Graduate School

Medical Leave of Absence

A student who must interrupt study temporarily because of illness or injury may take a Medical Leave of Absence.

A student experiencing difficulties with their health should consult with the Associate Dean of Student Support in the Graduate School or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the School of Professional Studies as well as University Health Services and/or Counseling and Psychological Services.

Students may request a Medical Leave at any time. Medical Leaves are available only to students whose academic standing permits them to continue in the degree program when they return from leave (students on warning status may have their request for leave denied). 


Students requesting a Medical Leave of Absence initiate the process with the Associate Dean of Student Support in the Graduate School or the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the School of Professional Studies. (No confidential information need be shared except with the relevant deans and health care providers.) The request for a Medical Leave must be approved by the student’s department and Graduate School or School of Professional Studies (as applicable). The student’s transcript will read only “Leave of Absence.” 


Students are eligible for a full year of Medical Leave and in all cases a full year will be approved regardless of the length of leave requested to ensure that students have adequate time to return to full health. Students may request to return after one semester of Medical Leave. In exceptional circumstances and where program and funding structures allow, medical leaves may be approved for periods that do not fully align with the semester and summer term periods. 

Students approved for a Medical Leave are eligible for and will be approved for one year (two semesters and a summer term) of Medical Leave regardless of the length of leave requested. Students may request to return from leave after one semester.


Return from Medical Leave is contingent upon the submission of documentation from a health-care professional confirming that the student is able to engage in graduate study. Readmission from a Medical Leave must be approved by the relevant dean in the Graduate School or School of Professional Studies and University Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. Students who are seeking to return to Brown following a Medical Leave should follow the Guidelines for Clearance to Return from Medical Leave.


Requests for extension of Medical Leave beyond the initially approved period may be made with approval from the relevant dean in the Graduate School or School of Professional Studies and the student’s graduate program.


Students who take a Medical Leave of Absence who have been previously insured under the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) for the enrollment period immediately prior to taking the leave of absence are eligible to enroll in SHIP for a maximum of one year. For doctoral and MFA students on Medical Leave, the Graduate School or the Division of Biology and Medicine will pay their insurance premium. It is not possible to extend enrollment in SHIP beyond one year even if the leave is extended further.

International Students

A student approved for a Medical Leave who intends to seek treatment in the US during the approved period of leave, may be approved to remain in the US (a doctor’s note will be required) . Students seeking to remain in the US while on Medical Leave are required to request this with OISSS


Students considering Medical Leave are encouraged to review, depending on their circumstances, whether accommodations through Student and Accessibility Services (SAS) might either make it possible to continue as an active registered student instead of taking a leave and/or be appropriate once a student has returned from leave.

Medical Leave Grant

The Graduate School recognizes that a Medical Leave of Absence, particularly the temporary interruption of a stipend, can be a financial challenge. In an effort to help graduate students prioritize their health and wellbeing and alleviate the potential financial difficulties, doctoral and MFA students who are supported by a stipend are eligible to apply for a Medical Leave Grant to be paid at the onset of a Medical Leave. Students should submit the Medical Leave Grant application in UFunds.

Short-Term Medical Accommodation

The Graduate School recognizes there are times when an acute medical matter may arise that requires accommodations but not a Medical Leave of Absence. Read further details in the Short-Term Medical Accommodation section of the Graduate School Handbook.