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Holidays for PhD students – how does it work?

This post was originally published at the PhD Life blog on the 16th of Aug 2012, see here for the comments on this post.

Follow-up to Summer Busy–Ness – by Tomi from PhD Life: a blog about the PhD student experience

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I’ve been inspired to write this post after Temilola wrote a post below asking about tips to stay focused when everyone else is enjoying their holidays in the sun. My tips are in the comments on that post, but this lead me to wondering how holidays/annual leave for PhD students work? I am currently on what I call annual leave 🙂

In my first year, I would book holidays around two months in advance, and notify my supervisor. As far as I know she didn’t keep count of the amount of days (she trusts me :)), and has always encouraged me to take holidays. I did ask her regarding the number of days we can take off in a year and I think she said (as far as I can recall) around 4 weeks (20 days) plus statuary holidays. This was roughly the same as what my husband can take off from work, so it was easy to keep count as most of our holidays were on the same day.

Before the start of this year though, with my husband in a new job where he had to book all of his annual leave days at the beginning of the year, we both booked our annual leave days a year in advance, and I sent my annual leave (holiday) dates to my supervisors, who approved them. In many ways this is working better for us (even though it limits spontaneity), because it means as we know when we have off in advance, we have something to look forward to and of course can book and plan holidays (overseas or in the UK) months in advance instead of struggling trying to find a decent deal at the last minute 😉

I also think it may be better to refer to the days off as annual leave and not holiday, because even if you feel like you don’t need a holiday, or don’t deserve a holiday you will still then take your alloacted annual leave days off (like I am currently doing) and I’m sure the break would do you some good (a chance to blog in my case ;-))


Is there an official limit to the number of days PhD students can take off? If there is no official limit to holidays, how do you take holidays? Does your supervisor keep a count of the number of days you take off? Has your supervisor ever told you you can’t take a holiday, and if so why? Has your supervisor ever forced you to take a holiday? Do you have to notify your department/supervisor when you take days off?

Published in PhD Life Research Methods

One Comment

  1. Great post. when i did my phd i have no holidays haha.

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