Leave of Absence or Clinical Expansion

For a variety of personal or professional reasons, students may take time away from their medical education through a leave of absence or clinical expansion.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is when a student takes off two or more quarters, is not enrolled in any course work or clerkships, and is not paying any tuition or receiving any financial aid.

A student may request or be placed on leave for personal, academic, or health related reasons, to complete research, or to allow time to manage an issue of concern.

Clinical Expansions

An expansion is when a student spreads out their clinical curriculum such that they are enrolled at least every other quarter. Expansions are only an option for students in their clinical curriculum. A clinical expansion affects the students’ graduation date.

Students may request or be placed on an expanded clinical curriculum for personal reasons, to remediate academic difficulties, to complete a second degree, and/or to allow more time to explore specialty career options.

  1. Speak with a Student Affairs dean about the implications to your schedule and to obtain their approval
  2. Talk with your Specialty Career Advisor and/or College Mentor
    • Discuss with them prior to your leave and at the start of your return
  3. Talk with the SOM Financial Aid Office about:
    • How a leave or expansion impacts your financial aid
    • Anything you should do prior to and after your return
  4. If you are in clinical rotations, speak with your Letter of Recommendation writers
    • Discuss how you can make it easier for them to write a letter when you return
  5. Speak with Academic Support regarding your Step 2 CK plans if you are taking a leave after completing your 3rd year
  6. Consider strategies to prepare for your return:
    • If you have time in your schedule, consider starting with an easier elective to help you readjust
    • If you are approaching applying to residency or deciding on a specialty, use the time away to complete your CV, draft your personal statement, and begin a list of possible residency programs