Leaves of Absence 

Students can choose to take a leave of absence (LOA) for personal or health-related problems or for parental leave. Use the SGS form for LOA requests of any length.

The completed form (with any attachments, such as medical notes), should be sent to the director of graduate studies for approval. The form includes links to the LOA Policy.

Some pertinent points to consider:

  1. If you request LOA for up to three sessions, departmental approval suffices. (One complete academic year is an example of three sessions). 
  2. A request for a second LOA or one that exceeds three terms will require SGS approval. 
  3. A person on LOA has no academic responsibilities or rights: No tuition is owed, no departmental or university funds are provided, no faculty are required to provide assistance or supervision. 
  4. A student under the ongoing care of a physician from Health & Wellness before the leave can continue with that care, at no additional cost. For a fee, students can also request ongoing access to some other campus services. Before going on LOA, you may request continuing library access (no fee required for continued access). 
  5. On LOA, a student’s academic clock halts. If, for example, you request a one-year leave at the end of your fourth year, you will return as a fifth-year student following your LOA.  
  6. Most students who take LOA are not in the funded cohort, although some are in the Dissertation Completion Award stage of the program. Any funding owed at the time of LOA will be owed on the student’s return, as long as they remain in good standing.
  7. Please keep us abreast of your decisions at the end of your LOA: If you do not plan to return, you must let us know. If you are returning, we would also appreciate a courtesy notification confirming your intention to do so by no later than one month before the planned date of return. This is particularly important for students who expect to receive funding on their return. 
  8. If you are on LOA for one term (scheduled to return, for example, on Jan. 1, 2021) and do not return without letting us know you are withdrawing from the program, you will be charged tuition. 
  9. Inform yourself about the alternatives to going on LOA. Please note that Program Stop-Out is not available to students pursuing their PhD in our department, as it is only available to students in coursework-only programs.