There are many reasons why a student might want or need to take time away from MIT. These may include personal or medical issues interfering with their academics; opportunities for professional experience, such as an internship; family or community commitments; or the desire to just take a break.
There are 3 types of leave a student can elect to take:
A Leave of Absence (LOA) is considered if a student* in good academic standing wishes to take time away from MIT. Under the terms of a LOA, a student can request to take between one and four semesters away from MIT.
A Personal Leave is typically sought when a student needs to attend to personal or family issues that arise unexpectedly during the semester. Under the terms of a Personal Leave, a student usually takes at least one full semester away from MIT and cannot register again until they have been approved to return.
A Medical Leave is usually prompted when a student and their treaters feel that their mental or physical health is preventing them from participating in campus life, including academics. Under the terms of a Medical Leave, a student must take at least one full semester away from MIT, and complete the prescribed course of medical and/or mental health treatment before requesting return. A student cannot register again at MIT until they have been approved to return. Click here to read the Medical Leave and Return Policy (updated March 2019)
We are here to help guide you through the process of taking time away and returning. Simply not registering, or dropping all subjects during a semester, are not the proper ways to take a leave. S3 deans meet with students to talk through their specific situations and to come up with a good plan. You should leave the office feeling like you have worked together to create a clear understanding of the expectations during your leave.
Please read the FAQs and contact S3 to set up an appointment to discuss your leave.
If you are a student who is planning on taking a leave, or already on a leave, please visit the Resources page for anything you might want to know while on leave as well as our Community Involvement page for ways to stay involved in the MIT community. If you are someone who knows a student on leave, please visit this page to learn about how to support students on leave.
*The COVID-19 emergency has necessitated that we clarify the intent and practice of our Leave of Absence Policy. LOAs are available to students who have completed at least one semester of MIT and are in good academic standing. As such, first year students are not eligible to request a Leave of Absence for the fall semester. Incoming first-year students should consult with the Admissions Office about deferring their enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.