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Leave of Absence

Students take time away from their studies for a wide variety of reasons including:

  • work on a political campaign
  • manage a medical concern
  • fulfill a family obligation
  • pursue career-related opportunities
  • complete military service
  • take a break

While interrupting your studies to take time away may seem intimidating, a leave is a means to the successful completion of a degree, not a barrier to graduating. Approximately 5% of each graduating class spends at least one semester on leave from Penn during their undergraduate studies. Almost all Penn students who take a leave of absence return and complete their degrees.

If you are considering a leave, take time to think carefully about your goals for your time away and for when you return. Speaking with an academic advisor is an important first step. Depending on your circumstances you should get advice from other sources as well. Students taking time away in order to manage a medical condition should discuss the leave with their healthcare provider. Your school advising office will help you connect with other campus resources as you prepare to take a leave of absence, such as Student Financial Services, Housing, and International Student and Scholar Services.

Students typically take a leave for a full academic year. Individual circumstances may require more or less time; the length of the leave is determined by the school. Students on leave should remain in contact with their advisor and update them about changes in plans. The return from leave process supports students in a successful re-entry to academic life at Penn. When preparing to return, students must consult their school advising office to develop a plan that includes connection with appropriate resources.

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A leave of absence for a period of up to one academic year may be granted when circumstances necessitate the interruption of academic work.  In unusual circumstances, and at the written request of the student, such leaves may be extended for no longer than one additional year.  This period may include either consecutive or nonconsecutive terms.

A leave of absence does not automatically change the time limit (5 years) for completion of the program.  Students who are on leave for more than two years in total may be withdrawn from the program and asked to re-apply.  These restrictions do not include time spent in the military.

BSN or MSN students who wish to take a leave from their studies must request a leave of absence using the Leave of Absence Request Form.  PhD students who are considering a leave of absence must meet with the Associate Director of Graduate Academic Affairs to review relevant policies and procedures.  All leaves must be approved by the School of Nursing in advance.  Students who are not in good standing or who have disciplinary action pending against them require special approval.  Discontinuance of study without permission from the University does not constitute a leave of absence.

Students who are requesting a leave of absence due to medical reasons will be required to provide supporting documentation and may be asked to consult with Student Health Service (SHS) and/or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as needed.

Once the leave of absence is approved and takes effect, the student’s PennCard will be deactivated, and access to University services and facilities will be restricted.

Students who are not in good academic standing at the time of the leave of absence will return to the same academic standing status they held (for example, probation) when they left.

Students cannot receive Penn transfer credit for courses taken at another institution while on leave of absence.

Financial reimbursement or credit may be issued when a leave is approved early in a semester.  Consideration for a tuition refund or credit is based on the number of the weeks completed in a semester.

Students who leave within the

Percentage Reduction in Tuition and Fees

First two weeks of class

100%

Third and fourth weeks of class

50%

Thereafter

0%


For information on refunds/credits for non-tuition charges (such as housing and dining), students should contact those offices directly.

Leave of Absence Deadlines

Students considering a leave of absence are strongly encouraged to request a leave prior to the start of the semester in question.  If a student has been granted a leave after the semester has started, the following deadlines apply:

  • Students who request a leave of absence prior to the drop deadline are responsible for dropping their courses in Penn InTouch.
  • Students who request a leave of absence after the drop deadline but prior to the withdrawal deadline will be withdrawn from their courses, with a notation of “W” on their transcript for those courses.
  • Requests to take a leave of absence after the withdrawal deadline will be considered only in extremely extenuating circumstances and only with the proper supporting documentation.
Requesting a Leave of Absence

To request a leave of absence:

  1. Meet with an advisor in the Office of Student Services to discuss your request and to develop a revised plan of study.
  2. Complete the Leave of Absence Request Form, and be sure to include a detailed description regarding the reasons for your request and how you plan to use your time away from the University.
  3. Submit these materials to the Office of Student Services, Suite M-18, Fagin Hall or nursenet@nursing.upenn.edu.

The leave request will be evaluated by the Office of Student Services.  If the request is approved, students will receive a confirmation letter outlining the terms of the leave and any conditions that must be met prior to making a request to return.  Once approved, students should consult with the Office of Student Information (Suite M-24, Fagin Hall, compliance@nursing.upenn.edu) regarding any clinical compliance requirements that will need to be maintained while on leave, depending on the desired semester of return and the revised plan of study.

The following web site will provide a list of other offices (including housing, dining, financial aid, etc.) students may need to contact as they prepare to take a leave of absence.  Students are required to review this information and follow up as necessary:  http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/special-polices/policies-leave-of-absence.html

International students should also contact the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office to discuss any immigration considerations and paperwork related to the leave, 215-898-4661, isss@pobox.upenn.edu.

Returning from a Leave of Absence

BSN students who are on an approved leave of absence and who wish to resume their studies must complete the Leave of Absence Return Form

Students should refer to their leave of absence letter for information on their return, including deadline dates and conditions.  It is important to take note of these dates in advance and to plan ahead.  The School of Nursing may deny any requests to return that come in after the specified deadlines. 

Students who wish to participate in advance registration for the semester in which they are planning to return should submit their request at least two weeks prior to the advance registration period in cases where this occurs before the specified deadline to request a return.  In some cases, conditional approval may be granted to allow students to enter their registration requests, with final approval pending submission of updated documentation and/or medical clearance closer to the date of the student’s anticipated return.

In addition to the above information, please note the following policies:

  • Students who have holds on their record must have these holds cleared before their return can be approved. Holds may be placed by Student Health Service, the Office of Student Conduct, and Student Financial Services, among other offices, and students are responsible for contacting the respective offices directly.
  • Students who were not in good academic standing at the time of the leave of absence request will return to the same academic standing status they held (for example, probation) when they left.
  • Students cannot receive Penn transfer credit for courses taken at another institution while on leave of absence.
  • A leave of absence does not automatically change the time limit (5 years) for completion of the program. Students who are on leave for more than two years in total may be withdrawn from the program and asked to re-apply.  These restrictions do not include time spent in the military.

To request a return from leave of absence:

  1. Complete the Leave of Absence Return Form. Please be sure to include detailed information addressing how you have used your time on leave, why you feel ready to resume your studies at this time, and your plans for reintegrating into the academic community. 
  1. Students returning from a leave taken due to medical reasons will be required to submit evidence they are ready to resume their studies and rejoin the campus community. Such evidence includes documentation from the student’s health care provider as well as consultation with Student Health Service (SHS) and/or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) as needed.  Detailed information regarding the necessary documentation and conditions of the leave that must be met prior to returning are noted in the student’s leave of absence confirmation letter.
  1. Submit these materials to the Office of Student Services, Suite M-18, Fagin Hall or nursenet@nursing.upenn.edu.

The return from leave request will be evaluated by the Office of Student Services.  If the request is approved, students will receive a confirmation letter outlining the terms of the return and any steps that must be taken.  Once approved, students should consult with the Office of Student Information (Suite M-24, Fagin Hall, compliance@nursing.upenn.edu) regarding any clinical compliance requirements that need to be fulfilled, depending on the student’s semester of return and revised plan of study.

The following web site will provide a list of other offices (including housing, dining, financial aid, etc.) students may need to contact as they prepare to return from leave of absence.  Students are required to review this information and follow up as necessary:  http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/special-polices/policies-leave-of-absence.html

International students should also contact the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office to discuss any immigration considerations and paperwork related to the return from leave, 215-898-4661, isss@pobox.upenn.edu.


Internal Transfer (Into and out of nursing)

Internal transfer students are those who transfer from one undergraduate school at Penn to another.  Internal transfer may not be initiated until the end of the second semester of the freshman year, to be effective beginning in the third semester.

Students Transferring out of Nursing

Students in the School of Nursing MUST remain in their home school (Nursing) for one full year and MUST complete the required nursing curriculum in the fall semester before applying for internal transfer. 

Students must schedule an exit interview with the Associate Director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, at which time they can obtain an internal transfer application (registrar’s form).  Upon completion of the exit interview and the required nursing courses as outlined above, the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Academic Affairs will sign off on the student’s internal transfer application, forwarding it to the designated undergraduate school for review and a decision on the internal transfer.  It is strongly recommended that students meet with an advisor in the school to which they wish to transfer to determine eligibility for transfer (i.e., GPA requirements) and the requirements for their major of choice, and to discuss a plan for completion of those requirements.  It is not guaranteed that students will be accepted for internal transfer to another school.

Students who are not accepted for internal transfer after their first attempt are permitted to take one additional semester of non‑nursing courses in a second attempt to transfer.  Students who take more than two semesters of non-nursing courses without successfully transferring to another school within the University may be withdrawn from the School of Nursing.

External transfer students to Penn Nursing from another college or university are not permitted to apply for internal transfer to another school at Penn.  

Students Transferring into Nursing

A 3.0 GPA is required for internal transfer to the School of Nursing from one of the other undergraduate schools at Penn, and a particular emphasis will be placed on students’ performance in their science and Nursing courses.   All Nursing courses taken while the student was in the previous school may be counted toward the BSN degree, and other courses may count toward sector requirements or electives.  Students who are interested in internal transfer to the School of Nursing should meet with the Associate Director of Advising as early as possible to discuss the internal transfer process, review the Nursing curriculum and requirements, and develop a tentative plan of study.  Email advisor@nursing.upenn.edu or call 215-898-6687 to set up an appointment.  The School of Nursing’s Internal Transfer Application can be found at: http://www.nursing.upenn.edu/live/files/210-internal-transfer-dual-degree-online-application  under Handbooks and Forms on our website.

An internal transfer application (registrar’s form) can be obtained from the advising offices in the undergraduate schools; it must be signed by the student’s home school and forwarded to the School of Nursing before the student’s application can be reviewed.  Students who are accepted for internal transfer will be assigned a faculty advisor in the School of Nursing.

Withdrawing from the University

Students who wish to withdraw from the School of Nursing should send a notification in writing to advisor@nursing.upenn.edu.