Leave of Absence (Time off)

For a variety of reasons, students may need to take a term (semester) or more off from school in upcoming terms (to withdraw from a current term, see resignation). These reasons may include financial challenges, family issues, personal issues, health, etc.

A leave of absence occurs when a student takes time off from her/his studies and then returns without penalty. The University of Pittsburgh allows such a break for up to one calendar year before the student's direct association with the University expires.

A leave of absence longer than one year is allowed, under special circumstances, but such a case would need special approval (see below).

International students in the U.S. on student visitor visas who choose to take a leave of absence during a fall and/or spring term may not remain in the U.S. during the leave of absence.

There are two major things to consider when taking a leave of absence:

  1. There is a time-limit for the completion of your degree, called the statute of limitations policy. Taking time off without "stopping the clock" on this policy may, in some cases, prevent a student from graduating. Graduate students can find the policy for their programs in item#9 on this Web page, while undergraduates have a 12 year statute of limitations.
  2. When the student is gone for longer than one calendar year and their association with the University expires, the student would need to reapply in order to return (see the "readmission" section of this Web site for policy details).

To take a leave of absence for one calendar year or less without stopping the statute clock, please follow these directions. This leave DOES NOT require any formal approval.

To request that the statute clock be stopped during your leave or to request a leave of absence for longer than one year with the clock stopped and without having to reapply, please follow these directions. This leave DOES require formal approval.

To Reactivating your account after time off in order to register for classes, please follow this directions.