Understanding Leaves of Absence

Graduate students may apply to their Graduate Coordinator for a one-session to three-session leave of absence during their program of study. The leave period is not included in the time limit for completion of the degree. A leave of absence is not permitted in your first session of registration. You must be registered for a minimum of one session prior to requesting a leave of absence.

Students in coursework-only programs may temporarily stop-out and re-register within 12 months, with the approval of their graduate unit, without re-applying to the program. However, unlike a leave of absence, the “stop-out” period is included in the time period for completion of the degree.

Reasons for applying for a leave include serious health or personal problems which temporarily make it impossible to continue in the program or parental leave by either parent at the time of pregnancy, birth or adoption, and/or to provide full-time care during the child’s first year. (Learn about the SGS Parental Grant program.)

Leaves should coincide with the start and end of a session. A leave will therefore begin on the first day of term, for a period of four, eight, or 12 months. Your degree time limit will be extended by the number of sessions that you are on leave.

If you require a leave to begin in mid-session, please contact SGS Student Services to make special arrangements. While on leave, you are temporarily withdrawn from your program and do not pay fees for the leave period. Please consult the Graduate Fees section of this website for more information on fees for students on a leave of absence. 

During your leave, you may not make demands on the resources of the University, such as using library facilities, attending courses or expecting advice from your supervisor. Research Reader privileges are available at the library for a fee, and you may make individual arrangements to consult with faculty and supervisors. If you return from leave and are immediately ready to defend, you will be charged fees for the session(s) in which you were on leave unless special consideration is sought in advance.

In general, unless a request is made to opt-in to access services while on leave, students on leave may not make demands upon the resources of the university, attend courses, or expect advice from their supervisor. As an exception, students on leave for parental or serious health reasons who wish to consult with their supervisor or other faculty are advised to make special arrangements through their department. Students on leave may request continued access to U of T library services by sending an email to graduate.information@utoronto.ca. The School of Graduate Studies will review the request and contact the library to allow access to library services if the request is approved.

Throughout your leave you will not be eligible to receive award payments. Please note that external award-granting agencies, such as SSHRC and NSERC, have their own policies on leaves for award holders. Please be sure to list all awards, stipends and/or funding when you complete your Leave of Absence form so that we may facilitate the accurate administration of your funding prior to and upon return from your leave.

If you require a leave from your graduate program, complete the request for leave of absence form and submit it to your graduate unit for consideration.

Students on an approved leave of absence may opt-in to paying compulsory non-academic incidental fees and receive continued access to campus services offered by Student Life (Aboriginal Student Services, Academic Success Centre, Career Services, Centre for International Experience, Centre for Community Partnerships, Health and Wellness*, Housing Services, Multi-Faith Centre, Student and Campus Community Development, etc.), Hart House, and Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education during the leave of absence.

*Note: Students on leave who access physician care from Health and Wellness prior to their leave will maintain uninterrupted medical and psychiatric care for the duration of their leave and need not opt in to pay compulsory non-academic incidental fees if they accessed the service in the past year and are receiving ongoing treatment for a condition.


Fees are based on the current academic year. Please refer to the Leave of Absence form for the charges for the current academic year.