Opportunities may appear, or difficulties may arise, which require a student to turn focus and attention away from academics. In such times, a student may wish to take a Leave of Absence. Students may take a Leave of Absence for up to one year with the option of extending to a second year upon filing a petition with the Office of the University Registrar.
For official wording of Stanford's academic policies related to leaves of absence and reinstatement, refer to the Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Degrees and Programs.
What is a Leave of Absence
A Leave of Absence (LOA) is required for any term of the Academic Year (Summer terms excluded) for which a student does not wish to enroll in classes.
Students on an approved leave of absence retain their admitted student status; however, they are not registered and therefore do not have the rights and privileges of registered students.
- Students may take a Leave of Absence for up to one year with the option of extending to a second year upon filing a petition with the Office of the University Registrar.
- A leave of absence from your program may not exceed a cumulative total of two years.
- For students with multiple degree programs or majors, note that leaves of absence are only granted for all programs and majors.
For more information on leaves, please see:
How to File a Leave of Absence
- Contact UAR to schedule an in-person or phone appointment with a UAR Advisor to discuss your leave and obtain signature on the Leave of Absence form.
- Meet with your Residence Dean to discuss your leave and obtain signature. Students living off campus should contact the Off-campus Residence Dean.
- International students (F-1 and J-1 Visa holders) must contact a Bechtel International Center advisor and obtain signature.
- Coterm students must contact their Graduate Major Department and obtain signature.
Forms & Deadlines
Students must file a leave by the term withdrawal deadline (last day to receive a partial refund). Deadlines can be found on the Academic Calendar.
Note: Students who need to take a leave of absence after the published deadlines should meet with an UAR Advisor.
Students need to follow the steps on the back of the leave form in notifying the following offices, where appropriate:
- Financial Aid
- Student Financial Services
- University Housing
- Vaden Health Center
- Bechtel International Center
Students on leave may complete course work for which an “Incomplete” grade was reported in a prior term and are expected to comply with the one-year maximum time limit for resolving incompletes.
Returning from a Leave
Students returning to Stanford may need to take specific steps depending on their situation. For specific guidance on this topic, please see: