Leave of Absence Requests

Revision approved by Senate

About Leave of Absence Requests

A Leave of Absence from a graduate program may be requested for exceptional circumstances; e.g., health problems, gaining practical experience, and compassionate grounds.

A Maternal/Parental Leave of Absence will be granted to students who are either biological or adoptive parents, while they are caring for a newborn or newly-adopted child of any age. These leaves will be considered up to a three-term limit per pregnancy or adoption. There is no maximum number of Maternal/Parental leaves.

Requests for Leaves of Absence will be considered on an individual basis on the recommendation of the student's academic unit to the Leave/Extension Committee, which will in turn make a recommendation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council. The decision to accept, vary, or reject a request lies solely at the discretion of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Council, without right of appeal.

Important information for International Students considering a Leave of Absence (PDF)

How Requests are Granted

When a request for a Leave of Absence is granted, a "stop-the-clock" policy will prevail with respect to payment of tuition fees, period of study, and other affected graduate degree requirements.

The request must demonstrate that the situation which has arisen is temporary and will be bridged by the Leave. The Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator MUST PROVIDE ADEQUATE DETAILS supporting the request. Requests will be returned to the academic unit if the information provided is insufficient.

A request for health reasons must be accompanied by a note from a licensed/registered health practitioner. A student returning from a health-related Leave of Absence must provide a note from the licensed/registered health practitioner, stating that the student is able to resume studies.

A request for a retroactive Leave will not normally be considered. The Leave of Absence Request must normally be submitted in or during the term PRIOR TO the Leave. Leaves of Absence are granted per term and therefore start and end at the beginning and end of a term.


A student is eligible for a maximum of three Leaves of Absence (four at the PhD level) in addition to an unlimited number of Maternal/Parental leaves, provided that no single Maternal/Parental Leave extends beyond three consecutive terms. If additional time away is required (more than the three-term limit), the student is advised to withdraw from the program and apply for re-admission at a time more suitable for completion.

While on a Leave of Absence, the student WILL NOT have access to University faculty, laboratory or other facilities. Library access will be restricted to that of the general public.

After returning from a Leave of Absence, the student must be registered for at least the one term immediately following the Leave of Absence.

All personal information in requests for Leaves of Absence and in all related communications will be held in strict confidence and disclosed only to University faculty, staff and agents who need the information to carry out their duties, or as required by law.

Download the Leave of Absence Request Form (PDF Format)