Leave of Absence Request

Fill out a leave of absence form to request a temporary leave from UCLA.

Reasons you may request a leave of absence:

  • Outside employment
  • Medical
  • Parental obligations
  • Other family obligations
  • Military
  • Emergency
  • Financial hardship

Typically, leaves last from 1 to 3 quarters. Students on leave of absence are not registered students, as a result, some university services will be suspended.


If you are unsure if a leave of absence is right for you, please read our guide below, view our comparison of student statuses, and consult with your program’s Student Affairs Officer (SAO).


Guide to leave of absence requests and policy

Deadline to complete your request

  • The leave of absence request must be submitted no later than the end of the 2nd week of class in the academic quarter for which leave is requested.

    2023-2024 deadlines

    Fall 2023
    Oct 13
    Winter 2024
    Jan 19
    Spring 2024
    Apr 12
    Full refunds require your petition to be fully reviewed before these deadlines.
    View the schedule of refunds or learn more about refunds.
  • Retroactive leaves (requests submitted after Week 10 of a term) can only be considered for medical reasons. Documentation must be provided.

Duration of leave of absence

  • Leaves are approved for a maximum of three quarters.
  • By exception, requests for additional quarters beyond the 3-quarter limit may be approved; such approval is at the discretion of an Associate Dean or the Dean of the Division of Graduate Education. A leave of absence cannot exceed 6 quarters total.

Eligibility for leave of absence

  • A student must have completed at least one quarter of academic residence and be in good academic standing (GPA >= 3.0) to be granted a leave.
  • A student may not be actively working towards completion of degree requirements, including completing coursework, conducting research, preparing for or taking a comprehensive or oral qualifying exam, or working on a capstone project, thesis or dissertation.
  • Graduate students cannot go on a leave of absence to write their dissertation. Graduate students actively working on their dissertation must be either registered or registered in absentia. Graduate students can also withdraw from the university and apply for readmission when they are ready to resume their study at UCLA.
  • F-1 students requesting Curricular Practical Training (CPT) cannot be on leave of absence status and must be registered. For more information, please see Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars’ website.
  • J-1 students are not eligible for Academic Training during a leave of absence.
  • International graduate students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) can take a leave for outside employment for up to the maximum 3 quarters allowed. If they are not on OPT, but wish to take a leave for outside employment, they must leave the United States or change their immigration status to a different category in order to remain in the U.S. legally. Please consult with Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars for more information.

Refunds (registration fees, UC SHIP) and loans

Registration fees

  • Refunds of registration fees are calculated based on calendar days, beginning with the first day of instruction. The effective date for determining a refund of fees is the date the request is submitted to the Division of Graduate Education. View the schedule of refunds.
  • Departments typically rescind ALL department funding. Based on the refund percentage applied, this may leave students responsible for a balance of the fee assessment. Please check your OneBill account via MyUCLA to address any fee balance.
  • There is a $10 administrative service fee applied to all 100% refunds for Leave of Absence, withdrawal, and cancellations.
  • Please reach out to your program’s SAO if requesting an exception to the schedule of refunds. The program will need a written request for a specific refund and doctor’s statement or other documentation pertaining to the delay in filing the request.

UC SHIP

  • While on an approved leave of absence there is no automatic refund of the UC SHIP fee. Students who purchased UC SHIP, withdraw, and/or receive a 100% refund for tuition, only the UC SHIP fee is not automatically refunded and UC SHIP coverage remains for that term. Refunds are calculated on the remainder of registration fees minus the cost of UC SHIP. To request a full refund of the UC SHIP fee, only when it is a 100% tuition refund, the student must contact the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center’s insurance office directly by e-mail to insurshs@ashe.ucla.edu before the end of the current term. The e-mail message must include the student’s full name, UID number, date of birth, and reason for the refund request. The UC SHIP office must verify that the student has not accessed the benefits or used any aspect of plan services before any refund can be considered. This process may take up to 30 business days to complete. No refund of the UC SHIP fee is granted if any claim(s) have been paid. Refunds are processed by OneBill approximately three (3) to five (5) working days after the notice is received and processed by the Registrar’s Office.

Student loans

  • Loan repayment can be deferred for 6 months after a graduate student graduates or drops below part time enrollment. For students whose leave of absence extends beyond six months, loans will enter repayment. There are forbearance options that students may avail themselves of at that point (ex: forbearance based on unemployment) but this is not an automated process and the graduate student would be required to contact the servicer of his or her loan to find out what options are available.

Returning to UCLA – what to do

  • Graduate students must register upon returning from an official leave of absence. Non-resident tuition, professional fees and registration fees continue to be based on where you are in the program. Doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy have a 9-term NRST waiver, beginning from the term in which they advanced.
  • Students cannot pay a Filing Fee Usage in the quarter following their leave.
  • If you are taking two or more quarters of leave you must complete the Statement of Legal Residence prior to the first day of the quarter you return. Instructions and the
    form can be found at: http://www.registrar.ucla.edu/Portals/50/forms/legalresidence.pdf.
  • If you return before the end of the planned leave period, you must email the Division of Graduate Education at askgrad@grad.ucla.edu at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the term in which you plan to register. Failure to give at least six weeks’ notice will result in liability for any and all late registration/late enrollment fees assessed by the Registrar’s Office.
  • International graduate students may be required to obtain a new I-20 or a new DS-2019 from Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars (DCISS) when returning to UCLA from a leave of absence. F-1 or J-1 status holders may not maintain continuous immigration status while on LOA. Please note that this may also affect their employment/internship eligibility in the future. Please contact DCISS for more information.
  • If you do not enroll and are not on an approved leave of absence, you will have a “lapsed status.” This happens when a graduate student is not enrolled for classes, registered in absentia, on an approved leave of absence, or for the final quarter, on filing fee status. If this happens, please contact your program on how to restore your graduate student status either by applying for readmission or retroactively enrolling.

University service availability during leave (housing, financial support, health insurance, faculty access, libraries, etc)

  • A student may not use more than 12 hours of university time (faculty and facilities) during the quarter in which they are on an approved leave of absence. As a graduate
    student, if you are using more than 12 hours of university time, including working with a professor, you are not allowed to be on an official leave. Instead, work with your faculty advisor or committee chair to enroll in an independent study or another appropriate course.
  • Health insurance is available to nonregistered students who are on official LOA through Voluntary UC SHIP. Students must complete an enrollment application with Wells Fargo Insurance Services. For information on coverage requirements please see non-registered UCSHIP.
  • Students on leave of absence may use the University library and maintain access to digital services by paying the public user fee.
  • Students on leave of absence are not eligible for:

    • Financial support such as fellowships, scholarships, federal student loans, teaching assistantships or research assistantships
    • University employment
    • Metro bus passes
    • Campus parking privileges
    • Departmental funding
  • Residents of university housing can maintain their residency while taking up to one quarter leave of absence. If the leave is longer, the student must leave housing and then re-apply upon return. Exceptions may be made for students on approved medical leave.

For more information

Please review standards and procedures for graduate study at UCLA.