Important Note

Please refer to the Course Catalog for the most up-to-date information and policies on leaves of absence.

Types of Leaves

Students have the option to take the following types of leaves of absence:

  • Personal/international
  • Medical
  • Emergency
  • Military/missionary
  • Parental (only available to non-CPS graduate students)

Definitions and instructions for each leave type are included at the bottom of this page.

General Policy

Students who wish to take a leave of absence are encouraged to apply for the leave by filling out the proper petition through the myNortheastern web portal before the last day to drop without a W in a term. Students can request a leave up until the last day to drop with a W in a term, but should review the financial implications of withdrawing from courses on the Student Financial Services website. Students can take up to one year of leave, excluding medical and emergency leaves of absence. Any leave of absence type, if approved, will take into account the following conditions:

  • Students who do not return at the end of the leave will be withdrawn and must contact their college for re-entry prior to the term start.
  • Students must return to classes, not co-op.
  • Students must be currently enrolled in academic courses or co-op.  If a student is withdrawn for personal reasons, the withdrawal can be reversed and a request for a leave of absence can only be processed if it is before the last day to drop without a W in a term. If the student has been administratively withdrawn, a request for leave of absence cannot be considered until the withdrawal is resolved.
  • Students who receive financial aid should meet with a financial aid counselor prior to going on a leave.
  • Students in university housing should refer to the Department of Housing and Residential Life for policy information.
  • A student’s enrollment status cannot include more than one academic year of consecutive non-class enrollments. Students on leave for more than one year will be withdrawn from the university.
  • If a student has taken multiple leaves equating to one year, the next leave request will be processed as a withdrawal.
  • International students must make an appointment with the Office of Global Services (OGS) to discuss leave of absence procedures in accordance with federal regulations.

Students on a leave of absence are considered active students and are able to register for classes in an upcoming term in a leave status. If a student is unable to register because they are inactive, they should contact their college for re-entry at the time of registration for the return term. Students are expected to register for classes upon returning from a leave of absence.

A personal leave of absence can be requested for personal reasons.

  • Students can submit a personal leave request via myNortheastern. Advisors can also submit a personal leave on behalf of a student.
  • The leave request should be submitted before the last day to drop without a W for the term.
    • If the leave request is submitted after this deadline, the student will receive W grades in all of their classes and partial to no refund.
  • After a student submits a personal leave request, it will be sent to the student’s academic advisor for review. After the advisor approves the request, it will be sent to the registrar’s office for processing.
  • International students should submit an international leave as a personal leave request, and should discuss maintenance of proper U.S. immigration status with an advisor at OGS before requesting any type of leave of absence.

Students requesting a leave of absence for medical reasons should submit a medical leave of absence.

  • Students must make an appointment with University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) and provide the necessary documentation to take a medical leave.
  • To return from a medical leave, students should submit the UHCS Request for Reentry from Medical Leave of Absence documentation at least one month before the start of the term.
    • Undergraduate students will need to complete UHCS re-entry to lift the ML (Medical Leave) hold before the end of “I Am Here” for a term or their classes will be dropped.
    • CPS students will need to complete UHCS re-entry to lift the MC (Medical Leave) hold to be able to register for classes and complete “I Am Here” for a term.
    • Graduate/School of Law students will need to complete UHCS re-entry to lift the MG (Medical Leave) hold to be able to register for classes for a term.

Students who need to take an unexpected leave of absence due to emergency circumstances should request to take an emergency leave of absence.

  • Students can submit an emergency leave request via myNortheastern.  We Care can also submit a leave request on a student’s behalf.
  • Emergency leaves will be approved by the We Care team before they are submitted to the registrar’s office. Certain documentation may be required.

Students who must leave the university temporarily to complete a military or missionary assignment should submit a request for a military/missionary leave of absence.

  • Students can submit a military/missionary leave request via myNortheastern and must include a PDF copy of their deployment or call-to-service paperwork (the paperwork does not need to be translated as long as it is the official paperwork from the government).  Advisors can also submit the leave on behalf of the student.
    • These leaves are submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office.
  • The student will be withdrawn if the duration of the leave is longer than one year. Students can contact their advisor to be reentered when they decide on the semester in which they will return to Northeastern.

Graduate students may apply for parental leave for up to 12 weeks (see policy at  Please complete and submit the completed and signed application form to the director of graduate studies in your college at least six weeks prior to the anticipated childbirth or adoption.

Please note that:
1. Retroactive requests will not be considered.
2. Leave must begin within one year of the birth or the adoption of the child.
3. Parent must be primary caregiver of child during the time of the leave.
4. International students must consult with OGS to ensure compliance with all immigration regulations.
5. If both parents are graduate students at NU, only one of the parents may make use of the parental leave policy.