Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

This page explains how to do two things –

1. Withdraw from your studies: leave the LGS with no intention of resuming studies.
2. Take a leave of absence: request an authorized break from your study.


If you permanently or temporarily withdraw during the semester, after the add/drop/swap deadline, you must obtain the signatures of all instructor(s) in the course(s) you withdraw from.

A permanent withdraw means you are discontinuing studies and leaving the program.

If you withdraw during the semester, you must obtain the signatures of all instructor(s) in the course(s) you withdraw from.  If you withdraw from all your courses and intend to stay enrolled in your program and the Laney Graduate School, you must request a leave of absence.  

For detailed policies, consult the LGS Handbook, Academic Affairs, section 6.3.

What You Need to Submit Online to the LGS

The signature forms below are DocuSign Power Forms. Read this and find out what these forms are.


  • A complete withdrawal signature form, a DocuSign Power Form
    • The form is required if you are permanently withdrawing or are starting a leave in the middle of the semester, after Laney’s add/drop deadline.
    • It requires signatures and withdrawal grades from the instructors in all the courses you are withdrawing from.

Leave of Absence

Signed Forms should be submitted online using the LGS Student Action Form. Log on to the form, enter a little information about yourself, and then choose the leave of absence option to submit your request.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

You are limited to two one-year leaves of absence.

You can return from an LOA only at the start of a term. You can apply once preregistration opens in the term you will resume studies or 30 days prior to the beginning of the term in which you wish to return.

The official request for an LOA does not ask you about the reason you are requesting a leave. We encourage you to discuss and document those reasons as well as your plan for returning with your advisor and/or Director of Graduate Studies.

How to Start the Leave of Absence Process:

  • Provide a written request for an LOA to your academic advisor and Director of Graduate Studies / Program Director (DGS/PD).
  • You, your advisor, and your DGS/PD should discuss all areas outlined on the LGS LOA Signature Form; this includes: 
    1. Reasons for taking the leave.
    2. How the leave may affect timely progress through program and LGS requirements.
    3. How the leave will affect stipend payments and health insurance coverage.
    4. The date of the final stipend payment before the leave becomes effective.
    5. A summary of any communication with ISSS, if applicable.
  • Summarize the discussion in an email and confirm your understanding with your Advisor and DGS/PD.
  • If all parties agree of the summary, the email summarizing points 2-5 should be attached to the online LOA form submitted through the student action online form.
  • Veterans who wish to take a LOA must contact the Office of the Registrar at registr@emory.edu.

Steps for submitting the above information are below.  Once you apply for an LOA, your request will be reviewed by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Final approval rests with the Dean. Decision notifications are sent to the student, the program, the LGS funding team, ISSS (if the student is international) and the Registrar (if the student is a veteran).

For detailed policies, consult the LGS Handbook, Academic Affairs, section 6.3.

Obtaining an LOA may affect your health insurance coverage and your stipend payments. The rules are a little complex and how you may be affected depends on when you start your leave. Talk to your program administrator in advance to understand any potential impact on these important areas. For health insurance coverage, you should review information regarding the Emory University Student Health Insurance Plan and contact Student Health Services with plan-specific questions.  For stipend payments specific questions, you or your program administrator may need to contact LGS Funding.

If you are enrolled in the Emory/Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan, your policy coverage dates may change, depending on the timing of your leave. The annual policy provides coverage starting August 1 (international students) or August 15 (domestic students).

  • If you leave after the Fall semester, the policy will terminate early on January
  • If you leave after the Spring semester, the policy will terminate at the end of the regular policy year on July 31 (international students) or August 14 (domestic students).
  • If you leave in the middle of a semester, your policy coverage will depend on your leave start date. Please contact Student Health Services to confirm your coverage end date: studenthealth.emory.edu/. Be sure to include your student ID number and leave start.

General information about coverage dates and eligibility is available in the Aetna Student Health in the Aetna Student Health.