Graduate Studies Guide: Leaves and Withdrawals

University policy requires that graduate students remain continuously registered in order to encourage timely degree completion. Nonetheless, there are occasions in which students need to take a leave of absence. Students who wish to take a leave of absence should complete a Leave of Absence Request form, including their supervisor’s signature and provide any required supporting documentation (such as a Health Care Provider form) prior to the start of the term in which they wish to take leave. “Leave of Absence” is a registration status. Students who neglect to request a leave and fail to register are automatically discontinued from their graduate program and must apply to be reactivated.

International students who need to take a leave of absence should check with the office of International Services for Students to confirm that they will not invalidate their study permit.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recognizes three types of leave for students in thesis graduate programs. These are:

  1. Personal Leave
  2. Parental Leave
  3. Medical or Compassionate Leave

For all types of leave the student must complete a Leave of Absence Request form with their supervisor’s signature and supporting documentation (if required) to the Program Assistant well before the beginning of the term for which the on-leave status is requested.

Please see Graduate General Regulations (GGR) 1.4.5 for more information.

Personal Leave

You are eligible to take three personal leaves for any reason (no explanation is required) through the duration of your program. Typical examples include extended holidays, work opportunity, or due to financial reasons. However, students should be aware that personal leave terms are counted as part of the maximum number of terms allowed for program completion. All program requirements, academic unit expectations, and deadlines remain the same. Responsibility for approving a personal leave resides with the student's supervisor and the Graduate Program Chair.

Parental Leave

The time taken for a parental leave does not cound towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. You are eligible for up to three terms in a row of parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Documentation such as a doctor's note or birth certificate is required. The maximum time limit will be adjusted accordingly but all other program requirements and academic unit expectations will remain the same. Students are required to submit supporting documentation. Responsibility for approving parental leave resides with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and should have the support of the student's supervisor and the Graduate Program Chair.

Medical or Compassionate Leave

A student may take up to three terms per personal medical condition or compassionate reason (including but not limited to legal matter, family care, illness of relative, or bereavement). The time taken for a medical or compassionate leave does not cound towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. Documentation is required. Please have your health care provider complete the Health Care Provider form instead of writing a doctor's note. If you require more than three terms, it is recommended that you withdraw from your program and re-apply when you are able.


Students in thesis programs are NOT eligible for academic breaks.

Course Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from classes for any reason up to the ninth week of a term. Students with a documented medical or family emergency may withdraw during the 10th through 12th weeks. Tuition is refunded only if the withdrawal occurs within the first two weeks of the term.

Program Withdrawal

Student may withdraw from their graduate program at any time by submitting a Withdrawal from Graduate Studies form to GPS. If, at a later date, the student wishes to resume their studies, they must reapply for admission.

Please see Graduate General Regulations (GGR) 1.8.3 for more information.