Leaves, Transfers, and Withdraw

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.


A leave of absence for a period of up to one academic year may be granted when circumstances necessitate the interruption of academic work. 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 Students who are on leave for more than two years in total may be withdrawn from the program and asked to re-apply.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 who wish to take a leave from their studies must request a leave of absence using the Leave of Absence Request Form. 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 Student Counseling 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.

Tuition will automatically be refunded for students who request a leave of absence and drop their course(s) prior to the end of the ‘Course Selection Period’. This date can be found on the University’s Three-Year Academic calendar. Students that need to drop a course after the Course Selection Period in the third or fourth week will receive 50% tuition and fees back. Students that need to withdraw in week five and beyond are 100% financially responsible for that tuition; no refunds are given.

Please note that this policy pertains only to courses taken during the fall and spring semesters. Summer courses operate on a different refund schedule.

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

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 first year, to be effective beginning in the third semester.

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.