Leaves of Absence

Under special circumstances, graduate students may apply for leave of absence from formal study at the university for a specific period up to one year. Assuming appropriate documentation is provided, the circumstances justifying a leave include but are not limited to personal or family medical conditions, call to active military duty, parental leave, or death in immediate family. The rationale must be documented by the applicant.

An approved leave of absence preserves the student’s status in the degree program, and the time off will not be counted against the time limits for awarding degrees. Consequently, registration is not required during the leave period. A leave may be renewed past the first year, for up to a maximum of five years, depending on the individual circumstances. Renewal of a leave is subject to the approval of the program, college, and the Graduate College.

While the Graduate College leave of absence is only necessary for students who will be unable to register for a full academic year, programs may have more strict and specific registration policies and leave of absence policies. Students should also consult their program handbook if there is a legitimate need not to register for any amount of time.

To apply for a leave of absence, a student must complete the Request for Leave of Absence Form and upload the appropriate documentation (e.g., doctor’s letter or military orders) through Gradtracker. The program will approve through Gradtracker as well. Once the program has approved the request, the Graduate College will review the petition and if approved, the student and program will receive an email notification through their UC email.

Note: A student on a leave of absence is placed on inactive status and their Catalyst record is discontinued, to be reactivated upon their return. While on inactive status, they will not be eligible for student health insurance and may be unable to use many UC resources. Students with financial aid or student loans should confer with the Financial Aid Office prior to requesting a leave of absence to ascertain the consequences of a leave on their loan status. Students should also be aware that any scholarships or assistantships are not guaranteed to be available when a student returns from a leave of absence.