Graduate Schools Academic Policies

Note that this information applies to both undergraduate and graduate students. Not all of the policies and procedures apply to both types of students. Note: International students must consult with Office of Global Services (OGS) advisers concerning any of the following items in order to maintain compliance with Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) regulations and institutional policy. It is best to set up an appointment to discuss individual cases and learn about appropriate procedures to follow.

Attendance Requirements

The university expects students to meet attendance requirements in all courses to qualify for credit. Attendance requirements vary; it is the student’s responsibility to ascertain what each instructor requires.

Failure to meet attendance requirements may force a student to drop the course, as recommended by the instructor and the college.

Permission to make up work may be granted by instructors for reasonable cause. Requests must be made immediately upon a student’s return to class.

Absence Because of Student Activities

If students must miss classes to participate in athletic contests or other forms of scheduled intercollegiate activity, they are entitled to makeup privileges. Faculty members may require a written statement from the administrator in charge of the activity.

Absence Because of Illness

A student who is absent from school for an extended period of time must inform his or her college by email from an official university email account or by telephone.

Absence Because of Religious Beliefs

The university maintains the following guidelines regarding student absences because of religious beliefs:

Any student who is unable, because of his/her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement that he/she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of availing himself/herself of the provisions of this section. (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151C, Section 2B, 1985)

Absence Because of Jury Duty

Members of the university community are expected to fulfill their obligations to serve on a jury if called upon.

A student selected for jury duty should inform his or her instructors and/or activity advisers. They will provide a reasonable substitute or compensatory opportunities for any required work missed. Absence will not be penalized in any way.

University Leave of Absence Policies

General Policy  

Students who wish to take a leave of absence are encouraged to apply for the leave by submitting a petition through the myNortheastern web portal one month prior to the start of the semester during which they plan to take the leave.

The usual limit for a leave of absence is one academic semester. International students must contact the OGS regarding specific leave of absence procedures. A leave of absence (general, medical, or emergency), if approved, will take into account the following conditions:

  • Students who do not return at the end of the leave will be withdrawn and must submit a petition for subsequent readmission to the program.
  • Students must return to classes, not cooperative education (co-op).
  • Students must be currently enrolled in academic courses or co-op. If a student is withdrawn for any reason, a request for a leave of absence cannot be considered until the withdrawal is resolved.
  • Students who receive financial aid should meet with a financial aid counselor before going on a leave.
  • Students in university housing should refer to Residental Life and Housing for policy information.
  • Students’ enrollment status cannot include more than one academic year of consecutive nonclass enrollments.
  • After the 11th week of the semester, a student may apply for a leave of absence only for medical reasons or due to military deployment.
  • Students who take leaves should be aware that more than six months on leave will cause many student loans to go into repayment. Students should see their financial aid counselor for more information on how their loans may be affected by a leave of absence.

Returning from a General Leave of Absence  

Students returning from an approved leave of absence may be required to submit to their college’s student services office a notification of intent to return. It should be submitted no later than one month prior to the start of the semester in which they intend to return. Students are required to preregister for courses upon returning from a leave of absence. International students returning from a leave of absence should contact the OGS regarding SEVIS procedures three to four months prior to anticipated return time.

Leave of Absence Due to Military Deployment

When a student in the Reserves or in the National Guard is called to active duty, the student must notify his or her college dean’s office and provide proof of deployment prior to being deployed. The proof may be faxed, mailed, or hand-carried to the college dean’s office. It may take the form of general orders cut by the company commander.

When a student is activated during the term, the university will:

  • Excuse tuition for that term. Any payment made will be credited to the student’s account.
  • Place a “W” on the student’s transcript for each class enrollment.

If a student is called to active duty near the end of the term, the student and faculty members may determine that incomplete (I) grades are more appropriate. In this case, tuition will not be waived.

When a student returns to the university after completion of a tour of duty, he or she will notify the college dean’s office. The college dean’s office will assist the student with registration.

Medical or Emergency Leave of Absence

Medical leave is an option available to those Northeastern students who develop a major medical condition that precludes class attendance, completion of requirements, and/or co-op. Medical leave petitions must be initiated at University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS). Students are not allowed to take courses for credit toward their degree at Northeastern while on medical leave of absence. International students must contact the OGS regarding medical leave of absence procedures. Students can petition their college for an exception to take courses elsewhere based on extenuating circumstances.

Students who wish to reenter the university following a medical leave must contact UHCS. Reentry from a medical leave requires receipt of all documentation delivered to UHCS on or around one month prior to the planned reentry to classes. Once all documentation is received by UHCS, it will be reviewed and the student will be notified of the decision. Students must attend classes on the Northeastern campus for the semester they wish to return from medical leave of absence.

More specific information about the medical leave and reentry process, along with the application for leave, can be found at the UHCS webpage

Emergency leaves may be granted when a student cannot continue attending class after the start of the term due to life-changing situations beyond the student’s control.

The university’s medical leave of absence and emergency leave policy states that all tuition charged for the term in which the leave has been granted will be held by the university and applied toward future tuition charges in the same academic program. Outstanding balances (including unpaid balances) for the academic term in which the leave is taken are still due the university. Tuition adjustments are made depending on the timing of the leave. The adjustments would follow the same schedule as the official withdrawal adjustments. Financial aid recipients must contact their financial aid counselor to understand the effects on aid received.

If the leave extends more than six months, student loans may go into repayment. Students enrolled in the Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP) will remain enrolled in the plan for the plan year, ending August 31.

Emergency leave petitions are available in college academic student services offices and specify the conditions and procedures under which such leaves may be granted.

Medical Withdrawal

Permanent departure from the university due to the diagnosis of a major medical illness or injury, or psychiatric illness, necessitates a petition for medical withdrawal. The procedure follows that for the medical leave of absence.

University Withdrawal

Students seeking to withdraw from the university for any reason should contact the student services office of their college.

Students may be withdrawn from the university for financial, disciplinary, academic, or health reasons. In the last case, a committee will review the recommendations of the director of health services to determine whether the student should withdraw. The student has an opportunity to present his or her case to the committee. Withdrawals are made only when it is determined that the student is a danger to himself or herself, or to other members of the university community, or when the student has demonstrated behavior detrimental to the educational mission of the university. International students must contact the OGS regarding any compliance issues implications deriving from university withdrawal.

University-Sponsored Travel

Northeastern University is committed to the health, safety, and security of its students and all other members of the university community. As a global institution, our university members undertake international travel in pursuit of teaching, research, consulting, service, cocurricular activities, and work intended to advance learning and the interests of the university. As a result, the university supports standards and expectations associated with international travel that are designed to reduce personal and university risk.

To ensure the safety of our students, you are required to comply with the university international travel policy when traveling abroad on university-sponsored travel. Such travel may include teaching, research, co-op, service, field studies, and volunteer and administrative work.

In order to provide assistance and support to you while traveling abroad, the university maintains a travel registry. In advance of any planned international travel, all students are required to enter their travel plans along with other requested information into the travel registry. To access the registry, go to the myNortheastern web portal, “Services and Links,” and register your travel.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the university international travel policy and are encouraged to visit the international travel website for guidance.