If you need to take a break from your studies, you should apply for a Leave of Absence. A Leave of Absence may be granted for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Parental leave
  • Bereavement
  • Care-giving responsibilities
  • Medical requirements
  • Military service
  • Political service

How to apply

Read the policy

Make sure that you read and understand the Leave of Absence policy in the Graduate Calendar. Contact your graduate program if you have any questions about the policy.

Read the policy

Submit a Leave of Absence form

Complete and submit your Leave of Absence form. 

Leave of Absence form

About your leave of absence

Students should prepare well in advance of, or soon after the event requiring a leave of absence. Understanding early on how a leave will impact your academic life can help you prepare for the time away from your program and ensure a smooth return.

Duration of a leave

The minimum recommended duration for a Leave of Absence is one academic term. You may request up to 12 months of leave at a time, with the exception of parental leaves, which may be up to 18 months.

If you need to extend your leave of absence, you can request an extension (renewal) using the Leave of Absence request form. Maximum allowable leave time is as follows:

  • Certificate/diploma students: 1 year
  • Master’s students: 2 years
  • Doctoral students: 3 years

Completing your degree

Your time on leave will not count as time in program, and your maximum completion deadline will be adjusted accordingly.

Awards, funding and student loans

Normally, a leave will interrupt your funding. During a leave of absence, you may be able to defer FGS-administered scholarship funding for up to one year. Students who hold scholarships are advised to consult with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Awards Team to confirm the impact of a Leave of Absence on their award. See Award Interruption for more details.

If you are receiving supervisor/program funding, please be aware that the specific arrangements cannot be guaranteed upon return from leave; however, rest assured that the guaranteed minimum funding that was outlined at the time of your admission will be upheld. 

If you have a student loan, please be aware that going on leave may affect its repayment status. See Student loans for more details.

Award interruption

Tuition and fees

You will not be assessed tuition or per-term general fees while on a leave of absence that aligns with the beginning and end of an academic term. Annual general fees will be assessed on your registration anniversary term if your leave overlaps this date and ends prior to your registration anniversary the following year.

In other words, if you have active student status for any portion of your registration year, you will be assessed annual general fees on registration anniversary even if you are on a leave of absence at that time. This is important for maintaining your health and dental insurance coverage.

Contact your Graduate Program Officer (GPO) if you have any questions about fee assessments while on leave.

Contact your GPO

Paid parental leave

In the case of a parental leave which interrupts funding from University of Calgary sources, you may request up to 4 months of funding from the Faculty of Graduate Studies ($1500 per month) for any period of time in which you are receive no other funds. All students who select ‘parental leave’ as the reason for their leave request will be considered for this benefit. Please note that supporting documentation may be required.

International students

If you are an international student, be sure to consult International Student Services regarding the immigration implications of a leave of absence and to understand how it will affect your legal status in Canada before submitting a Leave of Absence request.

International Student Services

Thesis-based students

If you are a thesis-based student, discuss the leave and its implications with your supervisor and any other people who are involved with your research project such as members of your supervisory committee.

Statutory declaration

Some Leave of Absence requests require supporting documentation:

  • Extension/renewal of leave beyond 1 year (Master’s, doctoral students only)
  • Parental leave (if FGS funding is being requested)

If you are unable to or are not comfortable sharing medical or other relevant documentation, you may complete a Statutory Declaration instead. Complete the form and meet with a Commissioner for Oaths (in Faculty of Graduate Studies or Student Legal Assistance) for signing.

Statutory Declaration form