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Student Policies and Regulations

Changing Your Study Plans: Deferrals, Withdrawals and Cancellation

An explanation of the rules that apply if you want to defer or withdraw from your studies, or want to change your choice of module or qualification.

The Changing Your Study Plans Policy sets out the options that you have as a student if you want to change the modules and/or qualification that you are studying, take a break from study, or withdraw from your studies with the Open University. It also explains the rules and procedures for each option and indicates whether there might be potential financial or academic consequences.

If you require this document in an alternative format, please Contact Us or contact your Student Support Team if you are a current Open University Student. Students living in Wales can speak with a student support adviser in Welsh on 029 2047 1170, should you wish to do so.

This policy applies to Enquirers (for information only), all Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught Students studying a module and/or a qualification, with the exception of Apprentices, Students in prison, secure units and secure hospitals, and those released on licence into the community (Students in Secure Environments).

This policy does not apply to:

Apprentices: you should contact your Apprenticeship Enrolment and Support Team for further discussion. Your AEST will discuss the implications of changing your study plans with you and your employer.

Postgraduate Research Students: you should contact the Research Degrees Team for options for changing your study plans.

Those studying a non-credit bearing Short Course: you should refer to the Conditions of Registration (Short Courses)

Those studying an Open University microcredential via the FutureLearn platform you should contact FutureLearn


Policy Documents

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2023

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2022

Previous document versions

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2021

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2020

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2019

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2018

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2016

Effective for modules starting from 1 August 2012

  • Cancellation Procedure (PDF, 73KB)

    This document explained the procedure you had to follow to defer or withdraw from your studies or to change your choice of module or qualification while this version of the policy was in force.

  • Deferrals and Withdrawals Policy 2012/13 to 2015/16 (PDF, 152KB)

    Please note this policy also applied in the 2016/17 academic year for students resident in England or outside of the UK who were receiving transitional fee arrangements, and also in the 2017/18 academic year for students eligible for an additional year of discounted fees.

For more information about changes to policy, terms and conditions, and curriculum visit the change log.