Leaves of Absence

Vassar allows its students two kinds of leaves of absence: academic and nonacademic. Both kinds of leaves are granted upon application through the Office of the Dean of Studies before appropriate deadlines announced annually. Applications for academic leaves, except when of an emergency nature, should be made by February 15 of the academic year before the one for which they are sought. Study abroad is one form of academic leave, applied for through the Office of International Programs.

A domestic academic leave of absence will be granted to a student for a semester or a year within the general framework of sensible and promising academic purpose. It may be granted to a student who wishes to take coursework of a particular kind at another institution or to a student who wishes to gain a different academic perspective. Departmental advisers help students in planning programs which include academic work elsewhere. In certain departments, leaves in the sophomore year may be more desirable than leaves in the junior year, and vice versa. Approved academic leaves may be rescinded if a student’s grades fall below the level required for approval.

Any student seeking such an academic leave should consult the appropriate adviser in the Office of the Dean of Studies in sufficient time to allow for conferences with faculty advisers, followed by submission of an application to the Committee on Leaves and Privileges before the February 15 deadline. Non-transfer students may include no more than 10 units of work taken elsewhere in the 34 units presented for the Vassar baccalaureate degree. For transfer students, the maximum is 17 units.

Leaves of a nonacademic nature generally fall into two categories-leaves for medical reasons and leaves for students who want a period of time off to do something quite different from academic work. These may be leaves for employment or merely for personal reorientation. In any of these cases, the request for leave should be carefully considered by the appropriate adviser and approved by the dean of studies. Applications for nonacademic leaves, except when of an emergency nature, should be made by April 1 of the academic year before the one for which they are sought. Students should submit a written, signed request for nonacademic leaves to the dean of studies. In exceptional circumstances, students may apply for retroactive credit, but in general, students will not receive credit for academic work undertaken while on a personal leave of absence. Students should submit a written, signed request for nonacademic leaves to the Dean of Studies Office, after consultation with their class dean or adviser. Emergency immediate leaves of absence within a semester must be applied for no later than the last day of classes, as announced on the Academic Calendar.

The college reserves the right to limit leaves, within the framework of residential and academic policies. Ordinarily, nonacademic leaves of absence are limited to at most two consecutive semesters.