College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Withdrawal for Non-Academic Reasons

Undergraduate and graduate students may request a withdrawal from classes after the drop deadline for non-academic reasons. Such requests are only considered under exceptional circumstances. Students must provide verifiable, third-party documentation with the request. Withdrawals are typically allowed only for all courses within a semester, however, if a student is seeking a partial withdrawal, the student must show why the condition has affected that course (or courses) specifically. Otherwise, only a full withdrawal from all courses in a semester will be considered.

Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  1. Medical - Requests for withdrawals due to medical reasons must be supported by relevant, dated medical documentation. The documentation must show a substantial medical change that arose unexpectedly after the drop period ended. Medical documentation could be in the form of hospital records, receipts from doctor’s visits, a letter from your care provider on company letterhead, insurance claim receipts, etc. If you choose to obtain a letter from a doctor or therapist, the letter must include the following:

    • The illness/condition you are being treated for.
    • The period of time you have been receiving treatment for this illness/condition. If the illness/condition began prior to the semester you are requesting the withdrawal from, how has the illness/condition changed during the affected semester.
    • How this illness/condition impacts you and/or your ability to be a student.
    • The expected length of recovery or return to usual activity, including when you would be able to return to Mason.
  2. Employment - Requests for withdrawals due to work-related reasons are only considered for unanticipated and/or unavoidable changes in employment that occur after the drop date and which result in a direct scheduling conflict with a course (or courses). An increased or more stressful workload is not considered a valid reason to request a withdrawal for employment reasons (see the University Catalog, Section AP.1.2, Academic Load).

    Documentation for this type of request is generally a letter from the student’s employer, on company letterhead, confirming how the student’s job duties have changed since the unrestricted withdrawal period for the requested semester, what these new responsibilities include, and how the new job duties are impacting the student’s ability to attend classes or complete required coursework. If the reason is due to military orders or relocation, please provide a copy of the orders as documentation.

  3. Death of a Loved One – Requests for withdrawals due to the death of a loved one will be considered when the student was seriously impacted by the death. If the student experienced a personal medical situation caused by the death (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.), the steps for a medical withdrawal should be followed. A copy of the deceased’s death certificate, obituary, or funeral brochure may also be requested. If the student was impacted in some other way, they should provide documentation that would support the basis of the request.
  4. Other Extenuating Circumstances – Withdrawal requests for other types of extenuating circumstances may be considered. The student should describe the issue, and provide any third-party documentation that would corroborate the reason for the request.

Questions regarding documentation should be directed to the CEHD Office of Student and Academic Affairs at

Withdrawal is Not Allowed:

  • To avoid an unsatisfactory grade due to academic reasons.
  • To correct enrollment errors on the part of the student (For more information, review "Changing Registration" in the University Catalog). Students are responsible for all courses in which they remain officially enrolled after the drop period has ended.

Instructors do not have the authority to withdraw students from classes.

Requesting a Non-Academic Withdrawal

  1. Review all policies pertaining to non-academic withdrawals.
  2. Complete a Withdrawal Request Form explaining the specific request and reasons. An additional sheet may be necessary for your statement if there is insufficient space on the form.
  3. Gather your supporting documentation. Only written materials and verifiable, third-party documentation will be considered.
  4. Submit your completed form, additional statement page (if needed), and supporting documentation to the CEHD Student and Academic Affairs Office -
  5. Submit your request in a timely manner. Timing is very important when submitting a request to withdraw. Delays in submitting requests increase the academic component of the request and can have an adverse effect on the final decision.
  6. Provide additional requested documentation in a timely manner. After 30 days, all undocumented requests may be automatically denied, and the case will be closed.
  7. Continue attending all classes in which you are officially enrolled and complete the required coursework unless you receive written approval from our office for a withdrawal. If permission is granted, you will need to confirm that there are no holds on your record for the withdrawal to be processed.

If you are granted a withdrawal, it will result in a "W" on your permanent record. These non-academic withdrawals do not count toward an undergraduate student’s selective withdrawal limits.

Effects of Withdrawals on Academic Standing

Approved or selective withdrawal results in a grade of W on the student’s transcript for the withdrawn course(s). While a grade of W does not affect the GPA, undergraduate students should note that withdrawn courses are part of “attempted credit hours,” which serve as the basis for the student’s credit level. In the university’s undergraduate retention system, GPA standards increase according to credit level and withdrawals can result in a change in academic standing to probation or suspension. See the University Catalog, Section AP.5.2.3, Student Retention Categories, for more information.