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Advice and Counselling Service

Leaving your studies completely - ('withdrawing')


You may be thinking about leaving your course completely. Make sure that you talk your decision through with somebody first. This might be your personal tutor or a member of staff at the Advice and Counselling Service

If you decide that this is the best option for you, you need to complete a withdrawal of study form, which your academic school will need to sign to say that your withdrawal has been approved.

You can get a Withdrawal of Study form and guidance notes from Queen Mary Registry webpages or from the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor, Queens’ Building, Mile End campus, or from the Student Office at the Whitechapel campus. Once you have completed the form you need to take it to your academic school to be approved. They will then pass it to the Registry so that your student record is updated.

In 2020/21 the withdrawal deadlines are:

  • 6 January 2021
  • 5 May 2021

If you miss these dates you can still withdraw but your last date of attendance on the withdrawal form cannot normally be backdated to before the exam period. 

If you missed the withdrawal deadline but you feel that you are unfit to sit exams or to submit coursework due to medical or personal reasons, you need to make an extenuating circumstances claim to your academic school. This will involve getting documentation to give to your school as evidence to support your claim. For information about the process of submitting a claim for extenuating circumstances, and about what documents are acceptable as evidence, please read the Advice and Counselling Service advice guide ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ 

If you don’t sit exams or submit coursework, and you don’t submit an extenuating circumstances claim, you will normally be given a zero fail for those assessments. 

How will it affect my Tuition Fees?

Please see the Tuition Fees and Refunds section of this guide for information.

How will it affect my current funding?

After you withdraw, you will no longer be entitled to receive Student Finance.

Queen Mary will do an online notification of your change of circumstances to Student Finance England (SFE) if you withdraw during the academic year. This normally happens within two weeks of you submitting your withdrawal of study form to the Student Enquiry Centre.

To avoid accruing overpayments of Student Finance, you could contact SFE yourself to let them know that you have left your course. SFE should then stop any future payments of Student Finance while awaiting the official change of circumstance notification and confirmation of leaving date from Queen Mary. You will normally be asked by SFE to repay any portion of your Student Finance that you have already received, which was paid for a period after your date of withdrawal.

If you withdraw after the end of the academic year, i.e. during the summer vacation, Queen Mary won’t report this to SFE. SFE will know you have withdrawn because Queen Mary won’t confirm that you have enrolled at the start of the next academic year. Therefore if you withdraw after the end of an academic year, you should not be asked to repay any Student Finance for that academic year. 

How will my funding be affected if I return to Higher Education in future?

Student Finance

If you join a new course in the future that is designated for higher education Student Finance, you may not be eligible for Student Finance for all the years of your new course due to having studied part of a previous course at Queen Mary. Note that you can get a Maintenance Loan and any supplementary grants you may be eligible for in each year of the new course: it is just the Tuition Fee Loan that is affected by your previous study. The Maintenance Grant is no longer available for students who start a new course on or after September 2016, having withdrawn from a previous course. But if you are transferring from a course you started before 2016, to a new course, without any break in study, it should be possible to remain on the funding system for students who started before 2016 - check this with a Welfare Adviser. 

The Student Finance regulations for students who have previous study are shown in the box below.

Entitlement to Student Finance where a student has previous study

OD+1- PC


OD (ordinary duration of current course) +1 (extra ‘plus one’ year) – PC (previous Higher Education study)

Example 1

Previous course: completed year 1 in 2017/18 and withdrew in year 2 in 2018/19 [see footnote] of 3 year undergraduate History degree at Queen Mary

New Course: 3 year undergraduate Medieval History degree at Bath University starting 2019/20.

Entitlement to Student Finance for new course = 3 + 1 – 2 = 2

(This means that in the first year this student would only be eligible for a Maintenance Loan plus any Supplementary Grants. They would not be entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan in their first year and would have to self-fund their tuition fees. In years 2 and 3 they would become eligible for a Tuition Fee Loan as well as the Maintenance Loan i.e. full Student Finance. The years of full Student Finance are always payable in the later years of the course).

If you complete your studies at Queen Mary and are awarded an honours degree, you cannot get any Student Finance for a new designated undergraduate higher education course at another institution unless your new course leads to a qualification in medicine, dentistry, law, veterinary science, or architecture (and even then your entitlement is limited to the Maintenance Loan and Supplementary Grants only). To clarify your eligibility for Student Finance for a new course, contact the new institution you will be studying at for advice.

If you have compelling personal reasons for withdrawing from your course, or you had to re-take periods of study out of attendance during the course you are withdrawing from, you can apply to Student Finance England to be considered for discretionary funding for your new course. If approved, SFE can agree to award you additional years of Tuition Fee Loan for your new course. Please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice. See also the previous section of this advice guide Re-taking a period of study due to Compelling Personal Reasons

I am an EU/EEA/Swiss National, how will withdrawing affect my student funding and tuition fee status for a new course?

In addition to the above information, it's also possible that withdrawing from your course could affect your future eligibility to pay the home rate of tuition fee for a new course and also your eligibility to receive student funding for a new course. We are still waiting for the UK Government to announce the new rules and provide guidance for the 2021/22 academic year following the end of the Brexit transition period. It is expected that there will be some provision for those with settled or pre-settled status. Keep checking our EU/EEA funding information for updates.

You should also read our EU/EEA guidance about how to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020.  



even if you only attend one day of the course, this counts as a whole year of previous study


Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.