The Leave of Absence policy was created to assist graduate students who require a leave from their program. Such leaves are granted for reasons such as:
- Care-giving responsibilities
- Medical requirements
- Military service
- Parental responsibilities
- Political service
Leaves of absence may be granted for a minimum of one term and up to one year. Such requested leaves must be approved by the student’s home graduate program. Proper documentation must be supplied when applicable (e.g., medical leaves).
The home program may grant requests for leaves of absence for a minimum of one term up to a maximum of one year; any requests for renewal beyond a year must be approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The total length of leave time with renewal must not exceed two (2) years for Master’s, graduate certificates and graduate diploma’s students and three (3) years for doctoral students. During a leave of absence, students are not expected to work on their graduate programs. The time on leave will not count as time in program, i.e., a doctoral student who completes two years and then takes a one year leave of absence, will still have four years to complete degree requirements.
Application for a leave of absence should be made in advance of the anticipated leave, or as soon as possible after the event necessitating the leave occurs. While it is often difficult to anticipate the need for a leave, it is helpful if the beginning and end of the leave coincide with the beginning and end dates of a term. All supporting documents (e.g., medical notes) need to be submitted along with the request form. Although programs/departments can grant leaves that do not exceed a total length of one year, all approved requests are required to be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the purpose of record keeping.
During an approved leave of absence of up to one year, all Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) administered scholarship funding is deferred until the student returns to full-time registration. Students should be aware that supervisory and/or funding arrangements other than FGS-administered scholarships cannot in general be guaranteed on return from a leave. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the proposed leave is compatible with the regulations of any granting agency from which funding would normally be received during the leave period, and that such agencies are informed of the proposed leave. Students on student loan programs should clarify the consequences that a leave will have on their repayment status; information about education financing in Alberta can be found at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/ec/fo/studentsfinance/students-finance.html. International students should consult the International Student Centre and immigration authorities regarding their immigration status during the proposed leave.