Any absence must be reported to the supervisor immediately and medical certificates provided if appropriate. Absences should be recorded on the student’s Holiday and Absence card and certified by the Director of Studies.

Absences due to illness

For students in receipt of stipend awards, during absence covered by medical certificates, payment of the award will be continued at the full rate for up to thirteen weeks, accumulated within any twelve month period from the first day of absence. For longer periods of certified illness, the award will be held in abeyance, and no payment will be made until return to study.

For periods of certified illness longer than thirteen weeks, the student and supervisor should submit the RDC3s Application for Suspension of Studies form to the School Research Progression and Awards Board as per the normal process for suspension to cover the duration of the absence. Upon return to their studies, the suspension should be ended and for funded students, the research studentship award payments will be renewed for the remaining duration of the three year period of funding. All students (funded and self-funded) will also have their maximum registration end date extended by the period of the suspension.  

It is up to the School’s discretion if they wish to supplement the above payment award for certified absence; however, funds must be found from the School for this student.

Case scenario:   A student who is absent from their studies for 20 weeks due to illness, should suspend their studies for 20 weeks. If funded they will be entitled to payments for the first thirteen weeks of illness, have their monthly payments suspended for seven weeks until they return to study and then will receive a further seven weeks of award payment at the end of their original three year period of funded study. Funded and self-funded students will have their target dates for submission of the RDC1, RDC2 and thesis and their maximum registration end date extended by the suspension period of 20 weeks.

Absences due to illness related to COVID-19

Those students who are ill with COVID-19 or a COVID-related condition (for example mental health issues due to lockdown), should be considered separate from the standard GCU policy on absence due to illness and are eligible to make a case under GCU’s RDC3c:  COVID-19-Related Extension Policy and Process for Research Students, Section 4.2.