Health Leave of Absence

A student may petition to take a health leave of absence for up to one year for personal health or family health reasons.

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

The following transfer credit policy applies to students on an approved health leave of absence. Within the maximum of 16 credits from external sources, students on approved leave for health reasons may take two courses (eight credits) per 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.

Students on a health leave of absence are not eligible for Brandeis University Study Abroad programs during the period of the leave.

This policy does not apply to students taking a Health Deferral. For students on a Health Deferral, please review the policy regarding College Work done while in High School/Gap Year/Health Deferral.

Minimum Transfer Credit Requirements for Fall/Spring Courses

  • A minimum grade of C-minus or better must be earned in the course.
  • Course content must be deemed appropriate by the Office of the University Registrar.

Minimum Transfer Credit Requirements for Summer Courses

  • Acceptable sessions comprise a minimum of five weeks and 37 contact hours; foreign language courses require 52 contact hours.
  • A minimum grade of B-minus or better must be earned in the course.
  • A student may earn credit for no more than three semester courses in a single summer; two courses in a single session.
  • Course content must be deemed appropriate by the Office of the University Registrar.

Taking Courses Outside Brandeis

Students who are on an approved health leave of absence and would like to petition to take courses outside of Brandeis University must:

  1. Complete the online petition to transfer courses taken while on a health 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.)
  2. You will be required to upload a course 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 is the same. 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 cours
  3. Online courses require additional information.
  4. You must submit a final transcript to the Office of the University Registrar after the courses are complete.

A written approval or denial will be given as soon as possible. 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

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 = ?).