Research Programmes

Candidature & Administrative Matters

Leave Matters

Students may be granted leave for periods of absence from the University.  All Leave of Absence (LOA) within two semesters can be approved by the Faculty. LOA beyond two semesters will have to be decided by the University.

LOA may be granted for the following reasons:

  • Personal   (e.g.   financial   reasons,   family   problems,   participation  in competitions, maternity)
  • Medial (.e.g. psychological/psychiatric, injuries, illness)

The maximum period of LOA allowed, whether for medical or non-medical reasons, would be four (4) years cumulative, beyond which no further LOA would be granted.   The basis for this was that the student’s knowledge would be obsolete after four years.

Graduate research students will need to apply for an extension of candidature to cover the leave period, and for any additional time needed to complete their thesis should their leave period result in them exceeding the maximum candidature. There is no automatic extension of candidature to account for the period of leave.   Should a graduate research student submit his/her thesis for examination during the leave period or during the semester immediately after the period of leave, the student will have to pay tuition fees for one semester.

The LOA application deadline is the end of the Recess Week.  In the event that the student’s absence beyond Recess Week is inevitable due to unforeseen circumstances, students are to approach their home department for advice. Students who wish to apply for leave of absence should apply through NUS Integrated Student Information System. Such requests should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the proposed leave period to the Department/Programme.

Those who require LOA of one semester or more should obtain approval in advance of the semester.   Students who apply for LOA beyond Instructional Week 2 are liable to pay fees for the entire semester.  Not having attend any classes or utilising the University’s resources are not valid reasons to seek waiver from fee payment.  Those granted LOA before the end of the 2nd Instructional Week will have their modules removed from the records.  Those granted LOA due to medial reasons beyond the 2nd Instructional Week will have the Incomplete (IC) grades assigned to their modules.  For LOA due to non-medical reason, Withdrawn (W) grades will be assigned to their modules.

Students who have completed some modules prior to their LOA will be recorded as being on LOA and the completed modules will be reflected in the student’s records if they already have been graded.

International Students who are under the following situations will have to cancel and surrender their Student’s Pass:

  • Granted  LOA  to  participate  in  a  local  internship  during  the  regular semester which does not earn any credit for graduation. Students are advised to apply to the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) for the necessary Training Employment Pass through their employer.
  • Granted LOA consecutively for more than two (2) years for medical or personal reasons.


Students who are applying for medical LOA for one semester or more must consult a University Health Centre (UHC) doctor who will give the Faculty an assessment of the student’s medical condition as to whether the student is indeed unfit to study.   The Faulty will then assess and decide whether to approve/support based on the medical assessment and student’s academic performance to date.

Medical or health insurance benefits shall no longer be applicable during the period students are on term LOA.   Students should consult UHC for more information or refer to this  website.

If medical leave is granted for the entire semester, the student must again, be deemed to be medically fit by UHC before resuming for studies.  If the student is overseas, he/she should be certified fit by his/her doctor in the home country before returning to Singapore.  A report (in English) must be submitted to UHC. The treatment must be from a recognised medical practitioner.   Traditional medical treatments are not recognised.  The student must subsequently consult UHC for a re-evaluation.

Students with hostel accommodation and who are granted leave of absence will be required to vacate their rooms during the period of leave. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) will re-assess hostel applications of students returning from leave.  Students granted leave on medical grounds and who wish to reapply to stay in hostel may be asked to do the following for OSA’s consideration:

  • Obtain certificate of fitness to return to studies and provide letter on resumption of studies from Faculty; and
  • Consult   UHC/Counselling   &    Psychological   Services   (CPS)    for assessment, whereby UHC/CPS will then provide a confidential report to OSA.

Students who would like to attend conferences, go on field trips, research attachments or take up modules* related to your research area have to apply to your respective Head of Department/Programme for approval. Once such activities are approved, leave is deemed to be granted.

* We would like to highlight that no student may concurrently be a candidate for more than one degree or register as a candidate of NUS and of another university or institute, unless granted approval by our University.

Please note the following when seeking approval:


Things to note

Attend conferences

As mentioned above, attendance at conferences is to be approved by the Head of Department/Programme.

Go on field trips / overseas attachment

Furnish your Department/Programme with the following when seeking approval:
  • Period
  • Scope of study and its relevance to the research topic
  • The institution in which the study will be carried out, if applicable. If not applicable, please mention the city/country.
  • Quantum of financial help provided, if any; and
  • A detailed work schedule.

Taking modules overseas*

Furnish your Department/Programme with the following when seeking approval:
  • Period
  • Institution in which modules will be taken
  • Details of module(s)
  • Reason for taking the module(s) overseas instead of NUS

Leave for Research Scholars

Research Scholars can apply for holiday leave online at NUS Integrated Student Information System > Self Service > Leave Application > RS Leave Application.

Leave for Non-Research Scholars

The only type of leave available to non-research scholars is leave of absence (LoA). Students can apply for LOA online via NUS Integrated Student Information System. Application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the proposed leave period. The outcome of the LOA application will be sent to the students’ NUS email account.

Leave applications that go beyond the maximum candidature require approval from the Vice-Dean (Graduate Studies). Leave of absence of more than one year (cumulative) requires the approval of the Board of Graduate Studies.