Leaves of Absence
During their time at Tufts, students might take a voluntary leave of absence for a semester or more for a multitude of personal, professional, medical or academic reasons. This page is meant to help you identify your options by introducing the different types of leave available. We understand that not all situations and circumstances are the same. Thus, Tufts will handle each leave of absence on a case-by-case basis to provide students with individualized attention aimed at fostering long-term success at the University. Please know that the appropriate Dean of Student Affairs or advising dean will help you navigate this process.
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 approving medical leave requests and will do so in coordination with the student’s advising dean 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. 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 themself 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.
A student placed on involuntary leave may appeal the decision in writing by submitting their request to Dean of Student Affairs, Mary Pat McMahon, or a designee. Appeals should specifically cite incorrect facts or unfair application of Tufts leave procedures and provide information to support these statements. Any medical information submitted as part of the appeal must include signed releases for the student's treatment team to discuss pertinent information with the Dean of Students, designee, or clinician assigned to review medical information.
A medical leave is indefinite in duration in order to allow a student to fully attend to health-related issues. Students return from medical leave by petitioning the Health Accommodations and Medical Leave Committee. This committee will review the student’s re-entry materials to evaluate if the individual is ready to resume their studies.
The Associate Dean of Student Affairs chairs the Health Accommodations and Medical Leave Committee, which may include the appropriate advising dean, member of the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Medical Director of Tufts Health Service, and designees from Counseling and Mental Health Services, Office of Equal Opportunity, Office of Residential Life and Learning, and Student Accessibility Services, depending on the individual case. Cases reviewed by the committee include, but are not limited to:
- Requests to return from Medical Leave of Absence
- Requests for housing accommodations related to a documented disability (temporary or long term/permanent) or a medical condition
- Requests to return from hospitalization unrelated to a Medical Leave of Absence
While on medical leave, students are not permitted to be on campus except for appointments arranged with the Dean of Student Affairs Office. The appropriate dean will assist a student interested in discussing and/or arranging a medical leave: Marisel Perez, Associate Dean of Student Affairs (upperclass students and graduate students on the Medford/Somerville campus); Christopher Rossi, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (first-year students on the Medford/Somerville campus; ), or Laura Da Ros, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (all SMFA at Tufts students).
If you’re a graduate student, you can apply for a parental leave for one semester (fall or spring) for the birth or adoption of a child. You must be your child’s primary caregiver during the time of the leave. If granted, parental leave will not be counted toward your time to degree. Stipends will not be paid during a parental leave.