Vacation Policy FAQs
Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to all PhD and doctoral-level graduate students receiving a University stipend (GA, GRF, NRSA, RA/RF, TA/TF), with the exception of students enrolled in the JD and MD programs. This policy only applies to students enrolled in the MD/PhD program during their PhD years. It does not apply to Master's, certificate or non-matriculating students.
Am I eligible for vacation/time off as a PhD or doctoral-level student?
Yes. PhD and doctoral-level students receiving a University stipend (GA, GRF, NRSA, RA/RF, TA/TF) are eligible to take two weeks of vacation time (10 business days) each Academic Year. Vacation may be taken one day at a time or for multiple days at a time up to two weeks (10 business days).
If eligible, will I still receive pay during vacation/time off?
Yes. PhD and doctoral-level students receiving a University stipend (GA, GRF, NRSA, RA/RF, TA/TF) are eligible for two weeks (10 business days) of paid vacation time. Please note that unauthorized absences may result in a prorated withholding of a student’s stipend.
How do I schedule vacation/time off?
Time off must be approved in advance by the appropriate advisor/program director. Students must submit a written request and receive written permission of approved time off from the program director/advisor.
When can I take vacation/time off?
During a time that would not interfere with pre-established requirements, time-sensitive work or academic responsibilities including, but not limited, to course work, research or teaching obligations, and laboratory work.
Time off must not interfere with teaching assistant duties, including meetings prior to the start of classes.
What if I am an international student?
International students who plan to travel outside the United States must submit appropriate documentation to the ISSS office and receive the appropriate permission. See information at the following link, ISSS Office
Do University holidays and breaks count toward my vacation/time off?
Graduate students are entitled to observe all University closings for Holidays (see University Holiday schedule
). These closings are not to be counted towards the vacation period allowance.
Some students may need to work on holidays in order to staff ongoing activities, projects and operations. Graduate students are expected to coordinate their vacation plans with their faculty advisors sufficiently far ahead of time to avoid conflicts at the last minute. Students who work on holidays will be able to increase their vacation days by an equivalent amount of time.
Academic breaks are not considered vacation/time off. PhD and doctoral-level students may be expected to be in their laboratories or offices during academic breaks and periods when no classes are held. Graduate students should review expectations with their advisor. Students should review the Academic Calendar that pertains to their program of study and work with their faculty advisor or program director to clarify expectations of time off during these periods.
What about emergency closures?
Graduate students are entitled to observe emergency closures. Emergency closures are not to be counted towards the vacation period allowance.
Does off-site or remote work count toward vacation/time off?
Off-site or remote work, including travel and participation in academic conferences or meetings, is not considered time off as long it is agreed upon in advance by the advisor.
What if my faculty advisor does not approve requested vacation/time off?
Drexel University expects that faculty and graduate students will communicate clearly and exercise good judgment on balancing work expectations/obligations and supporting time off. Further, Drexel University expects that faculty will support students in maintaining a healthy attitude toward work and life.
Should graduate students experience situations of unreasonable demands from faculty advisors that do not comply with this policy, they should initially appeal to the program director/department head. The Associate Dean of Graduate Study and Dean of their College/School can also be consulted should the graduate student require additional support. If the matter is not resolved, graduate students should appeal to the Graduate College.
Do I have to take vacation/time off?
Drexel University is committed to providing its PhD and doctoral-level graduate students with a healthy work life balance by recognizing the importance of taking time away from research and academic study to recharge.
Can I defer or accrue my vacation/time off?
Students are encouraged to utilize their vacation/time off within a single Academic Year. Students who wish to defer vacation/time off to a subsequent Academic Year should seek permission from their advisor/program director.
What if I need more time off?
Students who require additional leave beyond what is stipulated in the vacation policy must seek prior approval as outlined below:
Students who wish to take a formal Leave of Absence from the University, for a minimum of one term and/or up to one year, should contact their graduate academic advisor to discuss and submit an official Leave of Absence (LOA) request via the Advisor Visit Tracking (AVT) system by the end of the Course Add/Drop Deadline of the current term. Requests made beyond the course add/drop deadline will be processed for the next term of enrollment, if the leave is more than one term. Students should discuss any academic implications, such as an updated plan of study and time to completion/graduation policies, with their advisor prior to requesting a leave.
What if I'm sick?
Absence due to illness is not considered vacation time.