Academic Adjustments and Medical Withdrawals

For academic adjustments related to emotional or psychological issues, please speak directly with your counselor/psychiatrist in Counseling and Psychological Services or Social Services. If you are not in treatment at UHS, we are unable to document your situation.

tang tip University Health Services (UHS) doesn't provide doctor's notes. See Flu Guidelines for Faculty.

General Information

Verification of Illness

Clinicians are unable to write "Doctor's Notes" and UHS is unable to give excuses for absences, missed exams or assignments turned in late.

For students with serious medical conditions, University Health Services can provide supporting documentation for:

  • Course Drop
  • Reduced Study Load
  • Incomplete Grade
  • Pass/Not Pass Grading Option
  • Financial Aid Appeal

We use UHS medical records or letters and records from private physicians to evaluate the severity of your illness and/or disability without revealing the diagnosis or specific medical information. Our evaluation acts as supporting documentation for the Dean of your College; the Dean, advisor or professor makes the actual decision. Drop petitions are available online at most college websites, along with instructions for submission.

If you would like to pursue this type of academic adjustment, go to Medical Records, Suite 2150, on the 2nd floor at the Tang Center, and complete a Verification of Illness Request form and Release of Information form.

If you received care outside UHS, we will need medical records sent from your provider. Once the documents are received by UHS the information is evaluated and a Verification/Evaluation of Medical Care form is completed within three working days. You can pick up your form at the Tang Information Center (TIC) on the 1st floor at the Tang Center.

If your medical condition is a result of sexual violence, sexual harassment or substance use issues, and you would like to pursue an academic adjustment, please speak directly with a confidential counselor in the Social Services unit by calling (510) 642-6074.

Before You Pursue a Medical Withdrawal

Because a medical withdrawal can affect so many aspects of your academic progress, you are encouraged to first consider other options that might enable you to stay in school, e.g., talk to your college or academic program advisor to explore academic adjustments such as a reduced course load, or taking incompletes, to prevent having to withdraw from school. 

  • If your medical condition is a disability, physical or psychological, a very valuable resource is the Disabled Students Program (DSP). DSP is authorized to offer a range of academic accommodations appropriate to your needs as an undergraduate or graduate student. For more information about the Disabled Students Program go to dsp.berkeley.edu. 
  • University Health Services (UHS) can provide appropriate medical documentation to accompany your request for an academic adjustment or accommodation; however, UHS does not make decisions about your academic status. This applies to graduate as well as undergraduate students. 

Students who withdraw from the university will need to be re-admitted by their academic department. Students considering withdrawal should consult with their department to be fully informed on the process for returning to Cal. 

  • All students have the option of requesting a personal withdrawal from their College/program. Consult with your academic advisor about initiating a personal withdrawal while a medical withdrawal request is under review. This will lock in a refund date for non-financial aid students in the event a medical withdrawal is not supported. 

Other areas that may be impacted by withdrawing from school include: 

  • Financial aid (For general concerns, contact Cal Student Central, 120 Sproul Hall, at 664-9181. You may also want to speak with a financial aid representative about money that may be owed back) 
  • Housing 
  • Registration fees 
  • Visa/immigration status (If you are an international student (on an F-1 or J-1 visa), you should talk to an advisor at the Berkeley International Office, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, 642-2818. 
  • Course registration (A withdrawal will cancel all enrollment, current and future). You may attend summer session while on withdrawal status. 
  • Student Health Insurance coverage (SHIP) remains active in current semester if paid for. 

Withdrawals late in the semester may result in an undergraduate’s inability to enroll in the subsequent semester due to college deadlines. In addition, ten days after a withdrawal is filed with the Office of the Registrar it is irrevocable, so please make sure all of your questions are answered prior to proceeding with your request. 

(Explore all of these ramifications carefully before you initiate the medical withdrawal process)

Withdrawal Process

Medical withdrawals are considered for the current or previous semester. To be eligible for a medical withdrawal you must have registered and paid a percentage of your fees for the semester. If a semester hasn’t started yet, you may cancel your registration through Cal Central. See information on retroactive withdrawals in FAQ below. 

Information Required

  • Detailed medical record information (including diagnosis and treatment) 
  • Your UHS medical record may be reviewed with a Release of Information Form 
  • If you were treated in the community or at the UHS Counseling & Psychological Services, request that a Health Evaluation Form be completed by your provider. 
  • You may also submit a brief explanation (up to one page) of the reasons you are requesting a medical withdrawal. 

Medical Withdrawal and Health Clearance Forms are available at

  • www.uhs.berkeley.edu (search for Medical Withdrawal) 
  • The Social Services’ (SOS) office, Rm 2280 at University Health Services (UHS), Tang Center, 2222 Bancroft Way. You may also call 642-6074 to make arrangements to receive paperwork via mail or fax. (SOS is open Monday - Friday, 8a.m.-11:45a.m. and 1p.m.-4:45p.m. Our confidential fax # is 510-643-0211).

All information should be sent to Social Services, along with a copy of the Release of Information form you sign, so your provider can communicate with us. 

The above information is reviewed to determine if the medical condition warrants a medical withdrawal. The withdrawal determination is based on the severity and onset of your condition and its impact on your ability to attend classes over a period of time. The medical and/or mental health condition is usually so severe that it prevents a student from participating in academic work for a significant portion of the semester (typically a month or more). The medical withdrawal documentation is also reviewed to determine what, if any, medical documentation will be necessary for health clearance when you seek to return to school. The Committee looks for continued treatment over a period of time when evaluating readiness to return, along with current medical status information provided by your treating providers. 

*Summer Session: Students on a medical withdrawal and have a health block will not be able to enroll in summer session until they are medically cleared to return to school and the health block is removed by the Medical Withdrawal Committee. 

Eligibility to Return to Cal

In taking a medical withdrawal a student is agreeing to the terms and conditions for health clearance set out by the UCB Medical Withdrawal Committee, including any requirement for additional medical documentation. The review of medical documentation at the time a student seeks to return to the University is designed to determine sufficient stability and readiness to resume academic studies. Review for readmission must be supported by documentation from medical and/or mental health providers that clearly proves significant resolution and stabilization of the condition(s) that led to the withdrawal in the first place. The UCB Withdrawal Committee only reviews whether or not you are medically eligible for readmission.

For graduate studentsonly your academic program, with agreement from the Graduate Division, can readmit you. Students in clinical programs (e.g. Optometry) may need additional approval by the Patient Care Review Committee to ensure they are ready to perform clinical work along with their academics. 

Once your health has stabilized and you are ready to return to school please take the following steps: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who grants a request for a medical withdrawal and readmission eligibility?

Initial review of a medical withdrawal request is done by the Medical Withdrawal Coordinator at UHS. Many withdrawal recommendations are made by the Coordinator; however repeat requests, appeals, complicated withdrawals and most requests for medical clearance and retroactive action are reviewed by the UCB Medical Withdrawal Committee. The Committee is comprised of the UHS medical director, UHS managers from the Counseling and Social Services units and the medical withdrawal coordinator; campus administrators representing key Colleges, Student Affairs Case management, the Graduate Division, and the Berkeley International Office. 

Once a conclusion is reached, a recommendation is made to your College or academic program as to whether or not the medical documentation supports withdrawal from school. The medical information that you give us is confidential and we only report to your College/program our recommendation to accept or not accept the withdrawal as “medical” and if medical clearance will be required before readmission. The final decision for accepting a medical withdrawal recommendation (and the decision of whether or not to readmit) lies with the College/program. 

The UCB Withdrawal Committee will review all available information and documentation to determine if you have achieved sufficient stability to be ready to return to academic work. Please do not seek medical clearance until your health is stable. Subsequent requests for medical withdrawals for the same condition are reviewed with stricter standards and greater scrutiny. 

What about retroactive medical withdrawals?

Generally, medical withdrawals are considered for the current semester or the one preceding it, (summer session excluded unless it is a required term for the academic program). For any more remote requests, e.g. retroactive action beyond 12 months, the Medical Withdrawal Committee requires a statement from the student addressing the circumstances that delayed the request. In addition, there must be strong medical documentation of treatment for the semester the student wants to withdraw from. Additional medical/mental health records may be required as part of the review process. 

What If I Get Sick During the Summer or Winter Break?

The university offers an Early Medical Withdrawal process for students who have an unexpected health situation and are unable to attend the next semester. Contact Social Services to see if you qualify. If you do, you will be advised to cancel your registration for the upcoming semester and be placed on official medical withdrawal status. You will have the ability to purchase SHIP for one semester as long as you were on it the prior semester. You will likely have a health block and will need to receive clearance to return to your studies, as is the case with most medical withdrawals.

What are my options if a request is denied?

The Committee will review a request up to two times. If the initial request is denied and the student is able to provide additional, new documentation, an appeal will be accepted. If the request is denied again, the matter is closed. Therefore, it is important to submit the strongest documentation possible with the initial request. 

What about insurance coverage and ongoing care?

If you purchased the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and have withdrawn from school on the first day of instruction or thereafter, your insurance coverage remains active through the semester in which you withdrew. All students are eligible to purchase one additional semester of Berkeley SHIP directly following the semester in which they withdrew. You may continue to use the Tang Center for your medical care. If you are out of school beyond the semester you withdraw in and the consecutive semester, you will need to obtain insurance other than SHIP or pay out of pocket for medical care. 

While you are covered by Berkeley SHIP, except for emergency or urgent care services, you must obtain an authorization before seeking medical care outside of the Tang Center. Please contact the Student Health Insurance Office at 510-642-5700 or stop by the office located in room 3200 in the Tang Center for additional insurance information. If you have waived Berkeley SHIP, you will be referred to community providers for care under your primary insurance plan.

Fee adjustments for withdrawals?

All fee adjustments for withdrawals are applied to students' Cal Student Central accounts and may be applied to any outstanding debts. Late fees are not refundable. Students who withdraw and who are participating in the Deferred Payment Plan are likely to have a remaining financial obligation to the University.* 

*Take from the Ofice of the Registar's website.

Can I backdate a withdrawal?

All withdrawals have a financial impact, which may be unintended. Students receiving financial aid should always consult with the Financial Aid office to understand the effects on one’s aid package. The Medical Withdrawal Committee has the ability to consider a backdate on a withdrawal when the submitted medical/mental health documentation supports that a student was no longer participating in the semester past a certain date. Financial aid is based off the student’s last date of attendance while tuition and fees are determined by the withdrawal date. 

Due to the fiscal impact on the university, backdating is only possible in the current semester or the one prior. Students who request two consecutive withdrawals will not be considered for a backdate for more than one of the semesters, even if withdrawals are supported for both semesters. 

Please visit http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/withdrawing-classes-or-school or contact Cal Student Central, 120 Sproul Hall, 510-664-9181 for information on how financial aid is handled. Note: If you are in student housing, make sure you contact Housing and Dining regarding your withdrawal. Charges will apply until you make the proper notification, move out of campus housing and turn in your key.