Academic Services

Leave of Absence

     Terms and Conditions
     Review of Petitions
     Returning from a Leave

Graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration until all degree requirements are completed, although a leave of absence may be considered for the following reasons (click on the Leave Type for application instructions):


  • Must have been registered* the preceding academic quarter
  • A Medical leave requires a note on letterhead or physician’s pad, including recommended leave duration, from a health care provider.
  • A Parenting/Pregnancy leave requires a note on letterhead or physician’s pad from a health care provider
  • A Military leave requires governmental documentation

 *If on approved leave or lapsed spring quarter, students must register in a minimum of four units during one Summer Session to be eligible for fall quarter filing leave.

Terms and Conditions of a Leave of Absence

Students may be granted up to a maximum of three quarters of non-Filing leave.


LOA Requests submitted after the posted deadline may be granted by exception.

  • In order to retain your graduate student health insurance when a late LOA request is approved within 42 days of the start of the quarter, you must contact the Student Health Insurance Office to have the GHI premium put back onto your BARC account. If your LOA is approved 43 days or more from the start of the quarter, or if claims were paid, GHI will not be removed from your BARC account. Please contact an Insurance Advisor with any questions.

International Students must secure approval from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) before applying for any leave of absence.

Financial Aid may be affected by taking a leave of absence. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions about your aid status while on leave.

Students absent for a period longer than that covered by an approved leave of absence must file a Reinstatement Petition in order to register. Reinstatement is subject to the approval of the department and the Graduate Division.

 Students are not eligible to:

  • Hold student academic appointments (TA, GSR, Reader, Tutor) or other student appointment titles
  • Receive most forms of University financial support
  • Be exempt from payment of loans (check with loan agency)
  • Have student MTD bus privileges
  • Obtain student parking privileges from UCSB Transportation & Parking Services
  • Register in absentia following a Filing LOA
  • Complete degree milestones and/or have a degree awarded while on a non-Filing LOA
  • Have continued borrowing privileges at the Davidson Library
    • There are some options for continued borrowing privileges, such as Proxy Borrowing and Non-UCSB library cards. Please see the UCSB Library's website for more information.

 Students may be eligible to:

  • Access Student Health Services on a fee-for-service basis (without student health insurance)
  • Purchase the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) for a maximum of 2 quarters of leave
    • Enrollment is NOT automatic. You must apply for coverage through voluntary enrollment. Please see the Student Health insurance website for details.
    • Please enroll within 31 days of the first day of the quarter (view specific voluntary enrollment periods on the Student Health insurance website).
    • You can submit your voluntary enrollment application prior to your LOA being approved, but within a voluntary enrollment period. If your LOA is not approved, you will be unenrolled and credited for your payment.
    • In extenuating circumstances, students may petition UCOP for an exception to the 2 quarter limit. Please contact Student Health directly for instructions.
  • Negotiate with the Office of Housing and Residential Services to remain in student housing
  • Use the Recreation Center for a fee
  • Use Career Services
  • Place children in the University Children's Center

Reviewing Petitions

In reviewing Leave of Absence petitions, Departments are asked to consider the following:

  • A leave of absence guarantees the student a position in the department upon return from the approved leave
  • Registration is required to hold student academic appointments, receive financial support, and access most University services
  • Request for Change in Fellowship Schedule form is required if the student is a Central Fellow
  • Most financial agencies expect the repayment of loans
  • A student cannot complete degree milestones and/or have a degree awarded while on a non-Filing LOA

Returning from Approved Leave of Absence

Students do not need to notify the Graduate Division when returning from a leave of absence. The Office of the Registrar automatically assesses fees and generates a pass time to register in the quarter immediately following an approved leave of absence. Students on an approved leave of absence during spring quarter who wish to register in the summer session may enroll directly with Summer Sessions.

Read information about the impact of a Leave of Absence on Time-to-Degree standards.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I am currently on a medical leave of absence, but now have a family emergency. Can I extend my leave, but change from a medical leave to family emergency?

    Yes, you can change from one type of leave to another (excluding Filing Leave) for up to 3 quarters. An exception for additional quarters of leave would need to be approved by the Graduate Division Dean.

    Submission of a new completed and paid Leave of Absence Petition is required.

  • If I am requesting an extension of my current non-Filing leave (e.g. medical), do I need to complete and pay for a new Leave of Absence Petition?

    We require a new petition and updated documentation (if applicable), but the fee will be waived.

  • What if I am on a non-Filing leave and discover that I am ready to file my thesis or dissertation. Can I file while on a leave of absence?

    Graduate Division will review the request and consider changing the current leave type to a Filing Leave only if you are in your first quarter of leave. Keep in mind you can only use a Filing quarter of leave once during your graduate career, so do not use this option if you are not ready to file or still have an open degree objective.

  • I am currently on a leave of absence, can I petition for In Absentia registration the quarter I come back?

    Yes, but only if you were on a non-Filing Leave (Medical/Parenting/Family Emergency/Military). 

  • Can I take a leave of absence from lapsed (non-registered) status?

    No, students must petition for Reinstatement from Unregistered Status and register for at least one quarter prior to being eligible for a leave of absence.

    The one exception that Graduate Division may consider: a student who was lapsed Spring Quarter, reinstates Fall Quarter, and completes a minimum of four units in one Summer Session. In this instance, Graduate Division will consider a leave of absence request for Fall Quarter. This includes a Filing Leave of absence.

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