Absences from the Curriculum

Authorizing Body:

Student Performance Review


Robert J. McAuley, Ph.D.

Date Issued:

August 1, 2011

Last Update:

February 9, 2022


To ensure the proper administration of absence requests.

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:


Emergency Extended Absence-Short Term (EEA):
A short-term student-initiated temporary respite from the curriculum greater than one day and up to six weeks granted at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in consultation with the Office of Medical Education. One day absences should be managed through the student’s course or clerkship directors as described in the syllabus(es). 

Leave of Absence (LOA):
A student-initiated temporary respite from studies granted to a student at the discretion of the Student Performance Review Committee for a period greater than six weeks and up to a year.

The School of Medicine recognizes two types of Leaves of Absences: personal and academic enrichment.

Some examples of reasons for personal Leaves of Absence include:

  • Health
  • Personal or family matter
  • Financial hardship
  • Armed Forces service

Some examples of academic enrichment Leaves of Absence include:

  • Pursuit of a complementary degree (MPH, MBA, etc.)
  • Participation in a research opportunity


Emergency Extended Absence (EEA)

  • The Associate Dean of Student Affairs may grant an EEA for up to six (6) weeks.
  • A student requesting an EEA must consult with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in person, phone, or by email.
  • A student on a health-related EEA will be required to provide a statement of readiness to return, signed by the student's primary care provider as a condition of being approved by the Associate Dean Student Affairs to resume studies.
  • An EEA will not change a student's registration status or tuition amount.
  • An EEA may delay a student's graduation.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

  • The SPRC may grant a LOA for up to one (1) year.
  • In the absence of an emergency situation, a student submitting a LOA request to the SPRC must submit the request as least two weeks prior to the upcoming SPRC meeting. The SPRC meets on the second Wednesday of the month. 
  • A LOA may delay a student's graduation.
  • A student considering a LOA should meet with the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to complete the LOA request form.
  • The LOA request form is available online in Empower (Student Service > LOA/Withdrawal).
  • A LOA is not a form of registration. The school will not charge tuition for semesters for which an LOA is approved provided that the LOA starts before the start of the semester. Financial obligations, such as repayment of loans may come due. The SPRC strongly recommends that students considering a LOA meet with the Associate Director for Financial Services.
  • The SPRC has the authority to stipulate the parameters of the LOA. Parameters may include the requirements that the student must meet to return from this leave.
  • The SPRC may require supporting documentation before approving the request for a personal or academic enrichment leave.
  • The student’s transcript will record a Fail for incomplete courses or courses from which the student did not withdraw, at the time of the leave, unless otherwise specified by the SPRC.
  • A student on leave is not registered and may not use dedicated O.U. or Beaumont Health physical spaces, including medical libraries, housing, the recreation center, health services, the medical student lounge(s), or financial aid. Students will not lose access to previously available Oakland University online resources. However, Beaumont online resources such as online medical record systems may not be available.
  • Except for leaves based on a call to active military duty, or unless specifically exempted by the SPRC, time spent on LOA will count towards students' requirement to complete the M.D. degree within six consecutive years.

Returning from a Personal or Academic Enrichment LOA:

  • At least 90 calendar days before the anticipated return date, a student on leave must make an application, in writing, to the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to resume studies. Reinstatement is not guaranteed.
  • The SPRC reserves the right to deny any petition to resume medical studies if the committee determines, for any reason, a student cannot meet the academic rigors and technical standards of the school. If the SPRC determines a student is not fit or not prepared to return to the school and resume medical studies for any reason, including, without limitation, an inability and/or failure to satisfy any competencies, standards, or curriculum requirements. In that case, the SPRC may dismiss the student from the school.
  • A student on a health-related LOA will be required to provide a statement that the student can meet the OUWB Technical Standards, signed by the student’s primary care provider as a condition of being approved to resume studies.
  • The SPRC will establish return dates on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Associate Dean for Preclinical Education for students in the M1 or M2 year and with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education for students in the M3 or M4 year. 

Extending a Personal or Academic Enrichment LOA:

  • A request to extend an LOA is subject to the same review and approval process as the original leave. If the SPRC does not grant an extension, the SPRC expects the student to return on the date specified in the initial SPRC notification. Students not granted an extension will be subject to dismissal from the School of Medicine if they do not return on the scheduled date.

Additional Requirements for Students not in Good Academic Standing* requesting a LOA:

  • It is incumbent that a student with academic deficiencies requesting a LOA demonstrates to the SPRC that granting the LOA is in the student’s best interest and maintains the integrity of the academic program. The student must
    provide the SPRC with a written list of activities proposed during the LOA and explain how these activities will help the student perform at expected levels.
  • A returning student must provide the SPRC with a statement regarding the outcomes of their activities during the LOA and how these activities have impacted the student’s readiness to return.
  • The SPRC may require additional supporting documentation from counselors, or OUWB School of Medicine academic success specialists. In most instances, the SPRC will identify necessary documentation when the LOA is approved. However, the committee reserves the right to request additional documentation at a later date.
  • No more than 15 business days after resuming studies, the student must meet with the Academic Success Team (AST) and complete an academic success plan with a timeline and milestones. Failure to develop the plan or achieve these milestones is grounds for dismissal. The academic success plan must be submitted to the SPRC within 30 business days after resuming studies.

*Please see the Guidelines on Good Academic Standing for additional information


Related Policies and Forms:

Good Academic Standing

Satisfactory Academic Progress to Maintain Enrollment Eligibility
Student Performance Review Committee Guidelines