Leave of Absence

Personal, medical, or professional circumstances may force students to interrupt their studies temporarily.  On the recommendation of a student’s director of graduate studies and other departmental adviser(s), the Graduate School may grant a leave for a term or for a year to a student in good standing. 

Leaves are not normally granted to students who

  • Have completed less than one full term of enrollment in residence;
  • Are scheduled to take their general examination in the term for which the leave is being requested;
  • Will be working essentially full time on their Princeton degree requirements, away from Princeton (in absentia is the correct status for such students);
  • Are about to enter or are currently in DCE status, which requires continuous enrollment and was instituted specifically to help Ph.D. students who have exhausted the period of regular enrollment to finish up their degrees.

The full leave of absence policy should be consulted. 

Leave of Absence Status Procedure

  • Discuss the terms of a leave of absence, including any academic conditions that may need to be met, with your adviser and/or DGS as well as a member of the academic affairs staff at the Graduate School;
  • Discuss visa support and terms with the Davis International Center (international students only);
  • Consult the timeline for Status Changes and End of Student Benefits for planning purposes, and speak with a staff member at the Graduate School about any exceptional needs related to changes in benefits;
  • Submit a leave of absence request via the online status system accessed through TigerHub;
  • For students in the Natural Sciences, Engineering, or Social Science, confirm completion of the department's RCR requirements or CITI training;
  • Complete the checkout process via TigerHub (students should submit the leave of absence request before submitting the checkout form);

Extensions of Leave

A student may request an extension of a leave, which would require the support of both the department and the Graduate School.  The duration of a leave, including any extensions, may not exceed four consecutive semesters. 

If a student fails to return from leave without requesting an extension or does not return after four consecutive semesters of leave, degree candidacy is terminated.  Students on leave are urged to keep in touch with the Graduate School and their department about their plans.

Returning from Leave Procedure

Approval to return from leave of absence is given by Academic Affairs in the Graduate School, and is contingent upon completing any personal, medical, or academic conditions placed when the leave commenced. Returns from leave coincide with the start of terms: for the fall term reenrollment is effective August 1; for the spring term, reenrollment is effective January 1. Summer returns may be considered in consultation with the department when a student must conduct laboratory research or needs to fulfill degree requirements on campus. Summer returns require a separate health plan fee.

Approval to return from leave of absence is given when the following conditions are met:

  • Confirmation by the department of the student’s continued professional suitability;
  • Submission of a request to return from leave of absence submitted via the online status system accessed through TigerHub
  • Completion by the student of requirements, if any, stipulated by the department and/or the Graduate School as conditions for reenrollment.