UBC Policy on Transfers, Leaves, and Extensions

The Department policies related to transfers, leaves and extensions are consistent with the Faculty of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies (G+PS) 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 Co-Directors of Graduate Programs.


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 Co-Directors of Graduate Programs or Head of the Department should submit the written recommendation for leave to the Faculty of G+PS. 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 one program 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 Co-Directors of Graduate Programs. The Co-Directors of Graduate Programs then sends a memo to the Faculty of G+PS recommending the transfer, and including an academic justification.

Transfers between Areas within the Department

Students requesting a transfer between program areas within the Department must consult with their current program advisor/supervisor and submit an approved rationale.  Requests are to be forwarded to the new program advisor/ supervisor and area coordinator.  Transfers across program areas are not automatic and may only be considered after a decision has been made by the program areas.

Recommendations from the Department for transfer are directed to the Faculty of G+PS, after approval has been granted by the Co-Directors of the Graduate Programs, and must include an academic justification from the student and their new program advisor/supervisor. .

Please Note:  Counselling Psychology and School Psychology Programs do not accept transfers into their program.  Students must reapply as a new student to that program.