3.25: School of Medicine Absence Policy and Expectations

It is the student’s professional responsibility to review the absence policy and specific attendance requirements for all courses, clerkships and curricular activities in which they are involved. Students should avoid scheduling or participating in activities that directly conflict with required sessions, courses, or clerkships.

Required Courses

  1. Students are expected to be present at ALL required-attendance sessions and final exams. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the attendance expectations for each course. For students with disabilities who have registered with OAE, work with the course leadership (e.g., course director and course manager), at the beginning of courses to receive accommodations.
  2. If a student anticipates missing a required-attendance session, they must communicate and receive approval from the course director at a minimum of two-weeks in advance. In cases involving illness and unexpected emergencies, students should notify their course director as soon as possible submit a notification form (see below) thereafter.
    1. All students are required to complete the online notification form regardless of whether the absence has been approved. If the student and course director are unable to agree on the appropriateness of an absence for a required session, they are encouraged to schedule a meeting with the course director and their assigned Advising Dean to discuss the absence further. In addition, the course may require the student to complete an internal notification form.
    2. Approval of all absences is at the discretion of the course director.
    3. If an absence is not approved it is expected that the student will make the necessary arrangements to change their schedule to be present.
  3. Students are responsible for the content and work associated with all missed sessions. Students are also expected to meet the participation requirement and contribute to their group’s learning, even for sessions missed, and must work out an equitable solution that balances the individual student’s needs with the needs of the group. Under no circumstances will an absence relieve a student of meeting all of the academic requirements of the course.  If the absence request conflicts with a session or sessions that cannot be otherwise made up or completed, the student is advised that the absence may affect their performance evaluation in the course.
  4. The following are considered professionalism issues that may result in a referral to Committee on Performance, Professionalism, and Promotion (CP3):
    1. Absence from a required session without obtaining advance approval. In cases of emergency, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the course as soon as possible.
    2. Failure to communicate with the course director
    3. Failure to complete the online absence notification
    4. Trend in number of absences across courses

Please note that each student is responsible for requesting approval for their own absence; no group approvals will be granted.

Required Clerkships

  • Students are expected to attend 100% of all scheduled clerkship activities.
  • Students who miss more than 10% of scheduled time - for any reason - will be required to make up missed time.
  • Students who will miss more than 20% of the total duration of a clerkship – for any reason – will be asked to reschedule the clerkship.
  • Students must contact the clerkship director to obtain advance approval for any unavoidable absence from the clerkship.  Unanticipated absences for illness or emergency must be communicated to the clerkship director as promptly as possible.
  • If a student is absent without obtaining advance approval from the clerkship director; the absence will be recorded and reported to the CP3.
  • Approval of all absences is at the discretion of the clerkship director.
  • If an absence is not approved, it is expected that the student will make the necessary arrangements to change their schedule to be present.
  • Failure to communicate with the clerkship director about unavoidable absences is a potential reason for failing the clerkship.
  • Students are expected to seek necessary health care to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Examples of necessary health care include preventive health services, visits for acute illness, ongoing care for chronic illnesses, physical therapy, and counseling and psychological services.  Consistent with their rights under University policies and the law, students have a right to privacy when seeking care.
  • For planned absences related to healthcare, students must contact the clerkship director, site director, and preceptor or patient care team in advance to coordinate time away from the clerkship.  Students need not disclose the specific type of healthcare that is being sought. A student’s decision to seek healthcare during a clerkship should have no impact on their performance evaluation.

updated August 2023