Graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration until all degree requirements are completed, although a leave of absence may be considered for personal reasons or for thesis/dissertation filing.

  • Personal Leave
    • A student may request a personal leave for any personal reason that they encounter that limits their capacity to enroll and make progress towards their degree. Students are eligible for 3 quarters of personal leave but could request up to 3 more quarters with the Graduate Dean’s approval.
    • No additional documentation is needed in support of the leave request, unless the student is requesting beyond the first 3 quarters of leave.
    • Students on a personal leave of absence are not registered students and therefore relinquish most student privileges and resources such as extensive use of faculty time.
  • Filing Leave
    • Filing quarter requires submission of a Filing Leave of Absence Petition
    • Summer Filing Quarter for international students only please go to link for eligibility, terms and conditions



  • Must have been registered (enrolled in units) the preceding academic quarter. 
  • If on approved leave or lapsed spring quarter, students must register in a minimum of four units during one  Summer Session to be eligible for Fall quarter filing leave. 

Terms and Conditions of a Leave of Absence

Students may be granted up to a maximum of three quarters of non-Filing leave.

LOA Requests submitted after the posted deadline may be granted by exception.

  • In order to retain your graduate student health insurance when a late LOA request is approved within 42 days of the start of the quarter, you must contact the Student Health Insurance Office to have the GHI premium put back onto your BARC account. If your LOA is approved 43 days or more from the start of the quarter, or if claims were paid, GHI will not be removed from your BARC account. Please contact an Insurance Advisor with any questions.

International Students must secure approval from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) before applying for any leave of absence.

Financial Aid may be affected by taking a leave of absence. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions about your aid status while on leave.

Students absent for a period longer than that covered by an approved leave of absence must file a Reinstatement Petition in order to register. Reinstatement is subject to the approval of the department and the Graduate Division.

 Students are not eligible to:

  • Hold student academic appointments (TA, GSR, Reader, Tutor) or other student appointment titles

  • Receive most forms of University financial support

  • Be exempt from payment of loans (check with loan agency)

  • Have student MTD bus privileges

  • Obtain student parking privileges from UCSB Transportation & Parking Services

  • Register in absentia following a Filing LOA

  • Complete degree milestones and/or have a degree awarded while on a non-Filing LOA

  • Have continued borrowing privileges at the Davidson Library

    • There are some options for continued borrowing privileges, such as Proxy Borrowing and Non-UCSB library cards. Please see the UCSB Library's website for more information.

 Students may be eligible to:

  • Access Student Health Services on a fee-for-service basis (without student health insurance)

  • Purchase the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) for a maximum of 2 quarters of leave

    • Enrollment is NOT automatic. You must apply for coverage through voluntary enrollment. Please see the Student Health insurance website for details.

    • Please enroll within 31 days of the first day of the quarter (view specific voluntary enrollment periods on the Student Health insurance website).

    • You can submit your voluntary enrollment application prior to your LOA being approved, but within a voluntary enrollment period. If your LOA is not approved, you will be unenrolled and credited for your payment.

    • In extenuating circumstances, students may petition UCOP for an exception to the 2 quarter limit. Please contact Student Health directly for instructions.

  • Negotiate with the Office of Housing and Residential Services to remain in student housing

  • Use the Recreation Center for a fee

  • Use Career Services

  • Place children in the University Children's Center

Reviewing Petitions

In reviewing Leave of Absence petitions, departments are asked to consider the following:

  • A leave of absence guarantees the student a position in the department upon return from the approved leave

  • Registration is required to hold student academic appointments, receive financial support, and access most University services

  • Request for Change in Fellowship Schedule form is required if the student is a Central Fellow and would like to modify their fellowship schedule

  • Students can request from their home departments to defer their departmental offers

  • Most financial agencies expect the repayment of loans

  • A student cannot complete degree milestones and/or have a degree awarded while on a non-Filing LOA

Returning from Approved Leave of Absence


Students do not need to notify the Graduate Division when returning from a leave of absence. The Office of the Registrar automatically assesses fees and generates a pass time to register in the quarter immediately following an approved leave of absence. Students on an approved leave of absence during spring quarter who wish to register in the summer session may enroll directly with Summer Sessions.

Read information about the impact of a Leave of Absence on Time-to-Degree standards.

Export Control and Travel to Sanctioned Countries

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers a number of different sanction and embargo programs. The sanction programs can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security objectives.

OFAC administered sanctions not only cover the export of goods, they also cover the export of services. For example, distance learning services may not be provided to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Ukraine under the current OFAC sanctions without a license. A license application from OFAC can take 3-12 months or longer for processing by the federal government, and approval is not guaranteed.

If you are planning to travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Ukraine, please contact the Export Control Officer at to discuss your plans immediately. The Export Control Officer must approve Leave of Absence and In Absentia petitions involving the countries listed above.

Frequently Asked Questions


We require a new petition and updated documentation (if applicable), but the fee will be waived.

Graduate Division will review the request and consider changing the current leave type to a Filing Leave only if you are in your first quarter of leave. Keep in mind you can only use a Filing quarter of leave once during your graduate career, so do not use this option if you are not ready to file or still have an open degree objective.

No, students need to have been registered the preceding quarter of a leave of absence. Additionally, students cannot use personal leaves as a way to extend their filing leave. Please note that students are not eligible to complete a degree milestone during a personal leave. 

No, students need to have been registered the preceding quarter in order to be eligible for a filing leave quarter. Students on a personal leave of absence are not registered students. 

Yes, but only if you were on a non-Filing Leave (Medical/Parenting/Family Emergency/Military).

No, students must petition for Reinstatement from Unregistered Status and register for at least one quarter prior to being eligible for a leave of absence. The one exception that Graduate Division may consider: a student who was lapsed Spring Quarter, reinstates Fall Quarter, and completes a minimum of four units in one Summer Session. In this instance, Graduate Division will consider a leave of absence request for Fall Quarter. This includes a Filing Leave of absence.

No, students are not to utilize faculty time or audit courses during this leave since you will not be paying tuition.

That would be an appropriate reason to not sign the petition. Students and departments can always approach the Graduate Division to help navigate an issue such as this.

Students, faculty, and staff should contact the Graduate Division if they feel that a student is being pressured to take a leave in order to continue their research without having to pay tuition.