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Leaves, Withdrawals, and Readmission

Leaves of absence are defined as a temporary separation from the University. Students who need to interrupt their progress towards degree may petition to withdraw for a leave of absence. There are various types of leaves:


All leaves of absence must be approved by the appropriate University offices/programs. The procedure for requesting a leave and the specific approvals required depend on the type of leave. The general policies are:

Medical Leave of Absence

A student who must temporarily interrupt their progress toward degree due to a physical or mental health need may request a medical leave of absence through the Dean of Students Office. Additional information about medical leaves of absence, including the process for a student to request a medical leave of absence and reinstatement from medical leave, is outlined on the Dean of Students, Medical Leave of Absence website.

Funded PhD and MFA students who are scheduled to be funded during the quarter(s) in which they are taking approved medical leave are eligible to receive paid medical leave for up to the first six months of the medical leave period.

Parental Leave of Absence

Parental leaves are available to active students of all gender identities and gender expressions in The Graduate School who experience the birth or adoption of a child for whom they have parental responsibilities.

Funded graduate students (graduate assistants, research assistants, teaching assistants, fellows) who are eligible to receive tuition and stipend from the University during the leave period may request paid leave from their duties for a 12 week leave period. Funding will be provided by The Graduate School during the 12 week leave period.  Graduate students who are funded from an external sponsor are obliged to inform their funding agency and should consult with TGS Student Funding. If a student is not receiving funding as of the start date of the parental leave, none will be provided by this leave. Unfunded graduate students (those who are not receiving funding as of the start date of the parental leave) may request unpaid leave from their studies for up to a 12 week leave period.

Students on approved parental leave will receive a four-quarter extension of future TGS milestone deadlines (qualifying exam, prospectus, degree deadline). Programs must extend future, program-specific deadlines by the same length. Students, Directors of Graduate Studies (DGSes) and advisers are expected to discuss a timeline for meeting requirements well in advance of the start of the leave period.

Students must begin the leave period within the first 90 days of the birth or adoption, or prior to the birth/adoption if medically necessary. The period of leave applies to calendar weeks. If a parental leave overlaps with an academic break, the break period will still count toward the 12-week period of leave.

Students using a parental leave for all or most of a quarter will not enroll for that quarter and will be placed in "leave" status. Students who are enrolled in classes as of the start date of a parental leave must work with their instructors to determine whether incomplete grades are possible and to arrange a timeline for completion of coursework upon return from the leave period. If a student anticipates taking parental leave for a partial quarter, it is recommended that the student not enroll in coursework for that quarter. Students should consult TGS Student Services to determine whether registration in a quarter surrounding a parental leave is appropriate and if so, the exact registration status.

The process to petition for a Parental Leave of Absence is as follows:

General Leave of Absence

A student who wishes to temporarily interrupt their progress toward degree and who is not eligible for a medical or parental leave may petition to withdraw for a general leave of absence. General leaves of absence must be approved by the student’s program of study and The Graduate School. The process to petition for a general leave of absence is as follows:

General leaves are approved for a minimum of one quarter and a maximum of one year. Funded PhD and MFA students may not receive funding (stipend/tuition) during the leave period.  In most cases, regular funding will resume after the approved leave period ends. Students must petition for reinstatement by contacting TGS student services via email at least 6 weeks before the start of the quarter in which they plan to return. In certain exceptional cases, students may petition to extend the general leave period with approval from the student's program (Director of Graduate Studies or DGS designate) and The Graduate School. Students who fail to petition for reinstatement from general leave or petition for an extension by the originally-approved leave of absence end date will be discontinued from The Graduate School and need to apply for readmission in order to return.