Leave of Absence: Medical


A medical leave of absence allows you to interrupt your studies due to health challenges. These may include mental and physical health issues, chronic conditions, emergency surgery, injuries, or any medical condition that makes continuing in courses impossible. The medical leave of absence deadline for all documentation is 5 p.m. on the last day of classes in a semester. Please contact the Time Away Office. A medical leave of absence will not be granted retroactively granted.  

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.  


If you are contemplating a medical leave, connect with the Time Away Office as soon as possible. In some cases, there may be other options available to you, and a frank discussion of your plans, support services, ability to complete courses and other contingencies may be useful. The Time Away Office will walk you through the time away process and answer questions about the policies and procedures. The office will share the time away request form with your Academic Dean and will encourage you to follow the time away checklist. The Time Away Office will work with you to gather the required medical documentation and guide you through the process.

After your leave of absence is approved, the Time Away Office 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 Time Away Office will help you develop a move out plan and walk with you through next steps. 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 the Time Away Office. For general questions on finances, contact the Bursar's Office. If you have tuition insurance, the Time Away Office will help you navigate the process. 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 Time Away Office.

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 Time Away Office website.  

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