Continuous Registration and Leave of Absence

I. Executive Summary

Graduate students who are in the research phase of their thesis, dissertation, project, or directed study must be continuously enrolled during the Fall and Spring semesters. All graduate students must be enrolled during the semester they plan to graduate, which may include the summer semester. To remain continuously enrolled, graduate students may register for any graduate credit-bearing or, when appropriate, residency course. Graduate students who need to interrupt their studies for up to two consecutive semesters, must seek approval for a Leave of Absence through the Graduate Academic Petition system. Students experiencing a medical emergency or other crisis should contact the Student Assistant and Support Services (SASS) office.

II. Policy Statement

Continuous Registration

Students in graduate degree programs are required to maintain continuous registration each Fall and Spring semester, excluding Summer terms, for thesis, dissertation, project, or directed study until work is completed. The continuous registration requirement begins with the semester in which the student first registers for thesis, dissertation, project, or directed study. Students working in research laboratories must be granted access in compliance with departmental policy.

Leave of Absence

Degree-seeking graduate students who are in good standing may request a leave of absence for up to two consecutive Fall and/or Spring semesters with the condition that they will not use University resources during their absence. Graduate students choosing this option must submit a Graduate Academic Petition for a leave of absence. Graduate students who have taken an approved leave of absence for two consecutive semesters must contact the Graduate School to have their enrollment reactivated prior to the end of the second semester. A leave of absence may impact financial aid, funding, immigration status, and health and wellness services. Graduate students considering these options should first consult with their academic advisor and any other relevant office (i.e., ISSO) to understand the possible ramifications of taking a leave. Graduate students with questions about the leave of absence option are encouraged to contact The Graduate School.

III. Definitions

  • Continuous Registration – Enrollment in coursework or research credit during all consecutive semesters until graduation.
  • Leave of Absence – Graduate students only may seek a leave from their studies for up to 12 months. During this time, they may not use any University resources.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: TBD
  • Revised: April 28, 2022 [updated Continuous Registration and Leave of Absence text]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this policy referenced?
    The policy is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website and in the Degree Requirements & Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog.
  • Which students are covered under this policy?
    This policy applies to all graduate students at UNC Charlotte.
  • How long can I remain on a leave of absence?
    A leave of absence may not extend beyond one year. After one year, your matriculation is closed and you must reapply for admission.
  • Am I allowed to use University resources while on an approved leave of absence?
    Students taking a leave of absence may not use University resources during that time period.