X. Graduate Student Petitions

Leave of Absence

All students are encouraged to maintain continuous registration so as to make steady progress toward the degree. A student wishing to apply for a Leave of Absence (to take effect at the beginning of the next academic quarter) must complete the Request of Leave of Absence application form, available from the Graduate Division. The signatures of the student's graduate advisor and the chairperson of the student's department are required. The approved form should be submitted to the student's Staff Graduate Representative for review and submission to the Graduate Division.

If a student is enrolled and wishes to take a leave of absence during the quarter, they may be required to fill out the Graduate Student Petition for Withdrawal form (available by request from the Graduate Division). If a student withdraws during a quarter, they may be eligible to receive a partial reversal of fees depending on the number of days lapsed in the quarter.

Leaves of Absence will be granted for health reasons, financial problems, and family responsibilities. Other reasons will require extra justification.

Only students in good standing are eligible for an approved Leave of Absence. (For a description of “good standing” see Section IX.) A student on Academic Probation must ordinarily repair all deficiencies in order to qualify for a leave.

While on a Leave of Absence, students may be restricted from use of some University facilities. With regards to library access: students with an active CruzID Gold account will have remote access to the library's electronic resources. Students will have the ability to check out physical materials from the library until their library accounts expire. After their accounts expire, students are welcome to use materials while inside the library. For questions about CruzID accounts, please contact Information Technology Services (its.ucsc.edu).

All financial aid (including Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Student Researcherships, and fellowships) terminates when a student is on a Leave of Absence. If a student accepts any University employment, staff or academic, while on a Leave of Absence, it must be reported to the Graduate Division.

A student who fails to enroll promptly following expiration of an approved leave of absence will be discontinued. Leaves of absence are usually granted for no more than three academic quarters, and all requests to extend or renew a leave require substantial justification. These requests are subject to approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students on leave may be asked to report their plans to the Graduate Division at least once a year.


Students who have a break in registration must submit the Graduate Studies Request for Readmission Application available from the Graduate Division web page to return to registered status. A Statement of Legal Residence form must also be completed and sent to the Office of the Registrar. The form should be approved by the department and submitted by the Staff Graduate Representative at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter requested for readmission. If the application is approved by the Department and the Graduate Division, a readmission fee will be billed to the student’s account.

Departments are asked to think carefully about a decision to readmit a student. A department may have good reasons for not readmitting a student. For example, if the student was having trouble meeting academic requirements, or the department’s resources to support the student’s area of interest have diminished over time, or faculty with whom the student previously worked have left UCSC. These factors should be taken into account before readmission is approved.

Students seeking to readmit who have exceeded one or more of the time-to-degree requirements must formulate a plan and detailed timetable for completion of the relevant degree requirement. This includes students who have yet to advance to candidacy and/or complete the master’s degree within the three years allowed, or who have not completed the doctorate within the seven years allowed. In some cases, students who have been unregistered for a long period of time may be required to sit for doctoral qualifying examinations following reinstatement to prove currency in the field.

Transfer Between Graduate Programs

(These guidelines also apply to students transferring to UCSC from other institutions.)


  1. The Graduate Division must approve all transfers between graduate programs. Documented consultation between the student’s present program and the potential program is required.

  2. Program transfers should take place early in a student’s graduate career or at degree transition points (e.g. completion of master's requirements) to minimize additional time to degree and support costs.

  3. Program transfers will become effective at the end of the academic year. The annual deadline for graduate program transfer requests will be the last day of the Winter quarter to allow the change to be incorporated in departmental planning for financial support, TA appointments, etc. Transfers requested for initiation within a single academic year or beyond the end of Winter quarter deadline will be granted only by exception and will be subject to more stringent conditions for approval.

  4. Program transfers requested during readmission require an exception request such that the transfer becomes effective at the time of readmission.
  5. Program transfers are not to be used as a back door for admission to another program; students who have previously been denied admission to another program may have difficulty securing approval for a program transfer. 
  6. Previous academic performance should be explicitly reviewed before accepting a transfer from another program. Transfers are not an appropriate way of addressing a student’s poor academic performance in graduate study.

  7. Any student transferring to a different PhD program must officially advance to candidacy in the new doctoral degree-granting program prior to beginning dissertation work. The transfer program’s Qualifying Exam and other requirements must be passed, per its regular procedure and standards. No student may proceed directly from qualification in one program to dissertation-writing and degree completion in another.

  8. On-going commitments of support (e.g. multi-year offers at admissions, Cota-Robles) are binding only in connection with the admitting degree program and are abrogated by a student’s transfer to another degree program. The receiving program and Graduate Division have the option to continue these commitments, but are not required to; any support commitments should be negotiated and agreed upon prior to the student’s transfer.


  1. Following informal exploration of the possibility of transfer, and prior to any formal commitment made by either program, the student must initiate a transfer request (submit transfer request form) with their home department.

  2. Upon receiving the request form from the student, the graduate director of the home department (or department chair) will contact the graduate director (or chair) of the potential transfer department, to conduct a consultation about the transfer.

  3. The consultation should address the student’s motivations for transfer, their academic performance in the present program, support considerations, alternative arrangements that might be explored with the student (e.g. inclusion of faculty on committees without transfer, substitution of course requirements, designated emphasis, etc.), support commitments by the receiving department and (where relevant) Graduate Division following program transfer, and any other relevant information pertaining to the student’s request.

  4. On the basis of the consultation, if both programs agree to the transfer and its related terms, the home program will note on the form any special conditions or considerations agreed upon in the consultation. The student, agreeing to the noted conditions, will sign the form, as will the home and transfer program. The form will be forwarded to the graduate division for signature by the VPDGS and the execution of the transfer at the agreed-upon point.


Students that wish to withdraw from the University for less than three quarters should use the above process for Leave of Absence. 

Enrolled students that plan to leave the University permanently should fill out the Graduate Student Petition for Withdrawal form (available by request from the Graduate Division).  Students must obtain clearance signatures from all the designated offices and return the relevant forms to their Staff Graduate Representative who will submit them to the Graduate Division by the date specified in the Academic & Administrative calendar (with the exception of Withdrawals for medical or emergency reasons, which can be requested at any time during the quarter). If the Leave of Absence and Withdrawal petitions are approved, the courses in progress will be removed from the student’s official record. If a student fails to file the Withdrawal petition and ceases to attend classes or complete coursework, an Unsatisfactory will be recorded on their official academic record for each course not completed.

If a student withdraws during a quarter, they may be eligible to receive a partial reversal of fees depending on the number of days lapsed in the quarter. Financial aid awards are adjusted based on the actual amount of aid that was disbursed into a student’s account compared to the allowable expenses for the number of days the student attended during the term of withdrawal. Students are encouraged to speak with a Office of Financial Aid staff member (who must sign the withdrawal petition) to obtain more information.

Students will have to repay the financial aid they have already received if they withdraw from UCSC during the quarter. They must end their student employment immediately upon withdrawal.

Students may have to repay a portion of their federal loan to their lender immediately if they withdraw at any time during the quarter. The Financial Aid Office will notify students and their lender of that portion of their federal loan that must be repaid immediately. If a student is a federal loan recipient, any fee refund owed to them will be sent directly to their lender for repayment of a portion of their loan. The six-month grace period for a federal loan begins the first month after a student withdraws from higher education. If a student has accepted a loan, they must also attend an exit interview before leaving the university. Students should contact Student Business Services to schedule an exit interview.

Involuntary Withdrawal

A student's registration and enrollment may be withdrawn by the campus administration at any time for the following reasons:

* disqualification.

* failure to respond to official University notices.

* failure to settle financial obligations.

* failure to pay registration fees or enroll in classes.