Leave of Absence

One Academic Year

When on-campus students need to discontinue their graduate studies for a future semester, they must inform their graduate director but no official leave of absence is required. Students who plan to leave the University for two semesters (not counting the summer) and who plan to return should request a Leave of Absence in writing. The request goes to the graduate program director who will forward it to the Graduate Dean for authorization. Normally no explanation for the leave is required. Students who need to WX from a semester in which they are currently enrolled will be subject to the withdrawal policies. Students who are granted a leave of absence do not receive extended time to complete their degree requirements.

More than One Academic Year

Students who are unable to take courses or to pursue their thesis research for three or more consecutive semesters (excluding summer) should apply for an Extended Leave of Absence.  A letter explaining the reasons for the request, and stating the expected time when studies will be resumed, should be sent to the director of the student’s graduate program, who will forward it to the Graduate Dean with his or her recommendation for a final decision. Students who are granted an Extended Leave of Absence are still expected to complete the requirements for the degree or certificate within six years from the date they first enrolled at the University (for Master's level on-campus programs, and within four years for online programs). For Ph.D. students, an extended leave would still require them to meet all requirements within no more than ten years. 

Medical Leave

At times, family or medical issues arise that require a medical leave of absence which may warrant the student receiving an extended time period for completing degree requirements. In such cases, medical or other documentation is required, and then students may be granted extensions on the time frame for degree completion. Typically, no more than 1-2 years is granted and the Graduate Dean must approve these requests. Students should submit documentation to the program director who will forward it to the Graduate Dean.


Students who are active graduate assistants (receiving a stipend for work in their department) and request a leave will not be paid during the time they are on leave. 

Return Date

If the student does not return to the University within the time originally requested the student will be considered as having withdrawn from the University.

Updated November 14, 2014