Carnegie Mellon University

Leave of Absence

Leave Policy: Withdrawal or Leave of Absence

Students may find it necessary to interrupt their studies and leave the University either by withdrawing or by taking a voluntary leave of absence. Withdrawal is defined as leaving the University with no intention of returning. A leave of absence means that the student is voluntarily leaving the University temporarily and plans to return.

Notifying the instructor or no longer attending class does not make the leave official. Students considering a leave of absence or withdrawal should discuss their plans with an  academic advisor in order to explore both the academic and personal implications of the decision, and what they will do next. Nonresident alien students must consult the Office of International Education regarding visa implications prior to taking a leave.

To officially take a leave, or to withdraw, students must complete a Withdrawal Form or a Leave of Absence Form, and secure all required signatures before processing. Not doing so can result in tuition charges or submission of failing grades. Forms are available in the academic departments, and in the dean's office. Additional details about the Leave Policy, as well as the required forms, is  available on The HUB website.

Return from a Leave of Absence

Students who want to return from leave of absence should initiate the return process at least one month prior to the semester they plan to enroll. Ideally, students should try to gain approval to return in time to participate in the registration period for the semester they plan to take classes.

Returning students must obtain and submit a Return From Leave of Absence Form, which is available in the departments, the dean's office, or on The HUB website. If a student is away for  more than two years, their return to the same academic department is subject to space constraints, and academic performance review, and is not guaranteed. Students who have taken classes elsewhere may receive transfer credit subject to the College policy, and the completion and processing of the appropriate documents. Nonresident/International students must consult the Office of International Education regarding visa implications for returning.