Intermitting usually means a student will leave the University for some time, and later return to resume their studies in the future. Leave to degrade is usually given until the new academic year. The University’s Applications Committee decide whether a student may intermit.

The first step, as with most things, is to contact your Tutor, who will write an appeal to the committee where appropriate. For this, evidence such as medical records, counselling records etc will be required.

For an application to be necessary, one of the following must apply:

  1. Too many terms have elapsed since your first term of residence,
  2. Too many terms have elapsed since you last took an Honours Examination,
  3. The requirements for an Honours Examination differ according to the number of terms that have elapsed since you last took an Honours Examination, and you have spent less time preparing than your standing would suggest (i.e. you would be at a disadvantage compared to other students).

This all sounds very confusing, but talking to your Tutor can clear things up.

Possible reasons why someone might degrade include:

  • Absence from Cambridge due to medical or emotional reasons, or other such extenuating circumstances,
  • Illness or extenuating circumstances which are having a negative impact on your studies,
  • Illness or extenuating circumstances that have interrupted your studies.

When the reason for intermitting is medical, then the Applications Committee will request medical evidence. They may ask for supervision reports, although these are, usually, only considered if the student seeks to degrade in the Easter Term. Before a student who has degraded for medical reasons is allowed to return to Cambridge, they will have to have another medical certificate to testify they are fit to return to their studies.

A few things to remember:

  • If you want to change the amount of time for which you are intermitting you have to re–apply to the Applications Committee.
  • If you have to go out of residence quickly for medical reasons, make sure you are seen by a doctor at the time. That way they can give you a medical certificate that best reflects the severity of your medical condition (and not later when you will be feeling better).
  • Intermitting does not cause facts to be changed. Intermitting doesn’t change either the number of terms kept or examination results.
  • If you intermit within 20 days of the start of Full Term then you be entitled to discounted return of your University fees. However, the fees will not be refunded in full.
  • Carefully consider the terms which you request to intermit. The Applications Committee may be unlikely to allow return for just Easter Term.
  • Although it might be necessary to remain in Cambridge for a period of time whilst intermitting (i.e. for medical treatment, if this is your home town), the Applications Committee may feel that ordinarily it is undesirable for you to remain in Cambridge.
  • Intermitting is intended to relieve a student from a disadvantage: it is not intended to allow a candidate to gain an advantage over others.
  • Make sure your LEA is informed if you intermit.
  • If you want to intermit after completing 2/3rds of the academic year, the University will usually but not always ask that your college requests you to be allowed the exams, and not to retake the year.

Financial implications

Your Tuition Fees will not be refunded in full. If you intermit within 20 days of the start of Full Term, you will be entitled to discounted return of Tuition Fees. This means that if your fees are paid directly to College by Student Finance, any refunded amount will go to Student Finance, and any non–refunded amount will appear on your statement and will be repayable with the rest of your total loans.

You must inform Student Finance if you intermit. You can do this via their website.

If you defer or repeat a year due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be offered full support when you return to your studies. It is important to contact Student Finance or your LEA as soon as possible.

The financial implications of intermitting may be complicated, and may vary depending on the circumstances.

What is repayable will depend on exactly when in the year the student goes out of residence and where in the UK they are from, as the arrangements for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are different from England.

The College also has to inform the relevant finance authorities as a matter of course when someone intermits. Their payments will then be stopped and they will be notified if anything must be repaid.

Overseas students should be aware that they will not necessarily get a refund of any part of their University Fees — again it depends when in the year the intermission happens.