NOTE: University Health Services (UHS) doesn't provide doctor's notes.
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, UHS 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, please complete a Verification of Illness Request form and Release of Information form and contact Social Services at 510-642-6074 or send the forms to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the documents are received by UHS the information is evaluated and a Verification/Evaluation of Medical Care form is completed within three to five business days. We will email the completed form directly to the student. If you received care outside of UHS, we will need medical records sent from your provider before we can complete the form. Please make arrangements with your outside facility to provide us with those records.
If your condition is related to mental health and you were seen in either our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Dept or Behavior Health (BH) Clinic, please contact your provider in that departement by calling 510-642-9494 for CAPS and 510-642-2000 for the appointment office.
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)
- Registration fees
- Visa/immigration status If you are an international student (on F-1 or J-1 visa), you should talk to an advisor at the Berkeley International Office(BIO): Drop-In Virtual Advising or scheduling an In-Person BIO Advising Appointment.
- Course registration A withdrawal will cancel all enrollment, current and future. You may not attend summer session while on withdrawal status.
- Student Health Insurance coverage (SHIP) remains active in current semester if paid for.
Withdrawals may impact a student’s ability to enroll in the subsequent semester due to college deadlines or professional school policy. Please check with your program advisor. In addition, if there is a health block on your withdrawal, you cannot sign up for classes until you are medically cleared. Once the withdrawal is approved, it is final and cannot be reversed, 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)
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.
Early Semester Medical Withdrawals are considered for the upcoming semester and if approved, the student needs to cancel their registration prior to the start of the semester and no fees will be required. The process of review is the same as all medical withdrawals. An early medical withdrawal is for students who get sick right before a semester begins. See information on insurance eligibility in FAQ below.
- 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.
- If you are UC Berkeley International Student, please contact the UC Berkeley International Office (BIO), as there may be implications with your VISA status when applying for a medical withdrawal. Please consult with a BIO personnel before proceeding with a medical withdrawal.
- For BIO Students (F-1 / J-1) you will also need to submit the 3rd page of the BIO Withdrawal Form
- 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 students: only 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:
- Submit a Medical Clearance Application Form. This should be filled out completely by the student. Additionally, the student will need to sign a Release of Information Form so that the Medical Withdrawal Committee can review the documents regarding the case.
- Please ask your medical care provider*s in charge of your treatment to complete and submit a Health Evaluation Form for Medical Clearance or copies of your complete medical records.
- Contact your School or College to make sure you are clear on all DEADLINES and required paperwork.
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?
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?
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.
If you take an early semester withdrawal, you are eligible to buy SHIP insurance for the upcoming semester as long as you were already on SHIP the prior semester. Please contact SHIP to set up payment for the insurance and for more information.
While you are covered by Berkeley SHIP, except for emergency or urgent care services, you must obtain an approved referral 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?
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.