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Academic Success

Policy on Leaves of Absence

A leave of absence is a period of time during which a student is not taking part in the Zucker School of Medicine’s required educational program. In most cases, a leave of absence is granted for a maximum of one (1) year, except in cases of military leave. Students may be required to produce documentation to qualify for a leave.

MD students may apply for or request a leave of absence via the Office of Student Affairs. MD/PhD and PhD students may apply for or request a leave of absence via the Assistant Director of Dual Degree Programs and Curricular Initiatives. MD/PhD and PhD student leaves of absence require approval from the MD/PhD Program Director and the student’s mentor.

Due to the nature of the MD/OMS program, leaves of absence are unlikely to be granted, thus, MD/OMS students who are contemplating a leave of absence must receive counsel from the MD/OMS Program Director.

Permission for a leave of absence is not guaranteed, unless the leave is required by law, or as indicated below.

Students considering any type of leave must complete the appropriate Leave of Absence Form and submit all required paperwork 90 days in advance of the proposed start date of the leave or as soon as reasonably possible in the case of a military or medical leave. If a student is in Monitored or Serious Academic Status, his/her request may be reviewed by the Student Advancement Committee prior to approval.

Upon the initiation of a leave of absence, a designation of Withdrawal (W) or Incomplete (I), or a final grade of Fail (F) will be awarded on the transcript for any course that has not received a final grade. If an Incomplete (I) is awarded, the student is required to complete the course at a time defined by the Offices of Student Affairs and Academic Success. If a Withdrawal (W) or Fail (F) is awarded, the student is required to repeat that course to be eligible for advancement or graduation.

Students on approved leaves of absence will remain matriculated and will be required to pay a matriculation fee.

The Office of Academic Success, Student Affairs, Program Director, as well as the Student Advancement Committee (SAC), may mandate and arrange any re-entry conditions, which may include but not be limited to: repeating some or all previously completed course work, or obtaining medical clearance following a medical leave.

The student must note that the timing of re-entry to the Zucker School of Medicine is not guaranteed following any leave of absence.

When a student on a leave of absence is ready to return, he/she must submit that request, in writing, to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (for MD students) or the Assistant Director of Dual Degree Programs and Curricular Initiatives (for MD/PhD and PhD students) at least 90 days in advance of the anticipated date of return. A full 90 days of notice may not be required for military or medical leaves, but students should submit requests as soon as reasonably possible. Supporting documentation may be required to evaluate this request.

Any student wishing to request an extension to his/her leave must submit a new request form to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (for MD students) or the Assistant Director of Dual Degree Programs and Curricular Initiatives (for MD/PhD and PhD students) at least 90 days in advance of the original date of return. If an extension is not granted, a student on a leave of absence may have his/her matriculation terminated. The student will be permitted to apply for readmission at a later time.

There are five different types of leaves of absence and they are defined below: academic, administrative, medical, military, and personal.

  • Academic Leave of Absence
    A voluntary leave to pursue research, an externship, a degree-granting program outside the School of Medicine, or any other career advancing activity.
    • A student must apply for and receive approval from the Student Research Advisory Committee to receive course credit for a research project taking place during an Academic Leave of Absence.
    • A student granted permission to take an Academic Leave of Absence to pursue research an externship, or any other career advancing activity will be enrolled in a course called Independent Study of Medicine, and the student will be required to register each term, pay a registration fee, and show evidence of medical insurance, including mental health coverage equivalent to full coverage offered by the School of Medicine, if not opting for Zucker School of Medicine insurance coverage.
    • A student granted permission to take an Academic Leave of Absence to participate in a degree-granting program will not be enrolled at the School of Medicine for the duration of the leave.
  • Administrative Leave of Absence:

    Administrative Leave of Absence: A school-mandated leave to address a single or multiple academic, professionalism, or technical deficiencies.

    • The Student Advancement Committee, Student Professionalism Committee, or the school administration may recommend a student for an Administrative Leave of Absence if he/she has academic, professionalism, or technical deficiencies not addressed by other types of leaves.
    • A student placed on Administrative Leave of Absence may be removed from classes and/or clinical duties. The Office of Student Affairs may also recommend that the student be prohibited from any academic facility or institutional event. Violations of the prohibitions set forth by Student Affairs and/or the SAC will result in the student’s forfeiture of remaining appeal processes or rights.
    • A student taking an Administrative Leave of Absence will not be enrolled at the School of Medicine for the duration of the leave.  
    • Students placed on an Administrative Leave of Absence may return to active student status contingent upon satisfactorily meeting the conditions set forth by the Offices of Student Affairs, Academic Success and/or the Student Advancement Committee. Should a student be permitted to return to the Zucker School of Medicine, the SAC will recommend the student’s returning academic status. Students who are not permitted to return will be dismissed.
  • Medical Leave of Absence:

    Medical Leave of Absence: A leave to pursue medical care with supporting documentation from the student’s healthcare provider.

    • A student taking a Medical Leave of Absence will not be enrolled at the Zucker School of Medicine for the duration of the leave.
    • To return from a Medical Leave of Absence, the attending health care professional must provide written documentation to the Office of Student Affairs indicating that the student is mentally and/or physically able to continue his/her medical studies.
  • Military Leave of Absence:

    Military Leave of Absence: A voluntary or involuntary leave to meet military service requirements.

    • A student taking a Military Leave of Absence will not be enrolled at the Zucker School of Medicine for the duration of the leave.  
    • Qualified students who seek to take a leave of absence to perform military service should give notice of service as far in advance as is reasonable under the circumstances, unless military necessity prevents advance notice. Students must provide verification that they performed military service upon returning to the Zucker School of Medicine. 

    When students wish to be readmitted, they should give notice of their intent to return.  Veterans will be entitled to be readmitted and will be readmitted with the same academic status as when they last attended so long as:

    1. There is no disqualifying event, such as a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge,
    2. The cumulative length of absence and all previous absences for military service (service time only) does not exceed the established time period for such leave (generally five (5) years); and
    3. The student notifies the Zucker School of Medicine of his or her intent to return within three (3) years from the completion of the period of service, or, if recovering from a service-related illness or injury, no later than two (2) years after the recovery.

    The Zucker School of Medicine is committed to assist those service members seeking readmission. When necessary, and as determined on a case by case basis, the University will offer appropriate academic services, free of charge, to help students become prepared to resume their studies with the same academic status where they left off or to help the student be prepared to complete the program.

  • Personal Leave of Absence:

    Personal Leave of Absence: A voluntary leave to pursue personal matters that fall outside the definitions of other types of leave, including but not limited to the birth or adoption of a child or to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

    A student taking a Personal Leave of Absence will not be enrolled at the Zucker School of Medicine for the duration of the leave.  

References to Regulations and/or Related Policies:
Policy on Academic Progress
Policy on Essential Capacities for Matriculation, Advancement, and Graduation (Technical Standards)
Policy on Withdrawal

Last Updated: November 2018


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