In general, MSTP students are expected to be available in the periods between academic terms. MSTP students are entitled to the following short-term leaves:

  • A maximum of 15 calendar days (one-half month) paid leave of absence per calendar year,
  • Three calendar days paid sick leave of absence per calendar year, and
  • Parental leave of absence (with pay) of 30 consecutive days per calendar year upon the birth or adoption of a child. Either or both parents are eligible for parental leave.

These leaves (personal time, sick, parental) do not accrue. All leaves require notification of and approval by the MSTP Program Director, Research Mentor, course masters, and Graduate Theme Director well in advance to ensure that the time away does not interfere with mandatory course work or laboratory duties. A LOA may be extended without pay, if necessary, with the permission of the MSTP Program Director.  To be compliant with FLSA and NIH standards, all students are required to complete the MSTP Travel Information Form. 

MSTP policies regarding leaves of absence apply equally to all full time students in good. With the agreement of the MSTP Program Director, Mentor, and Graduate Theme Director, extended, unpaid, nonemergency absences from campus for periods up to a month may be approved. Extended absences (without pay) for non-academic purposes should be limited.  In emergencies, graduate assistants should inform the MSTP Program Director, Research Mentor, and Graduate Theme Director as soon as possible about the need for a leave of absence.  See Graduate School Policy 10: Leave of Academic Absence:  http://www.uab.edu/graduate/component/content/article/23-students/catalog/72-policies-and-procedures#limit32.

MSTP students need only to apply for a LOA from the UASOM or their graduate program; students cannot apply for a LOA from both the UASOM and graduate school, as they are not concurrently enrolled in the schools.

UASOM Voluntary LOA, under primary direction of the Associate Dean of Students and the MSTP

  • Leave of Absence forms for the medical school must be picked up directly from the medical school.
  • Requests for leave from the UASOM must be approved by the Associate Dean for Students.
  • Once the requests have been approved by the appropriate individuals, the student’s employment will then be terminated by the MD/PhD program via their ACT document using whatever date the leave is to be effective.
  • During an LOA, students are required to retain their student healthcare.  The health-related fees should automatically process on the student’s account after they go on leave; however, the student should monitor their account to ensure this occurs.  If the student’s health-related fees do not automatically process on the student’s account after the student has gone on leave, then Gwen Stewart in Student Accounting should be contacted immediately at 934-9893 to ensure these fees are added and the student is not without insurance coverage.  
  • In order for the student to return from an approved LOA, the director must submit a request to the Associate Dean for Students to allow the student to re-enroll in courses. Once this is done, the student should be rehired by the MD/PhD program via their ACT document using whatever effective date the student is to return.

Graduate School/Thesis Voluntary LOA under primary direction of the Graduate School and MSTP

Students in good academic standing may request a leave of absence for a period not generally to exceed two years. The request for a leave of absence must be made in writing to the Graduate Program Director and must include the anticipated duration of the leave. A copy of the approved request shall be forwarded to the Graduate School. Students on leave shall not undertake any requirements for the degree.

  • Leave of Absence forms for the graduate school can be found on the graduate school’s website at: http://www.uab.edu/graduate/images/acrobat/forms/leaveofabsence.pdf.
  • All graduate school leave forms must be approved by the student’s Graduate Program Director, MSTP Director, and the Graduate School Dean.
  • Once the requests have been approved by the appropriate individuals, the student’s employment will then be terminated by the MD/PhD program via their ACT document using whatever date the leave is to be effective.
  • During an LOA, students are required to retain their student healthcare.  The health-related fees should automatically process on the student’s account after they go on leave; however, the student should monitor their account to ensure this occurs.  If the student’s health-related fees do not automatically process on the student’s account after the student has gone on leave, then Gwen Stewart in Student Accounting should be contacted immediately at 934-9893 to ensure these fees are added and the student is not without insurance coverage.  
  • In order for the student to return from an approved LOA, the director must submit a request to the Graduate School to allow the student to be able to re-enroll in courses. Once this is done, the student should be rehired by the MD/PhD program via their ACT document using whatever effective date the student is to return.

Involuntary LOA

The procedures are the same for involuntary LOA during either the medical or graduate years, with the exception that the procedure is initiated by the UASOM or the UAB MSTP.

Parental LOA

Parental leave of absence (with pay) of 30 consecutive days per calendar year upon the birth or adoption of a child is permitted. Either or both parents are eligible for parental leave. The Graduate School and the SOM have different policies surrounding parental LOA. MSTP will enforce the most relevant policy depending on your current student status upon the birth or adoption of a child. It is important that notification be given to the MSTP Program Director at the second trimester of the pregnancy or the initial stages of the adoption process. This notification enables both parties to meet and create an adequate LOA so not to interrupt both academic and parental obligations.

Parental LOA if on an Individual Training Award from the NIH

Current NRSA policy indicates that trainees and fellows may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to paid parental leave.  Note that as the current UAB Policy states only 30 consecutive days per calendar year are permitted; this also is the policy for all MSTP students until further notice.