Leave of Absence/Return from Leave Process

Student Leave of Absence (LOA) & Return from Leave of Absence (RLOA) Process

A Leave of Absence is a temporary interruption in registration. A Leave of Absence may have implications on the eligibility for financial aid and is listed on the transcript.

The types of Leave of Absence are listed below. To read the policy in its entirety, please reference the current UMMS Bulletin.

Please complete the form after you have downloaded and saved it to your computer or phone; then email completed form to your counselor.

If you are unable to use Adobe Acrobat, please use the Word versions of the forms: LOA or RLOA Approval Request Forms

PDF of UMMS Student LOA/RLOA Process

Different Types of LOA


  • Administrative: Student is placed on an Administrative LOA by the Competency Committee for academic difficulties or issues related to the competencies, such as Professionalism.
  • USMLE: Students who do not pass the USMLE Step 1 and/or Step 2 are placed on a Board Failure LOA.


  • Educational/Research: Granted to students who have been admitted to a degree-granting program or to students who have secured a position to explore a particular research interest.  MSTP fellows take an Educational/Research LOA for the PhD phase of the program.
  • Detached Study: Students who have secured research scholarships, fellowships, or have secured positions in other formal scholarly or educational programs.
  • Personal/Medical: Students who have compelling personal circumstances that are temporarily impeding their academic progress or for documented health reasons.

Participation in Medical School Activities while on LOA

Students who are not in registration are prohibited from registered participation in the Medical School’s formal educational programs, including classroom, laboratory, and clinical course work. However, in certain circumstances, students on LOA and in good standing may with approval participate in experiences that enhance their education.

Steps to be Completed by Student for Student-Initiated LOA or RLOA

*LOA and RLOA process should begin around 3 months prior to leave or return date.

*RLOA Specific: Scheduling in OASIS may take place prior to meeting with your Counselor. You can email clinicalscheduling@umich.edu to verify if you are being included in the correct scheduling group.

1.      When you begin to consider a LOA/RLOA, please reach out via email to your Counselor to discuss your options and to start the process. Your Counselor will provide an initial overview of the entire LOA/RLOA process and schedule a meeting.

2.      In a joint LOA or RLOA meeting, you will meet with the LOA Team (Registrar, the Scheduling Specialist, and your assigned Financial Aid Officer). This meeting will clarify all administrative aspects of a LOA or RLOA and should take place around 3-months prior to your expected LOA or RLOA.

  • To schedule your LOA or RLOA meeting, please contact Cindy Murphy (regassist@umich.edu).
  • Things to consider prior to meeting:
    • Will you be taking a 1 or 2-month Residency Prep Course?
    • Which grades will be on your transcript for ERAS? The courses you would like to appear on your ERAS transcript will need to be taken no later than June M3 year.
    • Have your specific leave and return dates in mind. These dates may need to be adjusted based on remaining requirements while balancing tuition and aid considerations.
  • At the end of the meeting, you will receive a Checklist. The Checklist will provide information discussed at your LOA/RLOA meeting, which will help you in completing your Leave of Absence Request form or Return from Leave of Absence Request form.

3.      LOA/RLOA approval from the Assistant Dean for Student Services, Dr. Erin McKean, is required.

4.   After your LOA/RLOA is approved, please send your signed Checklist to the Registrar, Cindy Murphy, at regassist@umich.edu. By returning your signed Checklist:

  • You are confirming that items listed were discussed with you at your LOA/RLOA meeting.
  • You are confirming the LOA/RLOA dates discussed at your LOA/RLOA meeting. 
  • You are confirming that you understand requirements completed and to be completed upon return.



You may continue your coverage during your LOA. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO CONTINUE COVERAGE, YOU MUST OPT-OUT OF THE PLAN. To OPT OUT, you must submit a Benefit Change/Enrollment form  to the University Benefits Office. For more information, please contact the Benefits Office at 734-615-2000, option 1, or Pamela Beatty Cupitt (pcupitt@med.umich.edu) in the Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services. 

All immunizations must be up to date prior to your RLOA. This is in accordance with the CDC recommendation that all healthcare workers are required to have a baseline tuberculosis screening on file. For information about the status of your immunizations, please contact UMMS.Health.Records@umich.edu. Please contact Pamela Beatty Cupitt (pcupitt@med.umich.edu) in the Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services, if you have any questions regarding this process.

For Scientific Trunk students taking a-year-long LOA to ensure that your locker and mailbox are retained, please contact Denise Brennan (denisebr@med.umich.edu), Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services. It is important to contact Ms. Brennan when submitting your LOA request since contents of lockers that are not retained or protected are discarded.

Prior to your return to medical school registration, please confirm that your MCard is still active (see expiration date on your card). If it has expired, please contact Jill Miller at regassist@umich.edu to have your MCard reactivated. 

Please contact Cindy Murphy if you are aware or concerned that you are not receiving the emails corresponding to your curriculum phase/level (i.e. Scientific Trunk, Clinical Trunk, Early Branches, Graduating Branches).

Scheduling your MSPE appointment with the Dean who will be writing your MSPE to be included in your ERAS application occurs mid-spring during your M3 year (the year before your intended graduation). Communication regarding appointment scheduling and the MSPE process will be shared via email during winter term of your M3 year. Your appointment with the Dean writing your MSPE for your ERAS application will occur during the summer when you are a “rising M4” (the summer before you graduate). The last Period that will be included on your MSPE is Period 07 during your final year of your medical student education.  If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact Elaine Holleran (eholler@med.umich.edu).

  • Students engaging in clinical activities while on LOA will require MiChart access to be granted, please contact Amy Yoki, Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services.  MSTP students participating in the MSTP Clinical Preceptor Program should contact Karri Grob for MiChart access.
  • When returning to registration (RLOA), it is important to have your RLOA approved by Dr. Erin McKean around 3-months prior to your return. The 3-months prior provides needed time to ensure your MiChart access re-activation and required Cornerstone Learning Portal modules completion.

A student in the clinical phase of their education planning a LOA can either keep (at a cost) or return their pager. To return your pager or if you have any further questions regarding your pager, please contact Barbara Sharp (bajeshar@med.umich.edu) in the Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services.

A student planning a LOA before completing the Clinical Trunk is required to make-up all SPOM sessions.

VA Hospital credentialing must be up to date so the student is able to fully participate in activities scheduled at the VA, please contact medstudentvacredentials@umich.edu for more information regarding the credentialing process. Please contact Denise Brennan (denisebr@med.umich.edu) in the Office of Medical Student Education-Student Services if you have questions regarding the process.

What if I want to: Extend my Leave, come back early, or change the type of Leave that I am on?

You will need to complete a new form outlining your plans. It will go to your Counselor and will need to be approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Services.


Can I still work with my Counselor while I’m on LOA?

Yes. Counselors are a fantastic resource for questions and arising issues.


[Branches] What happens to my grades for ERAS transcripts?

The courses you would like to appear on your ERAS transcript should be completed by the June prior to your ERAS application submission. 


[Branches] How can I put myself in the best position to return before I go out?

The best scenario for a return from leave of absence is preparing before you begin your leave so, if planning is available to you, you should consider completing as many as possible of the clinical Graduation Requirement courses (SUBI, ICU, Emergency Medicine and 4-week clinical courses). This is especially a good course of action if you will be returning from a leave of absence the summer before submitting your ERAS application.


What will my Branches graduation requirements be?

Graduation requirements can be found on Canvas or please email branch-admins@umich.edu. MSTP Branches graduation requirements can be found in the MSTP Handbook.


Financial Aid and Tuition: Does it matter when I leave and return?

Yes. UMMS operates on 3 terms per academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer). Each term must have 12 credits to be considered full-time. Although not required, it is best to begin your LOA or RLOA at a term transition, allowing for a less complicated transition. This will be covered in detail at your LOA/RLOA meeting. 


[Branches] Can I complete an Away Rotation while on LOA:

These experiences are not completed for credit and will not show up on a transcript or generate a tuition charge. Students engaging in such activities while on leave of absence status must obtain approval from and must register their activity with the Office of Medical Student Education by completing a brief form, please contact  your Counselor and cc Dr. Karri Grob for assistance completing this approval process.  


Can I participate in shadowing while on LOA?

If a student is involved in a mentoring or shadowing program in which he or she spends time in a clinical setting as an observer to enhance his or her education outside the University of Michigan Hospital setting, and the program is an approved program through a student organization or clinical department, the student is covered by our liability insurance. If the student has arranged to do such an experience independently, the student must obtain prior approval from the Associate Dean for Medical Student Education. The Associate Dean will write a letter to the supervising physician granting approval in these circumstances.