Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies Policy
A graduate student in good academic standing may request a leave of absence from graduate program for up to one calendar year. The request for a leave of absence must be made in writing using the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form available from the Graduate School.
A Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form must be submitted to the Graduate School for review and approval at least thirty (30) days before the leave of absence is intended to commence, or the earliest date possible in extenuating circumstances. A leave of absence may not be granted retroactively.
A request for a leave of absence from graduate studies must address the specific reason(s) prompting the request and provide supporting documentation as appropriate. A leave of absence may be granted for medical reasons, family necessity or dependent care, and/or military service. A leave of absence due to financial hardship will not be considered.
All requests are reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of the Graduate School. For consideration and approval, the request must include written input from the student’s Graduate Coordinator, Committee Chairperson/Major Advisor (if already appointed), and Department Head. Notification of decision will be conveyed to both the student and the Graduate Coordinator.
Reinstatement from an approved leave of absence will occur at the beginning of the specified academic term. To request reinstatement from an approved leave of absence, the student should complete the Request for Reinstatement from Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form and submit it to the Graduate School. Students who fail to petition to return after an approved leave of absence will be required to apply for readmission in order to return and to follow the requirements printed in the University Catalog in effect at the time of re-entry into the University.
An approved leave of absence ensures that a graduate student is allowed to continue the degree program requirements as printed in the University Catalog in effect at the time of admission; that is, it offers an exception to requirement that stipulates a readmitted graduate student must follow the requirements printed in the University Catalog in effect at the time of re-entry.
An approved leave of absence extends the allotted time limit toward degree completion. The semester(s) of an approved leave of absence will not be counted toward time to degree and/or academic milestone deadlines such as Application for Admission to Candidacy.
An approved leave of absence does not automatically cancel any registrations. If a graduate student is registered/enrolled for the semester(s) included in the approved leave, they must cancel the registration(s) and/or formally withdraw from courses. Failure to do so will result in assessment of tuition/fees and assigned grades for the course(s).
During an approved leave of absence, a graduate student will be regarded as a “non-enrolled student” and will not have access to University faculty, facilities, resources, or services designed or intended only for enrolled students (with the exception of University email); receive a graduate assistantship, fellowship, or financial aid from the University; or register for courses at any level.
Graduate students receiving funding of any kind should be aware of certain consequences of a leave of absence:
As noted above, graduate student on approved leave may not hold an assistantship or fellowship. Moreover, approval of a leave of absence does not assure that a graduate program, the Graduate School, or other University unit will be in a position to provide assistantship or fellowship funding upon a return to graduate studies. While the Graduate School shall encourage funding consideration, graduate students returning after an approved leave of absence must work with their Graduate Coordinators and appropriate faculty to resume graduate studies and to initiate new funding requests.
A graduate student who receives funding from a source outside the University should consult with that funding agency to learn about any effects a leave of absence might have.
Graduate students on approved leave are not eligible for federal financial aid and, in some cases, student loans may not be deferred for a leave of absence. Students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for leave and also as they return to graduate studies.
International graduate students who are considering applying for a leave of absence are strongly advised to consult with the Office of International Affairs to determine the impact a leave will have on VISA status.
Graduate students on an approved leave of absence may not fulfill any degree requirements during the time on leave. If a student plans to be away from the University to work on a thesis, dissertation, or other degree requirements, this would not constitute a leave of absence.