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Academic Leave of Absence

Students participating in off-campus study options not conducted by Oberlin College itself are classified as being on an academic leave of absence. Student applications for leaves are processed by the Associate Dean of Studies and granted by the Off-Campus Study Committee prior to a student's departure from Oberlin. Academic leaves are approved when students can demonstrate the value of such leaves for their Oberlin education and meet the following criteria:

–A student must have completed at least two semesters at Oberlin.
–A student must have declared a major.
–A maximum of 36 hours of credit transferred toward the graduation requirement will be permitted after a student has enrolled at Oberlin. In addition, an Arts and Sciences student may transfer no more than 56 hours (62 hours for Conservatory majors and double-degree students) in total towards the Oberlin degree.
–A student must carry a minimum of 12 semester hours when on an academic leave of absence.

There are specific limits on credit transfer from off-campus study programs. For the College of Arts and Sciences they are (a) 16 hours per single semester, or (b) 10 hours per quarter or trimester, or (c) 32 hours per academic year or (d) 20 hours per academic year at a quarter or trimester based school. For Conservatory of Music and double-degree limits please consult the appropriate section of this catalog.

Deadline for Applications for Academic Leaves of Absence

For academic leaves for the fall semester or through the full academic year, students must apply prior to the first Wednesday after Spring Break in the preceding year. For leaves starting in the spring semester, students must apply prior to the first Wednesday after Fall Break. Requests for extensions of academic leaves, including a new application form, must be received by the same deadlines.


This category generally applies to students who are participating in programs sponsored by individual departments of Oberlin College: the Danenberg Oberlin-in-London Program, the Oberlin in Italy Program, the Studies in Spain at the University of Córdoba Program, and the Oberlin-in-Europe Program.

Students wishing to participate in these programs apply directly to the appropriate on-campus department in consultation with their academic advisor (and in the case of double-degree and Conservatory students, the Assistant Dean of the Conservatory). Once accepted to the program, students must file Enrolled-Not-in-Residence forms with the appropriate office. Credits earned in these programs are internal Oberlin credits and no transfer of credit is involved.

Under special circumstances, students may arrange for independent study in appropriate off-campus locations. This independent study status is limited to students who have completed two or more semesters at Oberlin.

Such independent study is arranged with and overseen by Oberlin faculty members and is approved in advance by the Associate Dean of Studies for students in the College of Arts and Sciences and by the Conservatory Assistant Dean for Conservatory students. This status is normally granted for less than full-time study. Students pay Oberlin College tuition for this work, which must be completed within a specified semester. Deadlines for application are the first Wednesday after Fall Break for a spring program and the first Wednesday after Spring Break for a fall program.

In both types of Enrolled-Not-in-Residence, students' matriculation deposits will be refunded upon graduation. Students are responsible for notifying the appropriate offices of any change in plans and face forfeiture of their matriculation deposits if such notice is not given.

Personal Leave of Absence

Students who wish to pursue primarily non-academic activities away from Oberlin may apply for a Personal Leave of Absence through the Associate Dean of Studies. A maximum of six hours credit per semester or four semester hours for each quarter or trimester of leave may be transferred to Oberlin for work taken at other institutions while on personal leave. Completed applications for leaves beginning the following semester are due the first week in December and the first week in May. Requests for extensions of personal leaves must be received by the same deadlines.

Students may also apply for a medical leave of absence but must have appropriate supporting documentation from a health professional and approval from the Associate Dean of Studies beforehand.


Students withdrawing permanently from Oberlin must apply through the Associate Dean of Studies. Conservatory and double-degree students should first consult their principal advisors and the Assistant Dean of the Conservatory. All students who receive financial aid from Oberlin College must consult with the Office of Financial Aid before withdrawing.


Students may be asked to leave Oberlin for academic or disciplinary reasons. Suspension is usually for a specified period of time and/or until specified conditions have been met. Additional information under this heading is available in the College Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music sections of this catalog. Also, please see the document Student Regulations, Policies and Procedures.

Students who have withdrawn from Oberlin and seek readmission, or who have been suspended and seek reinstatement, may not transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions while withdrawn or suspended unless an appropriate office of Oberlin College (e.g. Dean of Studies, Committee on Academic Standing, Counseling Center) had required or recommended that work be completed elsewhere.


In order to return to Oberlin, a student who has been withdrawn or suspended must submit a Readmission/Reinstatement form to the Office of the Registrar. Appropriate forms and materials must be received by August 1 for fall semester and by January 2 for spring semester. No exceptions are made. Relevant offices review the request for readmission/reinstatement and the student will be informed about the decision as quickly as possible. The entire readmission/ reinstatement process is explained on the Registrar's web site: www.oberlin.edu/regist.

When Conservatory or Double-Degree students wish to return to the Conservatory of Music, the Assistant Dean of the Conservatory reviews the academic record with representatives of the appropriate major departments. Students withdrawn for two or more consecutive semesters may be required to reaudition for readmission/reinstatement. Those withdrawn for more than four semesters must meet the graduation requirements for the major in effect at the time of their return to the Conservatory of Music.
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