Leaves of Absence

UBC policies on Leaves of Absence for Graduate Students

In addition, please review types of leave: personal, parental, leave for health reasons, professional leave, and leave to pursue a second program of study.

Because of system limitations, leave must officially begin on the first day of term and end on the last day of term. Leave can be for 4, 8, or 12 months.


  1. Student requests a leave of absence in writing from his or her home graduate program.
  2. Program downloads the form “Request Leave of Absence ” from the Forms section of this website.
  3. Program fills out the form and includes a brief explanation of the reason for the leave.
  4. Graduate advisor attaches a copy of the student’s written request and/or the note from the student’s doctor advising medical leave (as applicable).
  5. Student’s supervisor approves the leave request and signs the form.
  6. Graduate advisor signs the form.
  7. Program sends form and a copy of the student’s written request and/or the note from the student’s doctor to G+PS (as applicable).
  8. G+PS reviews form and attached materials.
  9. G+PS updates the student’s academic record to show the leave period.
  10. G+PS notifies the student (copy to program) that the leave has been approved.
  11. G+PS notifies Awards of the changes.


Leave is not usually granted retroactively, nor to a student whose registration is not current or whose time in program has elapsed.

International students: taking a leave of absence can adversely affect their immigration status. Please ensure that they understand the possible consequences of their leave.


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. The web page at the link above shows availability of resources.

Students on leave are not eligible to receive awards.

Students on leave are assessed an on-leave fee by Enrolment Services. To find out the fee amount, please contact Enrolment Services directly.