Leave of absence

Graduate students may request leaves of absence from their programs through written appeals to their advisers. The graduate advisers/program directors will forward the requests to the appropriate school dean/dean designee who, following departmental governance procedures, will forward their recommendations and any supporting documentation to the dean of the Graduate School who will respond for the university. Students who are out of compliance with continuous enrollment policies (see policy on Continuous enrollment for degree-seeking graduate students) and who have not been granted approved leaves of absence by the graduate dean must reapply for admission to VCU and to their graduate degree programs. Graduate students with approved leaves of absence are exempted from continuous enrollment requirements for the LOA period. Students should note that while leaves of absence temporarily suspend continuous enrollment requirements, they do not extend time limits for completion of degrees. (See policy on Exceptions.)

Leaves of absence must be requested and approved before or within a current semester. Requests for retroactive leaves of absence will not be approved.

The posting of the leave of absence on the student’s academic record prevents registration for the approved leave of absence period. If the student wishes to return to academic study before the end of the approved leave of absence period, the Graduate School must be notified via the special action form process so that the leave of absence is cancelled and the registration hold removed.

Withdrawal from classes

To withdraw officially from VCU courses, students must submit complete official withdrawal forms to the Office of Records and Registration by the official withdrawal date as published in the official VCU Calendar. The official withdrawal form is obtained from the Office of Records and Registration (Monroe Park Campus: Harris Hall, First Floor; MCV Campus: Sanger Hall, Room 1-055). Students may also withdraw on line via VCU eServices. Failure to complete this process may result in the assignment of failing grades in all or some of the courses.

A grade of withdrawn (W) will be recorded on the permanent student academic record for all courses from which students officially withdraw.

Health-related withdrawals

While graduate students are expected to work toward completion of their degrees without interruption, health-related problems may necessitate an interruption of their studies.

For a protracted illness, a student may choose to ask for an approved leave of absence (see leave of absence policy above).

Some students may experience medical conditions that make them unable to complete their studies once a semester is in progress. If this occurs before the last day of add/drop registration, students should drop their classes via eServices. If an illness occurs after add/drop but before the last day to withdraw, per the academic calendar, students should withdraw from their classes through the normal withdrawal process via eServices.

After the last day to withdraw but prior to the last day of classes per the academic calendar — and before a final class grade has been assigned and/or posted to the academic history — students with medical problems should petition their academic deans (or dean designees) for a medical withdrawal from all courses. Students must present documentation of their medical condition that establishes a significant degree of impairment in continuing their studies. This documentation must include a letter, written on letterhead, from a licensed health care provider that establishes the dates of treatment, the diagnosis and the degree of impairment that the condition has created. The letter should also provide the date when the student became unable to attend classes, when the impairment was considered significant enough to affect academic performance and the anticipated date of return to school. The medical withdrawal should be submitted to the Graduate School via the special action form process.

The student’s transcript will reflect a grade of W for all courses approved for a medical withdrawal taken that semester. No special designation for medical withdrawals is made on the transcript, and tuition and fees are levied in the same manner as other withdrawals (see withdrawal from classes policy above). Medical withdrawals may impact future financial aid in relation to satisfactory academic progress.

In the event that a student’s health problem poses a danger to the student, to patients or to others with whom the student may come in contact, and the student is unable or refuses to initiate steps to withdraw as stated above, administrative withdrawal of the student may be made by the dean of the Graduate School upon consultation with the appropriate faculty and a qualified physician.

Because curricular and course content changes may occur and a student’s progress toward a degree may be affected adversely because of an extended absence, specific time periods may be imposed by individual schools with respect to the length of time allowed for absence from school. If there is a delay in return beyond the allotted time period without written consent of the dean of the Graduate School, the student may petition for return with advanced standing.

Prior to returning to school, the student must submit a statement from a physician documenting that the condition that necessitated the withdrawal has been corrected to a point where the student can complete successfully all curriculum requirements with reasonable accommodation including classroom, laboratory, clinical and fieldwork experience.

Revised 5/14/2013
University Graduate Council