Can I take time off while in dissertation?

by | April 29, 2012

Podcast Description: There are times when you may need to take a quarter off from your program. This podcast describes a variety of options for taking time off.

Transcript: The following presentation is a production of Capella University and is not intended for commercial use.

Welcome to another topic in a series of podcasts regarding aspects of the comprehensive exam and dissertation process.

Capella realizes the path through a degree program is not always a smooth one, and there are times when a learner cannot be enrolled. To accommodate this need, there are options for a leave of absence or a request for time off. This podcast shares information on different types of leaves, their respective processes, and implications of taking time off while in dissertation.

There are four time-off options: quarter of inactivity, medical leave, military leave, and withdrawal. Please be aware of the criteria for each time-off category as it may have an impact on your academic standing.

A quarter of inactivity is just that, a quarter without enrollment. During this time period, you will not have mentoring support. Make sure that you contact your advisor to be registered for a quarter of inactivity, so your milestone deadlines can be adjusted.

To be eligible for a medical leave of absence, you must be enrolled the quarter prior to the requested leave, and the start and end dates of the approved leave must coincide with the start and end of the quarter. A medical leave of absence cannot be granted retroactively.

Documentation from a medical provider must be submitted with your request for a medical leave of absence. The medical documentation should include a statement from the doctor certifying the need for the specific period of leave. You may not request a leave of absence for more than 180 calendar days in any twelve month period.

A military leave of absence is reserved for learners who have been deployed or called to active duty. If you are unable to continue with your dissertation due to your mission requirements, you may have the option to request a military leave of absence. Learners with temporary assignments or duty in excess of 15 continuous days, with demonstrable evidence of an inability to access the courseroom, may also qualify. It is best that you contact the Armed Forces and Veterans Support department to discuss the process for obtaining a leave.

In some cases, withdrawing from the university is an option. If you return to your program within a year, you’ll return to the same degree requirements of the catalog in which you began your program. If your return is more than one year from the date of withdrawal, you’ll need to contact an enrollment counselor and reapply to your program. If there have been changes to your program, such as different or additional courses, you’ll need to complete the coursework before returning to dissertation.

Remember, if you’re planning to take time off, you need to contact your advisor for several reasons: (1) to discuss the impact on your program, and (2) so your record can be updated and your milestone deadlines adjusted. Failure to do this may result in a missed milestone deadline and may move you into poor academic standing and possible dismissal.

Finally, it is important to be aware of any financial aid implication to taking a leave. If you receive financial aid and are inactive for more than 180 calendar days, you may be required to begin repayment on your federal student loans. It’s in your best interest to contact the financial aid office to understand the ramifications of taking any type of leave of absence.

There is additional information on iGuide about the various time-off options. Consult this resource to be informed about making your decision to take time off.

Remember, you bring unique circumstances to your doctoral journey. Follow-up with your doctoral advisor for clarification and additional information about the dissertation process.

This presentation has been brought to you by Capella University and may not be re-transmitted or used for any commercial purpose without the expressed written consent of Capella University.

# # #

651 words