REG 02.15.08 – Parental Leave for Graduate Students

Authority: Dean of the Graduate School

History: First Issued: May 1, 2012

Related Polices:
NCSU REG05.05.04 – Withdrawal from the University

Additional References:
Graduate Administrative Handbook 3.17

Contact Info: Dean of the Graduate School (919-515-7956)


1.1  This regulation grants eligible graduate students the ability to take leave for the birth or care of a newborn, or placement or care of an adopted or foster child.  This regulation allows graduate students to maintain full-time registered student status and to facilitate return to full participation in class work and, where applicable, research and teaching responsibilities.  This regulation is intended to allow international students to maintain their full-time student status and not otherwise affect their current visa status.  Medical conditions not resulting from the birth of a child are excluded from this regulation, and are covered in NCSU REG02.05.04 – Withdrawal from the University and in section 3.17 of the Graduate Administrative Handbook, Withdrawal from the University.


2.1  This regulation applies to all full-time, matriculated graduate students anticipating the birth or care of a newborn or placement or care of an adopted or foster child.

2.2  To be eligible for parental leave, students must have been full-time graduate students for at least one academic year (two academic semesters) at the time parental leave is taken.


3.1  Eligible graduate students qualify for up to six (6) weeks of leave from his/her graduate program.  In the event that both parents are full-time graduate students at NC State, only one student may take parental leave for any given birth or adoption event.

3.2  During the leave period, the graduate student will continue to be enrolled at the university.  Those graduate students supported by teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs) and/or extension assistantships (EAs) will be excused from their regular duties for a period of up to six weeks, during which they will continue to receive financial support and any GSSP benefits (including health insurance) for which they would normally be qualified.  Since fellowships are designed, in part, to decrease time-to-degree, students supported by externally funded fellowships should check with their funding agency to make sure parental leave is permitted.

3.3  The student will receive a one-academic semester extension for all academic responsibilities; however, funding to support that extension is not guaranteed.  Students should check with their funding source/agency relative to the availability of funding for the extension.  If funding is available to extend the appointment, whether from internal or external sources, GSSP support may be extended for a period of time comparable to that of the parental leave period.  Requesting such support should be made by applying for an exception to the normal GSSP eligibility rules.

3.4  Full-time graduate students not mentioned in 3.2 may request parental leave without tuition or stipend support.  Such leave will include the one-academic semester extension for academic responsibilities.

3.5  Graduate students who receive TA funding should arrange the timing of teaching assignments to accommodate the parental leave.  During the parental leave period, students supported by teaching assistantships may choose to continue in some limited capacity (e.g., grading, preparing course materials, or other non-intensive duties), but cannot be required to do so.

3.6  This regulation establishes the minimum standards for parental leave accommodation University administrators (including advisors, department heads, etc.) are encouraged to work with eligible graduate students to address both parties’ needs and responsibilities and may provide additional flexibility based upon the particular circumstances of the student (i.e. extensive travel, field work, etc.).


4.1  Request for Parental Leave

4.1.1  Eligible graduate students must submit a written request and appropriate supporting documentation for parental leave no later than ten (10) weeks prior to the anticipated beginning of parental leave.  This time limit may be waived based upon the particular circumstances and for good cause shown.

4.2  Approval

4.2.1  The Dean of the Graduate School (or designee) shall determine whether to grant parental leave.  The Dean or designee will provide written notification of the decision to the student after appropriate consultation with the student’s department.  If approved, the Graduate School will also provide written notification to the relevant department and central administrative offices that parental leave has been approved and the dates for which the leave has been granted.

4.2.2  Students on parental leave are expected to return to their teaching assignments at the conclusion of the leave.  A student must immediately notify his/her advisor in writing if he/she will not be returning from leave as planned.  If the student is not able to return, he/she must pursue a withdrawal from the university pursuant to the procedures outlined in NCSU REG02.05.04 – Withdrawal from the University and section 3.17 of the Graduate Administrative Handbook.

4.2.3  An electronic copy of the completed/approved application will become a permanent part of the student’s record and no transcript notation will be made.

4.3  Planning for Leave

4.3.1  The student shall make arrangements with faculty and with departmental administrators for course completion and for continuation of stipend related teaching and research activities before and following the leave period.

4.3.2  At least eight (8) weeks prior to the anticipated parental leave, the student must initiate discussions with his/her advisor(s) and departmental or college administrators in order to provide enough time to rearrange stipend related duties (such as teaching duties) for those students supported by teaching assistantships (TAs), or to adjust laboratory or other research schedules.  This period should also be used to reach agreement on a timeline for academic issues (e.g., Ph.D. qualifying examinations and other academic milestones, field work, time-sensitive research reports on sponsored projects) that will be affected by the parental leave and by the one semester extension of academic requirements.  It is essential that the student consult with his or her research advisor well in advance of the parental leave if the nature of the student’s funding or the research grant conditions require that specific tasks be completed by specified dates, or if the Principal Investigator (PI) will need to hire additional help to meet those conditions during a period of reduced activity by the graduate student.

4.3.3  Students temporarily leaving TA assignments should notify the appropriate department head as soon as practicable, but no later than eight (8) weeks prior to the anticipated start date of the leave to allow sufficient time to find an appropriate replacement.

4.3  Affected departments are responsible for arranging a substitute TA for the period of parental leave.

4.3.5  International students should discuss the intended leave period with the Office of International Services at the beginning of the planning period in order to identify and address proactively any individual or unique visa issues and/or to consider the latest applicable regulations.


5.1  Under most circumstances, a combination of sources (e.g., the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School, the College or Department) will provide the necessary funding for the leave involving TAs. Granting agencies generally provide for a short period of reduced activity due to health or personal issues.  Most graduate students who receive a Research Assistantship can similarly adjust research activities to accommodate parental leave.