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 your best interest to consider some time away, 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.

Students who are considering applying for an academic, medical or personal leave of absence should keep in mind the following:

  • 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 they must earn at least 64 Mount Holyoke credits during these semesters. The 64 Mount Holyoke credits can include Five College credits taken during the academic year through the interchange (not while on leave).
  • Financial aid recipients should visit the Office of Student Financial Services for information on financial aid and student accounts prior to applying for a leave of absence in order to understand how taking a leave might affect aid eligibility in future years, if there is any tuition account balance due, or if any student loans will enter repayment.
  • International students attending the College on an F1 visa or other visa status must consult with the immigration specialist at the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before applying for leave, as a student’s immigration status will be affected by any leave.
  • Typically an approved leave of absence is no less than one semester and no more than four semesters.
  • Students should discuss a potential leave with their faculty advisor, academic dean, family members, or other contacts, such as health or counseling staff.
  • A student may be required by the College to take a mandated leave of absence.
  • When a leave is effective as of the first day of classes or later, withdrawn courses will remain on the transcript with a “W” notation.
  • A student on leave is not entitled to participate in any College program or activity, including student employment. Students are still welcome to visit on campus, unless placed on mandatory leave or other restrictive condition.

Leave Types

Academic leave includes study abroad, all exchange programs, and full-time study at other U.S. colleges and universities.

Personal leave is for students who plan to be away for a variety of personal reasons that may include but are not limited to employment, travel and/or financial concerns. Students on personal leave may earn up to 16 credits per semester of academic credit at an accredited institution within the United States, with approval from the registrar.

Medical leave is intended for students who are temporarily unable to continue their studies due to their own health issues. During medical leave, students may earn up to 16 credits per semester of academic credit at an accredited institution within the United States, with approval from the registrar.

Mandatory leave is required time away from the College that is related to difficulty meeting Mount Holyoke’s academic or behavioral standards.