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Leaves of Absence

A leave of absence allows students who must interrupt their studies for a compelling reason—for example, a sustained medical condition that prevents attendance or a personal matter requiring absence from campus—to be exempt from the Continuous Registration requirement. Leave for a given semester cannot be processed at any time after the final day of classes for that semester.

Students who intend to take a Leave of Absence must submit a Request for Leave of Absence form to their Academic Advisor.

Until students are informed by the Office of Advising that the leave has been processed, they should assume that they are registered and will be expected to fulfill their academic and/or financial responsibilities, including completing coursework.

Leaves of absence have specific time restrictions based on the type of leave a student is requesting. Please see below:

Leave of Absence Time Restrictions
Type of Leave Minimum Allowance Maximum Allowance
Medical Leave

1 term

2 years

Voluntary Leave

1 term

1 year

Military Leave

1 term

5 years

*limits are based on cumulative time away from degree

Students who take a leave of absence or who do not register for the semester are not considered to be active Columbia students, and will not be able to fulfill requirements for the degree while they are not registered and/or on leave.

Students who have not registered for any classes by the end of the change of program period will not be allowed to enroll that term and must file for a leave of absence or withdrawal.

Types of Leaves of Absences

Leave of Absence Policies and Processes

Students should be aware of the below policies and processes when considering a Leave of Absence.