Student Absence

Exceptional Leave of Absence

It is not expected that students on undergraduate or postgraduate taught courses should request absence from their studies. However, there may be exceptional and/or unforeseen circumstances that may require a student to be absent from studies.

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students

The student should report any absence of less than 10 working days to the course leader and/or module leaders. The student should also inform their Campus Advice Zone. Absences exceeding 10 working days but no more than 20 working days can be requested in EXCEPTIONAL circumstances.

Requests for exceptional leave of absence should be made in writing to the Deputy Academic Registrar using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form. Students will be expected to obtain and upload documentation to support their absence and provide written evidence of support from their course leader and/or module leader(s). Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days.

The Deputy Academic Registrar (or nominee) will only authorise an absence above 10 working days in exceptional circumstances, taking into account (in consultation with the faculty/campus), the reason given for the absence and the potential impact on the student’s studies and ability to continue to complete the course within the designated length of the course.

If you are enrolled onto a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate taught course, and you are studying on a Tier 4 visa, you are expected to remain in the UK, specifically within South Wales, until your course completion date, adhering to compulsory University Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures for the duration of your course. For further information regarding our absence and attendance monitoring requirements for international non-EU students, please visit our International – Tier 4 pages. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/pointbasedsystem/

Where an exceptional leave of absence is approved and you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, your information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and Quercus. In addition, if you are travelling overseas, you should receive a letter confirming the purpose of your trip in case you are asked for evidence by Border Force personnel when you re-enter the UK.

Leave of absence of more than 20 working days will not be granted. For absences of more than 20 working days the student must suspend or withdraw from the course and should seek advice from their Campus Advice Zone. International non-EU students studying on Tier 4 visas who suspend or withdraw from studies must return home and Tier 4 sponsorship will be withdrawn.

Where a student considers that the reason for a request for absence falls into the University definition of extenuating circumstances the student should refer to the University’s regulations on Extenuating Circumstances and speak to their Campus Advice Zone. Further information regarding the regulations and procedures regarding Attendance Expectations and Temporary Absence can also be found in the University’s regulations.

Postgraduate Research Students

If you are a postgraduate research student, please see the following link for more information regarding applying for Annual Leave, Exceptional Leave of Absence, Study Away from USW, Completion of Study Away from USW and Suspension of Study:http://gro.southwales.ac.uk/-international-PGR-absence/

Religion and Belief

The University of South Wales is committed to promoting an environment which enables students to practice their religion or belief whilst studying at the University. The University is aware that certain religious festivals may coincide with the Academic Timetable. However, given the diversity of religious observance, the University is unable to arrange its timetable or coursework deadlines around the religious festivals of all faith traditions. The University of South Wales will endeavour to be flexible as is practically possible in order to observe the religion, belief and non-belief of staff and students. However, students who wish to apply for absence in order to participate in and observe their religion should note the following:

• It is your responsibility to make arrangements to catch up on work missed whilst participating in prayer and religious observance. If you wish to take an extended period of leave from your studies due to religious observance, you should first discuss this with your course leader and make every effort to proactively ensure that you are up to date with study, course materials and assignments.

• As some faiths exempt students from religious observance at the time of study and examinations, you should make every effort to take these exemptions wherever possible.

• Attendance at religious festivals will not be normally accepted as extenuating circumstances.

Requests should be made in writing to the Deputy Academic Registrar using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form at least 21 days prior to the event. Students will be expected to obtain and upload documentation to support their absence and provide written evidence of support from their course leader and/or module leader(s). Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days.

For more information/guidance, please visit the following link:http://chaplaincy.southwales.ac.uk/faith/

Study Away from USW

A student may be permitted to study away from University of South Wales on academic grounds as part of the standard delivery of their course or module, for example, when undertaking a placement, fieldwork, or a year of Study Abroad as part of the course. Where such a period of study is part of an approved course or module, students do not need to obtain further permission to study away but must inform their Campus Advice Zone.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, you will still be expected to adhere to USW Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures. Please refer to your Campus Advice Zone so that you fully understand how the campus will monitor your attendance whilst you are studying away from USW. Your information will be updated on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) and student management information system (Quercus). In addition, if you are travelling overseas, you should receive a letter confirming the purpose of your trip in case you are asked for evidence by Border Force personnel when you re-enter the UK. You must return once your period of study away is complete. Failure to adhere to these requirements could result in withdrawal from your course and the University will cease Tier 4 sponsorship. Consequently, your visa will be subject to curtailment procedures and you will be expected to leave the UK immediately. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/pointbasedsystem/

Postgraduate Taught Students

Postgraduate taught students may also be permitted to study away from USW on academic grounds, which are not part of the standard delivery of a programme or module, for example, collecting data or conducting research. Such periods of study must not be taken until the student has gained support from their academic supervisor or course leader and it has been authorised by Academic Registry. A request will be considered, subject to the student meeting the following requirements:

• The student has demonstrated satisfactory attendance and academic progress;
• There is no outstanding debt to the University of South Wales;
• The Study Away period is not within the first five months of the course;
• The Study Away period is not longer than three calendar months (per academic year).

Students must inform their Campus Advice Zone of their intentions and submit a request to study away from USW in writing to Academic Registry using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form. Students must provide details such as the location of study, the reasons why they wish to study away from USW and the period of time they intend to be away, in the form of a dissertation/project proposal signed by their academic supervisor or course leader. Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days. Students are expected to be in regular contact with their academic supervisor and their Campus Advice Zone whilst they are away from USW and should submit a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma every 7 days. After 28 days, you must ask your academic supervisor/course leader to sign the form confirm that you are engaging with your supervision arrangements.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, you will still be expected to adhere to USW Tier 4 attendance monitoring procedures. Submitting a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma every 7 days for the duration of your study time away, will act as your attendance scan. Your campus administrators will update your record on the University’s attendance monitoring system (SEAtS) upon receipt of your completed proforma. Please refer to your Campus Advice Zone so that you fully understand how the campus will monitor your attendance whilst you are studying away from USW. You will be expected to provide evidence of your outbound and return flights. You must return to the UK by the date agreed by Academic Registry. Failure to adhere to these requirements could result in withdrawal from your course and the University will cease Tier 4 sponsorship. Consequently, your visa will be subject to curtailment procedures and you will be expected to leave the UK immediately. Further information about your responsibilities as a Tier 4 sponsored student can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/pointbasedsystem/

Postgraduate Research Students

If you are a postgraduate research student, please see the following link for more information regarding applying for Annual Leave, Exceptional Leave of Absence, Study Away from USW, Completion of Study Away from USW and Suspension of Study:http://gro.southwales.ac.uk/-international-PGR-absence/

Completion of Study Away from USW

Postgraduate taught students who are collecting data or conducting research or writing up may be permitted to complete and submit their dissertation away from USW.

Students must gain support from their academic supervisor or course leader and must inform their Campus Advice Zone of their intentions, and submit a request to complete and/or submit their dissertation away from USW in writing to Academic Registry using the online Request for Authorisation of Absence form. Students must provide details such as the location of study, the reasons why they wish to study away from USW and the period of time they intend to be away. This should be in the form of a dissertation/project proposal signed by their academic supervisor or course leader. Students should expect to receive a response within 7-10 working days. Students are expected to be in regular contact with their academic supervisor and their Campus Advice Zone whilst they are away from USW and should submit a Study Away Record of Attendance proforma every 7 days. After 28 days, you must ask your academic supervisor/course leader to sign the form confirm that you are engaging with your supervision arrangements.

If you are an international student studying on a Tier 4 visa, USW will withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship, the UKVI will be informed and your visa will be subject to curtailment procedures. You will not be permitted to return to the UK using your Tier 4 visa, so if you wish to return to the UK to attend graduation, you must apply for entry clearance as a general visitor. You will be expected to provide evidence of your outbound flight and your entry stamp once you have left the UK. Further information and guidance can be found by visiting the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/visitor/

Postgraduate Research Students

If you are a postgraduate research student, please see the following link for more information regarding applying for Annual Leave, Exceptional Leave of Absence, Study Away from USW, Completion of Study Away from USW and Suspension of Study:http://gro.southwales.ac.uk/-international-PGR-absence/

International Students travelling to Europe

If your travel plans include travelling to Europe, you may require a Schengen visa. For further information, please visit the following link:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/schengen/. Normally, you would be expected to write/provide a letter in support of your Schengen visa application. The University can usually provide a letter. For more information about how to request a letter, please contact your Campus Advice Zone.

Immigration and International Student Advice also provide guidance in relation to travelling to other countries as well as information regarding tourism and excursions. Please click here:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/

Useful and related links and information

Advice Zones:http://unilife.southwales.ac.uk/pages/3024-advice-zones/
Attendance and Absence:http://unilife.southwales.ac.uk/pages/3106-attendance-and-absence/
Chaplaincy:http://chaplaincy.southwales.ac.uk/faith/
Immigration & International Student Advice:http://intsupport.southwales.ac.uk/