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Major Changes to Graduate Student Leaves Policies

November 02, 2015
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Significant changes have been made to SFU's graduate Leave of Absence policy (GGR 1.8.4) in order to accommodate the changing needs of graduate students and their programs. These changes will be in effect starting January 1, 2016 (Spring term).

Two new categories of leave have been created (i.e. personal leave, academic break) and the leave of absence fee has been eliminated for all types of leaves. The time taken for a personal leave will count towards the maximum time allowed for program completion but all other categories of leave will not count towards the maximum time limit.

During a leave of absence graduate students are not enrolled and normally should not use any of the University's facilities or resources, or undertake academic or research work related to the program from which they have taken a leave of absence.

Typically a leave of absence begins on the first day of an academic term and approval for the leave is obtained before the term begins. Please read Graduate General Regulation 1.8.4 before completing your application for a Leave of Absence.

Please note: International students should consult with the International Services for Students office before going on a leave of absence.

Downloads:

Types of Leaves

Personal Leave — A personal leave can be taken for any reason, other than those defined below, but the time taken will be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a personal leave is three.

Academic Break — An academic break (or scheduled break) can be taken when no courses are offered for a student’s program within a particular term, or there is a scheduled break within a program (e.g. summer term). The time taken for an academic break will not be counted towards the maximum time allowed for degree completion. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for an academic break is one term per year with no consecutive academic breaks. Students in a thesis program are not eligible for an academic break.

Parental Leave — The time taken for a parental leave will not be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a parental leave is three for each childbirth or adoption (including twins, triplets, etc.). Students are required to submit supporting documentation.

Medical/Compassionate Leave (including family care) — The time taken for a medical/compassionate leave will not be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a medical/compassionate leave is normally three terms per reason. Students are required to submit supporting documentation.

Extended Leave of Absence — Graduate students may apply for an extended leave of absence, beyond the three term limit, for medical/health reasons. See Graduate General Regulation 1.8.5 for more information.

 

SUMMARY TABLE

Category

Reason

Characteristics

Limit

Personal Leave

Any reason other than those defined below

  • no fee
  • counts towards time limit
  • departmental approval
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed

Maximum 3 terms

Academic Break (or scheduled break)

  • Course availability (no courses offered for program within that term)
  • scheduled break within a program (i.e. summer term)
  • no fee
  • does not count towards time limit
  • departmental approval
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed
  • international students may be eligible to work full-time off campus

Maximum 1 term per year with no consecutive academic breaks.

Students in a thesis program are not eligible for an academic break.

Parental

Childbirth or adoption

  • no fee
  • does not count towards time limit
  • Dean of Graduate Studies approval
  • requires supporting documentation
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed

Maximum 3 terms for each childbirth or adoption (including twins, triplets, etc.)

Medical/ Compassionate

  • Medical
  • Bereavement
  • Family care

Normally a maximum of 3 terms per reason.

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