VII.A. Personal Leave of Absence

Students who find it necessary to interrupt their studies may apply in writing to the Graduate School for a personal leave of absence. A “personal leave of absence” is defined as any leave of absence other than one granted for medical reasons or for military service. Such requests should be submitted at least one week prior to the first day of the semester in which the leave is to be taken, and must be submitted no later than the last day of the Add/Drop period. The student's department or program must approve the request for a leave. When properly approved and officially entered on the transcript, a leave of absence satisfies the Graduate School's registration requirement. It may not, however, confer the registration or residency status necessary to qualify for financial aid or to meet visa requirements. International students should consult with their International Student Advisor in the Office of Global Services before requesting a leave in order to ensure that their visa requirements will be satisfied.

A total of no more than four semesters of personal leave of absence are allowed in a student's graduate career at Georgetown University, whether taken at the master's or the doctoral level. Up to two semesters of leave may be granted at any one time. The length of time that would otherwise be permitted to complete all requirements for a degree and to graduate generally will be extended by one semester for each semester of approved leave of absence, but approved leaves of absence will not extend the period during which a student will receive promised funding. Leaves of absence for medical reasons and for military leave, when properly approved, will not be counted against the four-semester limit for leaves of absence.

No degree requirements can be completed during leaves of absence, nor can a student graduate during a leave of absence. However, leaves of absence will not alter deadlines relating to the completion of specific course requirements, such as deadlines for completing work in a course for which an "Incomplete" grade was received.

Once doctoral candidacy has been achieved, the Graduate School will consider requests for a personal leave of absence only if the reasons for requesting the leave would otherwise prevent the student from making significant progress on the dissertation. Such reasons might include illness, family emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances. Employment and related obligations are not themselves conditions that would normally warrant an exception. A personal leave of absence will not be granted simply for the purpose of extending the time permitted to complete the dissertation.

VII.B. Medical Leave of Absence

The University recognizes that students may experience medical situations that significantly limit their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In those situations,including pregnancy, students should consider requesting a medical leave of absence (MLOA), which permits students to take a break from University life and their studies, so that they may receive treatment and later return to the University with an enhanced opportunity to achieve their academic and cocurricular goals. Students interested in an MLOA should contact their academic Dean’s office as well as the Student Health Center or Counseling and Psychiatric Service (CAPS).

Medical leaves are administered according to the University Policy on Medical Leaves. A link to the policy statement can be found on the website of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at:

All requests for an MLOA will be reviewed by the medical staff of the appropriate Student Health service so that they can make a recommendation to the Graduate School concerning the request. Students are encouraged to contact either the Student Health Center or Counseling and Psychiatric Service before submitting a petition requesting an MLOA, if they have not done so, the petition and any supporting documentation will be forwarded to the appropriate Student Health service. The medical staff may require additional information from the student or the student’s caregiver before making their recommendation.

All students planning to return from an MLOA must contact both the Graduate School and the appropriate Student Health center in advance of their return. Once again, the medical staff may require additional information from the student or caregiver before making a recommendation regarding the request to return. Additional information regarding the MLOA process through the Student Health Center or Counseling and Psychiatric Service, respectively, is available at:

Approved periods of medical leave will extend the time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate. After two semesters of medical leave, the leave must be renewed annually.

VII.C. U.S. Military Service Leave and Re-Enrollment Policy

Georgetown University recognizes that students who serve in the U.S. armed forces may encounter situations in which military obligations force them to withdraw from a course of study and that this can sometimes happen with little notice. This policy applies to all University schools and programs and is intended to recognize, and make appropriate allowances for, students who find themselves in such situations.

1. Military Leave and Refund Procedures

A. Definition

For purposes of this policy, a “military service leave” is a University-approved withdrawal from all in-progress University classes that is necessitated by service, whether voluntary or involuntary, in the United States Armed Forces, including service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, active duty, active duty for training, or full-time National Guard duty under Federal authority, for a period of more than thrity consecutive days under a call or order to active duty of more than thirty consecutive days.

B. Student Responsibilities

A student who is called to active duty or active service in a branch of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserve) and wishes to take a military service leave must provide the University with advanced notice of such service and the intention to take a leave of absence. As soon as possible, after receiving military orders that require withdrawal from a program or course of study, a student must contact their academic dean to request a formal leave of absence and attach a copy of the military orders or other appropriate documentation to the request. This advanced notice can be made by the student or may be made by an appropriate officer of the U.S. Armed Forces or official of the U.S. Department of Defense to the University Registrar, but the student is responsible for making sure the dean receives notice. The notice need not include a statement of an intention to return to the University. If military necessity renders it impossible to provide advance notice to their academic dean, the student may initiate a military service leave by providing notice at the first reasonable opportunity, in writing, personally signed, and with a copy of the military orders attached.

C. University Procedures

Upon receiving notice of a student’s request to withdraw from the University or a program or drop all enrolled courses because of military obligations, the dean shall promptly contact the campus registrar. The campus registrar will review the request and initiate the military service leave of absence by notifying the Office of Student Financial Services and the Office of Student Accounts or equivalent offices at the Law School and Medical Center. The Office of Student Financial Services (or equivalent) will review the student’s eligibility for financial aid funds received before the time of withdrawal and inform the student about the status of their financial aid and actions required to defer loan repayments based on military obligations. Students who are granted a military service leave will receive a 100% refund of tuition and fees charged for the semester or academic term in which they withdraw, but will be charged for housing and meal plan expenses already incurred. If the University determines that it is appropriate to award academic credit for work completed in the semester or academic term in which a student takes military service leave, the student shall not receive a refund for the portion of the course of study for which academic credit is awarded. No refund will be provided until the University receives a copy of the military orders necessitating the withdrawal. Students who are granted a military service leave may be on leave for up to five academic years, after which an extension may be granted with their dean’s approval. To apply for an extension, students must contact their dean. Students who do not request an extension will be withdrawn from the University and at a later date may choose to seek readmission. To seek readmission at a later date, students must contact their dean.

2. Military Re-Enrollment Procedures

A. Definition

For purposes of this policy, a “military re-enrollment” is a University-approved re-enrollment after a military service leave.

B. Student Responsibilities

A student who has taken military service leave from the University or has had studies interrupted because of active duty or active service in a branch of the United States Armed Forces and wishes to re-enroll must notify the University of the intent to return to resume a course of study upon conclusion of duty or service and present appropriate documentation prior to the semester in which the student is requesting re-enrollment. To qualify for military re-enrollment, a student must provide notice to the University of the intention to re-enroll within three years of the time they are discharged from military service or is placed on inactive duty. Notice should be provided in writing to the appropriate academic dean in accordance with the program’s re-enrollment leave of absence process and should include documentation (including an official certificate of release or discharge, a copy of duty orders, or other appropriate documentation) to confirm/(verify) the student’s withdrawal was related to service in the uniformed services and that the student is able to resume studies.[1] Military re-enrollment guarantees a student who meets these requirements access to the same course of study thy were in at the time of withdrawal without incurring a re-enrollment fee, unless a student receives a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge or has been sentenced in a court-martial.[2] Any student who, because of military necessity, did not give written or oral notice of service to their academic dean or the campus registrar prior to withdrawal, may, at the time the student seeks readmission, submit documentation that the student served in a branch of the U.S. Armed Services that necessitated the student’s absence from the University.

C. University Procedures

A student who meets the notice requirements set forth herein will be granted military re-enrollment in the semester following the notice of intent to return, or, if the student chooses, at the beginning of the next full academic year. Upon returning to the University, the student will resume their course of study without repeating completed coursework and will have the same enrollment status and academic standing as before the military leave. If the student is readmitted to the same program, during the first academic year in which the student returns, the student will be assessed the same tuition and fee charges that the student was or would have been assessed during the academic year in which the student left the institution.[3] However, for the first academic year in which the student returns, the University may assess an amount up to the amount of tuition and fee charges that other students in the program are currently assessed for that academic year if the student’s veterans' education benefits[4] or other service member education benefits will pay the amount in excess of the tuition and fee charges assessed for the academic year in which the student left the institution.

If, in the judgment of the University, a student is not academically prepared to resume a course of study in which they were previously enrolled, or is unprepared to complete a program, the University will determine whether reasonable means are available to help the student become prepared. The University may deny the student re-enrollment if it determines that reasonable efforts are not available, or that such efforts have failed to prepare the student to resume the course of study or complete the program. A student who has been away from the University on military service for more than five years (including all previous absences for military service obligations after initial enrollment but including only time the student spends actually performing service in the uniformed services) will not be guaranteed military re-enrollment, but they may petition their dean for consideration of military re-enrollment.[5] A student who chooses at the conclusion of military service to enroll in a different course of study than the one the student was in at the time of military withdrawal must complete the regular admission and enrollment process for that course of study.


[1]. The University shall determine the adequacy of documentation with reference to 34. C.F.R. Sec. 668.18(g).

[2]. The appropriate point in a course or program for a student to resume studies, the timing of re-enrollment, and the determination of the “same course of study” will be determined by the University, taking into account the unique characteristics and requirements of that course or program and the modes in which it is offered (e.g., non-degree vs. degree, evening vs. day program, special program vs. standard program). If the program in which the student was enrolled has been discontinued or is no longer offered, the University will enroll the student in the program that it determines to be most similar to that program or in a different program for which the student is qualified. If the student is admitted to a different program, and for subsequent academic years for a student admitted to the same program, the University shall assess tuition and fee charges that are no greater than other students in the program are assessed for that academic year.

[3]. The appropriate tuition and fee amounts will be reflected on the bill that the student receives.

[4]. As defined in section 480(c) of the HEA.

[5]. This cumulative leave of absence restriction shall be interpreted and applied with reference to 34 C.F.R. Sec. 668.18(c) and (e), which set forth rules for calculating cumulative absence due to military service.

VII.D. Parental Leave Policy for Graduate Students

The Graduate School offers support for graduate students who need to take leave in connection with the birth of or full-time care of a new child during their period of enrollment. The goal in offering this support is to allow graduate students to continue their studies with as little disruption as possible. Parental leave is intended to enable the graduate student to continue to make progress toward their degree. Consequently, it does not grant additional semesters of funding, although under certain circumstances funding may be deferred. Nor does it change the length of time permitted to complete degree requirements and to graduate. This policy requires communication and cooperation in good faith between the student seeking the leave, the faculty, and the student’s department.

The terms of the policy are as follows:

1. To be eligible for parental leave, the graduate student must be the primary and full-time caregiver of a newborn child or a child five years old or younger newly placed in the home.

2. The graduate student must submit a written request no less than three months before the expected date of the start of the leave to the Graduate School’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

3. Graduate students may take up to six weeks of parental leave within the first six weeks immediately following the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The six weeks of parental leave must be taken consecutively immediately following the birth or placement of the new child. Students seeking parental leave shall provide documentation to the Graduate School sufficient to demonstrate that they are the full-time primary care provider of the child.

4. During parental leave, the graduate student may attend classes and work on course assignments to the extent possible, but their program director should advise the professors in these courses to be flexible about attendance and assignment deadlines during the period of leave. Upon the student’s request, they will be granted Incompletes in these courses, with the understanding that the courses should be completed by the end of the following semester.

5. Graduate students may request a voluntary medical leave instead of, or in addition to, parental leave. Taking either a voluntary medical leave or a parental leave may have implications for a student’s health insurance. Students should consult with the Student Health Insurance office prior to requesting either option. Approved periods of medical leave will extend the time permitted to complete requirements for the degree and to graduate.

6. International students should consult with the Office of Global Services about the visa consequences of receiving either voluntary medical leave or parental leave. This consultation should occur prior to the submission of the request for parental leave to the Graduate School.

Students supported by external research grants, fellowships, or awards must follow the policies of their funding agency. Many funding agencies and organizations defer to the institutional policies of the student’s university, but if a funding agency or organization has its own policy, the rules of the granting agency or organization will prevail. If fellowship benefits are suspended or deferred during this period, and the appropriate documentation is submitted, the Graduate School will assume funding responsibility for the period during which the student is on an approved parental leave.

VII.E. Leave Policies for Graduate Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants, and Teaching Associates

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), graduate assistants are entitled to the following Holidays, Personal Days, and Leaves:

1. Holidays and Personal Time Off

a. The University’s academic holiday schedule applies to graduate assistants. The requirements for notice on the part of both supervisor and student in cases where work is essential on holidays are spelled in detail in the CBA.

b. Supervisors may not deny a graduate assistant’s request for a reasonable number of days off. The specifics of this provision are set forth in the CBA.

2. Medical Leave from Assistantship

a. A leave of absence is defined as any period of longer than five days during which the University excuses a Graduate Student Assistant from their Graduate Student Assistant responsibilities.

b. A doctoral Graduate Student Assistant may elect to continue to receive their assistantship stipend during a medical leave of absence of up to six weeks in length in one continuous academic year, or take unpaid leave for an entire semester and defer funding to an additional semester.

c. If a student is enrolled in health insurance, it will continue during the period of leave.

3. Parental Leave

a. A doctoral Graduate Student Assistant may elect to continue to receive their assistantship stipend for up to six weeks of paid leave within four months following the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child of five years or younger.

b. Alternatively, a doctoral student can take unpaid leave and defer funding for one semester.

4. Family Leave

a. A doctoral Graduate Student Assistant will not continue to receive their assistantship stipend during a period of family leave, but they will receive an extension of their period of support equal to the duration of their family leave.

Tuition, health and dental insurance will be part of the benefit package for Ph.D. Graduate Assistants.