Medical Leave of Absence
A medical leave of absence may be requested for serious mental and/or physical conditions that prevent a student from functioning successfully or safely as a member of the University community. A medical leave of absence provides students up to one year of relief from coursework and time-to-degree requirements (except for the Sturm College of Law students). Generally, a student may request a medical leave of absence a total of two times while enrolled in an educational program at DU. Students may apply up to the last published day of the term. In addition, if the medical leave is approved, tuition for the quarter in which the student begins the leave may be refunded. Medical withdrawal is not intended as a strategy to shield a student from unsatisfactory progress or any other academic irregularity. Any student on a medical leave of absence may not enroll for any courses at any institution unless required as a part of the health care plan.
Transfer of credit toward a DU degree for courses taken while on leave is not guaranteed. A medical leave of absence is only allowed for students who are dealing with their own personal health circumstances. Students seeking a leave of absence for other reasons may apply for a personal leave of absence and refer to the forms and polices for a leave of absence.
Processing a Medical Leave of Absence
- The complete Application for Medical Leave of Absence for Graduate Students and all relevant medical documentation must be submitted within two weeks of the last date the student attended classes and no later than the published last day of the term.
- If the documents (Application for Medical Leave of Absence for Graduate Students and official medical documentation) are submitted and approved before the end of the sixth week of the term, all courses will be dropped, the relevant departments will be notified on the student’s behalf, and tuition refunded.
- If the completed application and supporting medical documentation are submitted and approved after the sixth week of the regular academic term and before the published last day of the term, the student may be required to petition separately for a late withdrawal from courses and file a formal appeal for a tuition refund. For summer, interterm or intensive short courses, please refer to the Academic Calendar on the Office of the Registrar’s website for current add/drop dates.
- Students may not apply for a Medical Leave of Absence for a term which has ended. Please contact the Office of the Graduate Studies to discuss what options might be available for future terms.
- Students must also complete a HIPAA-compliant consent form with their healthcare provider to give permission to the University’s Health and Counseling Center and Office of Graduate Studies for release of the information by the provider. Students get this form from their treating provider. Information provided to the University as part of a Medical Leave of Absence will be considered confidential and will be released only in circumstances described by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA).
Appropriate medical documentation must be submitted with the Application for Medical Leave of Absence for Graduate Students and must include the following:
- a signed and dated letter, on clinic letterhead, from a medical care provider appropriate for the medical condition indicated
- diagnosis of the condition and how the condition prohibits the student from attending classes and/or completing coursework and indicating confirmation of significant functional impairments that warrant withdrawing from all courses for the term
Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence
As a condition of accepting a medical leave of absence or a tuition refund for medical reasons, students agree to obtain appropriate medical treatment before returning to the University. To be eligible to return, students must submit documentation from an appropriate health care provider. At least two weeks before the start of the term a student plans to return to classes, the following items must be submitted:
- a signed and dated letter, on clinic letterhead, from a medical care provider appropriate for the medical condition indicating the student, at the time of the evaluation by the health care provider, is medically able to resume study at the University
- the health care provider must also submit a completed Health Care Provider Questionnaire, available from the Office of Graduate Studies.
The Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, or the Associate Provost’s designee, has final determination as to whether the documentation the student has submitted is sufficient.
It is the student’s responsibility to submit medical documentation and necessary letters/forms with sufficient time to allow for processing and priority registration if approved to return. All other provisions for returning to the University apply (e.g., registration holds, etc.).
If a graduate student has not been approved to return to study within one calendar year of taking the leave, the degree time limit is reinstated, and the student will be placed on inactive status until the time to degree expires and/or the appropriate documentation is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies required to return from a medical leave of absence. Students may be eligible to reapply.
All other provisions and procedures for non-medical Leaves of Absence apply. Please review the general (personal) leave of absence policies for more information.