Leaves of Absence

Mount Holyoke grants leaves of absence to students who wish to take time away from the College. There are various reasons it might be in a student’s best interest to consider some time away from her home college, including study abroad or at another domestic institution, family issues, health issues, the desire to travel without receiving academic credit, or simply the need for a break.

If you are considering a leave of absence, please keep in mind that students must be in residence at Mount Holyoke for at least four semesters out of their sophomore, junior, and senior years to meet graduation requirements, and must earn at least 64 Mount Holyoke (including Five-College) credits during that time.  International students should consult with the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before finalizing their plans.

A student should discuss a potential leave with her faculty advisor, class dean, family members, and other contacts listed on these pages. Please note, when a leave is effective the first day of classes or later, withdrawn courses may remain on the transcript with a "W" notation, as the student is withdrawing from the whole program of courses for that semester.

Leaves of Absence Types and Descriptions

Academic Leaves

Academic leaves include study abroad, all exchange programs, and full-time or part-time study at other US colleges and universities. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives coordinates all applications for study abroad, while the Office of Academic Deans coordinates all other applications. 

Non-Academic Leaves

Non-academic leaves are for students who plan to be away for personal reasons (which might include employment, travel, financial concerns) or who wish to earn credit elsewhere but do not meet the requirements for academic leave. 

Medical Leaves

Medical leave is a category of non-academic leave and is intended for a student who is temporarily unable to continue her studies due to health issues. A medical leave of absence is granted by the director of college health services or the director of counseling services.

Financial Aid and Student Accounts

For information on financial aid and student accounts during a Leave of Absence, visit the Student Financial Services website.