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Leave of Absence/Withdrawal

Graduate students are eligible for a maximum 3 quarters leave of absence with department approval. Students access the online form through the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs Student Portal. Graduate Coordinators access the online form through the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs Student Database. A graduate student who is bearing a child, who has primary responsibility for the care of an infant or child under the age of five, and is in good academic standing may request an additional 3 quarters leave of absence (follow the same procedures below but specify "parenting" or "maternity" on the leave form as the reason)

Leave of Absence

  • A student who does not continue graduate study with the intention of resuming during a later quarter files a "Leave of Absence / Extension" form prior to leaving the campus.
  • A graduate student must have completed at least one quarter of academic residence and be in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0, and no more than 8 units of "F" or "U") to be granted a leave.
  • Online form must be filed no later than the end of the second week of instruction of the quarter in which the leave is to begin.
  • International students must also obtain approval from the International Center.
  • A student who has registered, paid fees and enrolled for the quarter in which a leave is being requested, is subject to the Registrar's Schedule of Refunds. Students are only eligible for a 100% refund if withdrawing from graduate studies on/by the 1st day of instruction.
  • A student seeking to maintain health coverage must contact the Student Health Center to purchase insurance.
  • While on leave, a student may not be employed by UCSD, UCSD Extension, or UCSD Medical Center or hold a fellowship, traineeship, or similar appointment administered by the University. Students may not use any University facilities or place demands on faculty.
  • A leave of absence or withdrawal does not extend the period during which an “Incomplete” or No Record of a grade must be resolved.
  • Up to three quarters time spent on approved leave of absence from the graduate program will not count towards doctoral time limits. A student's time limits will automatically be adjusted. (Note: If a student's time limit expired in the quarter preceding their LOA, the department will need to submit a time limit extension request.)
  • Time spent withdrawn from the graduate program will count toward all doctoral time limits for a student who is readmitted to the graduate program.

Extension of a Leave of Absence

  • To extend an approved leave of absence, a student must notify the major department or group graduate coordinator at least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter in which the leave terminates.
  • An extension requires approval of the department. The International Center must approve a Leave of Absence extension for all international students.

Returning from a Leave of Absence

  • When planning on returning from a Leave of Absence, a student must notify the graduate coordinator of the quarter in which s/he intends to register. This notification can be sent to the graduate coordinator via the Leave of Absence tool in the Student Portal.
  • The coordinator notifies Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs of the student's request to return from leave via the Leave of Absence tool in the Student Database (the "Return from Leave" tab). GEPA will reinstate the student to enable enrollment. 
  • The request to return from leave is only necessary if the student is enrolling/registering for the requested quarter. Students who are planning to defend and pay a filing fee do not need to be returned from the leave of absence.
  • Notification of return from a leave can only be given to the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs by the department.
  • When returning from a leave of absence of two quarters or more, a student must file a Statement of Legal residence with the Office of the Registrar prior to registering. The form can be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator or the Registrar's Office.
  • For readmission refer to the section on the General Petition.


  • A student leaving the University and not planning to return must return all borrowed library material, set up an exit interview with the Student Business Services Office, and obtain all other clearances listed on the on-line form.
  • A student withdrawing during the first thirty-five calendar days of a quarter will receive a refund of fees according to the Schedule of Refunds for Tuition, Educational Fee, University Registration Fee, and other Student Fees. The date of withdrawal used in calculating a refund will be the date on which the form is submitted to the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs. Refer to the Schedule of Refunds for refund information.
  • A student on a leave of absence who subsequently withdraws must obtain all clearance signatures for the withdrawal.

Withdrawn Student Returning to Defend

  • A withdrawn student who returns only to defend and submit the dissertation may need to reconstitute the doctoral committee and will need to pay the following fees:
    • Readmission fee
    • (Re)advancement fee if the original advancement was more than 5 years ago
    • Filing fee, in lieu of registration
  • Students are advised to discuss and coordinate the above with their graduate coordinator well in advance of the scheduled defense.