During the course of graduate study a student may need to request a leave of absence. Applications for leaves of absence (with the exception of medical or psychological leaves) should be sent to the Graduate School at least four weeks before the start of the semester in which the leave is to be taken.
Failure to inform the Graduate School means that the student will still be considered active and will be billed for tuition. Directors of Graduate Study (DGSs) must approve all leave of absence applications. Students must use the standard form to request a leave and should attach a separate note explaining the reason for their request. The DGS should sign the form to indicate approval and forward it to the Graduate School for approval by the Dean.
Leaves of absence are normally granted for one to two semesters. To extend a leave of absence for a second year, students must file extensions with their DGS prior to the expiration of their leave. Students who do not file extensions will receive a warning from the Graduate School and may be automatically withdrawn from their graduate programs at Brown.
The DGS should be aware that granting a leave implies that the program will be willing to readmit the student, though sometimes only if certain conditions are met; any such conditions should be put in writing and clearly understood by all parties.
Students on a probationary or personal leave do not normally have access to the library or other facilities, including the University’s electronic resources. Upon presentation of a petition, a student may, with justification, and support of his/her DGS, request one year’s extension of privileges. If the student is an alumna/us (such as a master’s degree holder) he or she may use the library under that status. Borrowing privileges may also be purchased for a nominal fee. All leaves except probationary and personal leaves allow students to extend the terms of their guaranteed funding and should not affect their academic progress or standing.
Readmission from Leave
To return to active status, and to be eligible for funding in the next academic term, students must notify the Graduate School in writing by May 1 for a fall-semester return or November 1 for a spring-semester return.
Readmission of a student from a leave of absence does not require a complete formal application, unless the program faculty request one, and only in the case of an academic or personal leave. A student who has taken a leave of absence should write to his or her program requesting readmission; if the requested is supported by the program, the DGS should endorse and forward the request to the Graduate School for approval by the Dean.
The family leave policy aims to provide a way of "stopping the clock" for graduate students facing special family needs that require their full-time attention. In contrast, parental relief does not entail a leave.