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UCLA Graduate Division

Leave of Absence (LOA) for Graduate Students

Leave of Absence Policy


  LOA Policy*
Reasons Outside employment, Medical, Parental obligations, Other family obligations, Military, Emergency, Financial hardship.
Eligibility 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.
Duration Leaves are approved for a maximum of 3 quarters.
Exceptions 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 Graduate Division. The LOA cannot exceed 6 quarters total.
  1. A student may not use more than 12 hours of university time (faculty and facilities) during the quarter in which (s)he is on approved LOA.
  2. Retroactive leaves can only be approved for medical reasons. Documentation must be provided.
Deadlines The LOA petition must be submitted no later than the end of the 2nd week of class in the academic term for which leave is requested.
Procedure The student completes the form and then obtains signatures from the chair/authorized faculty advisor and Graduate Division Financial Services staff. The student then submits the completed form to Graduate Division Academic Services.
Visa Req's International students who do not have permanent residency must obtain approval from DCISS prior to submission of the form.
Health Insurance Voluntary UC SHIP is available to nonregistered students who are on official LOA. Students must complete an enrollment application with Wells Fargo Insurance Services. For more information, students may contact Wells Fargo Insurance Services at (800) 853-5899.
Fees/Refunds Refund calculations are based on calendar days, beginning with first day of instruction. The effective date for determining a refund of fees is the date the completed form is submitted to the Graduate Division. More information on the schedule of refunds is available on the Registrar's website.
Suspended Services/ Privileges Students on LOA are not eligible for financial support such as fellowships, scholarships, federal student loans, teaching assistantships or research assistantships. They are also not eligible for university employment, metro bus passes or campus parking privileges.
Continued Services Students on LOA may use the University library and maintain access to digital services by paying the public user fee.
Housing Residents of university housing can maintain their residency while taking up to one quarter LOA. 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.

* Excerpted from Standards and Procedures.


Leave of Absence Petition Form

  1. Leave of Absence Request (iPDF-191KB)
    Use this form to request a leave of absence from graduate study at UCLA.

Frequently Asked Questions

I did not enroll last quarter and was not on an approved leave of absence. What is my status at the university?

You have a "lapsed status." This happens when a student is not enrolled for classes, registered in absentia, on an approved leave of absence, or for the final quarter, on filing fee status. Please contact your department on how to restore your status either by applying for readmission or retroactively enrolling.

  1. I need to apply for readmission. Can I get an application fee waiver?
    1. No. Fee waivers are only available for new applicants.
  2. I need to apply for readmission. Do I need to pay non-resident tuition and professional fees in addition to registration fees?
    1. Fees continue to be based on where the students are in the program. If a student has advanced to candidacy, s/he has 9 quarters of eligibility to not pay non-resident tuition.

I forgot to submit the leave of absence petition for last quarter. Can I submit it retroactively?

No. The Graduate Division only accepts retroactive leave of absence petitions for medical emergencies. The petition must include a doctor’s note.

I am currently on an approved leave of absence. Do I need to start repaying my loans?

Loan repayment can be deferred for 6 months after a 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 student would be required to contact the servicer of his or her loan to find out what options are available.

Can I pay a filing fee in the quarter following my leave?

No, you must register upon returning from an official leave of absence.

Do I have health insurance while on leave?

You can request voluntary UC Ship while you are on leave.

I plan to…

  1. work closely with a professor this quarter but I won’t be taking any classes. Can I apply for an LOA?
    1. 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.
  2. write my dissertation. Can I go on LOA?
    1. You must be either registered or registered in absentia. Or you can withdraw from the university and apply for readmission when you are ready to resume your study at UCLA.
  3. take additional quarters of LOA, but I already took 3 quarters of LOA. Can I still get 3 more?
    1. Exceptional cases that require an extension beyond the 3 quarter limit may be approved; such approval is at the discretion of an Associate Dean or the Dean of the Graduate Division.
  4. go on Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Can I take a leave?
    1. No. F-1 students requesting CPT must be registered. For more information please visit
  5. go on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). Can I take a leave?
    1. Yes. International students on OPT can take a leave for outside employment for up to the maximum 3 quarters allowed. If you are not on OPT, but wish to take a leave for outside employment, you must leave the United States or change your immigration status to a different category in order to remain in the U.S. legally. Please consult with the DCISS before taking any leave from the university.
  6. go on Academic Training. Can I take a leave?
    1. Please contact DCISS and ask to speak with a J-1 counselor to discuss your options.
  7. return to my home country temporarily. Do I need a new I-20 or DS-2019 when I am ready to return to UCLA?
    1. F-1 or J-1 status holders may not maintain continuous immigration status while on LOA. You may be required to obtain a new I-20 or a new DS-2019 from DCISS for your return. Please note that this may also affect your employment/internship eligibility in the future. Please contact DCISS for more information.

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