Leaves of Absence and Extension Requests
Leaves of absence are available to students for compassionate, medical, parenting, educational, and ‘Co-op Program’/Industry reasons. Leaves of absence are normally granted in four-month blocks to coincide with the registration terms (Sept 1 to Dec 31; Jan. 1 to Apr 30; May 1 to Aug 31). Maternity, adoption and parenting leave may be granted for eight or twelve month blocks.
The Head of the academic unit or Graduate Chair has the authority to approve a first-time leave request of up to 4 months for compassionate or medical reasons. For maternity, parental or adoption reasons, the leave may be approved for up to 12 months immediately following a birth or adoption. Short-term leaves of less than one month should also be managed within the home academic unit. Extensions to the initial leave period must be approved by CGSR. Requests for leaves should be discussed as early as possible with supervisors so that appropriate accommodations can be made prior to the beginning of the leave. Requests should be made in writing by the student for a minimum leave of four months to a maximum leave of twelve months. The Dean of the CGSR, or his designate, will consider any petitions arising from students whose request for leave has been denied by the supervisor or academic unit.
The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree, and tuition fees are not assessed during the leave. While a student is on leave, all supervisory processes are suspended. Financial support offered to the student as a full-time, fully-qualified student is not available to students on leave. Every possible accommodation should be made, however, in assisting the student to delay for the period of the leave, rather than having to decline, offers of financial assistance. Letters of support in this regard will be sent to external funding agencies.
Compassionate, Medical Leaves
A graduate student who has developed an illness, who has been the victim of an accident, or who has suffered grave events in his/her life is deemed, upon provision of appropriate documentation (letter from student, from Supervisor, and from physician or other health professional if applicable) to the Graduate Chair, to be eligible for medical or compassionate leave. The Graduate Chair should forward these documents and a letter of support to the CGSR for approval. At the end of a medical leave and before returning to active studies, the student must provide to the Graduate chair and to CGSR a physician’s certificate indicating the condition necessitating the leave no longer compromises the graduate program.
Maternity, Adopting, Parenting Leaves
A graduate student who is bearing a child, and/or who has primary responsibility for the care of a child immediately following a birth or an adoption is deemed to be eligible for parental leave. Maternity, adopting and parental leaves may be requested for up to one year in duration, upon receipt of a letter from the student indicating the reason for the leave, and written acknowledgement from the supervisor.
“Co-op Program” leaves and Graduate Studies in Industry
It is the policy of the CGSR to encourage wherever appropriate research and teaching partnerships with the public and private sector. When students receive offers to spend a period of time in industry or the public sector pursuing research-related activities which are closely linked to their Master’s or Ph.D. Program of Studies, the CGSR will consider granting a four-month leave. Such a leave may be repeated once at a later time in the program. Request for such leaves must provide all relevant details in writing and must be supported in writing by the supervisor and Graduate Chair. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree and tuition is not assessed during the leave.
Leaves to pursue undergraduate studies
A graduate student that has been offered admission into an undergraduate college at the University of Saskatchewan may apply for a leave of absence from the graduate program for a maximum of two consecutive terms. To be eligible for such a leave, the student must provide documentation from the undergraduate college indicating that dual college registration will not be permitted. The student must also provide a detailed plan to completion for the graduate program that has been approved by the graduate program supervisor and graduate chair. For thesis students, a complete draft of the thesis must be complete for the student to be eligible for the leave.
Once you have determined your eligibility for a leave, based on the above criteria, you must submit a formal request, following the steps outlined below:
1) Submit your request to your supervisor/committee in writing. Included in this request must be the following:
- A clear indication of what type of leave you are requesting
- An explanation of the circumstances necessitating the leave
- Medical documentation, where applicable
- Please note that specific diagnoses, details of conditions, details regarding medication, treatment, etc. are NOT required.
- We request that medical notes state how long the physician has been treating the student and specific dates/duration of time away being recommended by the physician. We also ask that the functional limitations of the student be described to ensure appropriate accommodation
2) Once your request has been approved by your supervisor/committee, it can be forwarded to CGSR for final approval and processing. The request should not be submitted directly from the student to CGSR – it must be submitted by the academic unit to the CGSR Advisor assigned to that unit. All of the information and documentation outlined in Step 1 must be included in the request forwarded to CGSR.
3) Once your leave has been approved and processed by CGSR, the assigned CGSR Advisor will send an e-mail notifying you and the appropriate contacts in your academic unit. While you are on leave, you are not assessed tuition. Additionally, leaves of absence do not count toward your time in program.
Official program time limits are five years for Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s, and six years for Ph.D. This time is measured from the beginning of the first term of registration for work which is included in the Program of Studies (this may be course work done at U of S or elsewhere, thesis, project, or practicum), excluding any periods of approved leave.
Where a student has been suspended from the program for one or more terms because of an academic dishonesty ruling and penalty, the period of suspension will not count as time in program, subject to University Council regulations on student discipline and appeals.
Time extensions may be granted to students who encounter unforeseen problems while actively trying to finish their program. Under current, faculty-approved policy, employment is not a valid reason for an extension request.
While on extension, students are expected to working on their programs full-time. They are registered as full-time students and are assessed full-time fees.
1. Students who have reached or will soon reach the time limit of the program without completing program requirements should meet with their Advisory Committee as a first step. At this committee meeting, the following should be addressed:
- All members should be made aware of the impending request for extension
- Challenges which have impeded progress should be discussed and addressed
- A detailed, reasonable, achievable timeline to completion should be developed and agreed upon by the student and committee.
2. The items discussed at the committee meeting must be submitted in writing to the supervisor/committee. This document must specifically address the question of why the expected timeframe was not followed and what steps will be taken to ensure adequate progress is made going forward. The detailed timeline for completion must also be included with this document.
3. If the Advisory Committee supports the extension request, the request is forwarded by the Academic Unit to CGSR. Requests forwarded to CGSR must include the following:
- A completed “GSR 205: Request for Extension to Time in Program” form
- Written request from the student specifically addressing the question of why the original Schedule for Completion was not followed and what steps will be taken to ensure adequate progress is made going forward.
- Detailed timeline for completion
- Written support from the Supervisor and the Advisory Committee
- Meeting minutes from Advisory Committee meetings
4. Once your extension has been approved and processed by CGSR, the assigned CGSR Advisor will send an e-mail notifying you and the appropriate contacts in your academic unit.
Please note that any of the following may result in a request being returned:
- Submission of an incomplete GSR 205 form
- Insufficient detail/rationale provided in request for extension
- Insufficient/unsatisfactory information for plan and timeline to completion
*The information/instructions above are subject to university policy - please refer to the Policies and Procedures Manual*