Counselling, Leaves, Lapses and Personal Time Off Policy


The Department of Physiology regularly provides confidential counselling to graduate students on a variety of issues - supervisor and laboratory conflicts, personal problems, family care issues, English skills, course completion, how to write up a thesis, financial difficulties, and much, much more.  Our Graduate Coordinators are very familiar with the problems students encounter, and can offer personal suggestions, policy interpretation, and referral to many other student services.  Contact Martin Wojtowicz at to set up a meeting.

Leave of Absence

Students can take a leave of absence from their program for parental, personal or medical reasons. Students wishing to take a leave of absence should contact the Department of Physiology Office. Once on leave, students will not be registered nor will they be required to pay fees for this period.  In general, students on leave may not make demands upon the resources of the University, attend courses or expect advice from their Supervisor.  As an exception, Students on leave for parental or serious health reasons who wish to consult with their Supervisor or other faculty are advised to make special arrangements through the Department.  The terminal date of the degree program will be extended by the duration of the leave taken. Normally, the start and finish of the leave would coincide with the beginning and end of a term.  Students on any leave of absence are not eligible to receive any University of Toronto Fellowship support during their absence; however, they may defer their fellowship until they return from leave.  In the case of other graduate student awards, the regulations of the particular granting agency apply.  Students requesting a leave on the basis of serious financial reasons will first be required to apply to the SGS for a bursary.

Personal/Medical Leave

Students may apply to SGS through Department of Physiology for a one to three-term leave during their graduate program on the grounds of health problems or personal circumstances that temporarily make it impossible to study.  A Request for Leave of Absence form must be completed.

Parental Leave

Graduate students may apply to SGS through Department of Physiology for a one to three-term parental leave. This policy is intended to recognize the need for leave at the time of pregnancy, birth or adoption, and to permit a pause in studies in order to provide full time care in the first year of parenting a new child. Either parent may request up to three terms of leave, which must be completed within twelve months of the date of birth or custody. Where both parents are graduate students seeking parental leave, the total number of terms may not exceed four. The total number of parental leaves received is limited, of course, by the number of children. A Request for Leave of Absence form must be completed.

Program Lapse

Lapsing means that a student does not pay fees or register for a period of time, without withdrawing from the program. Lapsing may be done involuntarily, when a student forgets to pay fees, or may be done intentionally, as when a student has passed the normal time limit for a degree (2 years for a MSc; 5 years for a transfer PhD; 6 years for a direct entry PhD). Once lapsed, a student can only re-register for degree completion with the written permission of the Department of Physiology Graduate Coordinators.  Students who lapse and re-register before the time limit mentioned above will be required to pay fees for registration sessions missed.  Students who lapse after their time limit will be required to pay up to one year of fees for degree completion.  Contact the Department of Physiology office if you are considering lapsing or returning from a lapsed status!

Personal Time Off Policy

This policy allows you to take up to 15 days off annually, during an academic year (September to August), to support your wellbeing and mental and physical health.  The personal time off is in additional to statutory holidays and days designated as University closures or holidays.

Please check here for more information.