On Leave Status

Calendar: https://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=12,204,341,191

Senate policy V302.2: https://senate.ubc.ca/vancouver/policy-abstracts

Form: Request for Leave of Absence

A graduate student who finds it necessary to interrupt his or her studies for parental, health, personal, professional, employment, or academic reasons, as outlined in policy V-302.2, may apply for a leave of absence.

Exception: Policy V-302.2 applies only to students currently registered in graduate programs which charge fees by installments or are delivered on campus. Students in course/credit-fee (non-installment) master’s programs that are delivered online are not eligible for leaves of absence. They can take time away from their studies by not registering in courses. The five-year maximum time in program still applies.


There is additional important information on the different types of leave in the Calendar and in the full Senate policy. Please read them to ensure that you understand the terms and implications of taking a leave of absence.

International graduate students should consult International Student Advising in the Life Building before pursuing a Leave of Absence to discuss the impact on their ability to stay in Canada, study permit and future post-graduation plans.

Main points

  • Requests for leave must be accompanied by a memo from the student stating his/her reasons for requesting a leave of absence.
  • Students must request a leave of absence before the date on which the leave will start. Retroactive leaves will only be approved in highly exceptional cases.
  • Requests must be accompanied by a memo from the student stating his/her reasons for requesting a leave of absence.
  • Requests must be approved by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • A leave of absence will begin on the first day of September, January, or May and will be granted for a period of four, eight, or twelve months.
  • Students who hold awards will receive the full amount of the award for which they are eligible. In most cases, however, students cannot receive awards while they are on a leave of absence. Students will receive the balance of their awards when they return to full-time registration status. Award Holder's Guide: Leave from Program
  • 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 for Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study.
  • Students planning to request a parental leave of absence are encouraged to consider requirements for UBC Child Care Services as early as possible. Due to high demand and shortage of services, programs for children under 3 years of age have waiting times ranging between 12 months and 2.5 years. For more information, please visit UBC Child Care Services.

If approved for a leave of absence

  • Students are expected to not undertake any academic or research work related to the program from 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. See "List of on-leave resources", below.
  • Students must inform their programs 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.


  • Student discusses leave of absence with supervisor and supervisory committee and sends written request for leave.
  • Program downloads and completes the “Request for Leave of Absence” form from Grad Studies website, and attaches required documentation.
  • Student, supervisor and graduate program advisor sign the form indicating their approval.
  • Program sends the form to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Availability of UBC facilities and resources

Some UBC resources may be available to students on leave, while others may only be available under certain circumstances, or may not be available at all. Students on leave are responsible for ensuring that they understand what resources will and will not be available to them. See the list below for details.

List of on-leave resources

Relevant non-UBC facilities or resources

Resource Availability
AMS Health and Dental Plan Must arrange with AMS/GSS provider to ensure continued coverage
Graduate Student Society Membership continues while on leave
iMED Not applicable since leaves are not granted in first term
MSP Responsible for own coverage
Student Legal Fund Society SLFS fee assessed in Sept; if not paid, then not a member
UPass/Compass Card Not available: only registered students are eligible

UBC facilities or resources

Resource Availability
Academic English Support Available at unit’s discretion
Centre for Accessibility Available at unit’s discretion
Athletics and Recreation Student rates not available: can only have regular public access to sports facilities
Building Access Available, but may be restricted by departments
Centre for Community Engaged Learning Available at unit’s discretion
Centre for Student Involvement and Careers Available at unit’s discretion
Child Care Services Available
Counselling Services Available at unit’s discretion
CWL Available
Email Available
First Nations House of Learning Available
Go Global: Student Mobility Programs Available at unit’s discretion
UBC Student Housing (including graduate colleges) Usually not available: only students on medical or parental leave can remain in UBC Student Housing. Special cases for students on other types of leave may be considered.
International Student Advising Available at unit’s discretion
Library Available
Ombudsperson Available
Parking Will qualify for general student parking but not grad student parking (i.e., not all parkades)
Student Health Services Available at unit’s discretion
UBC card Available, but a new card cannot be issued unless enrolled in a UBC credit course
Women on Campus Available at unit’s discretion