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Applying for leave to work away

You apply for leave to work away via your CamSIS self-service. For general information on how to apply for a change in your student status see ‘Applying for a change in your student status’Please check the "reasons for working away" section below before applying to ensure you are eligible. 

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

There are 3 main elements to working away:

  • you need to apply for permission to work away via CamSIS self-service

  • you need to have a risk assessment approved by your Department and upload the signed form to your application for leave to work away

  • you need to obtain appropriate and adequate insurance for your work away

In addition, you need to consider the impact of working away on your residency requirement and, if appropriate, on your funding and/or Student/Tier 4 visa.

You cannot apply to work away retrospectively. You must obtain permission to work away before you leave. Approval to work away can take several weeks, so you should submit your application at least two months before you plan to leave. The only exception to this is if you are working away to complete corrections or revisions to your thesis following your viva. This is because students do not need permission to work away between submission of the thesis for examination and formal notification of the outcome of the viva. Therefore, students will not know whether they need to work away until they receive this notification. However, they should apply as soon as they do know that they will be working away.

Risk assessment

You must upload a risk assessment to your application. This is to ensure risks have been considered and, where possible, mitigated before you travel. 

Even if working away for less than two weeks and not required to apply to work away, you are advised to complete a risk assessment. Similarly, if 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 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 complete a risk assessment 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. 

Please ensure you read the information on assessing risk and other safeguarding measures that can be found at https://www.safeguarding.admin.cam.ac.uk/

Working away activity Risk assessment required?
Any kind of data collection or fieldwork away from Cambridge, including archival or library-based work within the UK Yes
Any kind of data collection or fieldwork away from Cambridge, including archival or library-based work overseas (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
Exceptional circumstances (see below under 'reasons for working away') 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 should upload the revised risk assessment to your application.

Insurance

More information about the requirement to obtain insurance can be found in the working away application guidance. 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. Please note that personal travel insurance policies are not acceptable for University business trips as the cover may not be adequate and in some cases business trips are excluded altogether.

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

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

Students on taught courses should remain in Cambridge for the duration of their course. However, if they have met the residence requirement and want to complete their course elsewhere and studying remotely will not having a detrimental impact on progress, they should apply to work away.

Full-time postgraduate students undertaking a research course (such as a PhD) are required to live and study in Cambridge all year, with no breaks between terms. Full-time students wanting to study or carry out research away from Cambridge for more than two weeks 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 passed their first year registration exercise. If you have not yet passed your registration, please speak to your Degree Committee before applying.

There must be good academic reasons why you need to be in that location, for example:

  • Undertaking essential fieldwork*
  • Completing an internship/placement that is integral to your course or research - you must explain how it is integral. If it 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 (full-time doctoral students)

In the final (4th) full-time year of your doctoral degree you can work away to finish writing your thesis from home, or from somewhere other than your home country. Permission will not normally be granted until the start of your 4th year.

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 the period 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 required to make corrections/revisions to your thesis, you need to apply for leave to work away if 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 

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.

If you need to take a break from study due to illness or personal reasons, please see guidance on medical intermission and non-medical intermission. Applications to work away for non-academic reasons will not normally be approved.

However, for doctoral students who are not on a Student visa, 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. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account personal circumstances and course requirements.  In all cases, the student should discuss with their supervisor before applying and a study plan should be agreed. In some cases it might also be beneficial for the College to agree a welfare support plan. 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. 

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 going on holiday. Research students are entitled to eight weeks of holiday per year. Information can be found here. In planning holidays you are expected to ensure that you still keep terms of residence.

Part time students, who are not required to live in Cambridge, need to apply to work away if 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. Although the minimum requirement is three terms, full-time students are expected to be in Cambridge throughout their studies, prior to submission of their thesis for examination, unless they have valid academic reasons for working away (please see above) or are taking part of their 8-week holiday entitlement per academic year. Information about when a student must be in Cambridge in order to keep term can be found here.

This residency requirement is particularly relevant for students on a one-year MPhil, as it restricts how much time they can spend away from Cambridge. It is expected that any fieldwork or research activity outside Cambridge will normally be scheduled at a time and of a duration to allow compliance with the residency requirement. Under limited circumstances, MPhil students 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).

Students should apply to work away in the normal way. Applications are considered on an individual basis. Exemption from the residency requirement does not alter 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 Student/Tier 4 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

Funding

If you are funded by the SLC, a Research Council or other funding body, you should always discuss your plans for working away with the relevant administrator before submitting an application, as there may be implications for your award.