Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

Overview

Students may want or need to take a leave of absence from their studies in the Physical Sciences Division. If you are considering a leave of absence, please contact your Student Affairs Administrator in your department or the Dean of Students Office directly (psd-dos@lists.uchicago.edu) for information about next steps.

Generally, students are allowed up to four quarters of personal leave of absence and up to four quarters of medical leave of absence. The University's policy on leaves of absence can be found in the Student Manual. 

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Types and Duration of Leaves of Absence

Personal leave of absence

Students may apply for a personal leave of absence for any reason.

A student may be approved for a personal leave of absence of up to four academic quarters.

Submit a personal leave of absence request

Medical leave of absence

A medical leave of absence is available for students who have a medical reason (physical, psychological) that requires a pause in studies. Students requesting a medical leave of absence must provide documentation from a health care provider stating that a leave of absence is recommended by said provider. This documentation typically takes the form of a letter. The letter can be emailed directly to the Dean of Students.

A student may be approved for a medical leave of absence of up to four academic quarters.

Submit a medical leave of absence request

Parental leave of absence

A student who becomes a parent during their program may request a one-quarter Parental Relief Leave of Absence to care for the new child, and pregnant students for whom it is medically necessary, may request a Parental Relief Leave of Absence during pregnancy. Students are still eligible for University privileges during a Parental Leave of Absence. (For more information, refer to the Graduate Student Parent Policy)

Submit a parental leave of absence request

Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who do not wish to complete their degree program may request voluntary withdrawal at any time. Students should discuss their withdrawal plans with their department/program.

Submit a withdrawal request

Leave of Absence Request Process

Students who intend to request a leave of absence should:

  1. Discuss their plans with their Student Affairs Administrator in their program/department
  2. Submit a leave of absence request using the appropriate form:

Note for International Students: in addition to submitting the appropriate Divisional leave of absence request form, international students must follow the leave of absence processes outlined by the Office of International Affairs

International Students

International students considering a leave of absence must consult with the Office of International Affairs in addition to working with their Department and the Dean of Students Office. Requesting a leave of absence requires international students to submit requests to BOTH:

  1. The Dean of Students Office
  2. The Office of International Affairs

International students should carefully review the leave of absence information available on OIA’s website.

Returning From a Leave of Absence

Students returning from a leave of absence must complete the Request to Resume Studies form at least four weeks prior to the start of the quarter in which the student intends to resume.

Request to Resume Studies Form

Deadlines for requesting resumption

If you plan to resume studies in: Submit the resumption request by:
Autumn Quarter August 15
Winter Quarter December 1
Spring Quarter February 15
Summer Quarter May 1

Students requesting resumption will receive a follow-up message about their request within 1-3 business days of submitting the form.

Students who do not request resumption of studies will be automatically placed on an administrative leave of absence beginning the quarter that the student intended to resume. If students do not reach out to their programs to discuss resumption plans during the quarter of administrative leave, students may be administratively withdrawn from their program.

Privileges and Access During Leaves of Absence

Access to University facilities and other privileges associated with being enrolled as an active student are limited during a leave of absence. In particular, students on a leave of absence may not take classes, conduct research, or hold student employment positions for the duration of their leave of absence.

Email

Students on leave of absence retain access to their UChicago email account for up to four quarters.

Insurance

Personal leave of absence

Students on a personal leave of absence are ineligible for University student health insurance (U-SHIP). Students who are ordinarily eligible for U-SHIP will become eligible again when they resume studies.

Medical leave of absence

Students on a medical leave of absence are eligible for University student health insurance (U-SHIP). When requesting a medical leave of absence, students should indicate whether they wish to retain U-SHIP during their leave of absence. Students are personally responsible for the cost of U-SHIP premiums during a medical leave of absence if they choose to retain insurance coverage. Note: PhD students on a medical leave of absence will have their insurance premiums covered by their program consistent with their offer letter.

Parental leave of absence

Students on a parental leave of absence remain eligible for U-SHIP. More details are available in the Graduate Student Parent Policy