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D.7 Leave of Absence
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Graduate Studies Calendar 2023-2024 Academic Regulations D.7 Leave of Absence
D.7 Leave of Absence

A student who is unable to be academically active and productive for a period of time should apply for a leave of absence. Leaves of absence are granted for reasons including, but not limited to, bereavement, care-giving or parental responsibilities, medical requirements, physical or mental wellbeing, military service or political service.

Leaves of absence are typically for a minimum of one term and up to one year. Parental leaves may be granted for up to 18 months. Students are not permitted to take a leave of absence that aligns with the start of their program. Students who are unable to start their program as planned should contact their Graduate Program to inquire about their options.

Except for parental leave, any requests for renewal beyond a year require supporting documentation and are subject to Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) approval. The total length of leave time including renewal must not exceed one (1) year for graduate-level certificate and diploma students, two (2) years for master’s, and three (3) years for doctoral students.

Students cannot be academically active or productive during a leave of absence. This means that students may not engage in scholarly activity related to their degree. They may not complete coursework, research, academic writing, or take on graduate assistantship assignments while they are on leave. As such, the time on leave does not count as time in program, and a student’s maximum completion deadline is adjusted accordingly. During an approved leave of absence, students may be able to defer FGS-administered scholarship funding for up to one year when the award terms of reference allow it. Please contact gsaward@ucalgary.ca to clarify how scholarship funding is affected by a LOA. Students should be aware that supervisory and/or funding arrangements cannot be guaranteed on return from a leave; however, guaranteed minimum funding amounts will be upheld.

Students are not assessed tuition or per-term general fees while on a leave of absence that aligns with the beginning and end of an academic term. If the start and end dates of the leave do not align with that of the term, tuition and per-term general fees will be assessed. Annual general fees will be assessed on the student’s registration anniversary term if their leave overlaps this date and ends prior to their next registration anniversary the following year. More information on fee assessments during an approved leave can be found at grad.ucalgary.ca/current-students/registration/leave-absence.


Leaves of absence can have implications for student loans and immigration status. International students should consult with International Student Services prior to applying for a leave absence. Students on a leave of absence maintain access to student support services, such as the Wellness Centre.

Parental Leave

Students on parental leave may be eligible for funding through the Faculty of Graduate Studies. More information can be found at grad.ucalgary.ca/current-students/registration/leave-absence.