Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, and Reinstatement

College of Fine Arts Policy

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students work directly with the University Service Center and adhere to the Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, and Reinstatement policy for Boston University.

Leaves of Absence for Medical Reasons

A student may need to interrupt their studies for medical reasons. A student’s request to return from 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. More information on the process to be approved to return from a Medical Leave of Absence can be found here. The Student Report for Return from Medical Leave is available here.

Reinstatement (Undergraduate and Graduate)

Students who have not been enrolled in CFA for an extended period of time, who request reinstatement to continue their program, will be required to submit an official request for reinstatement to the Associate Dean of Academic Programs & Enrollment with a reasonable plan that outlines all remaining program requirements and the timeline for which these will be completed. The Associate Dean will make the final determination of enrollment after consultation with the corresponding school. Reinstatements will only be considered for students whose overall timeline from matriculation to expected completion does not exceed 7 years for undergraduate students and 12 years for graduate students.

Students approved for reinstatement are subject to the following regulations:

  • Prior to reinstatement, the student must provide a detailed plan of completion outlining the specified time limit to complete all requirements.
  • If reinstated, students may be asked to retake examinations and/or recitals, demonstrate knowledge in current issues in the field of specialization, and meet all degree requirements of the current program.
  • Reinstated students will be subject to the rules and regulations set forth in the College of Fine Arts Bulletin at the time of reinstatement.
  • Students who have outstanding financial obligations to the University at the time of withdrawal or dismissal will be required to meet those obligations as a condition of reinstatement.
  • Institutional aid will not be granted for reinstated students.

Graduate Students

College of Fine Arts (CFA) graduate students are expected to be enrolled in CFA each continuous term, and make successful continuous progress toward the program per the guidelines of Academic Standing.

Leave of Absence

Graduate students (on-campus and online) wishing to take a non-medical leave of absence in either separate or consecutive semesters should submit a Leave of Absence form to the College of Fine Arts; the leave is effective as of the day the form is received. Graduate students are allowed up to two semesters of leave of absence (two semesters for on-campus students; four 7-week terms for online students). Note that funding is not guaranteed to be extended based on the leave. Any student wishing to petition an extension for their funding, based on their leave of absence, will need to contact the Associate Dean of Academic Programs & Enrollment in the College of Fine Arts in the semester prior to their intended leave.

Leaves of absence beyond two semesters must be petitioned to the CFA Registrar. Extensions beyond these two semesters will be considered on an individual basis, but are not to extend past two years for on-campus students and three years for online students. Petitions for an extended Leave of Absence should be submitted through the CFA Registrar using the College of Fine Arts Petition form.

A student who files for a leave of absence from the University should refer to the BU Withdrawal and Tuition Refund Schedule for tuition and fees, as outlined for on-campus students and for online students. A student who is on leave and who has borrowed federal and/or private loans may be required to begin repayment while on leave.

The period of authorized leave of absence is counted as a part of the time limits for completion of the program.


Graduate students who wish to withdraw from the University must submit their requests via the CFA Withdrawal Form for on-campus and online students. A request for a withdrawal is effective on the day it is received; charges are canceled in accordance with the University’s published refund schedule for on-campus students and the University’s published online refund schedule, based on the effective date of the student’s withdrawal. Absence from class does not reduce financial obligations or guarantee that final grades will not be recorded. Students who receive institutional aid and withdraw or take a leave of absence after the beginning of classes may have institution and/or federal aid canceled.

After a withdrawal, students will be expected to re-apply to the program if they wish to continue in the College of Fine Arts.

Childbirth and Adoption Accommodation

The childbirth and adoption accommodation policy for full-time or certified full-time [Doctoral (not PhD), Master’s, Diploma, and Certificate] students in good academic standing provides for extensions for academic coursework and other requirements to the primary caregiver of an infant or adopted child. PhD students should refer to the policy for BU Childbirth and Adoption Accommodation for Full-Time PhD students.

A student who wishes to implement an accommodation due to the birth of a child should notify the department chair in writing no later than 30 days prior to the start of the semester during which the birth is expected. In the case of adoption, notification should be made once the student becomes reasonably certain of the expected date of adoption. The notification should indicate the start and end dates of the accommodation consistent with the allowable time frame.

The period of accommodation is 60 days and must end no later than the final day of the semester immediately following the semester in which the child is born or the newly adopted child is placed. The summer period between spring and fall semesters will be considered a semester for the purpose of this policy. A student may elect a shorter period of accommodation, at the sole discretion of the student, and should inform the relevant department chair in writing.

If both parents are eligible graduate students at Boston University, the accommodation is available to both, but the periods of accommodation may not overlap.

The student will remain registered as a full-time or certified full-time student during the period of accommodation. The student will be excused from completing all course requirements during the period of accommodation, including assignments and exams. However, the student will be required to complete all missed course requirements after the period of accommodation, as described below.

Graduate students who wish to utilize a childbirth or adoption accommodation should engage in a conversation with the chair of their department, as well as the Title IX Deputy Officer for CFA, to map out how missed assignments and other course requirements will be completed given the intended absence. Individualized plans should be developed to allow the student to complete the learning outcomes of the courses and be reasonable for the faculty to implement. Reasonable accommodations may include extended deadlines, Incomplete grades, alternative assignments, or other modifications. Requirements outside of formal coursework, such as qualifying exams or recitals, should be rescheduled as appropriate to provide reasonable time for preparation and completion.