Leave of Absence (Graduate)

RISD allows for graduate leaves of absences in the following categories: Personal, Medical, Administrative, and Military Leaves.These leaves are described in subsequent paragraphs. Graduate Students may apply for a leave of absence for a period of up to 1 year (see below for the allowable duration of a military leave). Students are expected to return to RISD at the conclusion of their leave, or request a leave extension of up to one more year. A student who has not returned to RISD after their leave will be officially withdrawn. Students can apply for one of the leave categories by meeting with Student Affairs and by meeting with their Graduate Program Director. To make an appointment with Student Affairs, visit the 3rd floor of Carr House, email studaff@risd.edu or call (401) 454-6600. Taking this step will help to assure readmission with a minimum of difficulty after the leave of absence is granted.

Students on a Leave of Absence are still considered candidates for the RISD degree even though they are not formally enrolled. If you receive permission from RISD to take classes elsewhere while on leave, you must enroll at that institution as a guest or visiting (non-degree seeking) student, not as a transfer or degree-seeking student. Students can be candidates for the master’s degree at only one institution.

Students who receive Financial Aid must meet with the Student Financial Services office to complete the necessary exit interview and to learn whether there are consequences of a leave on their financial aid eligibility or loan repayment. International Students must meet with the International Student Advisor before applying for a leave to ensure compliance with their visa status. A Leave of Absence from RISD could affect the health insurance status for a student. Consult with your health insurance carrier for details.

Students who are granted a leave of absence during a semester will be dropped from all courses if it’s within the Add/Drop deadline, or withdrawn from all classes with a course grade of “W” if it is before the withdrawal deadline (see Academic Calendar). This does not impact the student’s grade point average. If the leave is after the deadline date has passed for withdrawal from class, the student may have failing grades recorded. For information on refund schedules contact Student Financial Services.

Supplementary Paragraph for International Students (F-1 visas)

International students that will be taking a leave of absence from RISD must meet with the Office of International Student Services as part of applying for a leave. Note that students on F-1 visas who take a leave of absence may forfeit their F-1 work authorization benefits upon their return. Please see the Office of International Student Services for details.

Personal Leave of Absence

Students who are granted a leave for personal reflection, financial concerns, academic exploration beyond the programs and classes of the RISD curriculum, or off-campus study opportunities that are not recognized by RISD, are on Personal Leave.

Medical Leave of Absence

RISD, through the Office of Student Affairs, authorizes medical leaves of absences through consultation with on-and off-campus medical providers. If a medical leave is issued during an academic semester after the Add/Drop period the student receives a course grade of “W.” The length of time a medical leave is expected to last is determined on a case-by-case basis, allowing the student sufficient time away from campus to achieve sustained stability and to engage in activities that will contribute to a successful return.In order to return, the student must comply with the conditions stated in the Medical Leave Readmission Guidelines available from the Office of Student Affairs.

RISD may choose to take appropriate measures should there be evidence of self-harm or the risk of harm to others.

Administrative Leaves

Student may be asked to leave for reasons of poor scholarship, unacceptable behavior, or non-payment of tuition. See the section on “Academic Standing” for procedures and process regarding dismissal for academic reasons. See the Code of Student Conduct for policy and procedures regarding academic or behavioral misconduct. Additionally, students expected to return for the upcoming semester, who fail to enroll (and remain out of contact with Student Affairs) will be placed on administrative leave.

Active Military Service Leaves

In order to support and accommodate RISD students called to active military service, RISD’s policy is the following:

  1. Any student required to leave RISD because of a call to active military service will receive a leave of absence and a refund of tuition and fees paid for the interrupted semester of study.
  2. Cost of RISD housing and meal plan will be prorated to the effective date of the leave of absence.
  3. A place will be held in the student’s department which will guarantee re-admittance to RISD after military service is completed, and at a time in the academic year which best fits with the student’s departmental curricular program.
  4. The leave of absence may be for the duration of the military service. It is not limited to the normal restriction of one year.