Returning to School

Students in good standing on a voluntary leave of absence ordinarily may return at the start of the term following their leave, although it remains the student’s responsibility to ensure that they have adequate time to complete the degree within the time limits established by GSAS.

To return, students must meet certain conditions:

  • Students who were not in good standing at the time a voluntary leave of absence was granted and students who were placed on an involuntary leave of absence must petition the GSAS dean of students for permission to return. They must demonstrate that the circumstances that led to the leave have been satisfactorily addressed and that they are ready to resume their studies. Any outstanding disciplinary matters must be resolved. The dean of students, in consultation with other officers of the University as appropriate, will decide whether to allow a student to return.
  • Student account balances must be addressed.
  • Students who were not making satisfactory academic progress prior to a voluntary or involuntary leave must satisfy any conditions required by their academic program.
  • If the student was required to withdraw while on leave of absence, then any conditions for return after a required withdrawal also must be satisfied.
  • Students on leave for medical reasons, whether voluntary or involuntary, must petition the GSAS dean of students for permission to return and must demonstrate that the circumstances that led to their leave have been satisfactorily addressed and that they are ready to resume their studies.  In addition, so that the School may conduct an individualized assessment of their circumstances, students on medical leave ordinarily will be required to consult with Harvard University Health Services (and to grant permission for HUHS to obtain their treatment records and communicate with their treatment providers) so that a professional assessment about the student's stability and readiness to return can be shared with GSAS. In certain cases, GSAS may require a contract for enrollment. 

Students returning from a leave are strongly advised to verify funding arrangements with their financial aid officer and academic department before resuming their studies.

Please also note that if GSAS learns of serious concerns about the health or well-being of a non-resident student or a student who otherwise is away from GSAS but not on a medical leave of absence, then GSAS may require the student to consult with HUHS (and to grant permission to Harvard University Health Services to obtain their treatment records and communicate with their treatment providers) so that a professional assessment about the student’s stability and readiness to return can be shared with GSAS.  In all such cases, the decision whether to allow a student to return is made by the GSAS dean of students.

CONTACT INFO

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Office of Student Affairs
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 350
Cambridge, MA 02138