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Term Withdrawal

Ph.D. students are required to register in each fall and winter semester, unless on an approved Leave of Absence or on Extramural Study Status. Students are not required to register in the spring/summer semesters, unless they are taking a course, achieving a milestone, defending their dissertation, or completing degree requirements.

After the first day of classes, students who wish to withdraw from their current semester (i.e., drop all of the courses) must complete the term withdrawal process. Implications of a term withdrawal are described in the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies.

The process and impact of a Fall or Winter Term Withdrawal is different than a Spring/Summer Term Withdrawal.

Fall or Winter

Students who withdraw from all of their courses during a fall or winter semester are not in compliance with Rackham’s registration policy. If the student does not re-register for the fall or winter term the student is presumed to have withdrawn from the Ph.D. program, and the student will be discontinued from the doctoral program on the last day of class. The student will need to apply for reinstatement in order to return to the doctoral program in a future term. If reinstated to the program, the student will be assessed a reinstatement fee with his/her first registration.

A student who intends to withdraw from a fall or winter semester should first review the Term Withdrawal Information and Checklist for Rackham Ph.D. Students with a faculty or staff advisor in the graduate program. If, after reviewing the checklist, the student decides that a term withdrawal is the appropriate action, the student should complete the Registrar’s Office “Term Withdrawal Notice” form and deliver the completed form to the Registrar’s Office.


Students who wish to withdraw from a spring, summer, or spring/summer semester registration complete the Registrar’s Office “Term Withdrawal Notice” form. Students may either deliver the form to the Registrar’s Office directly or staff from your graduate program office can send the completed form directly to the Registrar’s Office.

Important Details

Students with a U-M Issued F-1 or J-1 Visas

Students with a U-M issued F-1 or J-1 visa, should contact an advisor at the International Center to determine how a withdrawal may affect their visa status.

Tuition and Fees

Students who withdraw after the first day of class are responsible for registration and disenrollment fees regardless of their class attendance. Tuition adjustments follow the dates and amounts set by the Office of the Registrar. Withdrawing completely from all elections may affect eligibility for federal financial assistance and repayment obligations, and students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid.

Term Withdrawal and Your U-M Transcript

The student will receive a “W” for each course that is officially dropped after the first three weeks of a full term (or the first two weeks in a half term).

If You Are Unable to Complete the Necessary Documents in Person

A student who is away from campus or otherwise unable to complete the necessary documents in person should contact staff in his or her graduate program for assistance.