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For polices and the financial considerations related to taking a leave of absence, consult the Handbook of Academic Polices, Section X as well as the Financial Aid Policy Overview information.  Additional information can be found on the Leave of Absence FAQ page.

You should complete this process if you are:

  • Planning to enroll in another school as part of a joint or concurrent degree.
  • Planning to enroll in another school to pursue other graduate study.
  • Taking a personal leave.
  • Taking a medical leave (JD and LLM students).
  • Planning to enroll in a study abroad program.

If you still have questions about the leave process or how to think about a leave, below is a list of contacts who are available to assist.

Dean of Students Office

  • Lakshmi Clark, Assistant Director of Student Services; lclark@law.harvard.edu; 617-496-2437

Graduate Program Office (LLMs)

Graduation Program Financial Aid (LLMs)

JD Student Financial Services (JDs)

  • Denise Ryan, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services for Program Development and External Relations; dbryan@law.harvard.edu; 617-496-2946

Harvard International Office

  • Peter O’Meara, Advisor to International Students and Scholars Harvard International Office; peter_omeara@harvard.edu; 617-496-2819

Office of the Registrar

Leave of Absence Request Process:

(1) Complete the online Leave of Absence Form

(2) The Dean of Students Office will review your request and circulate the form to Student Financial Services (SFS) for JD, Graduate Program (GP) Financial Aid for LLM, and, if applicable, the Harvard International Office (HIO).

(3) If your leave of absence request is approved by DOS, SFS, GP, and, if applicable, HIO, your form will be sent to the Registrar’s Office.

(4) All leave of absence approvals must be granted by June 15th for fall semester or full year leave and extended to December 1st for winter or spring semester leaves. Leaves for personal emergencies or medical issues will be accepted at any time. You will receive confirmation of your leave status via email.

(5) The Registrar’s Office will confirm your leave of absence request has been processed via email.

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Please note that the Registrar’s Office will expect you to return to HLS and enroll in classes during the semester you indicate on your Leave of Absence form. At this time, your HLS student status will be reactivated and you will receive a bill for the upcoming year or semester. If you intend to extend your leave from a semester to a year, you must submit a revised form to the Registrar’s Office. If you wish to extend your leave beyond one year, you must request an extension from the Administrative Board by emailing dos@law.harvard.edu.