Skip to main content
Vanderbilt Background Photo

Leave of Absence

All students are eligible to take a leave of absence, provided they have not been dropped by the university and are not dropped at the end of the semester during which they apply for leave. A student desiring a leave of absence should obtain application forms and instructions from the Office of Undergraduate Education in 350 Buttrick Hall, (615) 322-2844.

Leaves are granted for one semester or for a year. 

Categories and Conditions

Any student who wishes to take a leave of absence for personal reasons should first confer with an advising dean. Reasons for personal leave might include desire to travel, desire to work in some special program or project without academic credit, family problems, or desire to simply "find one's self" or gain a sense of direction.

In order to return to Vanderbilt, the student must register by the deadline.


Upon advice of an appropriate medical authority, a leave may be granted for one or two semesters by an advising dean.

In order to return to Vanderbilt, you must submit the following documents at least 45 days before the first day of classes of the semester for which you intend to return:

  • Medical provider report and release of information
  • A narrative describing your activities while on leave of absence
  • A short description of the academic and study plans that you have developed that will make your subsequent enrollment successful (e.g., specific plans for using your time well and a description of support services that you plan to use)

The Office of Student Health and Wellness, in consultation with the dean, will review the paperwork and determine whether the condition requiring the medical withdrawal has been corrected sufficiently to allow you to resume your academic career at Vanderbilt successfully. The Dean’s Office will give final approval for class registration.


Any student who feels that financial reasons prevent a return to Vanderbilt may be granted a leave of absence for one or two semesters by an advising dean.

In order to return to Vanderbilt, the student must present to an advising dean, at least one week prior to the first day of classes of the intended semester of return, a written statement that the student is capable of meeting the financial obligations of a full-time student.

Additional Information
  • Each student applying should understand that return from a leave is not automatic, but rather it is subject to the conditions stated above.
  • A student on leave of absence will be sent registration materials for the intended semester of return. Final registration is contingent upon the fulfillment of the terms of the leave of absence.
  • A leave of absence will not be extended beyond one academic year.
  • A student who fails to return to Vanderbilt at the completion of an approved leave, or who has failed to comply with the terms of the leave of absence, shall be withdrawn from the university.
  • Each student should check with the Office of Housing and Residential Experience before going on leave.