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Leave Policy

Graduate students must be continuously enrolled in full-time status, making satisfactory academic progress, and in residence at the Institute during their graduate studies unless they request and receive permission from the Office of Graduate Studies for either Leave or Detached Duty. This includes the summer term.

If a student fails to register for a full-time load of classes (36 units) by add day, they will be notified by the Registrar that they will be placed in Separated status and will be ineligible to be paid or use Institute facilities. Their key card will be inactivated and a hold placed on their paycheck or direct deposit.

To avoid being placed in Inactive student status, the student must petition the Graduate Studies Office and resolve his or her status prior to the end date specified on the paperwork.

Leave of Absence from Graduate Study

If the student needs to take a leave (sabbatical) from the Institute, he or she must petition through the Graduate Studies Office.

Leaves are given for a fixed duration up to one year. Leave may be extended only with the concurrence of the Adviser, Option Representative, and the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The student must make arrangements prior to going on leave for his or her conditions of return. This is not automatic and return from leave is conditional upon the Option and the Adviser's willingness to accept the student for continuing study, and is also subject to the availability of funding.

If the student does not return from leave by the end date or obtain an extension in a timely manner, then the student will be separated from the Institute. 

There are two types of leave:

Involuntary Leave/Non-medical Sabbatical

Students on non-medical leaves (sabbatical) are not eligible for Caltech health care benefits, stipends, or salaries.  Please refer to the conditions for students on Involuntary Leave or Non-Medical Leave from the Institute. 

Medical Leave

A medical leave is intended for students to take time away from the Institute for up to one year to focus on their recovery from various health conditions and be able to resume graduate studies once the health issues have been addressed.  Extensions beyond one year may be granted in exceptional circumstances and should follow the same procedures. In order to be placed on leave, the student must petition for a medical leave, and get the recommendation of the Caltech Health and Counseling Center, Option Representative, Adviser, and the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students on medical leave are eligible for Caltech health care benefits for up to one year, but are not eligible for a stipend, unless the leave falls under the Pregnancy Leave policy.

Students qualifying for leave will receive a letter setting out the purpose of the leave, any specific conditions that they must fulfill to be on leave, and the procedure for returning from leave. Conditions that must be met after the return from leave may also be specified.

Students who need to apply for an extension of their leave beyond the terms of the original leave and/or who are requesting special access to campus resources or facilities should complete the petition for Medical Leave Extensions/Exceptions.

If a student is studying or carrying out research or an educational internship at another institution, then they must apply for "Detached Duty" and get the approval of their Adviser and Option Representative.

Detached Duty

Students on detached duty must register for full-time study, and may receive a stipend or salary. The student's funding must be arranged with the Adviser and funding agency. Students on detached duty are eligible for Caltech health care benefits.

Detached duty is allowed for a fixed duration up to a year at a time and renewable with the concurrence of the Adviser, Option Representative, and the permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies.  Students must petition the Office of Graduate Studies, agree to the conditions for detached duty,  and submit documentation in order to be eligible for detached duty.  

Returning from Leave or Detached Duty

All students returning from leave must notify the Graduate Studies Office, the Registrar and their Option Administrator.   In addition,  in order to return from medical leave, the student will be required to obtain clearance from the Health and Counseling Center and the concurrence of the Adviser and the Option.  Students considering returning from medical leave should start the process well in advance of the expected return date.

Permission to return from leave is at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies.