Policy on Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies

Definition of a graduate student: A graduate student is defined as any individual who holds admission to The Graduate School to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate, a graduate certificate, or graduate degree.

Under compelling personal or medical reasons, a graduate student may request a leave of absence from her/his graduate program for a period of up to twelve (12) months or one (one) calendar year. The request for a leave of absence must be made in writing using the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form on The Graduate School website at: http://grad.uconn.edu.

The completed application form must bear the signatures of the student’s major advisor, and the department or program head. The completed application form is to be submitted to The Graduate School for review and approval at least thirty (30) days before the leave of absence is to commence, or the earliest date possible in extenuating circumstances.

Information provided in the application for a personal leave of absence must address the specific reason(s) prompting the request. Examples could include, but are not limited to, (1) family leave and (2) financial hardship. Applications for a medical leave of absence require documentation from an appropriate health care provider, which must be submitted along with the Request for Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form. In certain cases, the Dean of The Graduate School may request that a student provide documentation from an appropriate health care provider which certifies that the student has medical clearance to resume study at the conclusion of an approved leave of absence. In addition, consultation with university offices may be appropriate. For example, consultation related to assessment of the safety of the student’s work environment may be requested by contacting the Division of Environmental Health and Safety at: http://www.ehs.uconn.edu/ and accommodations and services for students with disabilities may be discussed with the Center for Students with Disabilities at: http://www.csd.uconn.edu/.

When the student is on an approved leave of absence for the full duration of a fall or spring semester, she/he is not required to register for any credit or non-credit course. Requests submitted during an academic session will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine the most appropriate mechanism for recording the period of leave (e.g., requests made prior to the open enrollment closing date may be dated to cover the entire semester). An approved leave of absence indicates that the student status will be recorded as “inactive” for the duration of the requested period of leave, and as such, the student will not have access to university services as a graduate student. In addition, the terminal date (the date determined by The Graduate School by which it is expected that all degree requirements will be completed) of any student granted a leave of absence will be extended by a period of time equivalent to the duration of the approved leave of absence. Thus, the period of the approved leave of absence will not be considered when calculating the time the student has spent working toward the completion of the degree. In contrast, a student who chooses to maintain Continuous Registration will maintain active status, which means the student will continue to pay associated fees, have access to university services as a graduate student, and the terminal date for degree requirements is not extended. Thus, the decision to choose a leave of absence versus Continuous Registration to maintain active status must be weighed accordingly. The refunds and cancellation of charges information found in the Fees and Expenses section of the catalog applies to students taking an approved leave of absence.

International students are strongly encouraged to thoroughly evaluate the implications of each decision on their student status. International students must obtain authorization from an international advisor at International Student and Scholar Services before any course is dropped. Failure to do so will be considered a status violation and it will result in termination of the student’s SEVIS record. It is strongly recommended that the student hold an advisory meeting with an international advisor if she/he is considering requesting a leave of absence.

The leave of absence can be extended up to a maximum of one (1) additional twelve (12) month period. The request must be re-submitted using the previously described procedures, and ultimately approved by The Graduate School. A leave of absence cannot exceed two (2) full calendar years (24 months) in duration. In such cases in which a student needs leave for more than a total of two (2) calendar years, the student must reapply for admission to The Graduate School with no assurance of acceptance.

Approval of a leave of absence does not assure or guarantee that a graduate program, an academic department, The Graduate School, or the University would be in a position to provide financial support or a graduate assistantship to any graduate student upon their return to studies following an approved leave of absence. Students returning to studies after a leave of absence must work with appropriate faculty advisors and program personnel to resume their degree programs.

Reinstatement from an approved leave of absence will occur at the beginning of the appropriate academic term. To request Reinstatement from an approved leave of absence, the student should complete the Request for Reinstatement from Leave of Absence from Graduate Studies form on The Graduate School website and submit it to The Graduate School.

The University of Connecticut does not tolerate discrimination prohibited by federal and state law, including but not limited to sex discrimination, pregnancy-related discrimination, and disability discrimination. To ensure compliance with federal and state laws, including Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University has designated a Title IX Coordinator and ADA Coordinator, who is charged with monitoring compliance with Title IX and the ADA and ensuring that reports of sex and disability discrimination are investigated and addressed by the University. For more information regarding the University’s non-discrimination, anti-harassment, and non-retaliation policies, please visit the Office of Diversity and Equity website at: http://www.ode.uconn.edu/ or call 860-486-2943 or email ODE@uconn.edu.

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