Leave of Absence

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a temporary interruption of studies for one or more semesters.  An approved LOA is generally not for more than one year, except in the case of students pursuing joint degrees, either at UMass or in conjunction with another degree-granting program. A student on an approved LOA prior to the start of the semester will not be assessed tuition and fees, although the student may choose to maintain his/her health insurance coverage by paying the appropriate fee. All other students are assessed a refund of tuition and fees based on the date of withdrawal and whether or not he/she is a Title IV Financial Aid recipient. Leaves of Absence may have other financial consequences for financial aid recipients. Please refer to the Bursar and Student Financial Aid sections of the Medical School Student Handbook or contact the Bursar’s Office or the Office of Financial Aid for details.

A. STUDENT INITIATED
A student in good academic standing may, at any time, request a leave of absence for a specified period of time not to exceed one year.

I. Personal Leave of Absence
A student in good academic standing may, at any time, request a leave of absence for a specified period of time not to exceed one year. This type of LOA may be requested in order to take time for research, clinical work at another site without academic credit, international travel without academic credit, or other types of academic enrichment. A Personal LOA can also be taken in order to take additional time for preparation for USMLE Licensing exams. The request must be made via the Leave of Absence form on the Student Affairs website, which the Associate Dean for Student Affairs will bring to the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board for consideration. The appropriate Academic Evaluation Board will determine whether or not such a leave of absence is to be granted, whether or not it can be renewed, and what, if any, conditions for readmission will be set.

II. Medical Leave of Absence
A student in good academic standing may request a Medical Leave of Absence from the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board with a supporting letter from his/her physician or therapist. Medical leaves are normally for a period not to exceed one year, although they may be extended after review by the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board.

If the medical reason for the leave is expected to be a simple, acute, self-limiting condition, e.g. pregnancy, injury, the request and supporting letter from the physician or therapist should be sent to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, who will present it to the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board. If a second medical leave is requested for the same condition, it will automatically be considered to have become more complex (see below).

If the medical reason for the leave is expected to be chronic or more complex, the student must apply for the leave through the Academic Accommodations/Achievement Committee (AAC), which will review the case and will present it to the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board for consideration once the committee feels it has enough evidence to support a medical leave.

III. Parental Leave: Maternal, Paternal, Adoptive, etc.
Students may request Parental Leaves of Absence, with or without extensions of their academic program, to fulfill parental responsibilities. Requests should be discussed with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and will require approval of the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board (Basic or Clinical).

 

B. SCHOOL INITIATED
A student with academic deficiencies may, under certain circumstances, be placed on an Administrative Leave for a specified time, either to bring the student’s schedule back into synchrony with the curriculum, or to require or allow specific support activities (e.g., counseling, remedial reading or other background courses, etc.)

A student appealing a Board recommendation which makes that student ineligible to progress academically shall be placed on an administrative extension during which the student will be ineligible to attend classes and will not be charged tuition for the semester which begins while the situation is under appeal. The tuition refund policy will apply for changes to administrative extension that occur during a semester.

 

C. RETURN FROM A LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Return from a medical leave requires a supporting letter from the student’s physician or therapist and approval of the Board.

The student is responsible for contacting the appropriate departments to make any necessary arrangements before returning to school.  More specifically, the student must contact the Registrar Office thirty (30) days prior to the start of courses to make arrangements for the pre-registration of classes. In addition, for a student returning to a clinical year, the Office of Student Affairs must be notified no later than January 31 of the academic year preceding the academic year of return, in order to participate in the appropriate core clinical or fourth year/advanced studies EVOS. Students will not be permitted to take required sub-internships until all prerequisites have been successfully completed. Students participating in financial aid programs must also contact the Office of Financial Aid for specific details.

A student who fails to attend the Medical School regularly or fails to return from a Leave of Absence, in spite of notification by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, will be considered to have withdrawn voluntarily from Medical School and cannot be reinstated without positive action of the Committee on Admissions.

Matriculating Student Status
Beginning with the Academic Year 2015/16, students must be registered for and maintain a minimum enrollment of 9 credit hours during the semester in order to maintain active student status (eligibility for course credit, malpractice insurance, financial aid, etc.) (rev. 060315)

Conditions for a Leave of Absence are as follows:
A Leave of Absence for personal or medical reasons is normally for a period not to exceed one year and may be renewed only by the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board on appeal by the student.

Students in our combined MD/PhD are by definition on leave during their research time, but are not required to apply annually for extension of their leave and are not held to the 4 year maximum by the SOM. Any maximum on-leave time devoted to dissertation research for MD/PhD students will be determined by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Students pursing another degree (e.g. MPH, MBA, etc.) or participating in a program at an external agency or institution must get approval from the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board and reapply for extension annually of their leave. The same appropriate Academic Evaluation Board reserves the right to reverse its permission to pursue another degree or participate in a program at an external agency or institution.

The number of years of Leaves of Absence shall not exceed two academic years (4 semesters) unless the student is pursuing another degree either at UMass or through a previously approved program at an external agency or institution.

A student will be considered to be making satisfactory progress towards the MD degree if the following percentage of the curriculum is met:

  • End of first year of enrollment 10% of curriculum
  • End of second year of enrollment 20% of curriculum
  • End of third year of enrollment 30% of curriculum
  • End of fourth year of enrollment 50% of curriculum
  • End of fifth year of enrollment 75% of curriculum
  • End of sixth year of enrollment 100% of curriculum

Percentage of curriculum completed will be calculated based on the percentage of the curriculum which would normally be completed in 4 years.

Exceptions to the maximum number of years (6 enrollment/2 leave) can be made only in circumstances of extraordinary medical or person- al hardship, on appeal to the appropriate Academic Evaluation Board.

6/10 approved by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC)