Returning from intermission

You will find it helpful to start planning your return to your studies a few months before you are due to start back at the University. You should check your Essex email account regularly for information about returning.

You will have taken a break from your studies for reasons that may be very personal and challenging. There are a number of people at the University who you can contact about any of your concerns before returning so that you can focus on settling back into your studies.

There is further guidance for postgraduate research students.

As you plan your return to the University, some of the practical things you need to consider include:

Academic preparation

Undergraduate students

If you are returning to a new academic year, you will need to make your module choices. If you are returning in October, you should receive an email about module enrolment in the April before you are due to return. For advice contact the Student Services Hub or your department, school or centre.

You will be able to choose your optional modules ready for your return to study by using the online module enrolment system eNROL, which you may have used last year. eNROL allows you to select your module choices in a secure web environment. An email will be sent to your Essex account when eNROL opens but you can also logon to the system using your Essex account username and password to find out when this is scheduled to be.

When you return to our University, you can access online and face-to-face study and academic skills support.

Students who have returned to study from a period of intermission have told us that they found it useful to do some pre-reading. So we recommend that you start some course reading before you come back to help you get up to speed. If you are unsure about what to read, check out your department’s website.

Postgraduate students

You should contact your department, school or centre to find out what steps you may need to take in preparation for your return.

Research students

You might like to contact your graduate administrator, to see whether there have been any changes in your school, department or centre.

If you haven’t already done so, you should contact your supervisor to arrange a first meeting and to discuss how you will pick up your research.

Students who have returned to study from a period of intermission have told us that they found it useful to do some pre-reading. So we recommend that you start some reading before you come back to help get you up to speed. You might want to start reading some articles in your area. Perhaps you could discuss ideas for some initial reading with your supervisor.


Undergraduate students – first years

If you are intermitting from your degree scheme before the end of the first term during your first year, and you wish to resume your first-year studies the following year, you are normally entitled to accommodation again when you recommence your studies, provided you apply for accommodation before the published deadline.

All other students

All other students returning from intermission are treated as returning students.

If you are a UK student, you will probably need to look for off-campus accommodation. You can find information about accommodation in the Colchester area at SU Homes.


You should make sure that your funding is in place for your return to study. If you took a break from studies for financial reasons, it may be a good idea to seek financial advice before you return. If you have an existing debt to our University, you will not be allowed to register until it is cleared.

Student Finance

If you are entitled to UK undergraduate funding through Student Finance England, your entitlement may have been affected by your period of intermission so it’s important to check. You may be liable for your own tuition fees if you have not made an application for funding prior to your return to study.


If you have a sponsor who is supporting your studies, you need to make them aware that you are resuming your studies and check their terms and conditions. You will need evidence of their funding in order to register.


If you are receiving a scholarship, you need to check the terms and conditions of your scholarship with the scholarship’s administrator.

Medical evidence

If you took a break from studies for medical reasons, you will need to provide the appropriate evidence before you can register and restart your course.

This evidence will usually be in the form of a letter or report from a relevant medical professional confirming that you are fit to study, and will need to be in English, or a certified translation provided. You can ask your doctor or other medical professional to complete the medical evidence to return from intermission form (.pdf).

If you are registered with the University Health Centre, and need us to ask for medical evidence on your behalf, we will ask for a completed consent to disclose form, which you can find within the support tab in MyEssex under 'Your Wellbeing' relating to the same medical professional. Please note that you will need to have recently seen your doctor in order for them to provide the evidence.

Contact the Student Services Hub if you have any queries about the kind of evidence you might need to provide.

If you have been required to intermit under the Study and Wellbeing Intervention Policy (SWIP) (.pdf), we will work with you to assess your fitness to resume study which could include:

  • We will send you via email a short form to complete, providing more information about your request to return to study;
  • You will be requested to send detailed medical evidence, such as a letter from a registered health professional, social worker, law enforcement professional or anyone else who has been supporting you professionally;
  • You must provide the medical evidence at least 6 weeks’ notice if you want to request to return to study.
  • We may arrange a meeting to discuss your potential return, or we may liaise with you over email/telephone/videoconference to collate relevant information and involve relevant colleagues as appropriate. 


All returning students need to register. If you are returning at the start of the academic year (October), you will be contacted by email with information about registering. If you are returning at the start of the spring or summer term (January or April), you will be contacted by the Student Progress Team.

Re-engaging with University life

There are always opportunities to get to know other students. It doesn’t matter which year you are returning to, how old you are or what your subject is. Below are some ways to get back into University of Essex life and get connected with a new group of students. Depending on your availability, you might want to try one or all of them:

Returning at the start of the academic year

Returning at any time of the year

  • Sign up for Students’ Union sports clubs and societies – it is never too late to join.
  • Check out the activities within your department, school or centre.
  • Email about having a peer mentor – a student who can give you tips on settling back into university life. For instance, they can remind you of how to use the library and/or online systems.
  • Contact your Course Rep for practical advice about how to get back into your studies.
  • Become more employable. Don’t forget to look out for the Big e. It will help you easily find your way to the range of opportunities available for you to develop skills to improve your employability while at university. You can develop your professional skills through a variety of means on campus and this will also bring you into contact with other students.
  • For research students, why not attend some Proficio professional development events for doctoral students?

Support availability

If you have a disability or other specific support arrangements, you should contact your Student Services Hub and/or any other relevant services to ensure that these are in place for your return to your studies, such as the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service.

You can also find further information about the support available during intermission via our support webpage.

  • If you are not already allocated a named Wellbeing Adviser, you may be allocated a caseworker before your return to study.
  • If you are returning to study after being intermitted through the Study and Wellbeing Intervention Policy (SWIP Stage 3), we offer you additional support via the SWIP Stage 2 “Support to Study” process.

SWIP Stage 2 “Support to Study”

At Support to Study Meetings, we will work with you to:

  • To formally monitor your progress for a specified period of time until any concerns are resolved.
  • Agree an action plan with you, outlining any steps which you will need to take and/or any support to be provided to you to address the concern identified.
  • Arrange regular review meetings with you and a nominated member of staff (to ensure that the action plan is being appropriately followed and/or that reasonable support to enable you to study effectively is being provided);
  • Inform you of the consequences of any breaches of the action plan, which will normally involve your fitness to study being considered. If the action plan has been successful in addressing the concerns, you will be informed via email that the formal procedure has concluded, and you can continue to access support from SWIS;
  • To recommend that special academic arrangements or other reasonable adjustments be put in place.
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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.