Taking a break from your courses

Find out what to do if you need to take a break from your studies.

Academic leave

In accordance to the Academic Calendar, students in ‘Good Standing’, for most programs, may take an Academic Leave (time away from UBC studies) of up to one full year or 12 months. Those who choose to take one year off will be automatically assigned an Eligibility to Return (ELTR) status on their account for the following academic year

Example: A student in 'Good Standing' after completing the 2017 Winter Session will automatically be eligible to register in the same program for the 2018 Summer, 2018 Winter, 2019 Summer and 2019 Winter Sessions).  

What are the consequences of NOT being in good standing?

Students who have been placed on Academic Probation may be restricted to register in a maximum number of credits in the following term. Please see each Faculty’s academic regulations or contact the Faculty Advising Office for more information.

Which programs require approval for Academic Leave?

Students in cohort-based or limited enrolment programs are required to seek permission for an Academic Leave prior to departing due to limited ability to accommodate leaves in such programs.

However, for all other programs, students are highly encouraged to notify their home Faculty to ensure they understand the implications and next steps/receive advising. Please contact your faculty or school prior to taking an academic leave.

Request academic leave

International students

If you're an international student, you have special considerations when taking time off. 

  1. Talk to an academic advisor (undergraduate students) or graduate program advisor (graduate students) to discuss your options for taking a break and returning to studies later.
  2. Talk to an International student advisor to discuss your eligibility to stay in or return to Canada during a break and after a break. Be prepared to share details about your immigration documents (e.g., issue and expiration date) and anticipated travel plans.

Implications on your study permit and ability to work

  • Immigration regulations concerning your study permit may impact your ability to stay in Canada during a break from your studies. In general, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires you to "enroll", remain enrolled until completion of your studies, and actively pursue studies if you want to remain in Canada on a study permit.
  • UBC is required to report to IRCC on your enrolment twice a year. See UBC's definitions for immigration purposes below.
  • you will not be eligible to work on campus  or off campus with a study permit during a break from your studies.
  • it may be difficult to extend your study permit from inside Canada during a break from your studies. In some cases, you may be required to apply for a new study permit from outside Canada. An International student advisor can help you understand your options.

Leaving the country

If you leave Canada during your break, request a letter from your academic advisor or graduate staff before re-entering Canada.

This letter should state that you are eligible to return to your program of studies at the end of your break. If you are asked by an immigration officer, present this letter along with any documentation of your break, if available (e.g., leave approval from G+PS, copies of plance tickets proving when you left Canada).

Returning from academic leave

You've been away for one year & did not attend school elsewhere

  1. Log onto your SSC < Select Program to Return

You've been away for one year & attended school elsewhere with a LOP (Letter of Permission)

  1. Log onto your SSC < Select Program to Return < Submit your official transcript to UBC for a review of any transfer credit you may be eligible for.

You've been away for one year & attended school elsewhere without a LOP (Letter of Permission)

Students who attended elsewhere without an LOP from their faculty will NOT receive transfer credit upon return to their original program

  1. Log onto your SSC < Select Program to Return

Do not apply for readmission: You are still considered a Returning student to your original program regardless of attending elsewhere

You've been away for one year < would like to return to a new program

  1. Log onto your SSC < Select Admission (from the top menu bar)
  2. Select Re-Admission (from the drop-down menu) < No, I would like to reapply to a different program