Active duty/deployment

Situation: You’re a UW–Madison student called to active U.S. military service because you’re in the Reserves, National Guard, or Individual Ready Reserve—or on Active Duty while attending UW–Madison and ordered to a deployment or training.

Active Duty Checklist

Actions to take

  1. Let us know.—Notify us at the Veteran Services & Military Assistance Center (VSMAC) at You’ll be asked to provide a copy of your orders or a memorandum from your unit listing the approximate dates of active duty period.
  2. Talk to your advisor.—Meet with your academic advisor, inform them of the dates, and discuss any impacts on your academic plan.
  3. Academics.
    1. If you will finish the semester.—If you receive notification that you will be called to active duty for duty or training in the near future, and expect to finish the semester, then simply notify VSMAC and your Academic Advisor.
    2. If you leave during the semester.—If you must leave campus mid-semester, you have three options. You need to contact each of your instructors as soon as possible to discuss the best option for each course.
      1. Withdraw from the course.—In this case, your withdrawal will be back-dated to the start of the semester. It’s like you were never in the class, which won’t appear on your transcript.
      2. Take an Incomplete.—You may be able to complete a course that is nearly done. If the instructor agrees, you can arrange a temporary grade of Incomplete and finish the course at a later date. Put an agreed-upon plan in writing with the instructor (an email is sufficient). An Incomplete will eventually lapse to an “F” grade if not completed, so be sure to consult your advisor about the specific policy of your school or college.
      3. Receive a final grade.—If the instructor feels you’ve completed a sufficient amount of the coursework, the instructor may assign you a final grade. The instructor needs to be able to justify assigning a final grade, and is expected to maintain the academic integrity of the class.
  4. Housing.—If you live in UW–Madison Housing, notify the Housing office and they’ll release you early from your contract or lease. If you live in a private apartment, then it’s between you and your landlord.
  5. Notify other agencies.—You are expected to notify all other campus agencies from whom you receive assistance or interact: for example, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the McBurney Disability Resource Center, ASM, UW Athletics, etc.
  6. Returning to school.—Notify VSMAC with an updated date of return. (If possible, please give us a heads-up before you get back.) You do not need to complete a re-admission application. You’ll be given permission to register for classes for the semester following your return. You can also wait out a semester, if you’d like. Your academic standing at the time of re-entry to the University shall remain as it was prior to serving on active duty. Academic Departments, particularly those with sequential curriculum such as Nursing or Law, will make every effort to place you into a new cohort. You do not have to re-apply to enter a particular program provided you departed for active duty in good academic standing. At the discretion of the Dean of a College/School, newly admitted students who are called to active duty before they’re able to enroll in classes shall not have to re-apply, and may enroll in classes upon the completion of active duty.

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For More Information

Read the UW–Madison Policy for Enrolled Students Called to Active U.S. Military Service, published by the Office of the Provost.