Students can take a medical leave of absence (MLOA) to leave campus in order to receive treatment for health concerns. A medical leave of absence is appropriate if a student finds it difficult to productively or safely manage the demands of their academics and campus life due to health concerns.

The Dean of Student Affairs Office facilities and approves MLOA requests, and can help students decide whether a medical leave of absence is the right choice for them. Taking a MLOA involves a number of steps. You can read more about important considerations for MLOA below, or get started on requesting a MLOA.

Considerations for Medical Leave

Academic Considerations

Coursework: A medical leave of absence provides time for students to focus on receiving treatment and support 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 MLOA.

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


  • A student's medical leave status will not appear on their transcript.
  • When a student takes a MLOA during an active semester, all classes for the semester in which the leave is effective will be removed from the student's transcript without record of enrollment.

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, MFA students within two years, and PhD 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.

Incomplete Grades: Undergraduate students who take a personal or medical leave of absence or who have been required to withdraw from the University must complete all outstanding written work and exams to resolve all grades of Incomplete prior to being able to return for subsequent semesters. Learn more: Liberal Arts BA/BSLiberal Arts BFA, and Engineering.

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 Vy Callahan, 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, at 617-627-2032 or via email.

Health Insurance

  • The student health insurance provided by Tufts University is in effect from August 20 through August 19 of the following year (12 months).
  • Students who have purchased the insurance plan offered through the University and have met eligibility first will be able to continue the plan while on medical leave for up to one calendar year from the start of their medical leave. The insurance premium will be prorated and the policy will end one year after the start of the medical leave. Once a student returns from medical leave and meets the eligibility requirements, they can be re-enrolled in the student health insurance.
  • Students who will be on MLOA for longer than one year should set a reminder to make arrangements to find alternative health insurance prior to the end of the insurance policy period.  For more information on insurance policy options, students can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace, Massachusetts Health Connector, their state Medicaid agency, a short term medical insurance, or their preferred insurance company.

  • While on MLOA, students are not able to receive on-campus services, including Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Services.

Please contact the Health Insurance Coordinator at with any questions regarding your student insurance coverage. If you use a private insurance carrier, please check with your private insurance carrier regarding your health coverage during your leave of absence. 

On-Campus Housing

Students going on MLOA 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 MLOA, but cannot guarantee that an on-campus housing space will be available in the case of extraordinarily high demand.

Visa Considerations for International Students

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

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.


Once the semester begins, an enrolled student interested in a medical leave must complete their request by the last day of classes that semester. A student may also take a medical leave prior to the beginning of the next semester even if they have enrolled in courses but are unable to start classes.

Request a Medical Leave


We understand that returning from medical leave involves both coordination and planning. The Dean of Student Affairs Office is here to help students rejoin the Tufts community and will assist in navigating the steps for re-entry. The overwhelming majority of students who take a Medical Leave return to the University and complete their degree. 

Learn more about Returning from Medical Leave

The Haven at College

The Haven at College logo

If you are considering a Medical Leave of Absence due to mental health or substance abuse issues, The Haven at College provides on campus treatment services and recovery housing to keep students in school while working on these challenges. Likewise, if you are returning from a Medical Leave of Absence due to mental health or substance use issues, The Haven at College in collaboration with Tufts can help support you as you transition back. For more information call The Haven at 310-822-1234, or email