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FAQ: Graduate Student Leaves

  • Where can I find information about eligibility, types of leaves and requesting a leave?
  • General Eligibility Requirements, Types of Leaves, and Funding Source
    How to Request a Leave
    Graduate Studies Policy on Family & Medical Leave Accommodation for Graduate Students with Funding (GS2015-01)

  • What is the difference between a PELP and the leaves described in the Graduate Studies GS2015-01 policy?
  • PELP, the Planned Educational Leave Program is a quarter-long (or more) interruption or pause from a graduate student's academic program; students may not be employed in a student title while on PELP and cannot receive fellowship funding as they are not in a registered student status. The leave accommodations provided for in the GS2015-01 policy allow students the ability to take shorter-term leaves while maintaining their registration and employment status; students may also continue to receive fellowship funding while on approved leave in most cases. A medical certification is required for leaves longer than 7 days under the GS2015-01 policy. PELP remains a good choice for the student who needs to take a longer term leave and cannot successfully continue their enrollment for the quarter.
  • Does a student need to be enrolled to be approved for a leave?
  • Yes. In order to hold a student appointment or receive a fellowship, a student must be registered an enrolled in full-time coursework. If a student received a exception to hold an appointment via a PEP approved by Graduate Studies, and they are appointed, then they receive the benefits of the appointment which include this leave accommodation. 
  • If a GSR is out on an approved leave, how is their effort reported on a grant?
  • Effort for a graduate student on an approved university leave should be reported as if the student was still working as expected; this is the same reporting expected for a PI on approved university leave. Effort is not affected. Additional questions on effort reporting should be directed to Accounting and Financial Services.
  • How does a leave provided for GS2015-01 affect course work?
  • Good communication between the student and each of their professors, supervisors, advisors, and graduate program coordinators is vital when a student requires a period of leave. Students who are employed as TAs and/or GSRs and who are enrolled in 396 or 299 units related to their employment, should continue to receive satisfactory grades while on approved university leave.

    For coursework unrelated to their employment, graduate students on approved leave should discuss grading options with their professor; depending on the length of the leave, students may wish to:
    • request extended deadlines and a plan for remediation of missed lectures or other work with their instructor.
    • request an "incomplete" (I) grade from their instructor. Students must remove the "I" grade before the end of the third succeeding quarter of academic residence; if the “I” is not removed by the end of the specified time, it will revert to an “F.” Under no circumstances should a student formally re-enroll in the course to make up an Incomplete; if part of the agreement between the student and the instructor for removing the Incomplete involves participation in a subsequent section of the course, a student should participate and complete the assignments but NOT formally enroll the second time.
    • petition for S/U grading for a graded course. While this status cannot be requested for courses that fulfill graduate program course requirements, it may be used for courses that fulfill general unit requirements. Students must receive a B- or better to receive a "S" grade. S/U petitions must be filed in Graduate Studies by the end of the fifth week of the quarter.
    • petition to drop a course. If it is before the 10th day of instruction, a student may drop a course through SISWEB; after the 10th day, students must file a Permission to Drop Petition with Graduate Studies. Students should keep in mind that if they drop below 12 units, they will be ineligible for student employment and fellowship funding and therefore, ineligible for leave accommodations provided for in GS2015-01. Students who wish to be accommodated under GS2015-01 should only drop a course if doing so does not reduce to under 12 units.
  • If a student needs to be out for 1-2 days for a short illness, does the Leave Request Form need to be completed?
  • Graduate Studies does not require the Leave Request Form for periods of leave that are 7 days and shorter. However, a department may require the form at their discretion. These shorter periods of leave do not need to be entered into the payroll system.
  • Who approves a leave request for a student receiving a fellowship?
  • Whether the fellowship is internal or external, Graduate Studies must review and approve a leave requested if the leave will be for more than 7 days. A student should confer with their graduate program coordinator and submit the form to Graduate Studies; Graduate Studies will ensure eligibility requirements are met (typically that the student is in good standing and remains enrolled in 12 or more units). If there are funding restrictions, Graduate Studies will discuss options with the student.
  • Who approves a leave request for an employed graduate student (ASE or GSR)?
  • A student employed as a GSR, TA, Reader, Tutor or Associate In has their leave request approved by the home department of the primary appointment. When a student holds multiple appointments in more than one unit and/or over multiple terms, only one leave request should be completed and filed with the home department (primary appointment). The home department will take the lead role in coordinating the leave administration with the alternate departments.
  • How does the leave policy (GS2015-01) apply to a student who does not have fellowship and is not employed as ASE or GSR?
  • This policy applies only to students appointed to a student academic or research title or those with fellowship funding. A student who is self-funded or supported by loans or grants through the Financial Aid Office are not covered by this policy.
  • How does the leave policy (GS2015-01) interact with FMLA, the federal Family & Medical Leave Act?
  • As most students are not eligible for FMLA, this policy was developed to fill that gap and provide FMLA-like benefits. Should a student be eligible for FMLA, FMLA provisions take precedence over this policy and the home department should work closely with Graduate Studies to implement FMLA leave accommodations. 
  • I think I may have been discriminated against due to my request for a pregnancy-related leave. Who can I talk to?
  • Should a graduate student have questions or a complaint regarding possible pregnancy discrimination, they should contact the UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program ( at (530) 752-9255.