Leave of Absence

Understanding Leave of Absence

Sometimes students need to take time away from the academic studies. There are certain life events that make it difficult to continue to make progress with research and in the program at IMS. A leave allows students to take time away from their studies while maintaining a spot in the program. A leave pauses a students progress towards completing degree requirements.

Students may apply for leave of absence for up to 3 sessions in total. While on leave, students do not register or pay fees to the University and do not have access to university facilities. Students considering a leave of absence should make special arrangements regarding consultation with their supervisor, program committee, and other pertinent faculty members. The terminal date of the degree program will be extended by the duration of the leave taken. The start and finish of the leave coincides with the beginning and end of a term.

Students on any leave of absence are not eligible to receive any University of Toronto Fellowship support during their absence; however, they may defer their fellowship until they return from leave. In the case of other fellowships, the regulations of the particular granting agency will apply.


Students may apply to SGS through IMS for up to three 4 months leaves during their graduate program on the grounds of health problems or personal circumstances that temporarily make it impossible to study. A “Request for Leave of Absence” form must be completed. Students requesting a leave for serious financial reasons will first be required to apply to the SGS for a bursary. RHSE also offers a Leave of Absence Stipendiary Fundof up to $5000 per student for one term on a one-time only basis.

Parental Leave

Graduate students may apply to SGS through IMS for a parental leave, and a “Request for Leave of Absence” form must be completed. This policy is intended to recognize the need for leave at the time of pregnancy, birth or adoption, and to permit a pause in studies in order to provide full time care in the first year of parenting a new child. Either parent may request up to 3 terms of leave for each child, which must be completed within 12 months of the date of birth or adoption. Where both parents are graduate students seeking parental leave for the same child, the total number of terms may not exceed 4. There can be as many parental leaves as there are new children. The SGS offers a Parental Grant of up to $5833 per session during the approved parental leave of up to two sessions (8 months).

Please note that the SGS Parental Grant is only available to PhD students. Master's students taking a parental leave of absence are encouraged to apply for the OVDRHSE  Leave of Absence Stipendiary Fund.

How to Apply

To apply for a leave of absence, students will need to complete a leave of absence form, which can be found on the SGS Website.Once completed, forms should be submitted to students respective Graduate Programs Assistant. 

Further information on leave of absences can be found on the SGS Website.

The IMS follows the SGS Leave of Absence Policy.

Personal Time Off

SGS created a Personal Time Off Policy that enables graduate students to take personal time off each academic year. Under this policy, a graduate student can take up to 15 days off annually during an academic year (September to August) to support their wellbeing, mental and physical health.

For students in a research-stream program, the timing of personal time off can be flexible, as long as it does not interfere with their coursework or their grant/scholarship application deadlines.

Students can visit SGS's Understanding Personal Time Off page to learn more about the specific details of the policy.