Leave of Absence or Extended Curriculum

Students needing to take a Leave of Absence or Extended Curriculum at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) or Columbia University (CU) must complete the Student Request for Leave of Absence or Extended Curriculum form (PDF) and return it to Jean-Marie Alves-Bradford, MD, associate dean for student affairs, support & services, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), at the Vagelos Education Center, 104 Haven Ave., Suite 1103.

Please note: All students must also meet with Dean Alves-Bradford in order to be granted a Leave of Absence or Extended Curriculum and must contact her three months prior to their expected date of return in order to receive approval for return.

Leave of Absence

  1. A leave of absence may be granted if a student is unable to continue medical studies because of illness or emergent personal/family problems. For medical or psychiatric illnesses, documentation determined to be appropriate by the Office of the Dean must be submitted.
  2. A leave of absence for military service is granted if the student is called or ordered to active duty or conscripted.
  3. A leave of absence will be granted by the dean only in exceptional circumstances (including, but not necessarily limited to, health conditions requiring reasonable accommodation) to students who have not completed the first semester.
  4. The dean may stipulate conditions for the granting of a leave, for students while on leave, and for return, including an administrative medical or psychiatric evaluation and/or a review by the appropriate faculty committee. Such review does not guarantee readmission.
  5. In most circumstances, students approved for return after leave in the first semester of Fundamentals will be required to re-start the curriculum.
  6. In most cases, leaves or extended curriculum are granted for a maximum of one year. Extensions for extended military service or continued recuperation from illness may be granted on a case by case basis. Students are permitted a maximum of two leaves of absence from VP&S (unless otherwise required by law). After an aggregate total of two years or the equivalent time, a student on a leave of absence or extended curriculum may have their matriculation terminated; the student would be permitted to apply for readmission at a later time.
  7. Students on leave are responsible for contacting the dean of students at least three months prior to the intended return date to request returning to VP&S.
  8. In most circumstances, students are not permitted to live in campus housing while on a leave of absence.

Extended Curriculum of CUIMC or CU

  1. Students arranging a year of research or a dual degree at Columbia (unless accepted to programs in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or MD/PhD upon admission) must meet with Dean Anil Lalwani/Dean Alves-Bradford to discuss the plan.
  2. Once the plan is final, students must submit this form, accompanied by a statement from the mentor describing the research, start and end dates, and that he or she will supervise the student.

*This leave of absence policy operates as a supplement to the University Leave of Absence Policies.