Medical Leave

Students taking a Medical Leave of Absence leave campus in order to more fully attend to health-related issues. A Medical Leave of Absence is also appropriate if a student finds it difficult to productively or safely manage the demands of their academics and campus life due to a health concern.

The Dean of Student Affairs Office is charged with facilitating Medical Leave requests and will do so in coordination with the student’s undergraduate Advising Dean (Liberal Arts BA/BS, Liberal Arts BFA, or Engineering) or graduate faculty advisor and with input from the student’s treatment provider, who is either a University clinician or an outside clinician engaged in the care of the student. 

Considerations for Medical Leave

Academic Considerations

Coursework: A Medical Leave provides time for students to focus on receiving treatment and assistance for a health concern. Thus, students on medical leave are not permitted to be on the Tufts campus or enroll in courses offered by Tufts University. Additionally, students may not attend co-curricular activities at the University while on Medical Leave. Students may be eligible to participate in online courses offered through Tufts University during this time.

Taking courses elsewhere: Students may take a limited number of courses at another institution while on Medical Leave. Courses may be eligible for transfer to Tufts upon return, provided they meet the Tufts transfer of credit requirements. Students on medical leave should work closely with their undergraduate Advising Dean prior to enrolling in courses at another institution.


  • A student's medical leave status will not appear on their transcript.  
  • A student taking a Medical Leave may choose to have all classes removed from their transcript for the semester in which they seek to take the leave.
  • If a student is approved to complete one or more classes, all the classes for the semester will remain on the transcript and the appropriate grading scale will be applied.

Undergraduate Advising Deans and graduate faculty advisors will help students identify their options depending on their individual circumstances.

Please note: A required academic withdrawal, voted on by the Academic Standing Committee, will supersede a student’s request for a Medical Leave for a subsequent term.

Academic Progress: Master’s and Occupational Therapy doctoral degree students are expected to complete their degree within five years, M.F.A. students within two years, and Ph.D students within seven years from matriculation. Medical Leave will not be counted toward the student’s time to degree. However, students should work closely with their graduate advisor to evaluate how a leave might impact their academic progress.

Academic Residency Requirement: Many programs at Tufts University carry minimum periods of full-time study or academic residency requirements for degree completion. Undergraduate Advising Deans will help students identify residency requirements for their specific programs. A student with an official leave date after the tuition reimbursement period in a given semester will have that semester count toward the residency requirement.

Please note:  Receiving any amount of tuition refund will prevent that semester from being counted towards the residence requirement.

Financial Considerations


  • Undergraduate students who leave the University during the first six weeks of classes are eligible for a refund of a percentage of tuition in accordance with the schedule set by the Bursar.

  • There is no reimbursement after the sixth week, unless someone has purchased optional tuition insurance. Students with questions should contact Student Services.

  • Students who are on leave are not charged tuition and fees and are not eligible for stipends.

Financial Aid:  Students on financial aid should discuss the effect of a leave on their financial aid award or loans prior to going on Medical Leave.

  • Undergraduate Students: Contact Student Services to make an appointment.
  • Graduate Students:
    - For loans contact Sheila Hoffstedt, Associate Director of Financial Aid at 617-627-2000 or via email.
    - For teaching or research assistantships, contact Gretchen Inman, Director of Graduate Student Services 617-627-2032 or via email.
Health Insurance
  • The student health insurance provided by Tufts University is in effect from August 31 through August 30th (12 months).
  • Students who have purchased the insurance plan offered through the University will be eligible to continue the plan while on Medical Leave for up to 1 calendar year from the start of their leave.
  • While on Medical Leave, students are not able to receive on-campus services, including Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Services.

Please check with the Health Insurance coordinator at Health Service if you have questions regarding your student insurance coverage. Please check with your private insurance carrier regarding your health coverage during your leave of absence. 

On-Campus Housing

Students going on Medical Leave are asked to move out of any on-campus residence (if applicable) within five business days of requesting the leave.

  • Please return keys to the Residential Facilities Office at 520 Boston Avenue.
  • Please note that Tufts does not provide on-site storage.
  • While on medical leave, students are not eligible to participate in the housing lottery and cannot select a proxy. 
  • The Office of Residential Life and Learning will make a best effort to accommodate our students coming back from Medical Leave, but cannot guarantee a space being available in the case of extraordinarily high demand.
Visa Considerations for International Students

International Students must contact the International Center concerning their travel visa status as taking a leave of absence can have significant visa-related implications.

Involuntary Medical Leave

The Tufts Medical Leave of Absence process assumes students seeking leave are doing so voluntarily. However, in rare cases, the Dean of Student Affairs Office, in consultation with health and/or counseling professionals, may determine that a student’s health requires that they be placed on involuntary medical leave for health or safety reasons. This decision will be based on an assessment of the student’s ability to safely and productively engage in purposeful activities at Tufts and will consider the health and safety risks the student may present to themselves or other members of the community. This decision may also consider whether the student’s actions have caused ongoing or significant community disruption inhibiting the academic progress and safety of other students in the Tufts community.