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Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence

Leave of Absence form (PDF)

Interruption of Program and Withdrawal from The Graduate School

Students are expected to meet academic requirements and financial obligations, as specified in the Bulletin of the Duke University Graduate School, in order to remain in good standing. Certain non-academic rules and regulations must be observed also. Failure to meet these requirements may result in summary dismissal by the appropriate officer of the university.

The university reserves the right, and matriculation by the student is a concession to this right, to request the withdrawal of any student whose academic performance at any time is not satisfactory to the university. A student who wishes for any reason to withdraw from The Graduate School during the fall, spring, or summer session must notify in writing both the director of graduate studies in the major department and the dean of The Graduate School prior to the date of the expected withdrawal and no later than the published last day of classes for that semester or summer session. If students wish to withdraw from courses in the summer session, they must consult both the director of graduate studies in the major department and the director of the summer session. For refunds upon withdrawal, see the “Financial Information” section of the Bulletin. A student who, after successfully completing one semester of graduate study, must withdraw before completion of a graduate program may, with the approval of the major department, request the dean to issue a certificate of graduate study.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence for a period of time no longer than one calendar year may be granted because of medical necessity, full-time employment, receipt of an external award, or other acceptable reasons. A request for a leave of absence (PDF) should originate with the student, be endorsed by the student’s major professor and director of graduate studies, and submitted to the associate dean of The Graduate School for consideration prior to the beginning of the semester for which the leave is requested. A student is eligible to request a leave of absence only after having completed at least one semester at Duke. Time limitations which pertain to the various degrees and the completion of courses on which a grade of I (incomplete) was earned are not waived. Students contemplating leaves of absence should be aware that, for financial purposes, all guarantees of financial support are calculated from the date of initial matriculation. For example, if a graduate program has stated that a student will be supported through the fifth year of graduate study and the student subsequently takes a leave of absence for one of those years (other than for a medical emergency), the student would forfeit a year of institutional support.