Student Status

Please note that graduate students at SFU are divided into two groups for the purposes of tuition fee calculation (Graduate regulation 1.4.3). There are slightly different leave/withdrawal rules which apply to per-term and per-unit programs.

In most graduate programs, students pay fees on a per-term basis. These students are expected to register and pay fees every term.

In a limited number of programs, students pay fees on a per-unit basis (see list of per-unit programs in the Graduate Fees section of the Calendar).

Downloads

* OnLeaveForm.pdf
On-leave registration form
* GradWithdrawal.pdf
Graduate course withdrawal
* WithdrawalExtenuating.pdf
Withdrawal from courses under extenuating circumstances

See also full list of forms for graduate students.

Per-term student leave of absence

See Graduate Regulation 1.8.4

Normally, students in per-term programs register every term. A student may decide to register on leave under two circumstances:

(a) medical/family factors that will prevent work in the graduate program, or

(b) other factors (e.g. need to work full-time at a job; decide to travel overseas) that will prevent work in the graduate program.

In both cases the student submits an application to go on leave form to the chair of the graduate program committee in his/her department well before the beginning of the term for which the on-leave status is requested.

For (a) the student must provide documentation of the nature of the medical or family situation in order for the on-leave fee to be waived, and to ensure that this on-leave term is not counted toward the student’s length of time in program.

For (b) the student is not required to provide documentation, the student is charged an on-leave fee, and the on-leave term counts toward the maximum time in program.

“On leave” is a registration status. Students should apply for on leave status prior to the start of the start of the term for which the leave is being requested. . Requests for on-leave registration will not normally be considered after the end of the normal registration period (the end of the second week of classes) unless there are extenuating circumstances that warrant it. Students will not be placed on-leave retroactively.

Per-unit student taking a term off

Students in per-unit programs must register at least once every three terms (See Graduate Regulation 1.4.3). Therefore, a student in a per-unit program who wishes to take a term off is not required to register on leave.

However, students are advised to discuss this decision with the chair of their graduate program committee, because taking a term off may affect overall progress towards degree completion.

Withdrawal from courses

Students in per-term and per-unit programs may find that they have to withdraw from a course. Withdrawals may be implemented after the registration period has ended. Students who wish to withdraw from one or more courses must do so within time limits specified in the academic calendar of events at the front of the Calendar.

Graduate students can withdraw from courses for any reason up to the ninth week of the semester (exact dates vary from year to year). There is no academic penalty for this, but departmental permission is required (see Graduate Regulation 1.8.3). No tuition refunds will be made if a student withdraws from a course, except as mandated by tuition fee rules. The notation WD will be entered on the student’s transcript.

Graduate students who withdraw from their courses for medical or family reasons may provide documentation of these events up to the twelfth week of the term. With suitable documentation, the student will be permitted to withdraw from one or more courses.

Upon petition and documentation from the student, the Dean of Graduate Studies may grant a full or partial tuition fee refund. The notation WE will be entered on the student’s transcript.

Erasing student records and retroactive change of status

There is no provision for erasing student records. Once a student has registered for a course, that course will remain on the student’s record, with a WD or WE grade on the transcript if the student withdraws.

As noted above, there is no provision for retroactively granting on-leave status. Very rarely, students are diagnosed with serious medical conditions that have affected their performance during previous terms. Requests for retroactive withdrawals may be considered on a case by case basis. Medical documentation and consultation with the Centre for Students with Disabilities and the graduate program are always required.

Summary table of options

Student Need

Per-term Students

Per-unit Students

Graduate Regulation

Notes

To enroll in no courses; will not work on research

Enroll on-leave and pay on leave fee. Must enroll prior to start of semester. May affect total tuition paid for program.

Do not enroll, provided that this is not the 3rd consecutive semester without registration

1.4.2

1.8.4

Counts toward total time in program

As above, for medical or parental reasons

As above, but provide documentation and pay no fee.

As above, but provide documentation to your department.

1.4.2

1.8.4

Does not count toward total time in program.

To withdraw from one or more courses (possibly for medical or family reasons)

Submit request to grad program chair before end of 9th week.

No refund.

Submit request to grad program chair before end of 9th week.

If remaining in at least one course, refund is 75% by day 25 of semester; 50% by day 53 of semester.

1.8.3

100% refund if withdrawal is done by day 13 of semester.

WD grade notation. (WE after 9th week, or if for medical or family reasons.)

To withdraw completely for semester or permanently from program

(a) failure to enroll by deadline will automatically result in program withdrawal

(b) within semester, must write Director, Graduate Admissions.

Refund is 75% by day 25 of semester; 50% by day 53 of semester.

For any other refund, documentation and letter of appeal must go to Dean before end of semester.

(a) failure to enroll for 3 consecutive terms will automatically result in program withdrawal

(b) within semester, refund will be the same as for course withdrawals.

For any other refund, documentation and letter of appeal must go to Dean before end of semester.

1.8.3

100% refund if withdrawal is done by day 13 of semester.

WD will be recorded on all courses for a complete semester withdrawal.

Date of notification of Director, Graduate Admissions, will be date recorded on transcript for a complete withdrawal from program.