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) advisors 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 advisors. They will provide a reasonable substitute or compensatory opportunities for any required work missed. Absence will not be penalized in any way.

Leaves of Absence

Students may request to take the following types of leaves of absence:

  • Personal or Academic
  • Medical or Emergency
  • Military Deployment or Missionary Service

Students in Pre-Matriculation and Pathway programs (including, Foundation Year, NU Immerse, NU Bound) do not fall under the leave of absence policy below. Students in these programs with emergent, medical, or personal circumstances that require a conversation about their ability to continue with their program of study should reach out to We Care for further guidance.

General Leave of Absence Policy

Students who wish to take a leave of absence should complete a request through the Student Hub web portal (or via University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) for a medical leave of absence, as described below) before the last day to drop without a W in a term.  Please consult the Academic Calendar for the last day to drop without a W in the term.

Students can request a leave until the last day to drop with a W in a term but should review the financial implications of withdrawing from courses on the Student Financial Services website

Students can take up to one year of leave.

Any leave of absence type, if approved, is subject to the following conditions:

  • International students must make an appointment with the Office of Global Services (OGS) to discuss leave of absence procedures in accordance with federal regulations.
  • Students who do not return at the end of the leave will be withdrawn and must contact their college for reentry prior to the term start.
  • Students must return to classes, not to co-op.
  • Students must be currently enrolled in academic classes or co-op. If a student is withdrawn for personal reasons, the withdrawal can be reversed and a request for a leave of absence can only be processed if it is before the last day to drop without a W in a term. If the student has been administratively withdrawn, a request for 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. Please see Return of Title IV Aid for the possible financial aid impact of a leave of absence.
  • Students in university housing should refer to the Office of Housing and Residential Life for policy information.
  • A student’s enrollment status cannot include more than one academic year of consecutive nonclass enrollments. Students on leave for more than one year will be withdrawn from the university.
  • If a student has taken multiple leaves equating to one year, the next leave request will be processed as a withdrawal.
  • Students are not allowed to take classes for credit toward their degree at Northeastern while on a leave of absence. 

Students on a leave of absence are considered active students and are able to register for classes in an upcoming term in a leave status. If a student is unable to register because they are inactive, the student should contact their college for reentry at the time of registration for the return term. Students are expected to register for classes upon returning from a leave of absence.

Leave of Absence for International Students

International students must discuss maintenance of U.S. immigration status with an advisor at OGS before requesting any type of leave of absence.

Personal or Academic Leave of Absence

Personal leaves of absence are general leaves of absence that do not meet the criteria of more specific leaves outlined in the catalog. Academic leaves are applied to a student record in the rare cases when a student has fulfilled the last remaining requirements abroad, but final grades have been yet to be received at Northeastern; or are taking a leave of absence from Northeastern to pursue other academic work. A student interested in requesting a personal or academic leave of absence should speak with an academic advisor.

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 participation in co-op. Medical leave requests must be initiated at UHCS. Students can request from their college an exception to take classes elsewhere while on a medical leave of absence based on extenuating circumstances.

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. Students interested in requesting emergency leave are encouraged to contact We Care.  Students can request an Emergency Leave of Absence via the Student Hub.

Please consult Refunds for Withdrawal from the University—General Information concerning tuition charged for the term in which the leave has been granted. The student may appeal for consideration of their financial circumstances; appeal information can be found at Student Financial Services. If the appeal is approved, housing and other fees will not be included in the appeal decision; please refer to the Residence Hall and Dining License Agreement. Outstanding balances (including unpaid balances) for the academic term in which the leave is taken are still due the university.

Financial aid recipients must contact their financial aid counselor to understand the effects on aid received.

If the leave extends more than six months, students who have taken loans for education expenses may be required to start repayment of those loans.

Students enrolled in the Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP) will remain enrolled in the plan for the plan year, ending August 31.

Leave of Absence Due to Military Deployment or Missionary Service

When a student is called to active duty or missionary service, they must request the leave by filling out the proper request form through the Student Hub. Proof of official deployment or call to service paperwork will be required as an attachment when filling out the leave of absence request. 

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

  • Excuse tuition for that term. Any payment made will be credited to the student’s account.
  • Post a leave of absence for the term to hold a place for the student when he or she returns.

If a student is called 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, he or she will notify the college academic student services office if the leave was longer than one year; that office will in turn notify the Registrar’s Office. The college academic student services office will assist the student with reentry and registration. If the leave was less than one year, the student should register for classes for the upcoming term prior to returning to campus.

International students who must take a leave of absence to engage in military service in their home country must also complete a form for leave of absence with OGS.

Returning from a Leave of Absence

Students on a leave of absence are considered active students and are able to register for classes in an upcoming term in a leave status. If a student is unable to register because they are inactive, they should contact their college for reentry at the time of registration for the return term. Students are expected to register for classes upon returning from a leave of absence.

Students who are withdrawn and are applying for Commencement may be reentered on a leave of absence, pending the college’s approval, prior to the term in which they will graduate. International students returning from a leave of absence should contact OGS regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) procedures three to four months prior to anticipated return date.

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 be enrolled in Northeastern University classes for the term in which they wish to return from their medical leave of absence.  More specific information about the reentry process can be found at the UHCS website.

University Withdrawal

Students seeking to withdraw from the university for any reason should meet with their academic advisor before completing the university withdrawal form online. Students should review the financial implications of withdrawing from all classes on the Student Financial Services website.

Students may be withdrawn from the university for financial, disciplinary, or academic reasons. Students looking to withdraw for medical reasons, should reach out to UHCS to review medical leave of absence.