Separation from the School of Nursing

A student may discontinue their studies at the Duke University School of Nursing through a formal Leave of Absence or by withdrawal from the School as defined below. For students in the PhD Program, student-initiated requests for Leave of Absence or withdrawal must be submitted to the PhD Program Assistant Dean and the Associate Dean of The Graduate School of Duke University, as specified by Graduate School policy on withdrawals and leaves of absence.

Leave of Absence

All students enrolled in the School of Nursing must register for fall, spring, and summer semesters until all degree requirements are completed, unless registration is waived via an approved leave of absence. Leaves of absence can be either student initiated or administratively initiated. For details regarding leaves of absence consult the appropriate student handbook.

A student returning from a leave of absence should contact in writing their advisor and the appropriate Academic Program Assistant Dean at least ninety days prior to the beginning of the semester in which they intend to return. The purpose of this contact is to make sure that registration and re-entry into courses including any program-specific requirements will proceed smoothly.

Return from an approved medical leave of absence requires written notification from a physician/health care provider/therapist to the Academic Program Assistant Dean stating that the student is cleared to resume the course of study including participation in clinical activities. This notification must be made at least ninety days prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to return.

Withdrawal from the School of Nursing

Withdrawal from the School of Nursing may be either voluntary or involuntary.

Student Request for Voluntary Withdrawal

If a student for any reason wishes to withdraw from the School, written notification must be made to the Office of Student Services before the expected date of withdrawal and no later than the last day of classes for that semester. Student forms requesting withdrawal from the School are available online through the School of Nursing website or from the Office of Student Services.

Information regarding refunds of tuition and fees may be found in the section on Tuition and Fees in the School of Nursing Bulletin. Students who have been granted a withdrawal from the School and wish to return must apply for re-admission according to regular admission policies.

Involuntary Withdrawal from the School of Nursing

Involuntary withdrawal (dismissal) from the School of Nursing can occur due to reasons of personal misconduct, professional misconduct, and/or poor academic performance. Prior to any dismissal, the School of Nursing will follow due process procedures to investigate the issue and determine the course of action.

Administrative Withdrawal for Reasons of Conduct

School of Nursing students who exhibit harmful, potentially harmful, or disruptive behavior and who do not voluntarily request a leave of absence, may be subject to involuntary administrative withdrawal from the School of Nursing if their behavior renders them unable to effectively function in the University community. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, that which:

  • poses a significant threat of danger and/or harm to members of the Duke community; and/or

  • interferes with the lawful activities or basic rights of others; and/or

  • poses a threat or suspicion of threat to patient safety.

The School of Nursing will also address all reports of impaired or possibly impaired performance of students in order to assure the safety of patients, coworkers, and other students. In the presence of reasonable suspicion, students may be required to undergo drug testing or other professional evaluations. Health difficulties impairing performance can result from physical and/or psychological/ behavioral problems, including but not limited to issues such as illegal drug use, misuse of legal drugs, or alcohol abuse. Investigations, assessments, and evaluations shall be confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) except as limited by regulation, ethical obligation, and/or threat to patient safety.

Additional behaviors warranting potential involuntary administrative withdrawal include, but are not limited to unethical behaviors, personal misconduct, or professional misconduct such as violating the Duke Community Standard, the School of Nursing’s Personal Integrity Policy, professional standards of care, the Code of Ethics for Nurses, and regulations governing nursing practice through the individual state/district Nurse Practice Acts.

Administrative Withdrawal for Academic Performance

Policies on academic warning and academic probation are specific to each academic program.

ABSN Program: ABSN students who have a cumulative GPA less than 2.0 at any time after completing 30 credits will be administratively withdrawn from the program. Two F grades in nursing courses (courses with a Nursing prefix) will result in administrative withdrawal from the program at the end of the semester in which the second F grade is received. If a student earns a grade of F and is eligible to repeat the course (first F in a Nursing course), the student must take and repeat the course before they can progress in the program. Students should be aware that courses are not taught every semester and earning an F grade will delay graduation.

MSN Program: Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.5 will be administratively withdrawn from the School of Nursing.

Students who receive an F in any graduate course required for their major must retake and pass that course. If the course is a prerequisite for another course, it must be retaken and passed before the student enrolls in the subsequent course. A student who receives a second F in any graduate course will be administratively withdrawn (dismissed) from the School of Nursing, effective at the end of the semester in which the second F was received.

Post Graduate Certificates: In fulfillment of their course of study, PGC students may enroll in a credit/non-credit course, resulting in a 0.0 semester and cumulative GPA. This is an exception to the conditions for administrative Withdrawal for Academic Performance.

DNP Program: Students who have completed at least three (3) courses and have a cumulative GPA less than 2.5, two C grades, or an F or NCr in any DNP course will be withdrawn from the School of Nursing.

Nurse Anesthesia: Students who have a GPA less than a 3.0 at any time during the program will be administratively withdrawn. A grade of B- (80.0-82.9) in any graduate level course will result in administrative withdrawal from the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the end of the semester in which the grade is received. Students are required to successfully complete all credit/no credit courses, and failure to do so will result in administrative withdrawal from the program

PhD Program: The grade of F (failing) in a course normally occasions withdrawal from the degree program. The Bulletin of The Graduate School of Duke University provides additional information about Graduate School policies on academic standing and withdrawal.