Frequently Asked Questions about the Leave and Return Process


Leave and Return PolicyReview/ProcessHealth RelatedPost Decision

There are seven distinct separation categories at Duke. Of those, two (e.g., academic dismissal and suspension for academic dishonesty or expulsion) have explicit policy governing eligibility to apply after repeated experiences. Students who experience a second academic dismissal are not eligible to return to return to Duke prior to the passing of five years since their last date of enrollment. Similarly, students who experience a second disciplinary suspension for academic dishonesty are not eligible to apply to return prior to the passing of five years. You should have a conversation with your Academic Dean to discuss your particular concerns regardless of your separation category.

Yes. Students on medical or personal leave are not required to return by an exact term date. If your time away exceeds two years, please contact you academic dean to share your plans. 

Yes. In order to defer your return term, contact your Academic Dean and the Time Away Office and let them know, in writing, the reason for your deferral and the term you wish to return. 

Students who have been separated from Duke are considered inactive students and therefore, can observe the same rights as the public when entering Duke's campus. During separation, students are not allowed to enter university residential buildings (permission under the Housing Guest Policy does not apply to students on leave, or otherwise separated from Duke), participate in student activities, or access student resources and services. Students are ineligible to work for Duke University units in job categories reserved for students. If you have been hired in a position on the basis of your student status, and experience a subsequent separation from Duke, you are no longer eligible to accept the position. While on leave, students are not permitted to attend or audit Duke courses. If you are a student-athlete, a club member, member of a performance group, or hold an office in a student organization, you are not permitted to participate in meetings, rehearsals, practice sessions, have access to studios, stages, locker rooms, strength conditioning and film areas of DUAA or sit on the bench during contests. If you believe there are compelling reasons for you to access resources on campus, you must obtain written permission from your academic dean. You must submit a written note via email requesting special dispensation for limited access to specific campus resources and specify the time and duration of access. Your written request must be submitted seventy-two business hours before your anticipated time on campus. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.

If the Duke Gardens is open, you may visit it during your separation period.

During your separation period, you may not enroll, attend, or audit a Duke course. Students who do not adhere to this policy will jeopardize their ability to return to Duke.

Yes, as with the general public, Duke Medical Center is open and available to you.

A student administratively withdrawn for financial reasons may not submit a request or return for the same semester in which they were withdrawn. 

Some reasons for an Involuntary Administrative Withdrawal include instances win which students do not return to campus at the start of the semester and provide no reason for their absence; when students are separated from Duke for extended periods of time (e.g. longer than 2 years) and do not respond to outreach or contact the Time Away Office to indicate a desire to return, they may be involuntarily withdrawn from Duke in order to discontinue unwanted, ongoing communication from the institution.

Students may not use acceleration credits (Advanced Placement, International Placement or Pre-Matriculation credit) in order to compensate for time taken away as a result of any type of separation. Any accelerated credits granted prior to a student experiencing a separation will be forfeited. 

Residence hall charges are prorated and will be calculated according to the number of days a rooms is occupied. For more information, contact the Bursar's Office (919) 684-3531 and the Office of Residence Life and Housing Services (RLHS) at (919) 684-4304.

Students returning from an academic dismissal may apply to return to Duke no earlier than two semesters after the original term of dismissal. Students dismissed twice for academic reasons are not eligible to return prior to five years after the second dismissal term. Academic Dismissal Policy

Students who are "on leave" from the university may enroll in courses taken at another four-year accredited institution and transfer them back to Duke. Per university policy, students are allowed a maximum of two domestic transfer credits during their entire undergraduate career. Students are not allowed to enroll in a course while away and repeat the course, or its equivalent, at Duke. If you are eligible to transfer credits back to Duke, you must request that an official transcript be sent directly to Duke's Registrar's Office. Only transcripts sent directly from the visiting institution's Office of the Registrar are considered official documents. After your official transcript has been reviewed by your review committee, it will be forwarded to Duke's Office of the Registrar independent of your return decision. Students who have been involuntarily withdrawn from Duke due to academic, conduct or financial matters are not eligible to transfer credits for courses taken during their period of separation. 

A student who was dismissed from Duke for disciplinary reasons must complete all required disciplinary sanctions in order to be eligible to return. 

Students who withdrew from Duke in order to transfer to another institution are not eligible to return if their time away exceeds two semesters from their original withdrawal date. 

Students seeking Special Leave of Completion/Return for Graduation (SPCM), should meet with their academic dean to request this type of leave if they are eligible for transfer credits, and choose not to complete them at Duke. Special Leave Completion students must complete the following process and eligibility guidelines: (1) be in good standing with the university; (2) have no pending disciplinary matters; (3) be eligible to transfer credits back to Duke; (4) have at least 32 of the 34 required graduation credits; (5) have not history of other types of leaves; (6) meet with academic dean to verify the missing credits/graduation requirements; (7) complete remaining credits at an accredited four-year college or university; (8) complete the Tentative Transfer Credit Approval Form. Your academic dean will support you throughout this process.

Yes, the transcript notation for medical leave and personal leave are the same "leave of absence". If a leave is granted while a semester is in progress, the student will be withdrawn from ALL courses, and a "W" notation will be assigned for each class. The "W's" will be recorded permanently on the student record. If you are concerned about how to address a leave on your transcript (which many students take time away and continue to get into top graduate, medical and professional schools), we are happy to connect you with the Career Center and PreHealth Advising are prepared to help you address any concerns you may have. 

Students who are placed on a medical leave during the first or second week of the semester receive 80% of their tuition back. During the third to fifth weeks, they receive 60% of their tuition, and during the sixth week, 20% of their tuition. After the sixth week of classes, no refund will be granted. Students who are enrolled in some type of tuition insurance may receive a 100% refund from their insurance company, if the leave was due to medical reasons. 

Students holding F1/J1 visas should contact Duke Visa Services (919) 681-8472 or email to obtain information about visa status implications. 

Your academic dean, other academic deans, Case Managers from Duke Reach and other support staff are customary members of review committees, depending on the nature of the leave taken. Other committee members are assigned on an ad hoc basis according to the circumstances that preceded your separation as well as your official separation category. For example, a representative from a Duke health-related unit (e.g., Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, Duke Medical Hospital) may be asked to review a request for return submitted by a student petitioning to return from a medical leave of absence, or a student who was academically dismissed due to health challenges. A representative from the Office of Student Conduct may review the request for return of a student who experienced a separation due to disciplinary matters.

The review process (and the requested request for return materials) is based on a student’s separation category and the nature of the circumstances that caused the separation. Please visit the Time Away Office website for instructions related to a specific separation category. Keep in mind that your review committee reserves the right to request additional materials upon review of your request for return. Regardless of your separation type, if you were advised to seek treatment while away, you will be required to submit supporting documentation of your treatment.

During the review process, all members of your review committee have access to all materials included in your return packet. After a decision has been made regarding your return to Duke, your return packet remains in the Time Away Office. 

All requests for return are reviewed as expeditiously as possible. A complete request for return is one in which all requested documents have been submitted to the Time Away Office. You are welcome to reach out to the office to ask questions or check the status of your return form. 

You are not eligible to register for classes until your review committee reviews your request for return and grants you permission to return. You will receive your decision letter via email sent to the email address you provide in your request for return. The Registrar's Office will process your clearance for return, including your activation in the system which allows you to register for courses. Typically, the Registrar sends out a letter of confirmation indicating that you will be reactivated in the system within 2-3 business days of receiving their email. Please note that if you have outstanding financial matters with the University, you will not be able to enroll in classes.

Additional documentation may be requested by the committee in order to provide clarity on a key concern(s).

You will receive your decision letter via email to the address you provide in your return request for return.

Your return request for return remains in the Time Away Office. Upon your graduation it will be shredded/deleted, or purged of all identifying markers.

If you want to appeal the final decision of your review committee, the Time Away Office will help you connect with the appeals contact. The appeal officer will consider the information submitted to Time Away Office and determine whether there was a reasonable basis for review committee’s decision. 

If your health condition was serious enough to warrant a separation from Duke, the appropriate treatment might be beyond the scope of CAPS or Duke Student Health services. CAPS or Student Health will evaluate your request for return and determine the appropriateness of on-campus treatment. If they determine that you should seek treatment from a specialist in the Durham community, they will make that recommendation at the time of their return decision. CAPS, Student Health, and DukeReach can assist you in finding local support resources.

Treatment conditions function to enhance your chance of a successful transition back to Duke. They are grounded in your review committee’s awareness of the Duke culture and their years of experience supporting and advocating for the success of students who have had experiences and or challenges similar to yours. Your individual treatment conditions are based on your review committee’s evaluation of your complete request for return, current health condition as assessed by our Duke health professionals and your treatment provider(s) during your time way.

Your conditions of return were determined by your academic dean and Duke health professionals after a review of your complete request for return. You must comply with the conditions of your return for the period of time stipulated in your return letter. As your post-return treatment progresses, you may feel that a lesser/greater frequency, or different treatment type is more appropriate. Feel free to discuss your concerns with your treatment provider. If the two of you agree that your treatment plan should be adjusted, ask your provider to notify (in writing) your DukeReach Case Manager or Time Away Office about the new treatment plan. If you have more than one treatment provider, please understand that you cannot obtain the opinion of one to stop the treatment sessions of another without proper consultation and agreement between the two treatment providers.

It takes time to establish relationships. Be sure to give it a chance and share any concerns with your treatment provider. If for any reason, you still believe it is best to change treatment providers, you must notify your DukeReach Case Manager or Time Away Office. The two of you can work out arrangements to change with minimum interruption to your treatment frequency.

Upon receiving your Welcome Back letter, please wait a 2-3 business days for your account to be reactivated. Please email with any other questions.

There are several reasons a Duke Card may not be activated:

  1. A student has a bursar's block
  2. A student has "active" status but has not enrolled in any courses for their anticipated return term
  3. The move-in date for housing has not occurred. Relatedly, the card will not be activated for off-campus students prior to the housing move-in date
  4. There may be a disciplinary restriction on your Duke Card

Yes, you will remain on probation. If you are on academic probation you can clear probation within one semester of returning, per university policy. If you are on disciplinary probation, the length of time was specified in your resolution through the Office of Student Conduct. Disciplinary probation may restrict a student’s ability to study away from Duke through the Global Education Office for Undergraduates, participate in DukeEngage, and be released early from the three-year residency requirement. It also may impact other opportunities in which a student’s disciplinary record is considered as a criterion for participation. If you have questions about your disciplinary status and eligibility for opportunities, please conduct the Office of Student Conduct.

In the event that you are recommended additional time away, the Time Away Office will provide a clear outline of next steps and recommendations for you to consider before submitting another request for return. 

Your request for return is being reviewed for a targeted term. Your permission to return is in reference to the official start date of the term for which you petitioned. You are not eligible to participate in programs that have a completion or start date that precedes the official start date of your return term. The activation of your student account prior to the start of the pending term is only to facilitate your course registration and potential housing assignment.