Personal and Sick Leave

Effective Date
November 20, 2018
Last Revised Date
November 20, 2018
Responsible Office
Graduate School - Academic Affairs
Rodney D. Priestley, Dean of the Graduate School

1. Policy Statement

The Graduate Student Personal and Sick Leave Policy is meant to acknowledge that graduate students are able to continue their enrollment and associated financial support, if any, while absent for limited periods of time from normal student responsibilities due to illness or other personal matters.

2. Who is Affected by this Policy

This policy applies to all currently enrolled graduate students in regular, in absentia, and DCE status.

3. Definitions

Regular Enrollment
A student within the defined program length who is pursing degree-related work, completing requirements, and making sufficient academic and/or research progress as specified by the department or program and the Graduate School. The student has registered by completing academic year sign-in and is in residence – that is, regularly present on campus, using University resources to fulfill degree requirements and objectives a majority of days per week for the academic term or year. Ordinarily enrolled students receive all benefits reserved for regular degree-seeking students. For Ph.D. students, this includes tuition and stipend support. The standard tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled regularly.

In Absentia Enrollment
A registered full-time student still within the defined program length who is pursuing degree-related work, but is NOT in residence for greater than half the term. Students may apply to be moved to in absentia status if they need to use educational resources not available in Princeton. If approved, in absentia status is granted for one academic term or one academic year at a time, up to two years, normally only to Ph.D. students who have successfully completed the general examination. Students are encouraged to seek financial aid outside the University for the time spent in absentia.  Students enrolled in absentia are considered fully enrolled graduate students. As such, they are required to complete academic year sign-in and participate in the yearly reenrollment process. In absentia students have access to all appropriate University benefits, with the exceptions of housing.  In absentia students remain on the student health plan, but do not require referrals to access health care during their time away from Princeton.  In absentia students are not eligible to be appointed as assistants in instruction or to enroll in courses conducted on campus.   A marginal tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled in absentia.  In absentia enrollment is recorded on the transcript.

DCE Enrollment
A Ph.D. student who has exhausted the defined program length, but is still making progress toward degree completion and retains an enrolled status.  DCE status must be taken immediately after the regular enrollment period has ended and may be granted for a maximum of four consecutive semesters. Through the annual reenrollment process, a student must apply to move into or retain this status and have the approval of both the department and the Graduate School.  A DCE student is enrolled and eligible for most benefits reserved for enrolled students, but ordinarily may not enroll in courses. A marginal tuition rate that includes the student health plan in charged for a student enrolled in DCE status. DCE status is recorded on the transcript.

4. Policy

Graduate study at Princeton is understood to be a full-time commitment on the part of students. During an academic year, which includes the summer, enrolled graduate student degree candidates may be absent from normal student responsibilities for up to (but no more than) ten days for reasons of illness or other personal matters.  During such an absence, financial support otherwise in place continues.  Depending on a graduate student’s program and year of study, normal graduate student responsibilities may include coursework, research obligations through an appointment as an assistant in research, and teaching obligations through an appointment as an assistant in instruction. Graduate students are expected to inform the relevant faculty who supervise their coursework, research, and/or teaching obligations about any absence due to illness or other personal matters at the beginning of the period of absence. 

Students who miss coursework due to illness or other personal matters are still held to normal course and grading policies for the relevant department(s) and course instructor(s).  Students who must be absent due to illness or personal matters for more than two weeks should ordinarily request a leave of absence from the University. 

If a student holds an external fellowship whose terms may conflict with this policy, the student should consult first with the director of graduate studies or adviser. 

5. Procedures (if applicable)


6. Related Documents/Pages/Forms (if applicable)


7. Roles and Responsibilities

Dean of the Graduate School
Oversees Graduate School policies and associated procedures.

Academic Affairs
Administers graduate student personal and sick leave policy.

Finance and Administration
Administers funding policies associated with student status.

Director of Graduate Studies and/or Dissertation Adviser
Approves student requests for personal and sick leave.

Graduate Student
Accurately monitors and reports personal and sick leave to be in compliance with policy.