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Leaves of Absence


Leaves of Absence

During the course-taking years, you may request a one-year leave of absence. The request should be made to the Graduate Chair. In general, medical leaves (supported by a doctor's letter) and family-emergency leaves are granted as a matter of course, and require only the Graduate Chair's approval. Leaves for other reasons are usually granted if the student's Advisor and the Graduate Chair see merit in the request; these requests are sometimes put to the GEC for discussion.

All Franklin and Fontaine Scholars must receive permission of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to go on leave. If the department's Graduate Chair approves the leave request, he or she will forward it to the Dean for final approval.

While one-year leaves of absence are well tolerated by the Graduate Program, students are discouraged from extending their leaves beyond one year.

Students who have been on leave must complete all outstanding work before they will be allowed to return to the program. Students who are not in good standing will not be allowed to rejoin the program. For students returning in the fall semester, work must be completed by August 1. For students returning in the spring semester, work must be completed by December 1.

A student in the Ph.D. program at Penn may take an unpaid Family Leave of Absence for the birth or adoption of a child, child care, or care of an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition. 
1. Students may take a Family Leave of Absence for one or two semesters.

The student is expected to notify the graduate group chair and adviser in writing of his/her plans to take a Family Leave at an early date, so that appropriate arrangements can be made to cover any teaching/research responsibilities. 
2. Family Leave "stops the clock" on the student's academic requirements, including service requirements, for the duration of the leave.
3. During the period of Family Leave, the student may arrange to continue Student Health Insurance, but is responsible for the payment of his or her own premiums. Upon paying a fee, students on approved Family Leave will retain their PennCard, e-mail accounts, library privileges, and building access. 
4. Funding commitments from the institution are deferred until the student returns from Family Leave. Students receiving funding from external sources, such as government grants, are subject to the conditions established by the funding source.
5. Service requirements (e.g., teaching, research) will be met by the student following return from Family Leave. 
6. Requests for extension of Family Leave beyond one year, or for repeated Family Leaves, may be made. Approval of an extension, deferral of funding, and continued academic accommodation is at the discretion of the Graduate Dean.

*IMPORTANT: If you anticipate adding a dependent (e.g., newborn) to your Penn Student Insurance Policy while on Family Leave, you must remain in ACTIVE student status at the start of the fall semester. Students should arrange with their school/division to maintain full-time student status for at least 31 days from the start of fall classes, after which time the Family Leave status can be recorded in the Student Records System. After the birth/adoption, contact the SHS Insurance Coordinator to enroll the dependent. The premium for dependent coverage is payable directly to Aetna Student Health.