Parental Leave for PhD Students

The Guidelines

PhD students who meet the following criteria are eligible for a one-semester parental leave:

Parental leave may be taken during the semester in which the child is born or adopted, or during the semester immediately following.

A student on approved parental leave receives the base graduate assistant stipend from the Graduate School for one semester. Individual schools are expected to top off the base stipend to the level of the stipend stipulated in the student's offer letter and to pay for the student's USC student health insurance coverage and student health center fee.

Parental leave does not constitute a break in continuous enrollment. Students should consult with their academic advisors to determine how they will maintain full-time enrollment.

Students with loans should consult with the Office of Financial Aid before beginning parental leave.

International students should discuss the parental leave with the Office of International Services to be sure there are no unforeseen issues related to their visa status.

The Process

The request for the leave should normally be submitted the semester before the leave takes place. The student should submit to the Graduate School the following:

  1. the Request for Parental Leave for PhD Students,
  2. a copy of the offer letter, and
  3. one of the following:
    • a verification of pregnancy signed by a US doctor (available at USC Student Health Center) or
    • a birth certificate for the infant child or
    • a statement of adoption from an adoption agency.

The Graduate School will process the leave request and inform the student and the staff graduate advisor in the studentís home department when a decision has been made.

To begin the process, students should talk with the staff graduate advisor in their department or program.

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