What is a Leave of Absence?

Leave of Absence (LoA) is a procedure which allows a student to suspend their studies for an entire semester (or year). 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. 

For more information on LoA, please see rules G16.1-8 in the General Rules and Policies Handbook.

Grounds for a Leave of Absence

  • medical (including mental health)
  • compassionate (e.g. the death or serious illness of a close family member)
  • maternity leave
  • external study opportunity (other than a formal exchange arranged through IAPO)

Documentation of the circumstances is required in all applications.

Things to Remember about Leave of Absence

  • Effect of LoA on your Academic Record/Transcript

All courses for the semester for which results have not yet been entered will be removed from your record or will show with an LOA code (this outcome will not negatively affect your overall average).

  • Continuing your studies after a LoA

If leave of absence is granted, students will be notified by the Faculty Office on how to continue with their studies post-LoA. Evidence of recovery will need to be provided by the student to the Fit for Study Panel before returning, should the LoA be granted on medical grounds. 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.

  • Your access to UCT resources during a LoA

You are no longer considered an active student while you are on LoA: you may not stay in residence, and you will not have access to any UCT facilities (including but not limited to classes, the libraries or laboratories, ICTS services, or UCT Student Wellness). You will retain some access to online university resources (such as myUCT email access), so that you may communicate through official channels to rejoin the university.

  • Fee implications of  taking a LoA

If LoA is granted, you may be are entitled to full or partial fee reimbursements, depending on the courses you are enrolled for and when your LoA is granted. The deadlines and reimbursement percentages, as stipulated by the Fees Office, may be found in Section 2.7 of the Fees Handbook.

Application Deadlines & Submission

LoA’s cannot be granted retroactively. You cannot ask for LoA in the last quarter (15 teaching days) of the semester, or after the semester has concluded. The only exception to this in the event that you are incapacitated (i.e. hospitalised) between the submission deadline and the date of your application.

Reimbursement deadlines and percentages, as stipulated by the Fees Office, may be found in Section 2.7 of the Fees Handbook.

The Leave of Absence application procedure is administered by the Faculty Manager's office. The point of contact for applications is the Faculty Manager (fmhum@uct.ac.za).

  1. Complete an Undergraduate Leave of Absence Application (ACA37) form or Postgraduate Leave of Absence Application (ACA38) form.
  2. Assemble all other documentation relevant to your motivation (supporting documents such as medical certificates, psychologist's letters, death certificates, etc.) for a LoA. These documents need to be saved as a single PDF together with the application form (for assistance in creating a single PDF, please see pages 8-11 of the below guide).
  3. Submit your ACA37/ACA38 form and supporting documents via a service request on PeopleSoft. Please use the Submitting Your Leave of Absence Service Request guide to assist you if you are unfamiliar with this process.
  4. The Faculty Manager's office will let you know if your application has been successful, and will update your academic record accordingly.