Graduate Studies Orientation

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Completing Your Graduate Program

Many graduate students choose to complete their graduate programs in a straightforward manner, enrolling full-time in each appropriate semester.  While there are many benefits to this approach, your life circumstances may necessitate taking a leave of absence from your program.  The following information will guide your decision-making process and allow your advisor and department to assist you in returning to your program and completing your degree.

Option #1: Take a Leave of Absence
A leave of absence is an appropriate, approved period of non-enrollment during your degree program.  Academic Leave will only be considered you have completed a minimum of one semester of graduate coursework.  You may apply for a one- or two-semester academic leave with the permission of your department using the Request for Academic Leave form (  If you do not obtain permission from your department, you will be deemed inactive at the end of one non-enrolled semester and will be required to apply for reinstatement with no guarantee that you will be accepted back into your program.  If approved for an academic leave, you will not be required to apply for reinstatement.

Option #2: Withdraw from Your Program
If you have registered for coursework and discover that you need to take a leave of absence from your program before the end of the semester, you must officially withdraw from your program using the Graduate Student Withdrawal form (  You may withdraw for any reason up to a period of three weeks prior to the end of the semester. You will be permitted to withdraw during the final three weeks of the semester only due to illness or other appropriate reasons as determined by the Office of Student Affairs. Failure to follow the required procedure may prejudice the right to an honorable dismissal and jeopardize any refunds. If you are enrolled in any federal veterans' benefits programs, you must also notify the Veterans Affairs Office (Nixon Hall) of your withdrawal.  You may be eligible for certain refunds. For more information, please contact the Student Accounts office at (716) 673-3236.


  • Returning to Graduate Studies

    Depending on which option you choose to take a leave of absence from your graduate program determines the steps you must take to return to your graduate program.

Option #1: Return from Academic Leave
No reinstatement paperwork required.  You should contact your advisor prior to your return semester to discuss your academic progress.

Option #2: Request Reinstatement
If you do not maintain continuous enrollment status and have not been granted approval to take an academic leave, you will be considered inactive at the end of one non-enrolled semester and must apply for reinstatement to your degree program.  Reinstatement applications are available at the following web address:


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Page modified 5/7/15