Types of Leaves

Readmission Information


Educational Leaves

The College recognizes the educational and personal rewards that many students receive from a semester or two away from the campus. Some departments, especially language departments, strongly encourage or require that students majoring in their department study in a foreign country. Students who go on educational leave from the College usually do so during their junior year, although sophomore year educational leaves are permitted. It is expected that students will spend their senior year at Amherst. To receive academic credit for study elsewhere, students must perform satisfactorily in a full schedule of courses approved in advance by the Registrar, and the students’ advisors. Students on educational leave from Amherst must enroll at other institutions as visiting non- degree students. (See Transfer Policy). 

Students who have been suspended from their studies for an academic or disciplinary infraction may not participate in educational leave (see p. 68 of the Catalog). Academic or disciplinary warning may also prohibit a student from studying abroad until s/he is in good standing and can discuss this scenario with the Director of Education Abroad. Educational leaves usually require a considerable amount of correspondence with other colleges and universities, especially in the case of foreign study. Therefore, students who may wish to go on educational leaves should begin discussing their plans at least a full semester before they expect to be enrolled in another institution. Students considering educational leave should visit the website for more information programs approved by the college and academic policies regarding credit transfer. 

All students considering educational leave must submit their Intent to Study Away with the Study Abroad Office by the end of advising week in the spring semester of the year prior to study away. Selected students may participate in Independent Study projects under guidance from a teacher at Amherst College without enrollment at host institutions and may pursue their studies elsewhere in the United States or abroad.  


Voluntary Withdrawal and Medical Leaves

The College recognizes the educational and personal rewards that many students receive from time away from campus. Occasionally, faculty members, advisors, or deans may suggest that students withdraw from formal studies to gain fresh perspectives on their intellectual commitments, career plans, or educational priorities. Family circumstances, medical problems, declining motivation, and other factors commonly encountered by students may require that they remain away from the College for more than the usual College vacation periods. The College, therefore, encourages students to consider their situations, to clarify their objectives, and to decide for themselves whether they should temporarily interrupt their study at the College and take voluntary withdrawals or medical leaves. 

Students who wish to explore the advantages and disadvantages of voluntary withdrawals or medical leaves should confer with the Office of Student Affairs, College and departmental advisors, and family. Some students will also find it beneficial to discuss their situations and tentative plans with the Registrar, the Study Abroad Advisor, the foreign language departments, the Career Center and the Dean of Financial Aid.  

Prior to the seventh week of any semester, students may choose to withdraw voluntarily without their final grades being recorded. However, unless granted exemptions for medical reasons or grave personal emergencies by the Committee on Academic Standing or the Office of Student Affairs, students who withdraw after the seventh week of a semester will withdraw with penalty and have final grades for that semester recorded on their permanent academic records. Refunds of tuition, deposits and fees are treated according to the College policy.  When withdrawals have been approved by the class deans and faculty advisors, the deans will specify any readmission requirements in writing and will indicate what academic work, if any, must be completed prior to readmission.

Students may elect to take a medical leave up until the last day of classes each semester. Medical documentation is required to support requests for medical leave and again prior to readmission to evaluate readiness to return to studies. To request a medical leave, you'll need to have your health provider fill out this medical leave recommendation form. You should submit the form to a Student Affairs Case Manager (Scott Howard, showard@amherst.edu, or Andy Tew, atew@amherst.edu). Please note that if you are on the college health insurance, you may be eligible to pay out of pocket to extend that insurance up to a year while on medical leave. This benefit is not available to those taking a voluntary leave. 

Students considering voluntary withdrawals or medical leaves should also read the section on Readmission in order to understand the steps involved in the readmission process. Please feel free to schedule a conversation with a Student Affairs Case Manager to review any questions about taking voluntary or medical leave or what readmission looks like for those types of leave. 

Academic Dismissal

Normally, a student dismissed from the College for reasons of unsatisfactory academic performance, will not be eligible for readmission until he or she has been away from the College for two semesters. During the period of academic dismissal (separation from the College) the student is usually expected to demonstrate readiness to return by completing and passing course deficiencies at another accredited college or university each with grades of C or higher (a C– is not satisfactory). The courses must be approved (in advance) by the Registrar and the class dean before the student enrolls. The student will be granted credit towards his/her Amherst degree for deficiencies only. Any remaining course deficiencies, after the two-course requirement has been met, must be completed before returning. Other conditions for readmission shall be set forth clearly in writing and must be met by the student before he or she can be considered for readmission to the College.


Readmission After Transfer

Students who transfer away from Amherst College (defined as enrolling at another college as a degree seeking student) may be eligible to re-enroll at the college. Students who are interested in returning may petition the office of student affairs for readmission in circumstances where they intend to return at the same class standing at which they left, with no academic credit granted for their work at the transfer school (this includes courses the student might have completed hoping to make up course deficiencies they accrued at Amherst College). Any course deficiencies incurred prior to transferring away from Amherst College must be completed at another institution as a non-degree seeking student prior to readmission, with the approval of the registrar and the office of student affairs. All policies that otherwise govern the readmission of any students returning from a leave of absence will be followed.

Students who wish to return to Amherst College and have academic credits from their transfer school applied to their Amherst transcript (either to advance their class standing or to make-up for course deficiencies) will be required to re-apply as a transfer student through the Admission Office. Students seeking this option should be cautioned that they will be given no advantage over other transfer applicants, and transfer admission to Amherst is extremely competitive.

A student who transfers to another school, for any reason, a second time will no longer be eligible to return to Amherst College, whether through the readmission process or the Admission Office. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.S., etc.) at another school are ineligible to return to Amherst College as degree-seeking students.


Involuntary Withdrawals

The College reserves the right to exclude at any time students whose conduct it regards as unsatisfactory, or students who experience medical or behavioral needs requiring a level of support that cannot reasonably be provided while living in residence or participating in an academic program. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: a student engages in, or is at significant risk of engaging in, behavior that could result in physical harm to self or other(s); manifests an inability to attend to personal needs related to food, shelter, personal safety and general well-being, such that there is a reasonable possibility of serious physical harm; behaves in a manner that interferes substantially with the rightful daily activities of members of the College or surrounding community, with the educational and/or residential environment, or with the orderly operation of the College, including behavior that imposes a significant burden on the College’s human resources needed for continued management of such behavior; fails to pay term bill by the stated due date; fails to provide required immunization records by the stated deadline; and fails to register as required at the beginning of each term or fails to have all course grades recorded for the prior term.