University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Leave of Absence and Reinstatement from a Leave: Graduate Students

Policy Statement

Graduate students are expected to maintain active status through continuous registration from the time they matriculate until they graduate. Students who are not able to maintain active status are strongly encouraged to consult with their director of graduate studies, advisor, and relevant offices to determine whether requesting a leave of absence is the most appropriate course of action. Students who do not have an approved leave of absence and are not continuously enrolled may experience negative consequences related to academic, visa, financial aid, and other student issues.

  1. Students who experience circumstances that prevent them from maintaining active student status will ordinarily be granted college approval for a leave of absence upon request. Students must complete a leave of absence form that specifies the term(s) and year(s) of the leave.
  2. An approved leave of absence may not exceed two academic years.
  3. Students who do not obtain a college-approved leave of absence prior to interrupting their enrollment (excluding summer) may be terminated from their graduate program or held to new requirements if they are subsequently readmitted.
  4. Students granted a leave of absence may not use University facilities or services available only to registered students.
  5. The term(s) and year(s) of an approved leave of absence will not be counted toward time to degree.
  6. Students who obtain a college-approved leave of absence in accordance with this policy are eligible for reinstatement provided they enroll no later than the term immediately following the expiration of the leave (excluding summer). Colleges may specify reasonable conditions for reinstatement to active status, whether the student returns early or at the expiration of the leave.
  7. Colleges may deny reinstatement to active status based on crimes or other serious misconduct occurring during the leave that would have been grounds for suspension or expulsion had the student engaged in the conduct while enrolled (see Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code).
  8. Students whose leave of absence has expired and who have not yet registered for the following term (excluding summer) will be placed on inactive status. Students who are placed on inactive status must apply for readmission.
  9. Collegiate units may develop additional rules governing leaves of absence, as long as they are consistent with this policy.


Each college must establish and publicize its process for implementing this policy and must inform all entering students about it.

Reason for Policy

Students may need to interrupt their enrollment for reasons they cannot control. Allowing students to take a leave of absence provides students the opportunity to return to the University under the rules and policies in effect when they left and without affecting their time to degree. It also allows the University the opportunity to counsel students about actions they must take to be reinstated upon the expiration of the leave.


Primary Contact(s)Toni Abts    
Amber Cellotti
[email protected]    
[email protected]
University of Minnesota - Duluth QuestionsErik Brown218-726-8891[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
  • Amber Cellotti
    Interim Director, Office of the Registrar
  • Toni Abts


Continuous registration

Registration for every fall and spring semester; required to maintain active student status.

Graduate students

Students enrolled in post-baccalaureate degree programs, with the exception of "first professional" degrees, which are the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., D.V.M., D.D.S, and L.L.M., and the M.B.A. (Twin Cities).

Active status

Graduate students who register every fall and every spring (i.e., continuously registered) are considered active.

Inactive status

Graduate students who do not register every fall and spring and who have not been granted a formal leave of absence by their college will be placed on inactive status.

Leave of absence

Refers to a process by which students obtain college approval to leave the University and cease their academic studies for a specified period of time (i.e., not register for fall/spring term[s]), but for no longer than two academic years.


Individuals matriculate upon their first registration as an admitted graduate student at the University.


The process required for returning to the University after an approved leave of absence.


The process of reapplication to the University for admission. Readmission to the graduate program is required following a break in enrollment without a college-approved leave of absence, as well as after failure to return by the term immediately following a college-approved leave of absence (excluding summer).



  • Establish and publicize the University’s leave of absence policy and ensure that students are informed throughout their academic careers of the policy and consequences of inactive status.
  • Publicize any additional, college-specific rules governing leaves of absence, and ensure that students are informed of these rules throughout their academic careers.
  • Inform students of potential conditions that may be imposed upon reinstatement at the end of an approved leave of absence.
  • Assist students who are pursuing degrees in multiple colleges to connect with each college to ensure coordinated leave of absence requests.
  • Assist students at the end of an approved leave of absence with their reinstatement.
  • Enter the necessary information into PeopleSoft related to effect start - and return - leave of absence dates for each degree being pursued by the student.
  • Communicate approved leaves of absence to Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) to ensure accuracy of time-to-degree information.
  • Discontinue students from the degree(s) they are pursuing when they do not request reinstatement prior to the approved term/year, or if upon reinstatement, fail to register for the approved term/year.

Graduate student

  • Talk with their advisor and director of graduate studies for each degree they are pursuing, and other relevant offices (e.g., International Student and Scholar Services, Office of Student Finance, Graduate Assistant Employment), as applicable.
  • Submit the Leave of Absence Form for Graduate Students when planning a leave of absence.
  • Submit the Application for Reinstatement for Graduate Students prior to intended term of return. 
  • Submit Leave of Absence and Reinstatement forms with each college in which a degree is being pursued.



January 2022 - Comprehensive Review, Minor revisions. 

  1. Minor changes in definitions and responsibilities to improve clarity.


August 2011 - New Policy, Comprehensive Review: Establishes a formal leave of absence for graduate students who need to interrupt their enrollment for reasons they cannot control such as illness, family emergencies, etc. This policy parallels a similar policy already in effect for undergraduate students. Allows students to return to the University under the rules and policies in effect when they left. Aligns with best practice at peer institutions.