Applying for Leave of Absence

Various reasons may prevent you from carrying out research during your candidature and you are entitled to take leave as necessary. Students are entitled to a maximum of 1 year (consecutive leave) and a total maximum of 2 years leave of absence. All milestone dates, including progress reviews and expected work submission date, will be adjusted accordingly to the leave duration.

Leave duration of less than 2 weeks will not be approved and students are recommended to take recreation leave instead.

Applying for leave of absence must be done via my.unimelb. A guide to variations to candidature can be found here.

Leave of absence will generally not be approved during the following phases of candidature:

First 6 months of candidature

Leave of absence will only be approved in exceptional circumstances or for compassionate reasons.

Last month of candidature

Leave of absence will only be approved in exception circumstances or for compassionate reasons. Students should apply for an extension to candidature via Attachment A together with the leave request.

Retrospective leave

Leave of absence must be applied for in advance. Only under exceptional circumstances will we accept retrospective leave requests that are accompanied with appropriate supporting documentation. Retrospective leave application must be submitted within 2 weeks of the date returned to study; requests past the return date will not be accepted.

Current enrolment in coursework subjects

Students are not able to take leave while enrolled in coursework subjects. Leave is an approved period of time during which students are not enrolled in any subjects. If leave is required, students will be withdrawn from any enrolled coursework subjects.

Withdrawal after the census dates, but before the final withdrawal dates will result in a ‘withdrawn’ grade notation on the enrolment record and fee paying students will remain liable for the subject fees.

Withdrawal after the final withdrawal dates will result in a ‘fail’ being recorded on the enrolment record.

Note: leave of absence is a period of approved non-enrolment, students should not be enrolled in any coursework subjects and undertaking any research work.

For all students requesting for leave beyond the maximum 1 year are required to provide supporting documentation for further approval.

International Students on Student Visas

Due to the nature of the student visa conditions, all international students are expected to remain fully enrolled for the entire duration of their candidature: 18 months (MPhil) and 3 years (PhD).

In most circumstances, if students are required to take leave, it should be applied under compelling/compassionate reasons and leave requests must be accompanied by the following documentation:

  1. A copy of passport and visa
  2. Supporting documentation
  3. Leave of Absence declaration form

Should students apply for leave without the documentation mentioned above and do not have substantive compassionate/compelling reasons, it is highly likely that the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) will be cancelled and subsequently the student visa.

For more information, visit:

International Students: Student Support

Recreation Leave

All students, including international students, are entitled to take up to 4 weeks recreation leave per study year (12 months) in agreement with their supervisors and department. Milestone dates will remain unchanged and scholarships will not cease.

Returning From Leave

All students returning from leave must submit a ‘return from leave’ form via my.unimelb within 10 days of their return date to recommence both enrolment and scholarship.

Failure to do so may result in the suspension of candidature.

Further information

For more information regarding leave, visit:

Graduate Research Hub: Taking leave

Or contact the Graduate Research Team:

email .