Leave of Absence and Withdrawal

Leave of Absence

  • You are limited to two one-year leaves of absence.
  • A leave of absence (LOA) can begin at any time. If an LOA starts in the middle of a semester, after the add/drop deadline, you must also completely withdraw from any course(s) you are enrolled in.
  • You can return from an LOA only at the start of a term. You can apply once preregistration opens in the term you will resume studies or 30 days before the beginning of the term in which you wish to return.
  • Obtaining an LOA may affect your health insurance coverage and your stipend payments. The rules are a little complex, and how you may be affected depends on when you start your leave.
    • Talk to your program administrator in advance to understand any potential impact on these critical areas.
    • You should review the Emory University Student Health Insurance Plan information for health insurance coverage and contact Student Health Services with plan-specific questions.
    • For stipend payment-specific questions, you or your program administrator may need to contact LGS Funding.
  • Please note that your leave will go into effect on the last day you attended class.

The official request for an LOA does not ask you why you are requesting a leave. We encourage you to discuss and document those reasons and your return plan with your advisor and/or Director of Graduate Studies.

Before you Apply:

  • Provide a written request for an LOA to your Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies / Program Director (DGS/PD).
  • You, your advisor, and your DGS/PD should discuss these items so you have a common understanding of your situation:
    • Reasons for taking the leave.
    • How the leave may affect timely progress through program and LGS requirements.
    • How the leave will affect stipend payments and health insurance coverage.
    • The date of the final stipend payment before the leave becomes effective.
    • If applicable, international students should include a summary of any communication with ISSS.
    • If applicable, veterans who wish to take a LOA must contact the Office of the Registrar at registr@emory.edu.
  • Summarize the discussion in an email to your Advisor and DGS/PD and confirm your understanding with them.  You will need to attach this email to your request for an LOA.

The steps for submitting the above information are below.  Once you apply for an LOA, your request will be reviewed by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Final approval rests with the Dean. Decision notifications are sent to the student, the program, the LGS funding team, ISSS (if the student is international), and the Registrar (if the student is a veteran).

How to Apply for a Leave of Absence:

  1. Set up a meeting with an LGS Student Affairs Team member to initiate the process. Please email Jennifer M. Cason or Emily Neutens.
  2. Along with your form, you will be required to upload a written record of your discussion with your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies on the following items:
    • A plan and timeline of your return that outlines timely academic progress.
    • How the leave will affect stipend payments and health insurance coverage when you return.
    • The date of final stipend payment before the leave.
    • A summary of communication with ISSS, if applicable.
  3. Complete the Leave of Absence Request form in in the Laney Connect Hub, in the "Enrollment" section.  Log in with your Emory credentials and follow the instructions to locate and submit the form.
  4. You and your program administrator will receive a confirmation email when you submit the form.
  5. If you are starting a leave of absence in the middle of the term, you will need to withdraw from all the courses you are enrolled in. To do this, you will need to enter into the Leave of Absence form (1) the course subject and number, and (2) the course instructor and instructor email, for each course you are enrolled in.

LGS will process your request.  When the process is complete, we will send an email notification to you, your program, LGS Funding, and, if applicable, to ISSS and the Registrar.

Withdrawal: Temporary or Permanent

If you withdraw during the semester, you must obtain the signatures of all instructor(s) in the course(s) you withdraw from.  If you withdraw from all your courses and intend to stay enrolled in your program and the Laney Graduate School, you must request a leave of absence. 

For detailed policies, consult the LGS Handbook.

How to Withdraw:

  1. If you are withdrawing from a course and not from the entire degree program, please confirm with your program administrator that this is not a course required for your degree, and if it is, please be sure to plan accordingly to take it in the future.
  2. If you withdraw from a course, please proceed to the Laney Connect Hub and follow the withdrawal process.
  3. If you are withdrawing from your entire program, we should schedule a brief 15-30mins meeting before you submit the withdrawal form. 

LGS will process your request and let you know when the process is complete.