Academic Leave

An Academic Leave of Absence (LVA)  allows a qualified student to study at another accredited college or university for the purpose of strengthening his or her academic program. The term Academic Leave of Absence includes Non-Vassar Study Away, Vassar-Twelve College Exchange, and Vassar-Historically Black College Exchange. If you believe that your program would benefit significantly from attending another institution in the United States or Canada for a semester or an academic year and wish to apply for an Academic Leave of Absence, follow the instructions carefully.

  1. Declare major if you have not already done so.  A student is rarely if ever, considered eligible for an Academic Leave of Absence without an officially declared major.
  2. It is your responsibility to obtain catalogs from institutions in which you are interested.  It would be to your benefit to consult with your departmental advisor in selecting an appropriate institution(s). Also, it is your responsibility to apply directly to the institution of your choice.
  3. You must fill out the Petition for an Academic Leave of Absence (LVA), and you will need one for each institution to which you are applying.
  4. Consult with your departmental advisor when making course selections, making sure to confirm with him/her which courses are to apply to your major. Your departmental advisor must sign “Faculty Review Form for Domestic Study Away”, to indicate his/her approval of your course of study. (This form will be automatically emailed to your advisor when you submit your Petition).
  5. If the Committee on Leaves and Privileges (CLP) approves your petition:
    1. For Non-Vassar Study Away and Vassar-Historically Black College Exchange it will be your responsibility to apply to the institution at which you wish to take your Academic Leave.
    2. For Vassar-Twelve College Exchange the Office of International Programs (OIP) will forward your application to the Exchange institution for review.
    3. For Eugene O’Neill National Theatre Institute programs and the Williams Mystic Maritime Studies program you must submit a separate application directly to the Institute.
  6. Vassar College approval will be granted for only those courses listed in your application form and approved by your advisor. You must include official course numbers, names, and credit or quarter hours for each course you list.
    1. PLEASE NOTE: If you receive approval for an academic leave and find when you arrive that you cannot register for the courses, which were approved in your petition, you must notify your departmental advisor as well as Casey Trocino, Assistant Dean of Studies, with your alternative course selections. Failure to do this will require that the Committee on Leaves and Privileges review your program to decide whether or not you will receive Vassar credit for your coursework.
  7. Pre-professional courses, vocational courses, business courses, and physical education courses CANNOT be transferred for Vassar credit. If you are unsure as to whether a course you wish to select falls into any of the above categories, consult with the Office of International Programs BEFORE registering for it.
  8. There is no Vassar financial aid for Non-Vassar Study Away. However, if you are receiving a federal loan and wish to have it applied toward the cost of your Non-Vassar Study Away, you must complete a Domestic Programs Budget Worksheet which will be available through the Financial Aid Office in April of each year.
  9. All petition forms must be returned to the Office of the Dean of Studies no later than the first Monday in December. These petitions will be forwarded to the Committee on Leaves and Privileges for consideration.
  10. Once you complete your Academic Leave of Absence, you must make a request to the registrar at the institution you attended to send an official transcript of your completed coursework to the Office of the Dean of Studies, Vassar College, Box 5, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604.
  11. Please be aware: Once you are approved for an Academic Leave, your status will be adjusted to reflect that you will not be present on campus during the semester or academic year specified on your Academic Leave petition form. You will not have Vassar housing or be permitted to pre-register for Vassar courses for the semester or academic year specified on your Academic Leave Petition. If for any reason you decide NOT to take the Academic Leave, you must notify DOS IMMEDIATELY.
  12. The Committee on Leaves and Privileges requires that students have a 3.2-grade point average, both overall and in the major, for an Academic Leave to be granted.
  13. Please be aware that to be eligible for transfer, courses must be graded. All grades will appear on the Vassar transcript, but only courses with grades of  “C” or better will receive credit. All courses will appear on your Vassar transcript, but will not count toward your Vassar GPA.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to discuss the possibility of an Academic Leave, you may make an appointment with Casey Trocino, Assistant Dean of Studies. Please email to arrange an appointment.