Student Status

Resident Status
Full-Time 15 or more credits per semester*
Part-Time Less than 15 credits per semester

Ordinarily, Harvard Chan School students maintain a full-time or part-time status while attending the School. However, students may find it necessary to change their status. This may be done via a General Petition, available at the Registrar’s Office.

*Full-time students must petition to enroll in less than 35 credits per year, while remaining a full-time student.

Non-Resident Status
SD and DPH students who have passed their Oral Qualifying Examination, who are conducting advanced research outside the Boston area, and who receive permission from their department and the CAD may pursue a portion of their program as a non-resident student. Non-resident status is granted for one year at a time. Students must reapply annually for non-resident status. Students who fail to reapply on a yearly basis and do not attend registration for the following term will be administratively withdrawn from Harvard Chan School degree candidacy.

SD and DPH students who have not met their tuition requirement before being approved for non-resident status will continue to be billed resident status tuition until the residency requirement is met.

Full-time resident students who wish to gain part-time non-resident status must petition for approval of status change. This status will only be granted if the student will be fully employed or will have family responsibilities that will not enable them to pursue research full-time while a non-resident student. Please refer to the tuition and fees schedule for information on insurance coverage for non-resident students.

International students who wish to study as a non-resident within the U.S. must remain on a full-time basis if their visa is sponsored by Harvard University.

Non-resident students must register for research via ALICE for the appropriate number of credits according to their full- or part-time status. Non-resident students will continue to be assessed the appropriate tuition rate for each semester that they are in non-residence.

SD and DPH students holding non-resident status are required to maintain the doctoral student timetable in order to remain in good academic standing. Non-resident students must continue to hold regular meetings with research committees and submit the required progress reports. Failure to do so may result in administrative withdrawal from Harvard Chan School degree candidacy.

Leave of Absence
Students who have a medical, family, or financial emergency or who wish to take time away from the school due to childbirth or family care may apply for a leave of absence. To apply for leave of absence, students must follow the steps outlined below. Students on leave are not covered by the University’s health plan. Students interested in health insurance coverage should contact HUHS directly. Please see the HUHS web site “Policy on Leave of Absence” and/or contact the Student Insurance Office for more information (617-495-2008). Students on leave will not have access to some electronic library resources. A leave of absence of one semester or up to one year must be requested from the CAD and may be approved when it is consistent with the educational and personal needs of the student. The request for such a leave should include 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 (e.g., what will be done with regard to course sequences that may be interrupted). (CEP 1/86)

Steps To Petition To Obtain A Leave Of Absence

1) Complete the Request for Leave of Absence Form.
2) Obtain the signatures of the advisor, Department Chair, and Financial Aid Officer.
3) Submit the completed form to the Registrar’s Office for review.

If the petition is approved, the student will be assessed a leave of absence fee each semester they are on leave. In some instances, students will be asked to consult with Student Affairs to finalize their plans.

Application should be made prior to the registration period for the semester during which the leave of absence would begin. Retroactive leaves cannot be granted. If a student should request a leave after the beginning of the semester, the tuition refund policy (see Refund Schedule for Leave of Absence/Withdrawal) would apply.

Students may be granted leave for a maximum of one academic year at a time only. Students must reapply for each additional leave every academic year.The leave of absence/withdrawal tuition refund schedule is applied on the date the leave petition or withdrawal letter is received by the Registrar’s Office, or later if specified in the letter. Leaves of absence are generally limited to two years.

The “time to degree clock” stops upon approval of a leave of absence and the expected degree date will be recalculated depending on length of leave (one or two semesters).

Students who are considering applying for leave of absence status and who are receiving financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid as their funding or loan deferral status may be jeopardized.

All students on leave of absence are assumed not to be making progress toward their degree. This includes, but is not limited to research, progress meetings with their advisor and/or doctoral research committee, or writing their dissertation. If it is found that a student who is on leave has been making progress toward his/her degree, the appropriate tuition will be charged retroactively.

Students who fail to return to the School by the date the leave expires will be administratively withdrawn from Harvard Chan School degree candidacy. Students who wish to reactivate degree candidacy after administrative withdrawal must reapply for admission and must pay the current semester’s leave of absence fee for each registration period that has elapsed since termination of degree candidacy. The reactivating of the application must be approved by both the department and the CAD.

Leaves of absence are granted to degree students only.

Family Leave Policy
Students have a number of options which are designed to maximize flexibility during periods of family leave. A student may apply for maternity leave or leave to assist an immediate family member in need of care under the standard procedures for leaves of absence. Students may choose to take time away from the school and make no progress towards their degree (leave of absence). Students on leave of absence may continue to have access to their school e-mail account, but will not be considered active students and will thus not have access to electronic library resources nor be able to use a student ID for access to facilities. Students on leave may maintain some physical access to the Harvard Chan School and Countway Library. Arrangements for this access may be made through the Office for Student Affairs.

Alternatively, a student may make arrangements to enroll, as a part-time student and register for a small number of independent study or research credits (1.25 credit minimum to 5.0 credit maximum). If the student chooses the latter alternative, tuition will be assessed at the standard per-credit rate. Students enrolled in part-time status will maintain all of the access to Harvard facilities and electronic library resources available to all students at the School. Doctoral students who elect this option should be aware that tuition paid while on family leave with not count towards the School’s residency requirement. See the doctoral handbook for more details.

Students considering taking family leave should consult with the Office for Student Affairs.

Involuntary Leave of Absence for Medical Reasons
The associate dean for student services may place a student on “leave of absence for medical reasons” if:

  • 1) The student poses a direct threat to the health and safety of him/herself or others or has seriously disrupted others in the student’s residential community or academic environment, and
  • 2) The student’s behavior is determined to be the result of a medical condition, or the student refuses to cooperate with efforts deemed necessary by the University Health Services to evaluate the cause of the student’s behavior or threatening state.

Before placing a student on “leave of absence for medical reasons,” the associate dean for student services will consult with the registrar, the student’s advisor, the director for student affairs, department chair or program director, and the University Health Services.

The student will be notified in writing of the decision to place him or her on “leave of absence for medical reasons” and the reasons for the decision. The student may ask the associate dean for student services, in person or in writing, to reconsider the decision.

A student who has been placed on “leave of absence for medical reasons” and later requests to return to the School will be required to provide evidence that he/she is ready to resume his/her studies and academic responsibilities. The student should submit a petition to the associate dean for student services at least eight weeks in advance of the semester in which he/she wishes to return. The petition should include the following: (1) A description of the student’s attempts to resolve the issues that led to his/her departure from the school; (2) evidence of the student’s readiness to return, such as letters from individuals from whom the student received care and/or from employers; and (3) permission for Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) staff to consult with health care providers from whom the student received treatment, and the providers’ contact information. In addition to this petition, the student must arrange a mandatory meeting with the director of mental health services at Harvard University Health Services (or his or her designee). In a case where a student has been placed on an involuntary medical leave more than once, the petition and supporting medical documentation also should specifically address this past history, including what evidence there is that the student’s medical issues are sufficiently resolved to avoid the risk of future relapse.

If the student disputes any of the factual considerations underlying the decision either to place him/her on “leave of absence for medical reasons” or to allow him/her to return to the school, he/she may request a review of the decision by writing to the dean for academic affairs, who will consider whether to form an ad hoc fact-finding committee with membership appropriate to the specific situation.

General guidelines for students taking a leave of absence will apply to these cases (see Leave of Absence, above).

Students who do not intend to register (as a resident or a non-resident student) or who do not intend to apply for a leave of absence must terminate their School degree candidacy. Degree candidacy is terminated automatically for those students who do not terminate their degree candidacy formally and fail to register for a full semester or longer.

Students wishing to withdraw must notify the registrar and their department in writing. The student also must schedule an exit interview with the Office of Financial Aid and/or the Harvard International Office as appropriate.

The CAD, with departmental recommendation, may terminate a student’s degree candidacy under the following conditions:

  • 1) Failure to make satisfactory academic progress (see Appendix B: Disciplinary Procedures).
  • 2) Failure to complete the Doctor of Science or Doctor of Public Health program within the five-year limit as a full-time student or within seven years for a part-time student.
  • 3) Failure to complete the degree within the appropriate time. Please check your admission letter for expected degree date.
  • 4) Failure to submit an acceptable proposal for Doctor of Science or Doctor of Public Health dissertation.
  • 5) Failure to maintain the Doctor of Science or Doctor of Public Health timetable.
  • 6) Failure of 2 or more core courses.

The Disciplinary Board may also recommend termination of degree candidacy in matters involving academic discipline (see Appendix B: Disciplinary Procedures).

Students who have withdrawn and who wish to reactivate degree candidacy must pay the current semester’s leave of absence fee for each registration period that has elapsed since the termination of degree candidacy and must reapply for admission. The new application must be approved by both the department and the CAD. If more than five years have lapsed since previous matriculation, tuition paid and academic credit earned is forfeited.

Students who have been required to withdraw for disciplinary reasons must apply to the Disciplinary Board to be readmitted (see Appendix B: Disciplinary Procedures). In either case, prior to re-admission, the student must pay any outstanding amount to the university as well as the current leave of absence fee for each semester that has elapsed since the termination of degree candidacy.

Students who withdraw from degree candidacy after the last meeting of a class are considered registered for the entire course, and a grade is assigned and recorded.


Refund Schedule for Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
Tuition is prorated according to the schedule below for students who take a leave of absence or withdraw after the semester has begun. The effective date of a leave of absence or withdrawal is the date the petition is filed with the Registrar’s Office or a future date if so requested in the student’s letter.

Academic Year 2015-2016 Leave of Absence/Withdrawal Tuition Refund Schedule

Fall 2015 Spring 2016* Refund of Tuition
Effective Date** September 11 February 5 90 %
Effective Date** September 25 February 19 75 %
Effective Date** October 9 March 4 50 %
Effective Date** October 30 March 25 25 %
Effective Date** November 2 March 28 0 %

*Any student who withdraws by the second session of their Winters Session course will receive a 100% refund of WinterSession course tuition. Refunds for Spring Semester, Spring1 and Spring2 are applicable per Spring 2016 column above.

** Date by which the student notifies the Registrar’s Office.

Note if you do not make the October 30 or March 25 deadlines you will not receive a refund.

Students who withdraw or take a leave of absence greater than 180 days in length and who are federal student aid recipients are subject to the return of Title IV funds policy. This policy may affect the amount of federal aid both the school and the student are allowed to retain for the period of enrollment. Please see Financial Aid policies on the Office of Financial Aid web site for a more detailed description of the Return of Title IV Funds policy including the refund.

Master of Science Health Care Management Students Only

Schedule for May bill Schedule for December bill
Before July 6, 2015 Before September 21, 2015 100% tuition refunded – $500 non-refundable deposit
End of day, July 6, 2015 End of day, September 21, 2015 90% tuition refunded
End of day, July 8, 2015 End of day, September 24, 2015 75% tuition refunded
End of day, July 10, 2015 End of day, November 19, 2015 50% tuition refunded
End of day, July 15, 2015 End of day, January 11, 2016 25% tuition refunded
July 17, 2015 or later: January 12, 2016 or later 0% tuition refunded
Please note your Harvard student health insurance will be affected by your withdrawal. For details see the HUHS Student Insurance website at or contact the Student Insurance Office at 617-495-2008 or by email at