Returning from a leave of absence

Having taken a Leave of Absence, you are likely to be thinking about your return to study. You may be ready to return back on your agreed date, or perhaps you need a bit more time before coming back to university. Perhaps you are thinking about changing universities or leaving altogether. Whatever your situation, you probably have questions.

It can be a daunting prospect coming back to university when you´ve had time away. The most important thing is not to panic and to remember that there are people here whose job it is to support you.

Before you can register, you must obtain a certificate from the Keele Health Centre to confirm that you are well enough to resume your studies. You will be contacted in advance of your return by the Student Services Centre. They will request that you provide medical evidence to the Health Centre.

You will need to send any relevant medical reports from other doctors or specialists who have looked after you during your leave of absence. You should also complete and attach the Return from Leave of Absence Proforma with your evidence.

If you are unsure what to bring, check with the Health Centre in advance. You can call the Centre on 01782 753550.

Returning from a medical leave of absence - some specific points

If you are returning to the University having taken time out for maternity leave, you do not need to obtain a statement from the Keele Health Centre in order to enrol.

If you took time out following a difficult life event such as a bereavement (and did not leave the University on medical grounds), you do not need to make an appointment with the Keele Health Centre. There are support services listed on these pages that you may find useful during your leave of absence and on your return- see the links on the left hand side for details.

If you took a leave of absence due to mental ill health and you have concerns about returning and how university may affect your mental health, it may be useful to discuss this. You can contact the University Mental Health Coordinator by calling the Counselling and Mental Health team on 01782 734 187

It's a fact of life that you need money for University, but there are ways to make it easier.

Advice and Support at Keele (ASK)

For confidential financial advice or to talk through your options, you can visit or call ASK. Their web pages also contain useful information.

Funding your study

Look at the Money, Advice & Guidance web pages for information on how to finance your studies. As well as this, the pages also includes a link to the Money Planner, an excellent tool that helps you create a budget to manage your finances.

Student Finance England/Wales/Sponsor

It is important to keep SFE or other funding agency informed about your situation. They will be able to let you know what will happen with your funding.


Why not visit the Jobshop to see what jobs are available to help meet your costs.

Note - if you took a leave of absence because you were experiencing financial difficulties, you need to ensure that you are in a position to return. If you are still experiencing financial problems, you might wish to consider extending your leave of absence. However, it is important to explore all of your options before you make this decision.

I need advice, Who can I talk to?

Your Academic School

The first step is to talk to your academic mentor or someone else in your department about returning. Your academic mentor or member of the Academic School support staff will be able to provide you with useful information about Welcome week, enrolment, module/elective choice and anything else relevant to your return.

Student Services Centre

You may also find it useful to speak to staff in the Student Services Centre, which is located in the Tawney Building – they will be able to give you advice and information on the next steps you need to take. You can visit in person or browse the Student Services Centre Webpages.

Careers and Employability

Careers and Employability is another source of unbiased information. Staff there can help you look at other options such as a change in course or institution, as well as providing careers advice. You can come along to a drop-in appointment with a careers advisor.

Counselling and Mental Health

Counselling and Mental Health provides a free, confidential service to all students. If you are feeling anxious about returning to the University or any other aspect of your life, the counselling service may be able to work with you in addressing these concerns. Many people find counselling useful, and people use the service to discuss many different problems- from relationship issues to academic anxieties. You are able to make use of the counselling service while you are on a leave of absence, as well as when you return.

For international students returning from a leave of absence it is important that you discuss your return to Keele with a Student Adviser in the International Student Support Team (Your immigration status can be affected by any change in circumstances).