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 your Department Assistant for review and submission to the Graduate Division.

Leaves of Absence will be granted for sound educational purposes, 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. 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: graduates on leave who are working with a faculty member for research may ask the faculty member to sponsor them with a proxy card. Proxy cards are attached to the faculty member's library account, and they will ultimately be responsible for any materials checked out on that card. The graduate student may use it to borrow books, and have full access to the the library's catalogs and databases remotely.

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 Graduate Division.

The maximum term for an approved Leave of Absence is three academic quarters. Students on leave are required to report their plans to the Graduate Division at least once a year.

A request to renew a Leave of Absence must be submitted in advance to the Graduate Dean; substantial justifications and department approval will be required to obtain renewal.


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 filed in the Graduate Division (including the readmission fee and all needed approvals) at least four weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter in which you plan to re-enroll.

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


  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 Masters 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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 is 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 his/her 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, his/her 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.


If you wish to withdraw from the University during the quarter, fill out the Graduate Student Petition for Withdrawal form (available by request from the Graduate Division). If you wish to return to the university after no more than three quarters absence, you must also fill out the Leave of Absence form available from the Graduate Division web page. Obtain clearance signatures from all the designated offices and return both forms to the Graduate Division along with your student ID card 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 your Leave of Absence and Withdrawal petitions are approved, your courses in progress will be removed from your official record. If you fail to file the Withdrawal petition and cease to attend classes or complete coursework, an Unsatisfactory will be recorded on your official academic record for each course not completed.

If you withdraw during a quarter, you 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 your student account compared to the allowable expenses for the number of days you attended during the term of withdrawal. Ask to speak with an Office of Financial Aid staff member (who must sign your withdrawal petition) to obtain more information.

You may have to repay a portion of the financial aid you have already received if you withdraw from UCSC during the quarter. You must end your student employment immediately upon withdrawal.

You may have to repay a portion of your federal loan to your lender immediately if you withdraw at any time during the quarter. The Financial Aid Office will notify you and your lender of that portion of your federal loan that must be repaid immediately. If you are a federal loan recipient, any fee refund owed to you will be sent directly to your lender for repayment of a portion of your loan. Your six-month grace period for a federal loan begins the first month after your withdrawal from higher education. If you have accepted a loan, you must also attend an exit interview before leaving the university. Contact Student Business Services, to schedule an exit interview.

Involuntary Withdrawal

Your 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.