Leave of Absence

Students must contact Academic Services to begin the leave of absence process. International students should also be in contact with the International Students and Scholars Office to review the effects of a change in enrollment on their visa status.  

Within the maximum of 16 credits from external sources, students on a leave of absence may take up to two courses (eight credits) per fall/spring semester for a maximum of four courses (16 credits). Course credits may count toward the 128 credits needed for graduation as defined in the academic residency requirement. Please note the following exceptions:

  • Students in their final semester cannot earn numeric credit while on a leave of absence, and must return to complete their degree at Brandeis.
  • Pre-approved non-Brandeis summer coursework may transfer back to Brandeis for purpose credit only.
  • Students on a leave of absence are not eligible for study abroad programs during the period of the leave. Derivative credit will not be accepted.

International students are eligible to petition to take courses in their home country while on a leave of absence. Courses must be taken at an accredited, degree-granting institution in the student’s home country. 

Taking Courses Outside Brandeis

  1. Complete the online petition to transfer courses taken while on leave of absence. You may petition for up to two courses at a time. (Lecture and lab sequences are considered separate courses. Please enter the information for each lecture and lab separately.) Courses must be taken at an accredited, degree-granting institution.
  2. You will be required to upload a syllabus for each course. If a current syllabus is not available, you can upload the syllabus for a different semester as long as the course content and mode of instruction (online vs. face-to-face) is the same as the section you are petitioning for. The syllabus must include: Prerequisites (if there are any); The title and authors of the textbook used (if there is one); The topics of the individual classes (please also upload the course schedule if the syllabus does not show these). We need this information to evaluate whether the scope and level of another college’s course are equivalent to those of a Brandeis course.
  3. Online courses require additional information. A syllabus reflecting the online mode of instruction must be included with petitions for online courses.
  4. You must submit a final transcript to the Office of the University Registrar after the courses are complete. A minimum grade of C-minus or better must be earned in the course. Electronic transcripts should be sent to transfer@brandeis.edu. Hard copy transcripts can be sent to the Registrar’s Office at the address below.

A written approval or denial will be given as soon as possible. A minimum of two weeks is suggested to allow ample time for faculty review of petitions and supporting documentation. Students are advised not to take a course for which written approval has not been received.

Please send any questions related to taking courses outside of Brandeis to transfer@brandeis.edu.

Please note: Credit is granted based on the principle of “equivalent course load.” Please see below for a detailed explanation.

The Principle of Equivalent Course Load

Brandeis does not measure progress towards the degree in terms of “semester hours” or “quarter hours.” Units such as these are converted to “semester courses” according to the formula below:
  • We ascertain the number of hours or courses required for the receipt of a bachelor’s degree at the institution from which you are transferring courses. We total the number of credits acceptable to us for transfer credit, divide them by the requirement at your previous institution and multiply by 32 (the degree standard at Brandeis). For example, if your previous school requires 128 credits and you attended one semester, completing 16 credits acceptable for transfer, the equation will be 16/128 x 32 = 4. Hence, one full semester at that institution will receive full credit at Brandeis.
  • If you worked at a higher or lower rate, credit transferred will reflect that rate. For example, if you complete 12 credits acceptable for transfer at a school that requires 120 credits for graduation, the equation is 12/120 x 32 = 3. In this scenario, the student will receive three Brandeis courses.
  • For two-year schools, we multiply by 16 (e.g., if the degree requirement is 60 credits, the equation will be #/60 x 16 = ?).
  • If the equation does not yield a whole number, we round up or down depending on the remainder. For .5 and above, we round up. For less than .5, we rounds down. (e.g. 3.2 is rounded down to 3 courses; 3.6 is rounded up to 4 courses)