Carnegie Mellon University

Student Leave Policy

This policy is available on-line:

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 should first contact their department advisor to discuss their plans while on leave and to work out any conditions that may be necessary for a smooth return to Carnegie Mellon.

A Leave of Absence form must be completed by all students requesting a leave. Notifying instructors and no longer attending classes does not complete the process. Forms are available in the academic departments, deans’ offices and The HUB. Not completing the leave form results in tuition being charged to the 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.

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

Students are required to fill out all information on the form, including all comment sections relating to reasons for the 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 completed until all necessary signatures are on the leave form. Under certain circumstances, students may also need the dean of student affairs to sign the leave form. Nonresident alien students must see 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 or attend classes or maintain employment as students at Carnegie Mellon while their leave is in effect.

Doctoral candidates under ABD status (All But Dissertation) who wish to take a leave of absence should refer to their departmental Graduate Student Handbook and the Doctoral Student Status Policy.

Leave during the academic semester will take effect as of the date signed by the student’s dean. After the Application for Leave Form is received by Enrollment Services, it will be reviewed for appropriate tuition refunds (Tuition and Fees Adjustment Policy) and grade implications. Student recording of 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 deadline to drop classes with W (withdrawal) grades: all courses or grades are removed.
  • After the university deadline to drop classes but before the last day of classes: W (withdrawal) grades will be assigned to all classes. (W grades apply to all undergraduate students, and to graduate students only in the Mellon College of Science.) 
  • After the last day of classes: permanent grades assigned by the instructor will be recorded.
Questions concerning this policy or its intent should be directed to The HUB, 412-268-8186.

Students wishing to return from leave should consult the Student Return Policy.