Requesting a Leave of Absence

  • Students must meet with an advisor in the College Office to discuss a leave request.
  • The student must submit a written request for leave of absence, detailing the reasons for the desired leave. 
  • The leave request will be evaluated by the College. If the request is approved, the College will stipulate conditions that must be met by the student before returning from leave.
  • The student will be notified with the result of the leave request. The College may deny any request for leave. In granting leaves, the decision of the College is final.
  • A student on leave may not be enrolled in Penn classes and will not receive credit for classes taken elsewhere during the leave unless special approval by the College is given. Students on leave may not live in University-owned housing during the term of their leave. In addition, a student may not participate in and/or hold a leadership position in a registered University organization.
  • Discontinuance of study without permission from the University does not constitute a leave of absence. Students who have requested a leave of absence for a given semester may still be dropped from the University rolls if their previous term's grades qualify them for this action.

Timing of Request

  • Students are encouraged to request a leave of absence before the beginning of the semester in question. Leaves requested after the beginning of the semester may be denied. If a student is granted a leave after the beginning of the semester in question, the normal drop and withdrawal deadlines apply.
  • Students who are granted a leave of absence after the first five weeks of the semester will receive the notation of W (withdrawal) after each course on their transcript. After the withdrawal deadline (10th week) a leave of absence will be granted only under extremely extenuating circumstances and with proper documentation.


  • The standard length of a College leave of absence is one full calendar year. Students may request an early return from leave after one full semester on leave, but should bear in mind that this request may be denied.
  • Students who remain on leave longer than two years and who do not respond to the University's attempts to contact them will be withdrawn from active status.

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