Research program leave

Program leave of absence

Full-time higher degree research (HDR) students are expected to work on their thesis for 48 weeks per year. Students may apply for the following types of leave where circumstances prevent them continuing with their research studies:

  • personal leave
  • medical leave
  • maternity leave

Please note the medical certificates must be original or certified copies and the dates on the certificates must coincide with the leave request period. International students must check their visa conditions.

Only leave periods in excess of one week (for full-time students) or two weeks (for part-time students) can be processed. These periods of leave will alter the expected maximum thesis submission date.

While students are on leave, access to ANU email and ISIS and other systems is retained.

Recreation (annual) leave

In addition to research program leave of absence, candidates may take up to four weeks of recreation leave each 12 months (plus public holidays), pro rata for part-time students. Recreation leave should be arranged through students' academic area, in consultation with their supervisors.

Students are not required to submit an application for recreation leave through Central Administration; however ANU College procedures may require the completion of a recreation leave form. Recreation leave taken will not alter the expected thesis submission date. This leave is not covered by the University's insurance policy.

Other absences

HDR students may be absent from the ANU campus for other reasons which do not change the duration of their candidature or the expected thesis submission date due to:

  • undertaking fieldwork
  • conference attendance

These absences are considered part of your candidature and you remain enrolled during the absence.  Your College should record details of your approved absences in the Student Administration System.  There are specific responsibilities around fieldwork and you must be familiar with the policies and the training requirements. You should also check the insurance cover applicable to HDR students. Further information on these absences is available at the Fieldwork and Conference attendance sections.

Program leave while on extension of program

If program leave for personal reasons is approved while you are on extension of program, that period of leave will not extend your end date.

Because requests for extension of program must be based on academic reasons beyond your control or unusual personal circumstances, program leave cannot be cited as a reason for needing a further extension. However, if it is necessary to take program leave for medical reasons (relating to you directly) and a supporting acceptable medical certificate is provided, then this period of time may be added to your revised program end date.

Step 1
Supervisor approval

Students must discuss leave with their supervisor prior to applying and are strongly encouraged to apply for leave well in advance of the start of the proposed period of absence to allow sufficient time to assess and process your application. If there are circumstances which mean you are not able to apply before taking leave (such as illness) then you should contact your supervisor and School/College administrator immediately to make interim arrangements.

Retrospective applications for leave may not be approved and can have serious consequences. 

Step 2
Review scholarship

Students who are in receipt of a scholarship should read their scholarship conditions of award before applying for program leave to check their entitlements.

Step 3
Submit application

Applications are completed using the Manage My Degree eForm, via ISIS


Step 4
International student procedures

Visa arrangements

International students should be aware that there are requirements which must be satisfied to be granted leave and that they will be expected to be outside of Australia during the leave.

Students should talk to the Department of Home Affairs (previously the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) about any visa implications of taking program leave for their particular situation.

If a student wishes to remain in Australia during their leave of absence they must provide evidence of exceptional circumstances to the Department of Home Affairs. The decision to allow a student to remain in Australia while on leave is the sole decision of the Department of Home Affairs. 

New eCoE

If a leave of absence changes the expected duration of the degree we will issue a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE).

Before returning to Australia to resume their studies, students must obtain a new eCoE and may need to apply for a new student visa. Student visa holders may need to renew their student visa before it expires if the duration of their degree is extended beyond the expiry date of their visa.

Step 5
Return from leave

Students returning from leave must apply using the eForm in ISIS. Students will need to navigate to the Degree Management tab and go to Manage My Degree - HDR.

Students will need to ensure they click the arrows to proceed past the information page until they arrive at the menu, here they will select "Return from Leave"

Your College HDR Administrator will be automatically advised once you submit this form.