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Degree Committee for the Faculty of Earth Sciences & Geography


If you are travelling away from the University for purposes connected to your studies ​for more than two weeks, you need to obtain formal permission for Leave to Work Away before you depart. It is very important you apply with sufficient notice for your Department to properly assess your risk assessment and for all parties to consider your application. The University has a duty of care to ensure you are safeguarded while you work away. That is why we need to know where you are going, for how long, and what you will be doing, before you leave.

You should not leave until your Leave to Work Away application has been considered by all parties and formally approved by Student Registry

Application guidance and further information can be found on the Cambridge Students website:

Application for working away should be made through your CamSIS self-service. Please check with your Department Safety Office/Postgraduate Office if there is a risk assessment template they prefer you use. Otherwise templates are available on the Safeguarding Work Away website.


What activity requires Leave to Work Away permission?

An application for Leave to Work Away is appropriate if you are undertaking:

  • fieldwork or data collection
  • an internship/placement which is integral to your PhD
  • language training required by your course
  • an overseas/UK visit or research trip integral to your PhD
  • returning home to write up or make corrections to your thesis

Leave to Work Away is NOT appropriate if you intend to:

  • return home to resolve visa issues
  • take up employment (refer to temporary withdrawal)
  • take a language course for personal interest (refer to Intermission)
  • go on holiday
  • attend a conference or similar meeting for a short period of less than 2 weeks


Useful notes

  • Working away refers to activity outside the University, not just outside of Cambridge. If you are undertaking activity in Cambridge but outside of the University (for example, an internship or research work at a Cambridge-based company) you will still need Leave to Work Away even if you are still living in Cambridge.

  • Conferences/meetings - short, agreed absences of two weeks or less (e.g. attending conferences/meetings) are normally allowed without the need to apply for Leave to Work Away. However, you will still need to submit a completed Risk Assessment to your Department Safety Officer. Make sure your supervisor and Department are aware of your plans, and that you leave emergency contact details with your Department Postgraduate Office. If your Department identifies your plans as having a high risk you will be expected to submit a Leave to Work Away application. If you are attending a conference/meeting you should still be able to apply for University Insurance.

  • Working away in first year - Student Registry does not normally permit fieldwork or working away until after satisfactory completion of the first year probationary review. We therefore strongly recommend you plan to wait for the outcome of the assessment before departing. However, if the trip is short and timing is crucial, and your department supports your plans as being essential, it should be possible to arrange this. You should discuss your trip as early as possible with your Department Postgraduate Office so suitable plans for your probationary assessment can be agreed before your departure.

  • Masters students ​- it is not usual for Masters students to need a period of working away unless it is an integrated part of a taught course. However, in restricted circumstances, MPhil students may work under supervision outside of the University and be exempted from the residence requirement for up to one term. Application to work away is made in the usual way.  The timing of the trip is important as Masters students are usually required to keep three terms of residence. If you are unsure how your trip fits into the residency requirement please consult with your Department Postgraduate Office.

  • Submission deadline - being granted permission to work away will not alter your submission deadline, nor does it provide a valid reason to apply for an extension to your submission deadline.



If you do not have sufficient funds to support your field/research work away you may be able to apply for assistance from the Leave to Work Away Research Fund. Students leaving Cambridge to write up their thesis or make corrections, and students on MRes and taught MPhil programmes are not eligible to apply to the fund.

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Office closures

The Degree Committee for the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Geography will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 28 March 2024 and will reopen again on Tuesday 2 April 2024.
Research degree theses should still be submitted by your submission deadline even if that falls over the holiday period.