrictions starting to be lifted from 17th May 2021.

If you are applying for leave to work away due to covid-19 please see the guidance at the top of the page.

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. This is particularly relevant for students undertaking a one-year MPhil, as it restricts the amount of time they can spend away from Cambridge. Information about the dates that a student must be in Cambridge in order to keep term can be found here.

Students studying on a Tier 4 visa
If you are studying on a Tier 4 visa, your period of working away will be recorded as an authorised absence. This means that the University does not have to inform the Home Office of the temporary change, but you will be required to maintain your termly contact with your College whilst away.

If you are working away at another location in the UK, you must continue to sign in at your College in person. If you are working away at an overseas location, this contact must be made by e-mail at the start of each term; in this e-mail you should confirm your current circumstances to your College eg.continuing fieldwork overseas or writing up at home.

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