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Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, and Readmission Policies

Leave of Absence Policy

The University requires degree students to be continuously registered every semester until all degree requirements have been met unless a leave of absence has been approved. Degree students who intend to become inactive must submit a request for a leave of absence online. The request for leave of absence requires written approval from the student’s advisor Leaves of absence are normally approved for up to one year.

Eligible degree students who wish to request a leave of absence must submit the online Leave of Absence Request Form prior to the term when the leave is desired (if possible), or at least during the drop/request period of the semester. Failure to register for coursework, master’s thesis or dissertation status without permission from the University does not constitute a leave of absence. If students request a leave after the beginning of the semester, normal drop and withdrawal deadlines apply. Leaves of absence will not be granted retroactively for terms when students failed to register or request a leave. The granting of a leave of absence does not change the time limit for completing degree requirements. Time spent in military service or on Family & Medical Leave (FMLA) does not count under the time limit. 

Students may not register for courses, submit assignments to faculty, request a change of grade, hold dissertation hearings, sit for exams or graduate during a leave of absence. Additionally, students on leave of absence do not have to access to Penn or PennGSE resources. Students on an approved leave of absence who wish to retain access to Penn’s facilities (in particular, the library) must pay a fee per term of absence. This fee is added to the Student Financial Services bill by the PennGSE Registrar. Students who are interested in this option should contact the PennGSE Student Records Office (gse-sro@gse.upenn.edu). Students returning from leave of absence must notify the Student Records Office in order to  register and return to active status. Once written permission has been granted by the Assistant Dean for Student Services for the semester(s) in question, the Student Records Office will register the student.

Note: Doctoral students may request leave up until their oral proposal hearing. PhD students must have departmental approval for a leave of absence. Students who have defended their oral proposal are not eligible for leave of absence except for family leave, military leave, or medical leave that is approved. 

Note: Students can request a leave of absence only after they have matriculated to Penn GSE. New students who need leave before the end of their first add/drop period can defer enrollment but cannot officially take a leave of absence. 

Find the Request for Leave of Absence Form here.

University Family Leave of Absence Policy 

A student in the Ph.D. program at Penn may take an unpaid Family Leave of Absence for the birth or adoption of a child, child care, or care of an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition. Learn more about University policies in the Penn Book. Find the Request for Leave of Absence Form here.

Eligible degree students who want a leave of absence must submit a request to the Assistant Dean for Student Services prior to the term when the leave is desired (if possible). Leaves of absence will not be granted retroactively for terms when students failed to register or request a leave. The granting of a leave of absence does not change the time limit for completing degree requirements. Time spent in military service or on Family & Medical Leave (FMLA) does not count under the time limit.

Students may not register for courses, hold dissertation hearings, sit for exams or graduate during a leave of absence. Students returning from leave of absence must notify the Student Records Office in order to be reactivated as current students. Students with grants to undertake

dissertation research abroad that do not provide home institution fees, and who wish to maintain the University Health Insurance Plan may obtain a special registration status entitled “Dissertation Research Abroad.” This special status allows the student to remain registered, but does not incur tuition charges. Once written permission has been granted by the Assistant Dean for the semester(s) in question, the Student Records Office will register the student.

Withdrawal

A student who intends to terminate candidacy for a degree at the Graduate School of Education should formally withdraw from the School by filling out the Withdrawal Request form. The effective date of separation from the University is the date on which the student files a request for withdrawal unless a future date is specified on the form. Students are responsible for tuition charges and other financial obligations to the University incurred before the effective date of withdrawal. 

Admissions Policy for Former Students

Former students who wish to resume their studies should contact the Office of Student Services to discuss their particular circumstances. The Office of Student Services will then advise students on the appropriate next steps for reapplication. If the former student desires to have previous coursework count toward the desired degree program, the student needs to state those wishes in their application and the program will make a recommendation upon admission decision. If the program recommends that the student should be able to count previous coursework, a petition needs to be submitted to the Committee on Degrees.

Contact the Penn GSE Office of Student Services

Office of Student Services

gse-contactsa@gse.upenn.edu

Ann Tiao

Assistant Dean of Student Services
atiao@gse.upenn.edu
(215) 898-7019

Imani Harvin

Associate Director and Case Manager for Student Services
imanij@upenn.edu 
(215) 573-2872

Whitney Jones

Coordinator for Student Services
whjones@upenn.edu 
(215) 898-6456