Leave of Absence (Time off)
A student may need to take a term (semester) or more off from school. These reasons may include financial challenges, family issues, personal issues, health, etc. The University calls this a "leave of absence" and allows such a break in class enrollment for up to one calendar year before the student's direct association with the University expires. The student returns to the University without penalty.
Before taking a leave of absence
A student may petition their department faculty for a leave of absence by completing the Leave of Absence form. The purpose of this form is to set alerts in our academic tracking system and to keep all relevant parties informed of your academic plans (ie, advisors and staff). Before completing the form, consider the circumstances of your request, the length of leave desired, and your plan for completing the degree upon your return. Official approval is required for leaves of two terms or more and are conveyed by the Department Chair. Approval is generally not given for more than one year and the approval may be conditional.
Things to consider when taking a leave of absence:
- Statute of limitations: a time-limit for the completion of your degree. Most students take time off without extending their statute of limitations but in some instances it could prevent a student from graduating. Example: you are at the end of your statue of limitations when something occurs to postpone your studies. Students considering a leave of absence should create a plan that allows you to return to classes and complete the degree within your statute of limitations.
- Undergraduate student statute of limitations = 12 years from your initial term of admission
- Graduate student statute of limitations = 4 years from your initial term of admission
- A student who has not registered for at least one credit during a 12-month period will be transferred automatically to inactive status and must file an application for readmission (and pay the application fee) before being permitted to register again. While on inactive status, a student is not eligible to use University facilities and should not expect to receive counseling by the faculty or active supervision by their advisor and committee. Readmission is not automatic. If readmitted, the student must be prepared to demonstrate proper preparation to meet all current admission and degree requirements.
Steps to follow:
- Complete the Leave of Absence form.
- If taking two or more terms of leave, wait for and confirm receipt of departmental approval.
- If registered for the term in which the leave has been granted, either;
- drop all classes using the University's online enrollment system if the add/drop deadline has not passed
- complete the University's resignation procedures if the add/drop deadline has passed
- deadlines available on University's Academic and Enrollment Calendars
**International students in the U.S. on student visitor visas who choose to take a leave of absence during a fall and/or spring term may not remain in the U.S. during the leave of absence. To find out how this can affect your immigration status, please schedule an appointment with the Office of International Services. If you have already decided to take a Leave of Absence and/or have departed the US, please complete the Departure Notification e-form by logging in to My OIS.**
Returning to the school after a leave
It will be the student's responsibility to meet the conditions of their leave. The student must notify the school in writing (e-mail) at least one month prior to the end of leave or when otherwise requested indicating their intention to return to the school.
We advise you to review the dates and deadlines for enrollment using the University's Academic Calendar and allow yourself enough time to sort out any course advising and account updates that you may need.
If the student fails to notify the school through the appropriate channels or goes beyond the time of leave granted, the student will not be eligible to return automatically and must apply for readmission.
Steps to follow:
- E-mail the appropriate contact at least one month prior to the end of the leave and await confirmation that your student account is active. Your account must be active before you will be able to log-in to University resources such as the SIS Intranet and my.pitt.edu. You must complete this step first.
- Graduate students notify the Academic Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Undergraduate students notify their advisor, Mary Koller at email@example.com
- Your advisor is named in my.pitt.edu > Student Center.
Extensions: If you need to extend your leave of absence, you must submit a new leave of absence form at least one month before the initial end date of your leave.