UBC Policy on Transfers, Leaves, and Extensions

The Department policies related to transfers, leaves and extensions are consistent with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures, that are reproduced below. Students should direct requests for specific information on Department procedures to their advisor, research supervisor or the Department Graduate Advisor.


Leave is granted when a student is best advised for personal, health, or other reasons to have time completely away from her/his academic responsibilities. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree. Leave, not including parental leave or leave to pursue concurrent programs, for Masters or Doctoral students, is limited to one year. A leave will begin normally on the first day of term, for a period of 4, 8 or 12 months.

Although students on the full-time tuition fee schedule pay fees in three instalments, the full annual fee is required to support any period of full-time study from four to twelve months. Work, or holiday, or travel during a single term is considered a normal part of a student’s schedule, and not justification for formal leave of absence.

Leave is not granted retroactively, nor to a student whose registration is not current or whose time in program has elapsed.

The Graduate Advisor or Head of the Department should submit the written recommendation for leave to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. An explanation of the reason for the leave must be included. Recommendations should outline the student’s progress in the program, and the time anticipated for completion of all requirements.

Graduate students “On Leave” are not eligible to receive awards. For more information, please see the policy on Awards and Financial Aid for Students. The leave period is not included in the time period for award tenure.

Parental Leave

A graduate student who is bearing a child or who has primary responsibility for the care of an infant or young child immediately following a birth, or adoption of a child is eligible for parental leave. A request for parental leave should be made through the student’s Department for a minimum leave of four months to a maximum leave of twelve months. Where possible, students enrolled in course work should Co-ordinate their requests with the beginning of an academic term. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree.

Leave to Pursue Concurrent Programs

Following academic consultation, graduate students may apply for leave of absence from oneprogram to pursue a second program. The student would be responsible for leave of absence fees as well as tuition fees for the second program. Eligibility for the first program would be extended by the span of time on the leave of absence.


University regulations establish a 5-year time limit for the completion of a Master’s program and a 6 year time limit for the completion of a Doctoral program. The time that the student is on approved leave does not count in the determination of the time limit.

Extenuating circumstances not of the candidate’s making may justify allowing the student additional time. A request for a one-year extension will be received favourably if it is fully justified and supported by the Department. A second year’s extension requires a compelling rationale from the Department and an explanation of the special circumstances that would justify an exception, together with a schedule showing how the thesis would be completed in the period requested. Extensions will not be granted beyond two years.

Transfers between Masters’ Programs

Transfers between closely related Masters’ programs (e.g., MEd to MA, MA to MEd) are permitted. Requests for transfer between master’s programs should be submitted, in writing to the student’s advisor and should include a rationale. The student’s advisor then sends a supporting memo to the departmental Graduate Advisor. The Graduate Advisor then sends a memo to the Faculty of Graduate Studies recommending the transfer, and including an academic justification.

Transfers between Areas within the Department

Transfers between Areas of program specialization within the Department (e.g., SPED to MERM, CNPS to SCPS) are permitted during the first 24 months for a full-time student, or up to the successful completion of 24 credits for a part-time student. Requests to transfer between specializations should be directed to the Department Graduate Advisor. Requests will be forwarded to the appropriate Area Admissions Committee. Transfers across specializations are not automatic and may only be considered during the annual review of admissions to the Area of Specialization.

Recommendations from the Department for transfer are directed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and must include an academic justification from the Graduate Advisor or Head of the Department.