In Absentia

In Absentia Defined

In absentia (full policy) is a reduced-fee registration status for full-time, enrolled students who have an academic need to conduct research or study outside of the state of California for at least one quarter (e.g. for field work and research with specialists or in specialized facilities). The policy recognizes that students may need to perform work away from the university but seeks to minimize the number of students who allow their registration status to lapse.

Applying for In Absentia

To apply for In Absentia, students must enroll full-time, in 299 research units or similar, for the quarter in absentia is to begin (and continue to enroll full-time in each subsequent in absentia quarter).  After enrolling, students will complete the In Absentia Registration Application, obtain faculty signatures, and return the form to their Graduate Program Coordinator for submission to Graduate Studies.  

Fee Reduction

Students will be assessed the following fees while registered in absentia:

  • 15% of Tuition and 15% of the Student Services Fee
  • The full UC SHIP health insurance fee, unless you have waived UC SHIP
  • Campus-based fees
  • Nonresident tuition, if applicable

In Absentia Eligibility

All students pursuing doctoral or master’s degrees in academic disciplines as well as those pursuing professional master’s or doctoral degrees are eligible for the fee reduction. Students in self-supporting graduate programs are not covered by this policy.

Students may apply for in absentia registration status under the following circumstances (exceptions may be reviewed at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies):

Doctoral Student Eligibility

  • Must have advanced to candidacy by the time the in absentia status would begin.
  • May enroll in absentia for up to six quarters - three quarters can be requested per application form.  After the initial three quarters, a new In Absentia Registration Application must be submitted.
  • In absentia beyond six quarters may be reviewed for exception by submitting an In Absentia Registration Application along with a statement of justification from the student's major professor.  

Master’s and Graduate Professional Student Eligibility

  • Must have completed at least one year of coursework by the time the in absentia status would begin.
  • May enroll in absentia for up to three quarters.
  • In absentia beyond three quarters may be reviewed for exception by submitting an In Absentia Registration Application along with a statement of justification from the student's major professor

Research or Coursework Requirements

  • Must be directly related to the student’s degree program - confirmed by the Graduate Advisors signature.
  • Must be of a nature that makes it necessary to be completed outside of California for at least one full academic term.
  • Must involve only indirect supervision appropriate to evaluating the student’s academic progress and performance (e.g., correspondence via email or review of written work) from UC faculty.
  • Must involve no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia period to ensure that units do not entail direct access to UC resources or learning environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ refers to in absentia as it relates to academic graduate students. Students in professional degree programs, such as M.D., D.V.M., J.D., M.B.A., please contact your professional school dean's office. 

  • Can I hold an academic appointment (TA, GSR, AI, Reader, or Tutor) while holding in absentia status?
  • If you are a GSR, yes. If you are a TA, AI, Reader or Tutor, no.
  • I will be 500 miles away, but still in California. Can I use in absentia registration?
  • You will probably not be eligible for in absentia registration. In absentia policy is for graduate students conducting research outside of the state of California. However, exceptions may be considered if the in-state research, such as an internship, is required by the program.
  • I will be gone for two months, not the entire quarter. Can I use in absentia?
  • No. The policy is for those students who will be outside the state the entire quarter.
  • I am enrolled in an independent study course this summer. I will be in Armenia for the entire six-week session. Can I use in absentia registration?
  • No. In absentia is for academic year quarters – fall, winter or spring quarter only.
  • Will I still receive my fellowship stipend?
  • Yes. Students who register in absentia are eligible to receive UC fellowships.
  • I am not yet advanced to candidacy for my doctoral degree, but I need to go to Borneo to do field research. Can I use in absentia registration?
  • No. Doctoral students must be advanced to candidacy. Master's students must have completed at least one year of course work. Master's students in self-supporting programs are not eligible for in absentia registration.
  • What type of courses can I register for while on in absentia status?
  • While on this status you are doing independent research or enrolled at another university. The only campus class you can receive credit for is an independent study or independent research course. If you are enrolling in an online course, you may not use in absentia.
  • I will be enrolled at an institution in Russia. I still want to be enrolled at UC. Can I use in absentia status?
  • Yes, if you are a second year master's student or advanced to candidacy in an academic doctoral program.
  • Can I take my Qualifying Examination while in absentia?
  • No, in absentia means that you are away from campus for the entire term.
  • I want to conduct research off campus but I don't want to use in absentia. Can I go on Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)?
  • No, research leaves are not allowed while on PELP.
  • My dissertation chair and I will both be in Europe conducting research at CERN. Can I use in absentia registration?
  • No, the policy states that there must be no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty during the in absentia period.
  • I am an international student. Can I use this status?
  • Yes. While registered in absentia, you are a registered student. However, you would need to obtain the SISS approval before submitting the form.
  • Will I lose my California residency status?
  • No, absences from California are considered temporary when the student has, and can prove that they have, maintained all of their residential ties to California for the duration of their absence.
  • Can I use filing fee the quarter after being on in absentia status?
  • Yes, in absentia is a registered status, so you are eligible for filing fee the quarter following in absentia, provided you meet all other criteria for filing fee status.
  • Can I be filed to graduate while on in absentia status?
  • Yes, in absentia is a registered status, and you would be eligible to complete your degree while you are in absentia, provided you meet all other criteria for degree completion.