Voluntary Leave of Absence. The University recognizes that there may be times when students have compelling reasons to interrupt their studies to focus on other activities, such as attending to a serious health issue, caring for a new child or completing mandatory military service. In these instances, students should consult their adviser (if they are in the College) or area dean of students, who will help them determine whether a voluntary leave of absence is appropriate. All voluntary leaves of absence must be approved by an area dean of students in advance of the student’s break in their studies.
Students who are approved for a voluntary leave of absence may qualify for a full or partial tuition refund according to the schedule published by the Office of the Bursar.
Administrative Leave of Absence. An administrative leave of absence will be applied to graduate students who are restricted from registering and who do not clear their restrictions by the end of the third week of the quarter.
Availability of student health insurance (U-SHIP) during a leave of absence will be governed by the student health insurance policies at the time the leave is taken. Other University privileges, facilities, and services are not available to students on leaves of absence, unless otherwise indicated. Students on a leave of absence cannot hold work-study or maintain University student employment positions. Students should consult with their Dean of Students to understand funding, health insurance, registration limits, and other implications related to leaves of absence.
Leaves of Absence in the College
Students in the College can normally receive permission to take a voluntary leave of absence for up to eight consecutive quarters or eight cumulative quarters if more than one leave is taken. Petitions may be granted to extend a leave for up to 12 cumulative quarters for students fulfilling a military service requirement, religious obligations, as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, or otherwise as required by law.
Additional important details on leave of absence procedures and deadlines are provided on the College website.
Types of Voluntary Leaves of Absence For Graduate Students
The following types of voluntary leave are generally available to graduate students. Graduate students should consult their area dean of students for leaves of absence procedures and impacts of leaves of absence that are particular to their division or school.
Personal Leave of Absence. Students may apply for a personal leave of absence for any reason. A student may be approved by their dean of students for a leave of absence of up to four academic quarters.
Medical Leave of Absence. Students may apply for a medical leave of absence if temporarily unable to continue in their program due to illness or injury. A student may be approved for a medical leave of absence by their dean of students for up to four academic quarters.
Parental Relief Leave of Absence. A student who becomes a parent during their program may request a one-quarter Parental Relief Leave of Absence to care for the new child, and pregnant students for whom it is medically necessary, may request a Parental Relief Leave of Absence during pregnancy. Such leaves may be granted by the area Dean of Students of the student's school or division. Students are still eligible for University privileges during a Parental Leave of Absence. (For more information, refer to the Graduate Student Parent Policy section.)
Military Leave of Absence. Students may apply for a military leave of absence in order to fulfill service in the armed forces. This includes students from countries outside the United States who leave for service in their country’s armed forces.
- Military personnel in the United States are subject to specific considerations when requesting leave for active duty.
- Students should present official documentation of their status as Armed Forces active personnel or reservist to their Dean of Students.
- Students receiving VA or military-related benefits should speak with the designated advisor to veterans in the Office of the University Registrar and/or the Office for Military-Affiliated Communities.
- Students called to duty before Week 3 of the quarter will be allowed to drop their courses without penalty.
- For student called to duty during Week 3 or thereafter, appropriate registration/grading options will be determined on a per course basis.
Curricular Degree Leave of Absence. Students may apply for a leave of absence to pursue another degree program that is integral to their Ph.D. The appropriateness, relevance, and length of time of the additional degree should be evaluated by the student’s primary program and requires written endorsement by the program. A student may be approved by their dean of students for a curricular degree leave of absence for up to three years.
University Facilities Use and Voluntary and Administrative Leaves of Absence
Certain rights and privileges extended to registered students are generally not available to students on a voluntary or administrative leave of absence unless they have received written permission from their Dean of Students or the Dean of Students in the University.
- Students on voluntary or administrative leave of absence do not attend classes.
- Undergraduate students on voluntary leave of absence are not eligible for on-campus housing.
- Students on voluntary or administrative leave of absence cannot participate in Recognized Student Organizations (RSO) activities that are not otherwise open to the public.
- Athletic and recreational facilities are available to students on voluntary (not administrative) leave of absence for a fee.
- Career Advancement and UChicagoGRAD resources are generally available to students on voluntary (not administrative) leave of absence.
- Borrowing privileges at the library are available for a fee.
- Students on a medical leave of absence who are enrolled in U-SHIP may access the on-campus UChicago Student Wellness through the remainder of the plan year in which their medical leave of absence was granted (i.e., August 31st). These students will be assessed the quarterly Student Services Fee for access to these on-campus health services. For more information, see the Student Health Insurance Policy section.
- Graduate students on a leave of absence for parental relief who are enrolled in or otherwise eligible for U-SHIP may continue their coverageif certain conditions are met. For more information, see the Graduate Student Parent Policy section.