Applying for Leave of Absence

Students who experience an emergency or who wish to take time away from the school for other reasons may apply for a leave of absence. Leave of absence petitions go before the Committee on Admissions & Degrees (CAD) and may be requested for one semester or up to one year. Shorter requests are not permitted.

To apply for leave of absence, a student must have completed at least one semester and submit the Leave of Absence Petition to the Registrar’s Office prior to the start of the semester along with a statement, signed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the department chairperson, summarizing the anticipated consequences of the leave on the student’s course of study.

The following policies apply during a leave of absence

  • Students must have completed at least one semester of a degree program before taking a leave of absence. They cannot be taken in the first semester
  • Students on leave are not covered by the University’s health plan.  Please see the HUHS Policy on Leave of Absence or contact them for information
  • Students receiving scholarship or other financial aid should consult the Office of Financial Aid concerning the financial aid implications of going on leave including their funding or loan deferral status being jeopardized
  • International students should consult the Harvard International Office concerning their status
  • Students on leave will not have access to some electronic library resources

The Full Policy on a leave of absence can be found in the HSPH handbook