Leave of Absence (LOA)

Authorizing Body:

Student Performance Review


Robert J. McAuley, Ph.D.

Date Issued:

August 1, 2011

Last Update:

October 24, 2018


To ensure the proper administration of the leave of absence request

Scope and Applicability:

All students enrolled in the School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:

Leave of Absence (LOA):
An LOA is a student-initiated temporary respite from studies granted to a student at the discretion of the School of Medicine.

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

Some examples of reasons for a personal leave include:

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

Some examples of reasons for an academic enrichment leave include:

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


  • An LOA may be granted by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for up to six (6) weeks and by the SPRC for up to one (1) year.
  • The school cannot guarantee that students who take a leave will be able to graduate on time.
  • A student who is considering an 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).
  • An LOA is not a form of registration. Tuition will not be charged for semesters for which an LOA is approved provided that the request is received prior to the start of the semester. Financial obligations, such as repayment of loans may come due. It is strongly recommended that students considering an LOA meet with the Associate Director for Financial Services.
  • The SPRC will determine whether a leave, greater than six (6) weeks will be granted. Irrespective of the leave’s duration, the SPRC has the authority to stipulate the parameters of the leave including the requirements that must be met in order 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 all courses that were not completed or from which the student did not withdraw, at the time of the leave, unless otherwise specified by the SPRC.
  • Since an LOA is not a registration, a student on leave may not use dedicated OU or Beaumont Health System facilities, including medical libraries, housing, the recreation center, health services, the student center, the medical student lounge(s), nor receive financial aid. 
  • With the exception of leaves based on a call to active military duty, or unless specifically exempted by the SPRC, time spent on LOA will count towards the requirement that students 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 a 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 return to school or other request 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, the student may be dismissed from the school.
  • A student on a personal voluntary leave 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 to resume studies.
  • Return dates from an LOA greater than six (6) weeks will be determined by the SPRC 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. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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 an extension is not granted, the student is expected to return on the date specified in the original SPRC notification. Students who are 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*:

  • It is incumbent that a student with academic deficiencies requesting a leave of absence, demonstrate to the SPRC, that granting the leave 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 leave and an explanation of how these activities will help the student perform at expected levels.
  • Before being permitted to resume studies, the student must provide the SPRC with a statement regarding the outcomes of his/her activities during the leave and how these activities have impacted the student’s readiness to return. This may require supporting documentation from healthcare providers, counselors, or OUWB School of Medicine academic success specialists. In most instances, required documentation will be identified when the student initially requests the leave. 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