Academics | Policies

Away Status, Leaves & Withdrawals

All policies concerning away status, leaves, withdrawals and interruptions of study are found in the General Announcements. If you are considering a leave, please review the section on leaves carefully. Abridged information is below.

Away Status

This designation is used for students that participate in a course of study hosted at another institution, such as a Rice-sanctioned Study Abroad program, or an approved Inter-Institutional agreement. Graduate students pursuing their studies outside of the Houston area must be registered and pay tuition but are not required to pay fees, with the exception of students in Humanities. Away status is considered being outside of the Houston area for more than 51% of a given semester.

XCHG 500 Course

Graduates who take courses for credit at other institutions in order to have the credit transferred back to Rice, will need to register in the XCHG 500 course for the same number of credits they will transfer.

If the “AWAY” Status criteria applies, their department will submit information to GPS to update student records. “AWAY” Status removes the required fee charges on the student account since student is not here to use the facilities or services.

Once the Registrar’s office receives the transcript from the other institution, they will record the transferred credits and drop the XCHG 500 credits.

If the graduate is receiving a stipend from Rice, they must still be registered in 9 or more credits during the fall or spring semesters in order to get paid. It is only 6 credits in the summer semester. If they cannot register for at least 9 or 6 credits in the XCHG 500 course, student must discuss with their department or their advisor on which other courses to enroll in to meet the 9 or 6 credit minimum.

Leaves or Withdrawals

There are two types of interruptions in study: short-term releases and separations. Both releases and separations may be either voluntary or involuntary. Separations are periods of non-enrollment and can require specific reinstatement or readmission processes.



Sample Situations

Short-term medical and parental release

Up to six weeks

Birth or adoption of a child for both parents, if Rice students; medical or psychological condition that cannot be addressed while the student is actively a student. Students are expected to complete that semester's coursework. If they are doing research, their pay continues and they stay enrolled, but are not expected to work during the period of the release.

Voluntary Separation: Leave of Absence

Generally one or two semesters in length; must be requested prior to the beginning of a semester

A voluntary leave of absence for a student to take time off from study (without pay) without being required to petition for readmission.

Voluntary Separation: Withdrawal
(medical and

Student is no longer classified as a student at Rice

Student no longer intends to continue graduate studies at Rice or intends to return but must leave Rice during a semester.

Involuntary Separations


Student is required by Rice to leave the University either temporarily or permanently.

Short-Term Medical and Parental Release

If a graduate student cannot fulfill the duties of his or her appointment due to a medical emergency or the adoption or birth of a child, the student may be temporarily released from their academic responsibilities. Parental Leave is available to both students if both are Rice students.

Enrollment and stipend support may be continued for up to six weeks or until the appointment expires (whichever occurs first). A student may apply for short-term medical (STMR) or parental (STPR) release at any time during the semester. If the student, after giving birth is unable to return after six weeks of parental leave, the student in good standing may take an additional six-week short-term medical leave with the support of the Director of Graduate Studies. The combined releases could be up to 12 weeks. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requests that short-term parental release (STPR) requests be submitted four weeks prior to the expected start date. Students taking a voluntary short-term release should make arrangements with their advisor and instructors to complete their academic responsibilities in a timely way.

The university may also insist on a student’s short-term medical release if, in the judgment of the dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies, or her/his designee, the student has a serious medical or psychological condition that the student cannot effectively address while enrolled or which is likely to be severely exacerbated by the Rice academic and/or living environment.

Students may not do degree work or work involving Rice faculty or facilities while on short-term medical release. Students returning from a short-term medical release will be required to provide documentation that they are able to return to their studies.

A short-term medical and parental release form may be found here.

Other Types of Leave

Information on voluntary separations, leaves of absence, medical and non-medical withdrawal and resignation, involuntary separations, readmission and non-enrollment restrictions can be found in the General Announcements.

Forms & Resources

Short-term medical and parental release form

Leave of absence request form

Withdrawal Form

Medical Withdrawal/Leave Checklist

Medical Readmission petition requirements