Skip to main content

Leave of Absence
In rare circumstances, ILR graduate students may find it necessary to postpone their studies for a while. Reasons to take a leave of absence may include: personal or family health circumstances, financial difficulties, or professional changes. A Leave of Absence (LOA) is requested if/when you must leave the University and plan to return at a later time to resume your program of study. A leave is typically granted for people who are in good academic standing, for one semester. A request for extension of the leave for an additional semester should be provided before the end of the first semester of leave.

Leaves of absence typically last for at least six months and are not generally granted for more than two years. A leave of absence granted during the semester goes into effect based on the last day a student attends classes.

A Leave of Absence requested before the beginning of the 8th week in the semester carries two implications:

  • that the student on Leave may request return in the next semester
  • that there will be no record of classes and grades for the semester

After the beginning of the 8th week, the notation "W" will be entered for the courses in which a student is registered, and the student may not expect to return to classes until an entire semester has elapsed.

Personal (Voluntary) Leave
May be taken if a student is in good academic standing and takes the leave for the up-coming semester or within the first 7 weeks of the current semester. Personal (voluntary) leave must be requested in writing to the ILR Graduate Office for a specified period of time. Individual circumstances will determine what kind of leave a student may take (personal or health related). Students will receive written confirmation of their leave from the ILR Registrar.

Students may return from a personal leave whenever they wish (typically within two years). Exceptions may be granted given individual circumstances. This must be requested in writing by the student.

Health Leave
A health leave may be taken if a student consults with University Health Services (Gannett) about this option; the ILR School will grant and readmit a student from a medical leave only upon the recommendation of Gannett. Please see if you are seeking a Health Leave of Absence.

If a student is taking a leave for emotional or psychological reasons, it will usually be for at least six months. Gannet Counseling and Psychological Services will devise a plan with the student to be undertaken while on health leave. Therapy, work, and academic endeavors may be part of the plan. The ILR School will determine what academic endeavors a student may be required to meet while on health leave.

If a student taking a health leave is on Academic Warning, the ILR School may stipulate additional conditions for the leave.

If, in mid-semester, a student decides to withdraw from Cornell University, with no intention of returning, they must submit a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), stating their intention to withdraw. This letter should be on file prior to their departure.

If a student requests a Leave of Absence or withdraws, it is their responsibility to contact the following offices prior to leaving to find out about possible implications of doing so:

Support and Additional Resources
The Graduate Office is here to support your personal and academic success. However, there are many types of assistance available to students. Here are some links to university resources that help students manage academic, financial, emotional, and social issues.