Carnegie Mellon University

Student Leaves 

POLICY TITLE: Carnegie Mellon University Student Leave Policy
DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was originally approved by the President's Council on November 13, 1996. It was most recently amended in February 2004. Administrative changes were made on November 26, 2019.
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Enrollment Services. General questions about policy content should be directed to the University Registrar's Office, ext. 8-8250.
ABSTRACT: Policy explains what students need to do to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the university.

Policy Statement

Students must sometimes interrupt their studies for a variety of reasons (financial, academic or personal). Students choosing to take a leave of absence must first contact their department advisor to discuss their plans while on leave to work out any conditions that may be necessary for a smooth return to Carnegie Mellon.

A student may leave Carnegie Mellon by either withdrawing from the university (this means leaving the university with no intention of returning) or by taking a leave of absence (this means leaving the university temporarily, with the firm and stated intention of returning).

A Leave of Absence Form must be completed by all students requesting a leave of absence. A Withdrawal Form must be completed by all students who are withdrawing. Notifying instructors or no longer attending classes does not complete the process. Forms are available on The HUB website. Not completing the leave form results in tuition being charged to midpoint of the semester or the last date the student attended an academically-related activity such as an exam, tutorial or study group, or the last day a student turned in a class assignment.

Students are required to fill out all information on the form, including all comment sections relating to reasons for their leave of absence. After completion of the form, students must take it to their home department and dean's office for appropriate signatures. The process of taking a leave will not be complete until all necessary signatures are on the leave form. Under certain circumstances, students may also need the Dean of Student Affairs to sign off on the leave form. International students who are here on a F1 or J1 visa must consult the Office of International Education for information on possible visa implications prior to going on leave.

Students on leave are not permitted to live in university housing, attend classes or maintain employment as students at Carnegie Mellon while their leave is in effect.

Doctoral candidates in ABD (All But Dissertation) status who wish to take a leave of absence should refer to the Doctoral Student Status Policy.

Leaves during the academic semester will take effect as of the date signed by the student's dean. After the Leave of Absence or Withdrawal Form is received by the University's Registrar's Office, it will be reviewed for the appropriate tuition refunds (see Enrollment Services: Tuition and Fees Adjustment Policy) and grade implications. The recording of student courses and grades for taking a leave in a semester follows the deadlines for semester or mini courses, as follows:

  • On or before the university semester course drop deadline: all courses and grades are removed.
  • After the university semester course drop deadline through the last day of classes: W (withdrawal) grades will be assigned to all classes. (W grades apply to all undergraduate students, and graduate students in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the Heinz College, the Mellon College of Science and the Tepper School of Business.)
  • After the last day of classes: Permanent grades assigned by the instructor will be recorded.