Students are expected to complete the course of study for the Degree Doctor of Medicine within four years. The College recognizes that some students may pursue additional educational opportunities or have other circumstances that prevent completion of the requirements in four years. Permissions and arrangements for any Leave of Absence (LOA), must be secured for any student who will require more than four years from matriculation to complete the course of study. A LOA may be granted for academic, medical, personal, or professional development (e.g. dual degree programs).
An administrative Leave of Absence (LOA) not to exceed one calendar year may be granted by a dean in the Office of Student Affairs. The reason for a leave must be stated in the LOA request form and supporting documentation attached. Reasons for taking an administrative LOA include, but are not limited to, educational endeavors at another institution of higher learning, to pursue research on a full-time basis, financial distress of a student necessitating full-time employment, and illness in the family. A student who has completed all graduation requirements and does not intend to take additional coursework will not be permitted to take a leave of absence. If additional time for a LOA desired, it must be requested in writing with supporting documentation provided. The request will then be subject to review and approval by the SOM Promotions Committee.
Medical LOA may be granted by a dean in Student Affairs for periods not to exceed one calendar year based upon documentation of medical necessity. Return to active student status from medical LOA must be supported by a physician's letter. The Health Service Coordinator/ Wellness Intervention Team may assist with collecting and reviewing medical documentation. If additional leave of absence is recommended, it should be requested in writing, with supporting documentation and will be subject to review and approval by the SOM Promotions Committee.
All deferred and incomplete grades must be resolved prior to administrative LOA. Students may not be on LOA at the time they take a USMLE examination. Being officially enrolled is a prerequisite for a student to be certified as eligible to take Step 1 and 2CK.
Students on LOA are not officially enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine, may not avail themselves of the benefits/resources, including student health and malpractice insurance, and financial aid or scholarship disbursements associated with enrollment. Students may elect to continue their Student Health Insurance and are advised to contact BCM benefits for costs. (Students in official BCM dual degree or enrichment programs (MRP) remain enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine and thus retain their benefits.)
Read more about Student Continuation of Insurance while on Leave of Absence.
Students on LOA may not represent themselves as officially enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine. Violation of this guideline while on LOA will jeopardize a student's return to official enrollment. Students must review and abide by the Student Leave of Absence Policy (login required).
To request a Leave of Absence (LOA) or Change of Status (COS) complete one of the following forms at least three months prior to your anticipated LOA or COS start date:
Contact Yvette Pinales should you have any questions about this process.
If LOA request is approved:
Official Student Clearance Process form is issued from the dean's office two weeks prior to the official LOA date. At that time the last class day of attendance is determined.
Student obtains signatures from the following offices, which signifies the completion of each clearance process (financial/education/administrative responsibilities):
- Benefits Office
- Student Account Services
- Student Financial Aid
- Academic Success Center
- Security Office
- Learning Community Advisor
- Office of the Registrar - The Office of the Registrar certifies that the clearance process has been finalized.
- All students on LOA must meet with a dean of Student Affairs three months prior to their anticipated return to school date.
Looking for a topic in the handbook? See our table of contents for links to all handbook pages.
General contacts, office numbers, foundational sciences and clinical academic numbers.