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MS 4.01.76

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Doctoral Leave of Absence

Continuous Enrollment and Leave of Absence Policies and Procedures for Doctoral Students

Students in Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs must be registered for each Fall and Spring semester until final completion of all degree requirements, unless the have received an authorized Leave of Absence (LOA). Some doctoral programs require enrollment in the Summer semester as well. Students should check with their program to determine whether Summer semester enrollment is mandatory.

View the full Continuous Doctoral Enrollment policy.

Leave of Absence

Students enrolled in doctoral programs may request a temporary Leave of Absence for one Fall or Spring semester when e vents such as illness or injury, active military service, or the need to provide care for a family member prevent them from actively participating in their degree program. A doctoral student who is granted a LOA suspends progress toward their degree during the semester in which they are on an approved LOA.

Tuition & Fees and Financial Aid
If a student begins the LOA at the start of the semester, no tuition or fees will be charged during that semester. A LOA will prevent the student from receiving student funding from their program, and may also affect their ability to receive financial aid or loans and/or to defer payments on loans. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid if they have questions regarding their financial aid or loan status.

Although a LOA typically begins at the start of a Fall or Spring semester, emergency situations may require a student to begin a LOA in the middle of a semester. Under these circumstances, the student would withdraw from registration. Adjustments to tuition and fee charges will be made according to the schedule set by the Office of the Registrar. Emergency LOAs do not reverse the charges set by this schedule.

Prior to LOA Application
Prior to applying for a LOA, students should discuss with the Doctoral Program Chair and their faculty supervisor the impact of taking a LOA on their progress toward degree. This discussion should include the development of a strategy for completing the degree. The graduate program may allow the student on LOA to have limited access to program services that allow them to remain current in their field of study and connected to their program (e.g. retention of student on program list serve).

Use of University Facilities & Services
Students on LOA will not have access to services or benefits provided to enrolled students and may not use university facilities or services normally available to registered students, including the use of laboratories, equipment, or other research facilities. Students may not use the services of faculty or administrative staff except for planning the transition back to registered status.

International Students
U.S. Immigration regulations may restrict the eligibility of an international student for a LOA. International students must consult with the Office of International Programs to determine their eligibility. If the Office of International Programs determines that an international student is eligible for a LOA, they will provide a written statement attesting to this eligibility that will be included in the student's application for the LOA.

General Policies

  • Doctoral Program Chairs review and forward all requests for LOAs to the Department Chair, Dean of the Academic College in which the program is administered, and the Dean of The Graduate School for review and approval.
  • A LOA is required for Fall and Spring semesters, but not for the Summer semester unless the student's doctoral program requires summer enrollment.
  • An approved LOA request is valid for a maximum of one semester.
  • LOAs will not be approved for prior semesters.
  • Students returning from a LOA must re-enroll for the Fall or Spring semester following their LOA or provide a written request to extend the LOA, which must be approved. A student who does not register or who does not have a LOA Extension approved will be considered to have withdrawn and will be dropped from the program.
  • Students on LOA may finish work from previous semesters (e.g. completing work in courses in which grades of "Incomplete" have been assigned), but may not complete other degree requirements (e.g. taking qualifying exams).
  • The time limit for reaching candidacy or completing the degree will be extended by the number of terms the student is on approved LOA.

Leave of Absence Forms