Can we take a “leave of absence” without losing our scholarships/fellowships?

Date: July 2020



Can we take a “leave of absence” for Fall ’20 and Spring ’21 without losing our scholarships/fellowships?

-Learning about my options


Dear learning about my options,

There are two types of leave of absence available through the Graduate School: a health leave of absence or a personal leave of absence. Both types of leave can be for up to 12 months, with annual renewal possible for a total of four years. Time away does not count toward time to degree. 

For a health leave, the original offer of financial support at the time of admission is continued when you return if you are in good academic standing. For a personal leave, the original offer of financial support at time of admission is not guaranteed when you return. 

The Graduate School will offer exceptional flexibility with all Graduate School fellowship funding for students who elect to take a leave of absence, but students should verify with their field or funding source before finalizing a leave of absence. Some external funding agencies do not allow for a gap in enrollment. The NSF GRFP is one example, but others have similar limitations. Scholarship awards in some professional master’s programs may be preserved for students who take leaves, but  that needs to be verified with the graduate program in advance. You can find more details on the Graduate School website, in the Leaves of Absence Policy. If you are in a professional school, check with your degree program.

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School