Leave of Absence (LOA) Procedures - University of Houston
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Leave of Absence (LOA) Procedures

Who should file?

All graduate students (M.S. thesis, M.S. non-thesis, Ph.D.) who do not plan to enroll in a long semester (fall or spring semester).

How long can the LOA be?

The LOA petition will be approved for only 1 semester at a time. If a student plans to be away from graduate work for more than a semester at a time, he/she will have to petition for another LOA prior to the beginning of the following semester.

How many LOAs will be approved in a graduate career?

Students will not be granted more than 3 LOAs in their entire graduate career. It can be 3 consecutive long semesters, any 3 individual semesters, or any combination.

How to File an LOA

Students must fill out a graduate petition and the leave of absence application form. They should also attach the appropriate documentation as needed. For a student’s medical reason, a letter from a physician is required. For a job-related reason, a letter from the employer is required detailing the time the student is being hired or giving reasons for increased work load, travel, etc., with a clearly indicated timeframe.  Reasons such as “need to take a break” or “need time to reassess career goals,” or similar reasons, will not be accepted. It is very important that students detail how they will make up for the lost time because the time limit for completion to degree is not extended by an approved leave of absence (5 years for M.S., 10 years for Ph.D.). Students are not expected to work on their thesis or dissertation during the leave of absence.

Other Important Information

  • A Dean’s hold will be placed on the student account once the LOA has been approved. The student will need to submit a graduate petition requesting a graduate studies reinstatement prior to the start of the semester in which they plan to return. Once the reinstatement is approved, the hold will be removed, and the student can register for classes.
  • Students who have not previously provided a proof of meningitis vaccination will need to do so in order to register.
  • Students who do not return to school at the end of the approved LOA and have not petitioned for another LOA will be terminated from the program per University procedures.