Office of Student Returns

General Policies/Expectations: Related to Leaving and Returning to Duke

Application Requirements

  • Students must submit a complete application packet and return it to the Office of Student Returns (OSR). Permission to return is not guaranteed for any student.
  • Only complete application packets will be reviewed. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have provided the requested information and that all letters or recommendations have been sent. The OSR will not send reminder notices to recommenders on your behalf.


  • Students must follow the published deadlines when submitting applications to return. If the deadline occurs on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday), the following business day (date) is applicable. See deadline tables below.
  • Applications that are too early – earlier than one month prior to the final deadline date of the respective cycle -- will not be reviewed and you will be asked to resubmit during the proper cycle window. 

Presence on Campus

  • Students who have been separated from Duke are no longer active students and therefore forfeit the privileges afforded to enrolled Duke undergraduates.  During your separation, you cannot enter university residential buildings (permission under the Housing Guest Policy does not apply to students on leave, or otherwise separated from Duke), participate in student activities, or access student resources and services. You are not eligible to work for Duke University units in job categories reserved for students, nor should you present yourself as an active student to the hiring personnel.  If you have been hired in a position on the basis of your student status, and experience a subsequent separation from Duke, you are no longer eligible to accept the position. You must inform your academic dean and the hiring personnel that you are no longer eligible. During your separation period, you may not attend or audit a Duke course.  If you are a student-athlete, a club member, member of a performance group, or hold an office in a student organization, you are not permitted to participate in meetings, rehearsals, practice sessions, have access to studios, stages, locker rooms, strength conditioning and film areas of DUAA or sit on the bench during contests.

    If you believe there are compelling reasons for you to access resources on campus, you must obtain written permission from the director of the Office of Student Returns.  You must submit a written note via email requesting special dispensation for limited access to specific campus resources and specify the time and duration of access. Your written request must be submitted seventy-two business hours before your anticipated time on campus. Please submit your email request to and write “request to be on campus” in your subject line. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.  Students who have been suspended from Duke continue to be held accountable for any sanctions, as communicated by the Office of Student Conduct.  While you are away, I encourage you to be in touch with me if you have questions or concerns. Please note that a list of FAQs are available at

Early Graduation/Acceleration Credits

  • Students may not use acceleration credits (Advanced Placement, International Placement or Pre-Matriculation credit) in order to compensate for time taken away as a result of any type of separation. Any acceleration credits granted prior to a student experiencing a separation will be forfeited.

Transfer Credit/Courses Taken at Another Institution

  • Students who are “on leave” from the university may enroll in courses taken at another four-year accredited institution and transfer them back to Duke. Per university policy, students are allowed a maximum of two domestic transfer credits during their entire undergraduate career. Students are not allowed to enroll in a course while away and repeat the course, or its equivalent, at Duke. Students who have been involuntary withdrawn from Duke due to academic, conduct, or financial matters are not eligible to transfer credits for courses taken during their period of separation.

Falsification of Information

  • Falsification of any part of the return application will result in an automatic denial of your return, referral to the Office of Student Conduct for official disciplinary inquiry, and likely permanent ineligibility to return to Duke.

Health Treatment While Away

  • Students returning from a medical leave of absence, or any other separation category for which health related challenges caused a separation from Duke, must present evidence of their treatment while away. The necessary treatment along with specific health goals, if appropriate, will be outlined in the confirmation/separation letter submitted to the student by their academic dean. The return application includes the required medical questionnaire and a health recommendation cover letter. Students should keep in mind that their review committee may, at their discretion, request additional information after reviewing their initial application materials.
  • Students who have been ill may qualify for accommodations through the Americans With Disabilities Act. Please visit, or email Dot Mishoe, Director of Student Disability Access Office, at


  • Students returning to Duke after a separation of any kind remain subject to the Board of Trustees policy requiring all Duke undergraduate students to live in university housing for their first three academic years as a Duke student. Resident students who take a leave of absence for personal reasons may return as residents provided they follow the RLHS procedures and deadlines. Duke guarantees housing to all of its full-time undergraduate students, save those who are not eligible due to disciplinary sanctions. Detailed information on these procedures and deadlines is available at the Residence Life and Housing Services website, You should visit this website well in advance of your anticipated return to Duke and acquaint yourself with important dates for housing requests.

Note: Students returning to Duke who are subject to the residency requirement noted above and fail to request housing will receive an assignment and be financially responsible for the term of the assignment.

International Students

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations stipulate that in order to maintain F-1 and J-1 status, international students must be enrolled full-time during the academic year. A leave of absence or temporary separation from Duke indicates that the student can no longer fulfill this requirement. Duke is required by law to notify USDHS if a student is no longer enrolled. This notification terminates the student F or J status and can affect the student's future entries to the U.S. It is imperative that the student contacts Duke Visa Services to determine if there are other alternatives to maintain legal nonimmigrant status in the U.S. or receive guidance and assistance regarding departure and reentry as a F or J student to the U.S at a later date. Students who intend to return from a leave of absence must contact Duke Visa Services ( In order to allow the office adequate time to process all necessary papers, students should notify Duke Visa Services as soon as they are certain of their return. Please email or call +1-919-681-8472.

 Requesting Additional Time Away

  • If you have been separated from Duke, for any reason, and wish to extend time away beyond your anticipated return date, you may petition your academic dean for additional time away.   An extension is not guaranteed but will likely occur at the discretion of the academic dean and according to standing policy.