anstoss
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Hi all,

I'm having to request a funded sickness leave from my PhD, which requires me to write a statement articulating the reasons for my request, how the requested leave duration is proportionate to my required sickness leave, how this impacts on my thesis submission deadline such that I may need an extension for that too, and so on.

Has anyone written such a letter? If yes, would you mind sharing it with me as a template I could use? I don't mind if you post it here, or DM me.

Thanks very much in advance.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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I had to write something kinda like this when I requested a retrospective interruption for my PhD studies at the end of the academic year 2017-18. Can PM you a copy of my "supporting statement" - will do that now :yep:

EDIT: Sent you a PM of what I wrote, but I must stress I am self-funded, so I was not trying to convince a funding body to approve
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QuentinM
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(Original post by anstoss)
Hi all,

I'm having to request a funded sickness leave from my PhD, which requires me to write a statement articulating the reasons for my request, how the requested leave duration is proportionate to my required sickness leave, how this impacts on my thesis submission deadline such that I may need an extension for that too, and so on.

Has anyone written such a letter? If yes, would you mind sharing it with me as a template I could use? I don't mind if you post it here, or DM me.

Thanks very much in advance.
I would raise this with your supervisor as well, hopefully they support this request and will be trying to back you up on this.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by anstoss)
I'm having to request a funded sickness leave from my PhD, which requires me to write a statement articulating the reasons for my request, how the requested leave duration is proportionate to my required sickness leave, how this impacts on my thesis submission deadline such that I may need an extension for that too, and so on.

Has anyone written such a letter? If yes, would you mind sharing it with me as a template I could use? I don't mind if you post it here, or DM me.
Having helped a few of my students through something like this, it’s important to know that the problem splits into two parts. The formal “can I have a leave of absence” aspect is usually quite simple, particularly if you get a statement of support from your supervisor and / or have a GP note etc. You really should be talking to them about this so they can help work the system for you, e.g. informal chat to the PG administrators / senior tutor before you launch the paperwork. Your letter should be very direct and explain why you need to take a break and what the conditions for your return would be. A formal interuption (IOS) will usually require a medical assessment from the University before you are allowed to restart. Also extensions to submission are usually simple if you have a medical or other well defined and justified reason.

However .....

The tricky bit is the funding. Just about every PhD scheme I am aware of has quite strictly limited medical (or other) paid leave provisions, something like 12 weeks then the money is gone. If you withdraw unpaid, then that’s simple, but if you want to remain drawing on a bursary, that is a very finite resource and it can be very hard to secure additional funding to allow for a paid extension once that is burnt up. What is your financial situation and who is your funder ?
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anstoss
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Thank you everyone for your replies, much appreciated.
(Original post by Mr Wednesday)
Having helped a few of my students through something like this, it’s important to know that the problem splits into two parts. The formal “can I have a leave of absence” aspect is usually quite simple, particularly if you get a statement of support from your supervisor and / or have a GP note etc. You really should be talking to them about this so they can help work the system for you, e.g. informal chat to the PG administrators / senior tutor before you launch the paperwork. Your letter should be very direct and explain why you need to take a break and what the conditions for your return would be. A formal interuption (IOS) will usually require a medical assessment from the University before you are allowed to restart. Also extensions to submission are usually simple if you have a medical or other well defined and justified reason.

However .....

The tricky bit is the funding. Just about every PhD scheme I am aware of has quite strictly limited medical (or other) paid leave provisions, something like 12 weeks then the money is gone. If you withdraw unpaid, then that’s simple, but if you want to remain drawing on a bursary, that is a very finite resource and it can be very hard to secure additional funding to allow for a paid extension once that is burnt up. What is your financial situation and who is your funder ?
Thank you for the detailed response.

I'm being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Withdrawing unpaid is not something I could afford to do for more than a month due to limited savings, and as far as I am aware I would not be eligible for a submission extension in that case (unless the withdrawal period were longer), which would in fact make things too stressful for me in the long run. So I am going down the funded sickness leave route, which would allow me to take some time off and get an extension of my submission date too. I've now drafted a letter, quite straightforwardly outlining my reasons for requesting sick leave. I have indeed discussed this with a PG administrator, my supervisor, who will be drafting a supporting statement, and my GP, from whom I am attempting to obtain a medical note. It appears, however, that obtaining a medical note is more challenging than I thought, since I am not employed/self-employed.
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Mr Wednesday
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(Original post by anstoss)
Thank you everyone for your replies, much appreciated.

Thank you for the detailed response.

I'm being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Withdrawing unpaid is not something I could afford to do for more than a month due to limited savings, and as far as I am aware I would not be eligible for a submission extension in that case (unless the withdrawal period were longer), which would in fact make things too stressful for me in the long run. So I am going down the funded sickness leave route, which would allow me to take some time off and get an extension of my submission date too. I've now drafted a letter, quite straightforwardly outlining my reasons for requesting sick leave. I have indeed discussed this with a PG administrator, my supervisor, who will be drafting a supporting statement, and my GP, from whom I am attempting to obtain a medical note. It appears, however, that obtaining a medical note is more challenging than I thought, since I am not employed/self-employed.
Ok, it sounds like you have all the key points covered. One additional thing to consider now is to look at what hardship / emergency funding schemes the university might have available if things run on longer than expected. Let’s hope that’s not required, but its good to know if there are options like that just in case.
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