Attendance/ Absence

ATTENDANCE/ ABSENCE POLICY: Students enrolled in the College of Medicine MD program have entered a professional program and are physicians in training; therefore as part of professional conduct, students are expected to attend all educational activities and approach absences with the same measure of professional responsibility that will be required in their future role as physicians.  Attendance and active participation in designated activities are part of the students’ final grade (see block syllabus grading grid and OASIS for further detail). 

EXCUSED ABSENCES: If absence from an activity, other than lecture, is unavoidable you must notify the Office of Medical Education (OME) if possible before the start of the activity by completing the Absence Request form (see below). An absence may be excused for the following reasons: funeral/death of an immediate family member, personal illness, presentation at a scientific conference or religious obligations.  **Please do not make travel arrangements until after your request has been approved.

UNEXCUSED ABSENCES: As there are other events in students’ lives that are important but do not fall under the excused category, we allow three unexcused absences during the entire Phase One (M1 and M2 combined = Phase One) without incurring a letter of professionalism.  *However, please be aware that students are not permitted to make up quizzes or other graded assignments that are missed, therefore points may be lost due to unexcused absences.  Arriving 10 minutes or later to small group or lab will result in an unexcused absence.  

*Unexcused absences are tracked in a database and repeated or chronic absences are considered a sign of unprofessional conduct (Student Professionalism). As such, students with a history of greater than three unexcused absences may be referred to the Deans in the Office of Student Affairs.

ABSENCE FROM EXAMINATIONS AND OTHER GRADED ACTIVITIES: Absences from written examinations, OSCEs/or practical examinations, and other graded activities are not permitted except for the following circumstances: funeral/death of an immediate family member, personal illness, presentation at a scientific conference, or religious obligations.  When the absence is sudden or unplanned, students must notify the OME by email (  If there is advance notice, students are responsible for requesting approval from the Office of Medical Education ( prior to the start of the applicable block. 

For any event, students need to follow the steps below for absence from a required activity or an exam.

Step 1: Complete the Absence Request form:

Step 2: A representative from the OME will respond to you and provide further instructions.

Step 3: The OME will request additional confirmation regarding absence, if needed. 

SPECIAL CASE: The Curriculum Committee may designate additional events as mandatory (for example IPE Day).

Modified by the OME September, 21, 2018
Modified by the OME October 2, 2018

Clinical (M3/M4)

Students missing clerkships/rotations for any reason other than illness or death in the immediate family must request approval at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the clerkship.  No approval will be given for late requests.  Failure to follow this policy will be noted on a medical citizenship form.

Absence from Clinical Clerkships (M3) 
Student duty hours are explained in the Duty Hour Policy (

Absence is not allowed from required clerkships except as follows:

Release time - residency interviews

Senior medical students may request up to five (5) weekdays and two (2) weekend days off from each of four (4) non-required rotations/electives for the purpose of interviewing for a post-graduate position.  Absence requests should be made to the elective director at least two weeks prior to the start of the rotation/elective.  This elective director must approve each student’s request individually and determine what make-up, if any is required. 

Approved Curriculum Committee - 11/25/14

Other M4 absences

Senior students may be allowed time off of non-required electives in order to participate in medical meetings or to take USMLE Step 2 CK or CS exams.  The elective director must approve each student's request individually and determine what make-up, if any, is required.

Approved Curriculum Committee - 11/25/14

Religious Obligations

Conflicts between religious obligations and patient care obligations are handled on clinical rotations much as they would be in clinical practice with patient care responsibilities taking precedence unless coverage has been previously arranged.

Departments should make every effort to respect students' religious customs and to adjust the on-call schedule to allow students to observe religious activities as long as this does not penalize other students or jeopardize patient care.

The student must inform the department of his or her request well in advance of the rotation if it is to be incorporated in the on-call schedule. When scheduling conflicts cannot be resolved, however, it is up to the student to make sure that their patient care and on-call responsibilities are met in full. In the event that students cannot obtain coverage, they are expected to take call themselves, regardless of the religious conflict.