Graduate Student Leaves of Absence
This policy, V-302: Graduate Student Leaves of Absence, applies to students currently registered in graduate programs at the University of British Columbia, including those administered by faculties other than the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
This policy does not apply to students enrolled in the Pharm.D. program or students in undergraduate programs including the M.D., J.D., and D.M.D. programs.
Students in dual degree programs (e.g., M.D./Ph.D.) may be eligible, through discussion with both programs.
A graduate student who finds it necessary for parental, health, personal, professional, or academic reasons, as outlined below, to interrupt his or her studies may apply for a leave of absence. Responsibility for approving a leave of absence rests with the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; or, in the case of programs not administered by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, with their respective Deans.
A leave of absence will normally begin on the first day of September, January, or May.
Leaves of absence will be granted for periods of four, eight, or twelve months.
The total duration of all leaves of absence granted in a graduate program is normally limited to 24 months for a doctoral student and to 12 months for a master's student, except Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study.
While on a leave of absence, graduate students are expected to not undertake any academic or research work related to the program for which they have taken a leave of absence. Access to the University's facilities and resources, including faculty supervision, while on a leave of absence may be limited. Consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for current information in that regard.
Graduate students must inform their program of their intent to return from a leave of absence prior to recommencing their studies.
Time spent on leave of absence is not counted as part of the allowed time to complete a degree.
Awards and Fellowships for Students with On-Leave Status
A graduate student granted a leave of absence retains the full value of any fellowship or other award for which the terms and conditions are established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; award payments will be suspended at the onset of the leave of absence and will resume at the termination of the leave period, provided that the student returns to full-time study at that time.
Awards for which the terms and conditions are not established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be paid according to the terms and conditions established by the donor or granting agency.
Categories of Leaves of Absence
A graduate student who is bearing a child or who has primary responsibility for the care of an infant or young child is eligible for parental leave. Appropriate supporting documentation may be required.
Parental leave is normally limited to 12 months per childbirth or adoption (including multiples).
Where possible, a student enrolled in coursework should coordinate his or her leave of absence to coincide with the first day of September, January, or May.
Leave for Health Reasons
A graduate student who encounters a health problem that significantly interferes with the ability to pursue his or her course of study is eligible for a leave for health reasons.
Requests for a leave for health reasons must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation from the clinician providing primary care for the health problem.
A leave for health reasons is normally limited to 12 months.
Prior to being allowed to return to his or her studies, a student returning to study after a leave for health reasons may be required to produce specific documentation from his or her clinician confirming that he or she has recovered sufficiently to return from leave and resume his or her course of study.
A graduate student who wishes to suspend his or her course of study in order to take a relevant work or professional development experience may be eligible for professional leave. Appropriate supporting documentation may be required.
Professional leave is normally limited to 12 months.
A graduate student who encounters personal circumstances that significantly interfere with the ability to pursue his or her course of study may be eligible for personal leave. Request for a leave for personal reasons must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation.
Personal leave is normally limited to 12 months.
Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study
Following consultation with his or her program advisor and graduate supervisor, a graduate student may apply for a leave of absence from one program to pursue a second course of study.
While on a leave of absence to pursue a second course of study, the graduate student is responsible for any tuition or other fees associated with the second program.
Leave to pursue a second course of study may exceed 12 months.