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Leave of Absence

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Leave of Absence is a faculty-level procedure which allows a student to suspend their studies for an entire semester. That semester will not be counted as a semester of registration for purposes of re-admission assessment. Leave of Absence (LoA) is generally granted on medical grounds (including psychological) or compassionate grounds (e.g. the death or serious illness of a close family member), and documentation of the circumstances is required. 

Things to remember about LoA:

  1. It removes ALL courses for the WHOLE semester. If you need to be absent for a week or two during the semester, Leave of Absence is not the appropriate procedure; you will need to negotiate your shorter absence individually with your tutors/course convenors for each course. 
  2. You may ask for Leave of Absence for one semester, or for the whole year. 
  3. While Leave of Absence means (LoA) that the semester will not be counted for re-admission, this does not automatically mean that you will be re-admitted if you have passed too few courses overall; you must still meet a modified total calculated with the LoA semester removed. This means that if you have been granted LoA for one semester and have failed a significant number of courses in your other semester, you may still face exclusion. However, if LoA is granted, this means that you have good reason for absence, and you can present that evidence to the re-admission appeals committee in appealing against your exclusion.
  4. You are no longer considered an active student while you are on Leave of Absence: you may not stay in residence, and you will not have access to UCT student services such as UCT Student Wellness.

Application deadlines & rules:

  • University rules do not allow us to grant Leave of Absence retroactively. You cannot ask for LoA for a semester which is over, or almost over. 
  • The official ruling is that LoA may not be granted in the last quarter of a course. In a twelve-week semester, a quarter of the semester is three weeks. We count this as fifteen teaching days, counting backwards from whatever day is the official last day of lectures. 
  • We will consider appeals for retroactive granting of LoA only if you can demonstrate that you were absolutely incapacitated (i.e. hospitalised) between the submission deadline and the date of your application.
  • Please note that even if LoA is granted, you are still subject to fees office deadlines on course drops, although the LoA deadlines are slightly more generous than the usual deadlines (see Fees booklet). Courses during your LoA semester(s) will either be removed from your record or will show with an LOA code which does not count as a zero and will not prejudice your overall average. 

LoA application procedure:

The Leave of Absence application procedure is administered by the Faculty Manager's office. The point of contact for applications is Debby Chuter, who is the Deputy Faculty Manager in Humanities

  1. The application form for Leave of Absence can be downloaded from the right-hand sidebar, or you may collect a hard copy from the Humanities undergraduate reception desk.
  2. You will need to bring the form and a printout of your unofficial transcript to Dr Jessica Tiffin in Beattie Room 105.2; she will discuss with you the implications for your degree as a whole of a semester of LoA, and will write a brief curriculum report for the faculty manager before she signs off the form as curriculum advisor.
  3. You should then bring the signed form, your unofficial transcript and your supporting documentation (medical certificates, psychologist's letters, death certificates, etc) to Liz Werth in the Faculty Manager's office. 
  4. The Deputy Faculty Manager's office will let you know if your application has been successful, and will update your academic record accordingly.