Three students studying on Laptop in Eldon centre outdoor space

Making decisions

Helping you to think through your course and University options

Changing or leaving your course is a major decision and this is likely to be a worrying time for you, but you are not alone. By facing up to the situation and seeking appropriate support, the decision will hopefully become more manageable. The following information will help you identify the key issues that you will need to consider and outline the sources of support available to you within and outside of the University.

Start by thinking about the reasons why you want to change or leave your course

Thinking about the reasons behind your decision can help you identify the help you need.
  • Is the course not as interesting as you thought or are you finding it difficult? 
  • Is it the way your course is taught? 
  • Do you feel generally unhappy or unsettled? 
  • Do you have health or other personal issues? 
  • Is finance an issue?   
If you do make the decision to leave your course you will have four main options open to you:

Accordian Panel

What is it about your course that you don’t like? You will need to be clear on this point to make sure that you do not end up changing courses without solving the underlying problem.

If you are not enjoying the course content, check out what modules are yet to come. Is it possible to choose modules which might appeal more to your interests? Are you finding the work too challenging? Would study skills help you to engage more with your subject? 

Whatever the problem, you can talk to your personal tutor or make an appointment to see a Careers Adviser to discuss your situation.  They will help you look at the options, look at alternative courses and plan your next steps.  Your decision will also depend on what stage you have reached in your studies. The further you move into the autumn term or beyond, the harder it becomes to change course as you will have missed too much tuition on the new course. As a guide, beyond mid-November transfers become increasingly unlikely and it would be more usual to suspend studies and to start the new course in a new academic year. However, some courses may have a cut off much earlier than this, even as early as 4 weeks into term. 

You can find out about the support available and the process you need to follow by using the links and resources below.  

Suspending your studies

Some students, for a range of reasons, may need to take a temporary break from (suspend) their studies. Again, talk to your personal tutor if you think you need to consider this option. Taking a break from your studies will affect your tuition and accommodation fees so you should inform your department of your plans as soon as possible. You can talk to support teams across the University to explore the implications of your decision and the process you need to follow.

You may feel that withdrawal from your course at the University is the best option for you but the University may be able to support you through your current difficulties, whatever they may be. 

In the first instance, talk to your Personal Tutor to explore what your options might be - such as taking a temporary suspension or a transfer of course. They will be able to guide you regarding which would be the best option for you. As with suspending your studies, withdrawing from your course will have financial implications and you will need to explore the impact of withdrawal on any future funding support for undergraduate studies.

You can find out more about who you can get advice from and the processes involved by using the links and resources below.  

If you intend to transfer to another university you will need to contact the Admissions Tutor of the course that you are interested in. They will explain the procedure that you will need to follow to apply for a place. You may be able to apply as a direct applicant but they may require you to apply through UCAS. You will need to explore what funding you may be entitled to for your new course. You will also need to follow the University of Portsmouth procedure.

How can the Careers and Employability Service help?

Based in Rosalind Franklin East Building, our careers advisers are professionally trained offering independent and impartial guidance. We can help if you have changed your career intentions since starting your course and with the career implications of not completing your degree or starting a new one. We can also help you think about possible employment options if you are thinking of leaving higher education altogether.

Get in touch to speak with an adviser.

Further useful sources of help and advice

As this is such an important decision for you, you will also want to seek help and advice from others to enable you to make an informed decision. The University has provided a checklist with details of all services and support you can access, explaining the advice available to help you make your decision.  Access our checklist guiding you to services and support.

External help and advice

  • In addition to the above you can access careers guidance through the government’s National Careers Service or phone 0800 100 900. 
  • TargetJobs - Useful online information if you are thinking about leaving your course

What is the process if I would like to change or withdraw from my course?

Whilst all of the above services can give you advice to guide you through your decision, there is a set process to follow. Full details of the University of Portsmouth’s policy and process are available on the Withdraw, Suspend, Transfer and Defer webpage. You can complete the request to suspend your studies, transfer or withdraw in Your Student View.