Undergraduate Student Handbook

Leave of Absence

Students who wish to take a leave from their studies can request a Leave of Absence (LOA.)  All leaves must be approved by the SEAS Office of Academic Programs, and the School may stipulate conditions for the leave and the subsequent return.

Dual degree students must submit the request to their home school.

If you are not in good standing or have a disciplinary action pending against you, your request may require special approval.

When requesting a leave for medical reasons, you must submit documentation from your health care provider and you may be required to consult with Student Health Service (SHS) and/or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as needed.

While on leave, you cannot receive Penn transfer credit for courses taken at another institution. There may be some circumstances that permit requests to transfer credit while on leave. Specific requests must be made in writing to the Associate Dean for Education prior to doing so.

If you are not in good academic standing when requesting a leave, you will have the same status when you return (e.g. academic probation.)

If you receive financial aid, you should determine the financial aid impacts of a leave by looking at the Student Financial Services website and speaking with your assigned financial aid counselor.

In addition you may need to contact various other offices (such as housing, dining, etc.) to prepare for your leave. More information can be found at the following site:


While on leave, your Penncard will be automatically deactivated. However, you will continue to have access to Penn-in-Touch.

The form to request a SEAS LOA can be downloaded from this link: http://www.seas.upenn.edu/undergraduate/pdf/ug-loa-request.pdf

Discontinuance of study without permission from the University does not constitute a leave of absence.


Students must submit a written request for a return from a leave of absence. This is done using the form available from the following link: http://www.seas.upenn.edu/undergraduate/pdf/ug-loa-return-request.pdf

In addition, students may need to contact various offices to prepare for the return: http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/special-polices/policies-leave-of-absence.html


The maximum time allowed for a Leave of Absence is two academic years, or four academic semesters, not including summer sessions. Students may request an extension beyond two years as needed. Students who do not contact the Office of Academic Programs prior to the two-year period to request an extension will be automatically withdrawn from the University.


While on LOA and not registering for courses, you may still utilize the Library and/or the Recreational Facilities by requesting and paying a Special Service Fee. If you wish only to access the Library or the Library plus e-access (printing and borrowing access), there are fees for both of these options. Please contact Elizabeth Gentner in the Office of Academic Programs (111 Towne) for processing.

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