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Academic Leave of Absence

Submitting a request

Students are able to request a leave of absence from their academic program. They should first notify their advisor of their request and then inform the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). For doctoral candidates (those who have successfully completed their comprehensive examination and have filed a D3 in the Graduate School), they must also submit their request to the Graduate School. The request should come in the form of a: (a) support letter directly from the DGS of the student’s academic program, and (b) the request from the student that outlines the need for a leave and the requested length of the leave. Doctoral candidates must be continuously enrolled (2 hours for fall or spring semester, 1 hour for summer). However, students with an approved leave of absence will not be required to “make up” the credit hours missed during the leave. As with all students, they are responsible for completing the number of credit hours and milestones required for the degree upon return.

Students who are attending MU with a F-1 Student visa or J-1 Exchange Visitor visa are strongly encouraged to consult in advance with the International Center about their plans if they are considering a leave of absence. Students enrolled in the University’s student health insurance plan should consult the insurance company and/or the Graduate Medical Insurance Subsidy Program staff member in the Graduate School prior to the start of their leave.

Re-entry process

Before the completion of the leave of absence, the student must notify the academic program’s DGS and the Graduate School so that the re-entry process can be initiated.

Leave of absence due to pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, and parenting 

An eligible student may elect to take a leave of absence for up to one academic year because of pregnancy and/or pregnancy-related disability or the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. In addition, if a child requires extensive or extraordinary care the parenting student may request a leave of absence. The leave term may be extended in the case of extenuating circumstances.

A student taking a leave of absence under this policy shall provide notice of the intent to take leave 30 days prior to the initiation of leave, or as soon as practical by submitting a written request to their adviser. Signatures must be obtained from the student’s advisor, the DGS. The form is then submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Intermittent leave may be taken with the advance approval of the student’s department, or when medically necessary due to the student’s health condition.

While registered in that status, students who choose to take a leave of absence under this policy will communicate with the Graduate School regarding their eligibility for health insurance coverage (if they purchase health insurance through the University of Missouri or receive an insurance subsidy as part of an assistantship) and, if applicable, Residential Life.

Continuation of the student’s scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the student’s registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status.

Students will not be negatively impacted or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-supported funding by taking leave under this policy. In addition, if a student is receiving a university fellowship for a specified number of years, the student will not lose the year of eligibility during the leave, rather the fellowship will be extended for an additional year upon return to full-time student status.

Upon return from leave, the student will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began.

For doctoral candidates, continuous enrollment will be waived during the leave period and will not be responsible for tuition accrued during the time of the leave.

Faculty or staff shall not require a student to take a leave of absence, or withdraw from or limit their studies due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.