3.9: Leaves of Absence, Discontinuation and Reinstatement

A Leave of Absence is required for any term of the academic year (Autumn, Winter, Spring) for which a student does not wish to enroll in classes at Stanford University. Students wishing to take a Leave of Absence should first complete the Leave of Absence eForm through Axess.

Leave of Absence eForms must be submitted in advance of the preliminary study list deadline of the requested quarter.

Students who do not meet the requirement for continuous registration during the academic year must obtain an approved leave of absence, in advance, for the term(s) they will not be registered. The Leave of Absence must be reviewed for approval by the School of Medicine Registrar’s Office, and if the student is in the United States on a foreign student visa, by the Bechtel International Center. The granting of a Leave of Absence is at the discretion of the School of Medicine and is subject to review by the Office of the University Registrar. The University may condition its approval of a petition for a Leave of Absence on the student’s meeting such requirements as the University deems appropriate in the individual case for the student to be eligible to return.

Leaves of Absence are granted at the discretion of the School of Medicine, and are granted for a maximum of one calendar year. Leaves requested for a longer period are approved only in exceptional circumstances. Extension requests must be made to the Committee on Performance, Professionalism and Promotion before the expiration of the original Leave of Absence. Leaves of Absence may not exceed a cumulative total of two years.

New students may not take a Leave of Absence during their first quarter. However, new students may request a deferment; whether to grant or deny the requested deferment is at the discretion of the School of Medicine.  

Students on Leaves of Absence are not registered at Stanford, and therefore do not have the rights and privileges of registered students.  They cannot fulfill any official department or University requirements during the leave period.

NOTE:   Students taking an approved Leave of Absence have not ended their relationship with the University. A student who is granted a Leave of Absence in Autumn for which the effective date of the Leave is prior to the first day of class will not be charged health insurance as they will not be eligible for Cardinal Care. Their eligibility will resume when they return and register for classes. A student who is granted a Leave of Absence for which the effective date for the leave is on or after the first day of the quarter and they are enrolled in Cardinal Care will remain enrolled for the plan year. Students with questions about this process can contact the Insurance Referral Office at Vaden Health Center at (650) 723-2135. Under some limited circumstances students on Leave of Absence may be able to make special arrangements to continue their university housing; students will need to deal directly with the relevant University offices involved to do so.

For more information see the Leave of Absence section of the Stanford Bulletin

Childbirth Academic Accommodation Period

See University Policies: 5.9.1 Pregnancy, Childbirth and Adoption: Policy

Discontinuation and Reinstatement

A student’s academic degree program may be discontinued if the student:

  • Fails to be enrolled by the study list deadline; or
  • Fails to be approved for a leave of absence by the start of the term; or
  • Voluntarily terminates graduate studies; or
  • Is dismissed from graduate students for academic reasons; or
  • Is expelled from the University

Students who fail to be either enrolled by the final study list deadline or approved for a Leave of Absence by the start of a term or after voluntary withdrawal are required to apply for reinstatement through the Graduate Admissions Office before they can return to the same degree program.

The decision to approve or deny reinstatement is made by the Committee on Performance, Professionalism and Promotion (CP3) which is not obliged to approve reinstatement of students. Reinstatement decisions may be based on the applicant’s academic status when last enrolled, activities while away from campus, the length of the absence, the perceived potential for successful completion of the program, and the ability of the school to support the student both academically and/or financially, as well as any other factors or considerations regarded as relevant. In addition, the School of Medicine retains the right to condition reinstatement on such academic or other conditions as it deems appropriate.

Reinstatement information is available from the School of Medicine Registrar’s office and the application is available at https://stanford.app.box.com/v/appgradreinstate. Reinstatement applications must be submitted 60 days prior to the first day of the term for which reenrollment is requested. Successful applicants will be billed the reinstatement fee. 


updated September 2020