Student Absence Policy

Medical students are expected to meet a high level of professional standards. Meeting educational responsibilities and expectations are part of these standards. It is anticipated that third-and fourth-year medical students will be present and actively engaged in all activities of each clerkship/rotation. It is also anticipated that there may be times when there are specific reasons that an absence is requested. In all cases, a written request for an excused absence is required and the final approval is at the discretion of the individual clerkship/course director. These forms are available in the student portfolio. In no circumstance is an unexcused absence acceptable, and the specific consequences of such an absence will be determined by the course/block director. Excessive excused absences or unexcused absences may result in required remediation or failure of the clerkship/course.

When absences are for reasons known well in advance such as attending a national meeting as a representative from the school, the form requesting an excused absence should be completed and submitted to the rotation/course on which the absence will occur as soon as possible, but no later than two weeks prior to the start date. This is necessary to provide significant lead time for the course director and staff. Such requests may not be approved when they are submitted shortly before the anticipated absence. No course or clerkship is obligated to grant a request for an excused absence. Those students who are absent because of illness or an emergency should let the clerkship office know by phone or email of their absence and complete a form upon their return. It is the responsibility of each individual student to review each course’s absence policy in detail at the beginning of each block or when an absence is anticipated from that block.

This absence policy applies to all third- and fourth-year courses that receive UMC School of Medicine approval including rotations taken off-site, on the Rural program, and electives. Students who are off-site are responsible for contacting the clerkship director’s office just as if they were on site. Copies of each absence request form will also be sent to the Medical Education office for review and filing.

The Clinical Curriculum Steering Committee (CCSC) has adopted a policy for maximum absences that can occur in third- and fourth-year courses before it is judged that sufficient lack of exposure has occurred to result in no credit being given without remediation/repeating the course. This policy is a maximum of four days for a six- or seven-week rotation, three days for a four or five-week rotation, and one day for a two-week rotation. Clinical students will be allowed a maximum of 15 days of excused absences per clinical year. There will be flexibility to consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis for compelling health and personal reasons. Students who exceed this 15-day maximum should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs to discuss the reasons for requesting additional absences.  

Again, the expectation is that students will not have any absences except in unusual and specific situations.

Students may file a written appeal of the decision of a course director regarding a requested absence to the CCSC within two weeks of the date of the decision.