Leave of Absence: Medical

Policy

A medical leave of absence allows you to interrupt your studies because of medical reasons.  These may include mental and physical health issues, chronic conditions, emergency surgery, injuries, or any medical condition that makes continuing in courses impossible.  The deadline for requesting a medical leave of absence from your academic dean is 5 p.m. on the last day of classes in a semester.   A medical leave of absence will not be retroactively granted after this time.  

While most medical leaves of absence occur while a semester is in progress, you may also request a medical leave between semesters (after completing one semester and before beginning the next semester), if your health conditions preclude your ability to return to Duke for the next semester.

While on a medical leave, you may take courses at another four-year institution for transfer credit at Duke, although you are limited in how much credit will transfer following the normal rules for transfer credit, e.g., you may transfer a maximum of two institutional transfer credits to Duke.  You are not allowed to enroll as a full-time degree-seeking student in another university while on a leave of absence.  

Procedure

If you are contemplating a medical leave, consult with your academic dean as soon as possible. In some cases, there may be other options available to you, and a frank discussion of your plans, ability to complete courses and other contingencies may be useful to you.  At your meeting, your dean will ask you to sign a Medical Leave of Absence Request Form.  Your dean will also give you a Health Care Provider's Medical Leave Support Form, which you will have filled out and signed by the health professional you are working with.   

After approving your leave of absence, your academic dean will notify your instructors, advisors, and all appropriate offices of your absence. The registrar's office will issue W's in place of grades, and "Leave of Absence" will be placed on your Duke transcript.  The Office of Housing, Dining and Residential Life will expect you to move out of your room within a few days after they are notified of the leave.  If you are placed on a medical leave during the first or second week of a fall or spring semester, 80% of your tuition will be refunded.  During the third to fifth weeks, 60% will be refunded, and during the sixth week, 20% will be refunded. Residence hall charges are prorated depending upon the number of days a room is occupied.   

For questions on how to take a medical leave of absence, contact your academic dean.  For general questions on finances, contact the Bursar's Office.  For information about tuition fees and refunds, see Tuition Refund Policies.  For information on housing and vacating your room, contact the Office of Housing, Dining, and Residential Life (HDRL).  For questions on financial aid, contact Financial Aid.   For information on returning from a medical leave of absence, see the Office of Student Returns.

Note:  If you are on a medical leave of absence from Duke, you are no longer an active student, are not eligible for the benefits afforded to active Duke undergraduates, and are not permitted to be on campus.  For details, see General Policies/Expectations While Away on the Office of Student Returns website.  

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