Medical Leave of Absence
If you want or need to pause your studies temporarily due to physical or mental health issues, you may request a medical leave of absence.
Requesting a medical leave is a two-step process:
- You should request an appointment with the appropriate Yale Health chief clinician in Mental Health and Counseling or Student Medicine, who will recommend the leave in writing to the dean’s office; and
- you should complete the change of status form and return it to your department/DGS for signing.
If you are on a Yale-sponsored visa, you should reach out to OISS to see how a leave will impact your visa status.
A student who is making satisfactory progress toward degree requirements is eligible for a medical leave any time after matriculation.
Students on medical leave receive an academic assignment upon which their return is contingent. The dean’s office arranges the assignment in consultation with your department. The assignment must be deemed satisfactory by your DGS in order for you to return to full-time studies.
PhD students taking medical leave retain a GSAS Health Award to cover the cost of the remainder of the coverage period in which you go on leave, if they sign up for student affiliate coverage. In addition, if you extend your medical leave for a second term as a PhD student you can retain your coverage for one additional semester. Yale Health coverage periods do not match the academic calendar. Instead, they run from August 1 to January 31 for the fall term, and from February 1 to July 31 for the spring term.
For example, if you take a leave in October as a PhD student, then your GSAS Health Award for the fall term would remain in place through January 31. After that first coverage period ends, PhD students on medical leave may self-pay for student affiliate coverage.
PhD students are also eligible for the Family Support Subsidy in the semester in which their medical leave begins, but not beyond.
MA/MS students self-pay for all student affiliate coverage.
Medical Leave Hardship Awards
If you experience financial hardship resulting from taking a medical leave, you may apply for a Medical Leave Hardship Award of up to $3,000 per semester from the Graduate School. Once your medical leave is approved, you can apply for a hardship award by emailing GSASadministrativedean@yale.edu and including in your request:
- your fixed monthly living expenses;
- your savings/debt; and
- any financial support you may receive from other sources, including employment or family.
You may apply for a hardship award in every semester in which you take an approved medical leave.
Returning from Medical Leave
Students may only return from leave at the start of each term. Occasionally, PhD students may be able to return on June 1 with the permission of their DGS and the Graduate School. It’s essential that you begin the return process early, so that your registration and return to Yale student health coverage can be processed in time.
Returning involves three steps, each of which must be completed six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which you expect to return:
- submit your academic assignment to your DGS;
- request an appointment with the appropriate Yale Health chief clinician in Mental Health and Counseling or Student Medicine, who will recommend your return in writing to the dean’s office; and
- email your DGS and GSASadministrativedean@yale.edu to inform us of your plan to return.
Once these steps are completed, the Graduate School will approve your return through a formal approval email. Requests to return cannot be processed in less than six weeks and will be denied.
Extending Medical Leave
If you are on a medical leave and have one or more leave semesters still available to use, you can extend your leave by taking two steps:
- make an appointment with the appropriate Yale Health chief clinician in Mental Health and Counseling or Student Medicine, who will recommend your extension in writing to the dean’s office; and
- email your DGS and GSASadministrativedean@yale.edu to request an extension.
Extensions should be requested at least six weeks prior to the expiration of your leave.