Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission Policies

Leave of Absence Policy

The University requires degree students to be continuously registered every semester until all degree requirements have been met unless a leave of absence has been approved. Degree students who intend to become inactive must submit a request for a leave of absence online. The request for leave of absence requires written approval from the student’s advisor  Leaves of absence are normally approved for up to one year.

Eligible degree students who wish to request a leave of absence must submit the online form (link here) prior to the term when the leave is desired (if possible), or at least during the drop/request period of the semester. Failure to register for coursework, master’s thesis or dissertation status without permission from the University does not constitute a leave of absence. If students request a leave after the beginning of the semester, normal drop and withdrawal deadlines apply. Leaves of absence will not be granted retroactively for terms when students failed to register or request a leave. The granting of a leave of absence does not automatically change the time limit for completing degree requirements. Time spent in military service does not count under the time limit.

Once a leave of absence is approved, students may not register for courses, submit assignments to faculty, request a change of grade, hold dissertation hearings, sit for exams or graduate during a leave of absence. Additionally, students on leave of absence do not have to access to Penn or PennGSE resources. Students on an approved leave of absence who wish to retain access to Penn’s facilities (in particular, the library) must pay a fee per term of absence. This fee is added to the Student Financial Services bill by the PennGSE Registrar. Students who are interested in this option should contact the PennGSE Student Records Office (gse-sro@gse.upenn.edu).

Students returning from leave of absence must notify the Student Records Office in order to be register and return to active status. Once written permission has been granted by the Assistant Dean for the semester(s) in question, the Student Records Office will register the student.

Click here for the Request for Leave of Absence form.

University Family Leave of Absence Policy 

A student in the Ph.D. program at Penn may take an unpaid Family Leave of Absence for the birth or adoption of a child, child care, or care of an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition. Click here for this University policy. Click here for the Request for Leave of Absence form.

Eligible degree students who want a leave of absence must submit a request to the Assistant Dean prior to the term when the leave is desired (if possible). Leaves of absence will not be granted retroactively for terms when students failed to register or request a leave. The granting of a leave of absence does not automatically change the time limit for completing degree requirements. Time spent in military service does not count under the time limit.

Students may not register for courses, hold dissertation hearings, sit for exams or graduate during a leave of absence. Students returning from leave of absence must notify the Student Records Office in order to be reactivated as current students. Students with grants to undertake dissertation research abroad that do not provide home institution fees, and who wish to maintain the University Health Insurance Plan may obtain a special registration status entitled “Dissertation Research Abroad.” This special status allows the student to remain registered, but does not incur tuition charges. Once written permission has been granted by the Assistant Dean for the semester(s) in question, the Student Records Office will register the student.

Withdrawal

A student who intends to terminate candidacy for a degree at the Graduate School of Education should formally withdraw from the School by notifying the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in writing. The effective date of separation from the University is the date on which the student files a written request for withdrawal with the Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. Students are responsible for tuition charges and other financial obligations to the University incurred before the effective date of withdrawal.

ADMISSION POLICY FOR FORMER STUDENTS

Former students who wish to resume their studies must apply for admission to the desired degree program with the Admissions Office. Applications from former students will be considered with the rest of the applicant pool during the next admissions cycle.