Leave of Absence
Policies for Students on Leave of Absence(LOA)
Click here to download the Leave of Absence Petition.
Leaves of Absence for Master's Degree Students
A student may take a voluntary leave of absence for not more than one year, or two academic terms. Occasionally, a program director might approve the extension of a leave of absence beyond one academic year or term, usually for medical reasons. Leaves beyond four consecutive semesters are not allowed. The deadline for application for a leave of absence is listed in the Academic Calendar, and there is no guarantee that applications received after that date will be approved. A $15 fee will be charged for petitions received after the deadline. Students should fill out a leave-of-absence petition, available from the Office of Student Services Gund 422, 4th Floor, which must be approved by the program director.
The deadline for taking a LOA without becoming liable for payment of tuition is listed in the Academic Calendar and under the section on Tuition and Expenses. After that date, tuition is charged to the end of the tuition period in which a student takes a LOA.
If students wish to continue their health insurance while on leave, they must meet with the registrar. A student who fails to register for the next regular academic term following a leave of absence will be withdrawn automatically as of the end of the term in which the leave of absence expired. A student who is withdrawn must reapply for admission.
Financial aid recipients must reapply for financial aid, generally by mid February of the previous academic year, for the term in which they return.
MArch or MDES students who plan on taking a leave of absence for any length of time must speak with the registrar about the ramifications this will have on their ability to "split" during their last semester at the GSD. In order to be eligible to "split," a MArch or MDES student's final semester must be slated to be a fall semester. That is, "splits" may only begin with a fall semester and end with a spring semester. "Splits" can never start in a spring semester.
Leaves of Absence for International Students
International students who plan on taking a leave of absence must speak with the GSD's contact at the Harvard International Office (HIO), Ivana Hrga-Griggs, about the immigration-related ramifications of taking a leave. International students who take leaves of absence must be aware of how this might affect his or her visa status and practical training eligibility. Ms. Hrga-Griggs may be reached at 617-495-2789 to make an appointment. The HIO is located on the eighth floor of Holyoke Center in Harvard Square.
Leaves of Absence for Doctoral Students
A Doctor of Design student may apply to the Advanced Studies Program (ASP) committee for a leave of absence of no more than one semester after he/she completes the second semester of study. Such a leave of absence may be used for collection of data, related field research, or for personal reasons. Regardless of a leave of absence, the residency requirement for the Doctor of Design program is four academic semesters, and the maximum length of time for the program is three academic years since enrollment. A student must be registered for the semester in which the thesis is submitted for approval.
Students do not have active ID cards while they are on leave of absence. If a student takes a leave for the spring semester, the student returns the ID card to the registrar's office and card access to the building doors is disabled.
Access to GSD Computing Resources
Students' GSD email accounts remain active for the duration of their leave of absence; however, GSD computer accounts are disabled. Students on leave do not have any access to Design School computing facilities or technical support. Special circumstances, such as required computer course work to be completed, must be arranged with the registrar and Director of Computer Resources.
Loeb Library Privileges
You can use Loeb Library’s resources onsite for no fee (does not include borrowing privileges) while you are on leave by getting an access card at the circulation desk. If you will be returning to graduate from the GSD and you have research or course work to complete while on leave that requires you to borrow library materials, you may purchase Loeb Design Library borrowing privileges at the alumni rate of $50 for 4 months or $125 for a year. A "Frances Loeb Library Special Borrower" picture I.D. will be issued. This card is non-transferable and valid only at the Loeb Library.
The following conditions must be met:
- The student is returning to graduate from the GSD; and
- The student has research or course work to complete while on LOA.
To obtain an ID from the Loeb Library a student should present a copy of his or her Leave of Absence Petition to a Loeb Library Circulation Desk staff member. An ID can be created in 24 hours. For further questions, contact a staffperson at the Circulation Desk 495-9163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Widener Library Privileges
Students should go to the Privileges Desk, Room 195, an immediate left after entering the main entrance to the library, with some form of identification, such as a driver's license. If a student has been registered for at least one semester, he or she will qualify as an "alumnus" and will be granted privileges which are: 6 days of stacks free and 6 borrowed books free of charge; then $25/3 months or $100/year.
Students cannot maintain leases on Harvard housing while on leave, or reside in Harvard dormitories.