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How to Take Exceptional Leave of Absence: Guidelines

Due to a large number of questions from students concerning taking an exceptional leave of absence, the editorial board together with the Office of Degree Programmes at HSE University – St. Petersburg have prepared answers to the most frequent questions.

How to Take Exceptional Leave of Absence: Guidelines

HSE – Saint Petersburg

What is an exceptional leave of absence?

This is a period for which a student can suspend their studies. During that time students do not attend classes of the educational programme they are enrolled in and are excempt from passing exams and other assessment procedures. At the same time, the contractual relationship between student and university does not stop—the student continues to hold all the rights and privileges provided by the legislation of the Russian Federation and the normative documents of the university.

What is a 'short-term exceptional leave of absence'? How is it different from a general one?

The standard concept of 'an exceptional leave of absence' implies that it can be issued for a short period (from several weeks). In this case, the student is subject to all the same requirements that apply to a regular leave. After resuming studies, the student has to make up the gaps and catch up with missing material. The assessment for the missed volume of the course is carried out in accordance with the programme’s syllabus.

Who can grant an exceptional leave of absence?

The decision to grant a leave of absence for a student is made by the dean of the faculty.

What documents are required?

In case of taking an exceptional leave for medical reasons, the student is requiered to provide a personal application and an opinion of a clinical expert committee issued by a healthcare institution. In case of personal or family reasons, in the personal application it should be clearly stated what are the grounds for taking the leave of absence.

For what period one can request an exceptional leave of absence?

A leave of absence can be requested for any time period, but it may not exceed two years. If it is family/personal leave, then it can be even two weeks or as long as it takes, but no more than two years.

If a leave of absence is taken for medical reasons, then the duration of the leave of absence must correspond to the period specified in the certificate issued by a clinical expert committee, but cannot exceed two years.

Is the time spent during an exceptional leave of absence included in the period of study on the educational programme?

No, it is not. After resuming studies, the student must continue their studies from the moment they took the exceptional leave of absence.

Does the study period get longer due to taking an exceptional leave of absence?

It depends on several factors: the length of the exceptional leave of absence, the study period for which the leave of absence falls, the course of study, changes in the curricula.

Generally, since the student does not attend classes during an exceptional leave of absence, the study period gets longer. After reinstatement, the student must continue their studies from the moment they left off, and also eliminate the academic difference in the curriculum (if any).

Please contact the Study Office of the programme you are currently enrolled in to correctly calculate all the parameters of your individual curriculum.

Can I attend online classes during an exceptional leave of absence?

Since the purpose of taking an exceptional leave of absence is to suspend studies and get the opportunity to solve personal issues, there is no need to attend classes in any format.

If the student wants to reduce the study load, it is possible to discuss the possibility of switching to a special individual curriculum with the Study Office. In this case, the training will continue, but will stretch over a longer period.

Is it possible to take an exceptional leave of absence until the next academic year, but after the reinstatement continue studying with my classmates on the same year of study?

Yes, after the reinstatement, the student can be admitted to the next year of study. However, it should be noted that the student should include the missing courses for the past year in their individual curriculum. Please bear in mind that this will increase the academic workload and may lead to overlays in the schedule, so we urge students to be realistic concenting their abilities to cope with the extra study load. There will be no special tratment for students who fail to cope with the increased study load.

What should I do if, due to taking an exceptional leave of absence or for a valid excuse, I missed examination period of the 3rd module?

  • For students who are not in their last year of studies, the examination period for the 3rd module is postponed to autumn. By agreement with the academic supervisor, examinations for the 3rd module can be held in the examination period of the 4th module.
  • For final-year students, the examination period for the 3rd module is postponed for an additional period of retakes, which is held before the Final State Сertification (FSC). If the student fails to pass the examination period before the FSC takes place, then the examination period is transferred to the 4th module or to the autumn period of retakes, and the FSC is transferred to the autumn period.

Is it now possible for a final-year student to take an exceptional leave of absence and immediately get to the FSC after the reinstatement? 

Yes, it is possible. However, it is important to understand that after the reinstatement, the student must complete all the missing courses, undergo an internship (if any), pass the examination period of the 3rd module and defend a thesis. Only after that the student is allowed to pass the Final State Сertification (FSC). If the student fails to complete their studies before the FSC, then the thesis defense and the final exams are postponed to the autumn period.

When is it possible to reinstate? Can the leave of absence be extended?

You can reinstate at any time before the leave of absence ends. We advice students to file a personal application with their Study Office, indicating the date, from which they wish to be reinstated.

It is possible to expend the leave of absence as well, but it may not exceed a cumulative total of two years. An application with a detailed explanation of the reasons is required for the extension.

What do I need to take into consideration after being reinstated from the leave of absence?

Prior to the reinstatement, a student is assigned an individial curriculum. It includes the courses of the educational programme to which the student is admitted to, as well as the missing courses which the student has not previously studied but need to pass to continue the current year of study.

In case the student has studied only one part of the course, then this course is included in the indivicual curiculum with repeated courses (ICRS). At the same time, in agreement with the professor, the student can be allowed to pass only that missing part of the course.

If the student, before leaving, completed a course but did not pass the interim or final assessment, or did not use their right for two repeated examinations in the event of failed assignment, they are admitted to a repeat assessment after reinstatement during the next repeated examination period after the reinstatement.

How to issue a reinstatement after a leave of absence?

All the details on the reinstatement process are given in the following instructions.

What happens if I did not get back from an exceprional leave of absence on time?

A student’s failure to submit an application for reinstatement by the end of the an exceptional leave of absence is considered as absenteeism and leads to dismissial in the manner prescribed by Student Internal Regulations at National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Will I retain my place at dormitory during taking a leave of absence?

In the Internal Dormitory Regulations of National Research University Higher School of Economics it is stated that the student does not retain their place at the dormitory during the period of taking the leave of absence. However, in special cases (for example, if the leave of absence is issued for a short period), the student can submit an application for securing a place at the dormitory. 

To do this, please contact The Accommodation Services Office and send them a personal application and supporting documents. The list of required documents can be found in the following page.

The application and documents should be sent to the accommodation department via email: oop-spb@hse.ru; tel: 8 (812) 644-59-11 (ext. 61740; 61736); St. Petersburg, emb. Griboedov Canal, room 701.

Is a scholarship retained during taking a leave of absence?

The payment of state academic scholarships shall be suspended when a student has been granted an exceptional leave of absence, and shall be resumed upon the reinstatement.

Is there a deferment from military service during taking a leave of absence?

Students who are granted leaves of absence can maintain the right for deferment from military service provided by the Federal Law on Military Duty and Military Service, No. 53FZ, issued on March 28, 1998, if the total period of deferment due to educational reasons does not increase, or increases for a year or less. This means that leaves of absence may not exceed a cumulative total of 12 months.