Academic Leave

Considering an Academic Leave?

You may want to take time away from UBC during your degree.  Depending on how long you want to be away and your academic standing, there are a few options. Undergraduate students may take an Academic Leave (time away from UBC studies) for up to one full year (12 months). Taking an Academic Leave may impact your financial assistance or awards, and there may be special considerations if you are an International Student.

Information about Academic Leaves can be found in the Academic Calendar and details about what to do if you need a break from your studies are on the Student Services website.

One term away (September-December, January-April)

Taking a single term off of classes is not considered an Academic Leave. Students in good standing wishing to take a term away from UBC should either not register in courses in the term they plan to take off, or drop courses in that term before the drop deadline. Students will automatically be eligible to take courses the following year as long as they take courses in at least one term per Winter session and remain in good academic standing. 

You do not need to notify EAS if you plan to take a term off, but are encouraged to talk to an EAS academic advisor (Year 1 students) or your program advisor (Upper Year students) if you have questions about how taking a term off will affect course planning and graduation timeline.

Considerations:

  • Your overall average for the Winter Session is what determines your academic standing, regardless of how many credits you take or how many terms you are registered.  If you take one term of the Winter session off, your average for the Winter session will be determined by the courses you take in a single term. This means if you only take Term 1 courses and do not take courses in Term 2, your average will be solely based on your Term 1 grades.    You will need to ensure that you are in good academic standing before taking time away so that you can return to UBC.
  • Academic probation – Taking a term away from UBC while on Academic Probation will result in a Failed Year.  If you are on Academic Probation and considering taking a term away, we suggest meeting with an academic advisor in EAS to discuss your options and to determine if you may have grounds to submit an appeal of your Failed Year.
  • Students with student loans or scholarships are advised to consult with Enrolment Services prior to taking a leave, as there may be financial implications.
  • International students are advised to consult International Student Advising prior to taking a leave, as there may be study permit, immigration, or Post Graduation Work Permit implications. Please refer to this page for more information about international students and academic gaps.
  • If you have withdrawn (with a “W” standing) from all of your courses in a Winter Session, you will not automatically be eligible to return.  If you have you are in this situation, please contact EAS.

Full winter session away (September-April)

Students in good standing are permitted to take an Academic Leave of up to one full Winter session away during their degree.  If you plan to take an Academic Leave, you do not need to notify UBC, you just simply do not register for Winter Session courses.

While you are not required to contact EAS about taking an Academic Leave, you may want to talk to an EAS academic advisor (Year 1 students) or your program advisor (Upper Year students) about how taking leave will affect course planning and graduation timeline.

Considerations:

  • Students with student loans or scholarships are advised to consult with Enrolment Services prior to taking a leave, as there may be financial implications.
  • International students are advised to consult International Student Advising prior to taking a leave, as there may be study permit, immigration, or Post Graduation Work Permit implications. Please refer to this page for more information about international students and academic gaps.
  • Students who want to request to study at another institution while on leave are required to obtain a Letter of Permission in advance. If a Letter of Permission is not obtained, any credits taken outside UBC will not be considered for transfer credit.
  • Students who are unable to attend UBC after being placed in a 2nd year Engineering program need to book an appointment to talk to an EAS advisor. Typically, students are unable to hold their seat in the program they have been placed in and must submit a second-year placement form again once they return for the next Winter session. There are some cases where we will hold your second-year placement seat, such as mandatory military service. Please book an appointment with an EAS advisor to discuss your situation.
  • Students taking an Academic Leave while on Academic Probation will return to studies with the same credit limits in place, and are expected to clear the terms of probation upon their return to studies
  • If you have withdrawn (with a “W” standing) from all of your courses in a Winter Session, you will not automatically be eligible to return.  If you have you are in this situation, please contact EAS.

Multiple year leave (Military service, conflicting responsibilities, personal or financial reasons)

Students in good standing are permitted to take an Academic Leave of up to one full Winter session away during their degree. If a leave extends longer than one Winter session, students will be required to apply for readmission to their program before they can gain eligibility to register for courses. Students seeking readmission will need to apply by January 15th of the year they wish to return to studies.

Example: Students seeking to return to studies for September 2024 Winter session will need to apply by January 15th, 2024 to gain registration eligibility.

Considerations:

  • If you left your program in good academic standing, you will be readmitted.
  • Students with student loans or scholarships are advised to consult with Enrolment Services prior to taking a leave, as there may be financial implications.
  • International students are advised to consult International Student Advising prior to taking a leave, as there may be study permit, immigration, or Post Graduation Work Permit implications. Please refer to this page for more information about international students and academic gaps.
  • Students who want to request  to study at another institution while on leave are required to obtain a Letter of Permission in advance. If a Letter of Permission is not obtained, any credits taken outside UBC will not be considered for transfer credit.
  • Students who are unable to attend UBC after being placed in a 2nd year Engineering program need to book an appointment to talk to an EAS advisor. Typically, students are unable to hold their seat in the program they have been placed in and must submit a second-year placement form again once they return for the next Winter session. There are some cases where we will hold your second-year placement seat, such as mandatory military service. Please book an appointment with an EAS advisor to discuss your situation.
  • Students taking a multi-year leave while on Academic Probation will return to studies with the same credit limits in place, and are expected to clear the terms of probation upon their return to studies.  Readmission is not guaranteed.

Summer term away

Taking the Summer Session away from UBC is not considered an Academic Leave. Students taking 8-month leaves consisting of one Winter Session term and Summer Session (January-August or May-December) are also not considered to be on Academic Leave. Refer to the One term away section above for these cases.

Returning from a Leave

The path to return to your studies varies based on the length of your absence, and if you have attended school elsewhere. Visit the Student Services website to learn more.

Questions

If you have any questions or concerns about academic leave, terms away, or eligibility, please contact EAS .