Chapter 23 Vacation Guidelines

Scheduled time off and vacations are important for personal health, well-being, and workplace productivity. Graduate students are not employees of the School of Graduate Studies and as a result, there is no mandated entitlement for a vacation benefit. However, many graduate students have an employment relationship with the University as teaching assistants or teaching fellows, in addition to their academic status as students, for which applicable vacation policies and provisions apply. Please consult the Department of Human Resources for all matters regarding vacation entitlement related to employment; the guidelines below are intended for graduate students in their student role.


Graduate students may be enrolled continuously for the entire academic year during which there are no breaks between consecutive terms of study. The following guidelines are offered to graduate students, graduate coordinators, program directors, department heads and graduate student supervisors.

Full-time graduate students should be able to take up to 10 business days of vacation during the academic year (September 1 to August 31), over and above statutory holidays and/or periods when the University is officially closed (i.e. the period between the December 25 and January 1) provided that the time off:

  • Does not compromise the progress of a student's studies;
  • Does not compromise the progress of the research; and
  • Is negotiated and agreed upon by the student and his/her supervisor well in advance (usually one month).


Vacation periods do not result in any changes to registered student status or funding status; students remain registered and pay all fees during the vacation period in the academic session until completion or withdrawal.

It is expected that negotiations for time off for vacation will be free from controversy or disagreement. In the case of dispute, the usual dispute resolution procedures will apply. These procedures can be found in the Guide to Graduate Supervision booklet (section 10) published by the School of Graduate Studies.