Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, and Reinstatement

University Policy

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Policy

Students must be registered for any regular semester or Summer Term during which a degree requirement is completed or University facilities are used unless on an official leave of absence. Upon written request to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, a student will be allowed up to two semesters of leave of absence. Leaves of absence beyond two semesters may be granted in cases of substantiated illness, one-semester maternity or paternity leave, or military service. In exceptional cases, the Director of Graduate Studies of the student’s program should petition the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

A student who files for a leave of absence from the University before classes start is eligible to receive full credit of tuition and fees. Students should refer to the Withdrawal and Tuition Refund Schedule after the beginning of classes. A student who is on leave and who has borrowed federal and/or private loans may be required to begin repayment while on leave. If leave is granted, a certificate of authorized leave of absence is issued and a copy included in the student’s record.

The period of authorized leave of absence is counted as a part of the time allowed for completion of degree requirements. Students may not complete any degree requirements in a semester for which they have been granted a leave of absence. PhD students must be registered in the semester in which the final degree requirements are completed, as well as in the preceding semester.

Students who wish to withdraw from the University must submit their requests on the Withdrawal/Leave of Absence form. A request for a withdrawal or leave of absence is effective on the day it is received in the appropriate office; charges are canceled in accordance with the University’s published refund schedule, based on the effective date of the student’s leave of absence or withdrawal. Mere absence from class does not reduce financial obligations or guarantee that final grades will not be recorded. A master’s student who receives scholarship aid and who withdraws or takes a leave of absence after the beginning of classes will have the institutional aid canceled. A PhD student will retain the scholarship aid.

Leaves of Absence for Medical Reasons

Sometimes a student may need to interrupt his or her studies for medical reasons. The University can assist a student who is deciding whether to take a medical leave and advise him or her about the steps necessary for a successful return. A student’s request for a leave of absence for medical reasons must be reviewed by Student Health Services or its designee. Boston University also reserves the right to require an involuntary medical leave of absence if it determines that a student’s continued enrollment would create a significant risk to the health and safety of the student or others.

A student seeking to re-enroll after a medical leave must demonstrate to the University that the student’s health permits the successful completion of studies. Documentation needed to support this finding will be determined by Student Health Services or its designee, but will generally include information from the student’s clinician as well as an assessment by Student Health Services or its designee. The decision whether to permit a student to re-enroll is within the sole discretion of the University.

Detailed and current information as well as the required forms specific to GRS regarding withdrawal, leave of absence, and reinstatement can be found at the Forms, Policies & Procedures portion of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website.