Office of Student Returns

Special Leave of Completion / Return for Graduation Only

Students should meet with their Academic Dean to request a leave of absence/ SPCM, if they have .25-2.0 outstanding credits toward graduation requirements, if they are eligible for transfer credits, and choose not to complete them at Duke.  In order to be eligible for a leave of absence SPCM, a student must:

  1. be in good standing with the University;

  2. not have a pending disciplinary matter:

  3. be eligible to transfer course credits back to Duke;

  4. lack no more than 2.0 credits toward fulfillment of the 34 credit graduation requirement;

  5. identify the nature of remaining credits ( e.g., AOK, MOI, 34 credit requirement) with your Academic Dean and determine their eligibility  for transfer, per policy;

  6. not have any other assigned separation category;

  7. must complete remaining credits at an accredited four-year college of university; and

  8. must complete the “Tentative Transfer Credit Approval” form found at 

  9. recently completed credits in a previous term, or away program, but grades will not post in time for the last enrolled/current term graduation date;

  10. have “incompletes” when resolved will meet graduation requirements but grades are not posted in time for last enrolled/current term graduation date;

  11. have anticipated pre-matriculated credits that will not post in for last enrolled/current term graduation date.

Reasons students might choose a leave of absence SPCM: 

  1. has secured a job offer that has a start date prior to the completion of an additional term at Duke;

  2. need to leave Duke in order to address personal matters;

  3. need to reduce final tuition cost at Duke; or

  4. other reasons.

Deadline to Request leave of absence SPCM: Prior to the drop/add deadline for the pending term/ your final semester at Duke.

Time Away: SPCM are usually granted for one semester but may take longer.  If you experience a delay in completing your final credits at another institution, or the completion of “X” or “I” grades at Duke, notify your Academic Dean that you need additional time.  If you are away from Duke for more than two semesters without the permission of your Academic Dean, you may be administratively withdrawn from Duke. 

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 an F or J student to the U.S at a later date.   Please contact or call 919-681-8472.