Leave of Absence
The IU School of Medicine Leave of Absence Policy for students was developed to serve the best interests of the individual and the individual's colleagues, as well as the goals of the School of Medicine. The education of the students is of primary concern; patient care is not to be jeopardized, nor the education of medical students hampered. The intent of all leaves is to provide the student with an opportunity to take care of uncontrollable events that interfere with their training.
A student wishing to request a leave of absence should discuss this matter with the Senior Associate Dean in Medical Student Education or his/her designee. A leave of absence may be granted to enable a student to resolve personal, academic, health or financial issues. It will also allow a student to pursue research or graduate study. A recommendation from the student's physician and/or counselor may be required. Students may be required to provide a fit for duty before returning from leave. A leave may be granted for one of the following reasons:
An academic leave of absence is granted by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee. Under certain circumstances, a student experiencing difficulty in the academic program may be permitted to take a leave of absence for up to one year. A student may be required by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee or the Student Promotions Committee to take a leave of absence for up to one year. The Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee will specify the terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine. Students who are taking an academic leave will need to provide goals and a timeframe for accomplishing those goals during their leave.
A medical leave of absence is granted by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee upon review of the recommendation of an appropriate healthcare provider. The purpose of the medical leave is to enable students to seek treatment for a health-related condition that interferes with student’s ability to meet the demands of the curriculum. The term of the leave is for a period up to one year, based upon the recommendation of the healthcare provider. The Senior Associate Dean/designee will specify terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine. The student will be required to provide a fit for duty to the Senior Associate Dean/designee for return.
A personal leave of absence is granted by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee. A personal leave enables a student to take time off, in extenuating circumstances, to address issues of a personal nature, including those related to the health and well-being of a family member or partner. The Senior Associate Dean/designee will specify terms for re-entry to the IU School of Medicine.
- Research/Graduate Study
A research/graduate study leave is granted by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee to allow a student to pursue an advanced degree; engage in research training; participate in a medically-related fellowship; extend USMLE preparation time; seek supplemental academic coursework; or pursue other educational enrichment activities approved by the dean/ designee.
A financial leave may be granted by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee when a student is unable to meet tuition and/or other educational financial obligations.
A request for a leave of absence must be presented in writing. In the request, students must include the type of leave they are requesting (personal, health, academic, research/graduate study or financial), what they plan to accomplish during their leave, and the amount of time they are requesting, including the return date. Health insurance, disability insurance and financial aid may all be impacted by taking a leave of absence. Students should contact the appropriate office to determine how a leave of absence will impact insurance and financial aid. Students with questions about refunds for academic fees should refer to the Refund Policy in the Fee Assessment Policy section of the student handbook.
In general, a non-medical leave will not be granted to a student who has not yet completed at least one term in good academic standing or who is within two weeks of the beginning of final examinations at the end of the semester unless he or she presents a compelling need. All personal leave absences will be decided at the discretion of the Senior Associate Dean/designee. The maximum cumulative leave of absence may not exceed 18 months.
Medical students not participating in a combined degree program or pre-approved graduate or research program must complete graduation requirements within six years of matriculation, including all leaves of absence.
All requests for leaves of absence, after discussion with Lead Advisor, will be made in writing (via the IUSM MSE Official Leave of Absence Request form) to the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education and electronically at least thirty days in advance except for emergent situations. Decisions may be made in conference with IU School of Medicine leadership. Once the form has been reviewed by the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Student Education/designee, the student will be notified by the Lead Advisor whether the leave has been approved and informed of any changes.
For students in their first or second year, you must notify MSE in writing of your intent to return to school within 8 weeks before the leave ends or as designated by the terms of leave. For students in their third or fourth year, you must notify MSE in writing of your intent to return to school within four weeks before the leave ends or as designated by the terms of leave. Failure to respond within the required timeframe may lead to academic dismissal from the IU School of Medicine.
- First- and second-year vacation schedules vary by Center.
First Year: During the first year, Indianapolis students will have a fall break, Thanksgiving break, term break, and spring recess. There is a summer recess between the first and second years of studies.
- Second Year: During the second year, Indianapolis students will have a fall break, Thanksgiving break, term break, and spring recess. There is a summer recess of approximately one month between the second and third years. Normally, students will sit for the USMLE Step 1 during this recess.
- Third Year: A holiday break is scheduled approximately midway through the third year. Third-year students have the option of choosing a one-month break or an elective.
- Fourth Year: Students are required to enroll in and pass three months of core clerkships and seven months of electives to satisfy academic requirements for the fourth year. Students may arrange vacation months as desired within these requirements.