Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, and Reinstatement

University Policy

College of Communication Graduate Student Policy

  • A student who is registered for a semester and decides not to attend must officially take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College of Communication at Boston University.
  • Mere absence(s) from classes does not constitute a withdrawal nor reduce financial obligations or guarantee that final grades will not be recorded.
  • Tuition charges are canceled in accordance with the published refund schedule, based on the effective date of the withdrawal or leave of absence.
  • Lack of registration does not constitute an official leave of absence or withdrawal.
  • You must be registered every Fall and Spring Semester while you are considered to be a degree student. Failure to register or communicate with Graduate Affairs may result in administrative withdrawal.
Leave of Absence Withdrawal
A leave of absence should be taken when the student intends to return in a future semester. A withdrawal indicates a decision to permanently leave the University.
Degree candidates who fail to register for a semester without receiving official approval and having action taken in their official student record may be administratively withdrawn.
Students who are not able to continue in their degree program due to relocation, ongoing academic difficulty, or other personal circumstances may voluntarily withdraw from Boston University.

Why Take a Leave?

Circumstances sometimes arise that make it necessary or advisable for a student to interrupt their graduate studies. Examples include:

  • attending to a health issue
  • completing required military service
  • pursuing a professional opportunity such as an internship
  • addressing a family/personal obligation
  • other

What if I need to miss a few days of school? Do I need to take a leave of absence?

Sometimes students need to miss class for a few days due to an illness or a family emergency. It is very important to notify each of your professors of the absence as soon as possible; a call to Graduate Affairs may be necessary if a student expects to miss more than one week of coursework. Students are expected to make arrangements for completing any missed work directly with their instructors. In many cases, a short absence from classes, with conscientious follow-up on your part, will not prevent you from successfully completing the semester.

In cases of serious illness or injury, students may not be able to finish the semester coursework and a leave of absence may be necessary. 

Medical Leave of Absence

Sometimes students may need to interrupt their studies for medical reasons. The University can assist a student who is deciding whether to take a medical leave and advise the student 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.

Please note that registered students who withdraw or take a leave of absence on or after the first day of the semester are subject to the “Withdrawal and Tuition Refund Schedule” for that semester established by Boston University.

Health Insurance

The Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan begins and ends in August each year. For students covered under the BU student medical insurance plan, this coverage will be automatically canceled for students who arrange a Fall Semester or full year leave of absence prior to or within the first month of the insurance policy period. If you were covered by the Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan, you may be eligible to re-enroll in the plan. To determine the impact that arranging a leave of absence will have on your eligibility to retain insurance coverage, contact insmed@bu.edu.

Visa Status (International Students)

If you are studying in the United States on a student visa, you must contact ISSO to speak with an advisor before submitting your leave of absence request. Taking a leave of absence can have significant visa-related implications, so it is important to discuss your options with ISSO.

Access to Services

During a leave of absence, you will not have access to BU services (FitRec membership, library borrowing privileges, etc.).

BU Email and MyBU Student Portal

Your BU email account remains active for each semester you are officially registered for classes or are on an approved leave of absence. If you do not register and do not obtain approval for a leave of absence for a Fall or Spring Semester prior to your graduation, your email account may be deactivated.

MyBU Student Portal access is retained. It is your responsibility to remember your BU login and Kerberos password to access your records during and after your University enrollment.

How to Take a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

  1. If possible, contact Graduate Affairs before the semester begins to request a leave of absence or withdrawal.
  2. If you choose to withdraw or take a leave of absence on or after the first day of the semester, please view the Withdrawal and Tuition Refund Schedule for that semester established by Boston University.
  3. Send a Withdrawal or Leave of Absence Form to Graduate Affairs (comgrad@bu.edu) from your Boston University email account. All forms can be found on the University Registrar site. This form must detail a reason for a leave or withdrawal. Include the following:
    • Your legal name and Boston University ID number
    • Any paperwork, medical or otherwise, that supports your decision
    • The semester and year you plan to return to Boston University
  4. Make an appointment with the school or college Financial Assistance office. Be aware that a student who is on leave and who has borrowed federal and/or private loans may be required to begin repayment while on leave.
  5. Wait to receive a confirmation from Graduate Affairs and confirm that you are no longer enrolled in courses on the MyBU Student Portal.

If you have any questions, please contact Graduate Affairs at comgrad@bu.edu.