Leave of Absence: Personal


A personal leave of absence allows you to interrupt your studies for one or two fall/spring semesters. Reasons for a personal leave might include a desire to travel, participate in a non-academic program, work and earn money, attend to a family crisis, or gain a sense of direction.

You may request a personal leave of absence from your academic dean once you have completed your first semester at Duke and are a student in good standing. A personal leave normally begins after one semester ends and before the next semester begins. The request must be made to your academic dean prior to the first day of classes of the term in which the leave would begin. However, in the case of exceptional circumstances beyond your control, a personal leave of absence may also be granted while a semester is in progress. You should discuss your situation with your academic dean.

While on a personal 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 personal leave, contact your academic dean to discuss dates, deadlines, and other options that might be appropriate. Your dean will then direct you to the Time Away Office, where you will find a Time Away Inquiry Form. Once you have filled out the form and followed the other steps on Time Away checklist, the Time Away Office will notify your advisor and all appropriate offices of your absence. You may later request an extension to a third fall/spring semester. If you anticipate being away from Duke for more than three fall/spring semesters, we ask that you voluntarily withdraw from Duke and then apply for readmission when you are ready to return; this will not interfere with your ability to return at a later date. Students who are required to participate in two-year military service or missionary work may be approved for four semesters of a personal leave.  

For questions on how to take a personal leave of absence, contact your academic dean.  For general questions on finances, contact the Bursar's Office. For information on housing, contact the Office of Housing, Dining, and Residential Life (HDRL). For questions on financial aid, contact Financial Aid.   For information on returning from a personal leave of absence, see the Time Away Office.

Note:  If you are on a personal 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 website.

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