Leave of Absence Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Leave of Absence?

From time to time, circumstances might compel students in the College to interrupt their enrolment. These breaks in enrolment are formally recognized as Leaves of Absence (LOA). A leave of absence might be for a variety of reasons, academic, personal or medical. Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their Assistant Dean. When taking a leave, students are advised of the conditions under which they might resume their studies in the College at a future date.

2. Is there such a thing as a Medical Leave of Absence?

There is no separate category of Leave of Absence. A student may be on Leave of Absence for medical reasons, both physical and non-physical.

Serious physical and non-physical medical conditions normally require weeks for recovery. The Assistant Dean Notes are not designed to cover long or frequent periods of illness. Students whose health challenges will require significant absences or delays in meeting assessment due dates will be advised to take a Leave of Absence.

A Leave of Absence for medical reasons will have reinstatement conditions attached.  The purpose of the reinstatement conditions is to ensure a student is fit and prepared to return to study. (See question 9 for more information.)

3. How can I determine whether I should take a Leave of Absence?

Students planning any leave should promptly consult with their Assistant Dean as soon as the need for the leave arises. Students may take a leave for a variety of reasons. For example, students may want to participate in an internship, pursue other interests, or have other personal or medical reasons. In case of Leave of Absence for medical reasons, family members as well as doctors or counsellors should also be consulted. The Assistant Dean will help a student to determine if a Leave of Absence will be beneficial for their health and academic goals.

4. How long is a Leave of Absence?

Students will normally receive permission to take a Leave of Absence for up to two semesters. In view of the nature and rigor of the academic program, it is the College’s expectation that students will not exceed two semesters of leave over the course of their time as a student, unless otherwise provided for by this policy.

5. What about in the case of mandatory military service?

Permission may be granted to extend a leave for up to four semesters for students fulfilling a military service requirement

6. When should I submit a request for leave?

Students are expected to submit an application for leave as soon as possible and no later than Week 13 of the semester prior to the intended leave semester. In circumstances such as the sudden onset of illness after Week 13, students should make contact with their Assistant Dean immediately.

7. Can the College require a student to take a Leave of Absence? Under what circumstances?

The Dean of Students may place a student on a Leave of Absence in the following cases:

  • The student has not registered as required at the beginning of each quarter.
  • The student withdraws from all courses.

In the above circumstances, the Leave of Absence will be effective immediately.

There are also rare circumstances under which the College will require a student to go on Leave of Absence for medical reasons.  In the majority of cases, students themselves declare that they are in a poor state of health and request a Leave of Absence to concentrate on recovery from physical illness or accident or an acute stage of a mental illness. However, there may be unusual cases in which a student does not recognize that they are in a poor state of health. In order to live on campus and attend classes, every student must be capable of independent living (i.e. able to function without the supervision of others) and not be a risk to harming themselves or others. The College’s foremost concern is for the health and safety of every student on campus.  Therefore, in the event that a student cannot care for themselves or is a danger to themselves or others in the community, the College will require the student to take a Leave of Absence.  The purpose of doing so is to support students with serious illness and allow them to take leave from their studies rather than compromise their health further.

8. Can students on Leave of Absence participate in CIPE programs?

Students who have been granted Leave of Absence may participate in CIPE advising and internship/career fairs during the period of the Leave of Absence with the permission of the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will consider the particular circumstances to ensure students have the opportunity they need to recover or prepare for their return.

Students are expected to resume their studies on the Yale-NUS campus in the semester immediately following the end of their LOA. Therefore, it is not possible for students on an LOA to go on study abroad in the next semester.

9. When must I return from Leave of Absence?

Students are expected to resume their studies on the Yale-NUS campus in the semester immediately following the end of their LOA.

10. What do I need to do to return to study after taking a Leave of Absence?

This depends on the reason for the leave and whether there are reinstatement conditions.

Where there are no reinstatement conditions, students should notify their Assistant Dean as early as possible of their intention to return to campus. The Assistant Dean will alert Registry to the change in status to allow the student to register for modules in the returning semester.

Students on Leave of Absence with reinstatement conditions will need to go through a reinstatement process. The purpose of reinstatement is to determine a student’s fitness to return to study, and to develop, jointly with the student, a plan for support upon return. As part of that process, students will normally be required to provide the College with documentation.  If the Leave of Absence was for medical reasons, the required documentation will be from health professionals, such as doctors or psychiatrists, and address the treatment plan during the Leave as well as the student’s current state of health. What documentation or other steps the student needs to take should be outlined when the Leave is granted.  Ask your Assistant Dean if you are unsure.

In some cases, the reinstatement committee may require the student take an additional Leave of Absence or return to study with conditions, e.g. seeing a College Counselor or taking a reduced module load.