Attendance and Absences

Expectations and Responsibilities

Undergraduate students should plan to attend all class meetings for their courses and are encouraged to review their syllabi for expectations of attendance in each course.

Undergraduate students should plan to attend all class meetings for their courses and are encouraged to review their syllabi for expectations of attendance in each course. Students who are unable to attend classes due to illness, injury, or other compelling reason should be encouraged to contact their faculty directly to alert them to the situation. If the student is away from campus or otherwise incapacitated, Academic Advising or Residential Education may notify faculty and encourage the student to contact their faculty as soon as possible to discuss plans for making up any missed work.

Note that in general, participation in student groups, clubs, or on athletic teams (including varsity) does not guarantee exceptions to attendance policies, assignment deadlines, exam dates, or other course requirements. Students are generally expected to meet course requirements regardless of travel schedules and are encouraged to discuss travel schedules with each instructor prior to the Study List deadline to ensure agreement on all academic responsibilities. (One exception is athletic championships, which are approved as exceptions by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy.)

Absences for Varsity Athletes

  • The instructor has the discretion to determine what academic accommodations for athletic commitments are appropriate.
  • It is in students’ best interests to approach instructors as soon as team schedules are known, ideally at the start of each term.
  • When team obligations conflict with scheduled class examinations, student-athletes should communicate with their instructors about the conflict.
  • Contact your Academic Advisor for Student-Athletes with questions or concerns.


Inevitably some students must miss class due to serious illness, family crisis, or other exceptional extenuating circumstances.

  • Students should contact their instructors as soon as possible to notify them of the reason for the absence.
  • Students should also contact their Residence Dean and their Academic Advising Director in such instances.
  • Academic Advising may assist in the notification to instructors verifying the student's circumstances.
  • It may be necessary for the student to discuss academic accommodations (e.g., extensions of due dates, excused absences).
  • It is at the discretion of the instructor to deem what accommodations, if any, are appropriate. 
  • When granted by the instructor, accommodations provide students the flexibility to address life circumstances while maintaining a responsible approach to their academic responsibilities. 
  • Academic Advising can help students develop a plan on how best to work through their individual situations.
  • The plan may include referrals to campus resources, such as Vaden Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of Accessible Education, and the Residence Deans. 

When life circumstances are particularly disruptive to academic study in terms of severity or timing, students are advised to consult an Academic Advising Director, who can help students weigh whether it’s best to drop or withdraw from a course, change the grading basis, arrange an incomplete, or take a Leave of Absence.  Students who will not meet requirements for satisfactory academic progress because of illness, injury, or significant personal circumstances should consult their Academic Advising Director.

See Also:

For information on changing a grading basis for a course, please see  Office of the University Registrar: Changing Grading Basis Deadline.

For information on withdrawing from a course or arranging an incomplete, please see Grades and Grading Systems.

Also see:

Leave of Absence