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Graduate Student Leave of Absence

The College is committed to the success of its students and has established the College Graduate Student Leave of Absence to provide all College graduate students with an opportunity to take care of uncontrollable events that interfere with progress towards a degree. All College Graduate Student Leaves of Absences are reviewed and granted on a case by case basis.

The College Graduate Student Leave of Absence may provide up to twelve consecutive months of relief from coursework and academic requirements. Most Leaves of Absence are unpaid, and are granted to students who need to be away from their studies for family or medical reasons (Family and Medical Leave). Students who hold an instructional Student Academic Appointment (SAA) of at least 37.5% FTE andwho have completed at least one semester (a minimum of nine credits) in the College are also eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave during the term of their current appointment.

If approved for a College Graduate Student Leave of Absence, the academic accommodations are determined individually for each student with the guidance of his/her faculty advisors and the College Graduate Office. Students receive a written record of their absence and may request an absence from Student Academic Appointments, receive grades of Incomplete or an extension of current grades of grades of Incomplete, or can completely withdraw from coursework. If a student wishes to completely withdraw from all coursework in a term, the student must contact the Student Advocate’s Office directly to make a formal request at advocate@indiana.edu or (812) 855-0761. Depending on department policy, the Leave of Absence may also extend financial commitments that are contingent on continued progress towards a degree.

Extensions of degree milestones and time limits are handled by the University Graduate School, and all such requests should be made directly to that office. A student may use documentation of an approved College leave as support for their request. A leave of absence does not guarantee an automatic or immediate extension of milestones or standard limits by the University Graduate School. Leaves for military duty are coordinated with Indiana University Veteran Support Services. International students who are called to military service are encouraged to contact the Office of International Services to determine how such service affects their academic and visa status. 

College leaves are subject to several conditions.

  • To be eligible for leave, a student must:
    • be enrolled full-time in a College Graduate program and be in good academic standing
    • have completed at least one semester (a minimum of nine credits) in a College Graduate program
    • to receive paid leave, the student must hold a Student Academic Appointment in the College of at least 37.5% FTE at the time of the leave
  • A student on a paid leave under the College Graduate Student Leave of Absence policy receives continuing full support including SAA stipend, health insurance, and any fee remission for up to 6 consecutive weeks during the term of their current appointment or to the end of the semester, whichever comes first. Students on paid leaves of absence from Student Academic Appointments must maintain enrollment in at least six credit hours. Students who have passed the qualifying exam must maintain enrollment of at least one credit hour during any leave, whether paid or unpaid.
  • Leaves of absence may not be requested retroactively.
  • Employment or study elsewhere while on leave is prohibited.
  • Although very few students are granted Leaves of Absence for more than one semester, a student may request a leave of up to two consecutive fall or spring terms, or 12 months. Depending on the circumstances, the leave may include 6 weeks of paid leave (for students who hold Student Academic Appointments) and the remainder in unpaid leave.
  • The maximum period that a student may be on leave is 24 months or 4 fall and spring terms. Eligible graduate students may take only one paid family or medical leave.
  • Extended or intermittent leaves may be granted for students with chronic serious health conditions or ongoing treatments (i.e., chronic asthma, chemotherapy or dialysis treatments, care of a qualifying family member).
  • We encourage students to work with their faculty advisors to determine whether a formal leave meets their needs and to craft an appropriate leave. In some circumstances, it may be possible for students to schedule medical   appointments around their normal work schedule and arrange informally for department approval of foreseeable absences. In addition, because Masters students and doctoral students in the pre-candidacy stage are not required to be continuously enrolled, it may be possible for them to make arrangements for unpaid leaves within their departments and without requesting a formal leave from the College.

Requests for a College Graduate Student Leave of Absence can be made by the student to his or her faculty advisor, but will require the approval of the department’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Requests for paid leave also require the Chair’s signature. The department will then forward this application to the College Graduate Office. This application will be reviewed and a formal decision will be made regarding the application. Students will be notified regarding their application status. For further information, please read the FAQ below, or contact the College Graduate Office at coasgrad at indiana.edu