Front Desk

Medical Withdrawals

To be considered for the possibility of a Medical Withdrawal, a student and his/her disability must be evaluated by a Health Center Director. Only a Medical Director or the Director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services may authorize a Medical Withdrawal.

Medical Withdrawals are only considered for debilitating physical or mental illnesses.

Medical Withdrawals and Withdrawals appear the same on the student’s transcript but additional stipulations are placed on Medical Withdrawals.

There are no retroactive medical withdrawals per University policy.

A Medical Withdrawal allows the student to receive "Withdrawal" for all semester grades. A Medical Withdrawal must include all registered classes for the student. Typical conditions that qualify for a Medical Withdrawal are major surgery or prolonged hospitalizations, Major Depressive Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Illness, Anorexia Nervosa, and Alcohol or Drug Dependence. These are similar to conditions for which one would be disabled from work.

If not being seen or treated by the Health Center staff, the student must present detailed supporting medical, psychiatric, or psychological records or documents to a Health Center Director. The Director will use this information as part of his/her evaluation. Evaluating the student in person and/or reviewing the relevant documents as well as speaking with other medical professionals involved in the student’s care is a time consuming process. Generally several weeks are needed to determine the appropriateness of authorizing a Medical Withdrawal. The same or more time is needed before a decision could be made about removing the Medical Withdrawal “Hold” once this is requested by the student.

If a Medical Withdrawal is granted then a "Hold" is put on the student's account and he/she cannot register until the director who gave the medical withdrawal agrees to remove the "Hold". If the medical withdrawal is approved, the students' enrollment for the following semester will also be cancelled.

To return to SMU, students must have a substantial period of time of medical/psychiatric stability which is documented by their treating clinicians and agreed upon by the appropriate director from SMU. In addition, the student who took a medical withdrawal for psychological/psychiatric reasons is expected to demonstrate the ability to manage life stressors as evidenced by activities such as taking a class at community college, getting a part time or full time job or doing volunteer work. Additional stipulations may be imposed on an individual basis as warranted. If a student has taken a medical withdrawal for mental health reasons, they must adhere to the agreed upon follow up treatment plan for six months following readmission. Failure to do so may result in a “Hold” being placed on a student's admission or in a student's being withdrawn for medical reasons.

The Dean of Students and the Director of Residence Life and Student Housing are notified of all Medical Withdrawals.

1. Please read:  Options for dropping classes and leaves from the University

2. Please read:  Consent form for medical withdrawal

3.  Link to leave of absence form from the Registrar's Office can be found here:  http://smu.edu/registrar/forms_library.asp

For further information regarding Medical Withdrawals, contact

  • 214-768-2141 for physical conditions
  • 214-768-2277 for mental health issues
  • or come to the Memorial Health Center at 6211 Bishop Boulevard.