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Advice and Counselling Service

Switching to a part-time mode of study on a full-time course due to compelling personal reasons

Queen Mary may, under exceedingly rare circumstances, allow a student to study part-time on their full-time course based on their compelling personal circumstances. 

For example, where a student is not able to engage with full-time study due to their health or other personal issues, an academic school may allow them to switch to a part-time mode of study for an academic year of their course. This would allow a student to progress through their course and finish their degree at a pace they can more easily manage. This option is only offered to an extremely small number of students where the usual procedures such as interrupting, re-sitting out of attendance, or retaking in attendance are deemed unsuitable. 

This option is not normally available to full-time international students who are in the UK (United Kingdom) on Student Immigration Permission as this permission requires them to study their course on a full-time basis. 

Undergraduate students receiving Student Finance England Funding 

If you are considering this option or you have been given permission by your academic school to switch to a part-time mode of study on a full-time course, this can affect your Student Funding entitlement.  You are still classed as enrolled on and undertaking a full-time course; it is only your mode of study which changes to part-time.  Therefore, you continue to apply for Student Finance England funding for a full-time course as usual.  However, there is a limit to the standard number of years that a Tuition Fee Loan remains available.  See the section below for more information about this. The Maintenance Loan and any additional grants such as the Disabled Students Allowance should remain available for each year of study providing course attendance is required throughout each academic year.

Can I continue to get a Tuition Fee Loan for every year of my course? 

For undergraduate study, Student Finance England provide a Tuition Fee Loan for the standard length of a course plus one additional year, often referred to as a gift year or plus one year. This additional gift year can only be used if a repeat of a year (in attendance) is required and allows a Tuition Fee loan to be paid.   This should be sufficient if you will be able to complete your course within this time and are only adding one extra year to the normal length of your course by studying one year over two years. However study on an earlier degree level course or previous retakes of a year in attendance can affect this so please read the next paragraph about previous study.

Previous Study: If you have previous study on an earlier degree level course, or you have already re-taken a year of your course in attendance before, you may have used up this gift year/plus one year of funding. In these circumstances, if you study one year over two years, you would not automatically be entitled to a tuition fee loan for the additional year required to complete your current course. However, if you have compelling personal circumstances you could ask Student Finance England to consider awarding you an extra year of discretionary Tuition Fee Loan based on these. If this is not approved, you would be required to pay the tuition fee yourself for any the additional year of study. 

We explain about applying for this discretionary extra year of funding in our Undergraduate Funding Implications page My studies have been affected by compelling personal reasons.

You may also want to Contact a Welfare Adviser before you decide to switch to study part-time to discuss your Student Finance entitlement, how this may be affected, the options available to you and how to apply for the discretionary year year of funding if this is required.   

If you are receiving Student Finance from Student Finance Wales, the Scottish Awards Agency or from Student Finance Northern Ireland  please contact them directly to check how your funding will be affected as the rules differ. If you remain unsure contact a Welfare Adviser. for advice. 

If you are finding it difficult to engage with your studies, consider discussing your issues with your Personal Tutor, Academic Adviser, or Student Support Officer for your academic school as soon as you can. They can explain what your academic options are and what support can be put in place to assist you. If your difficulties are due to a disability or ill-health, including a mental health condition, you can also contact the Queen Mary Disability and Dyslexia Service.  

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