Attendance Policies and Practices

Students are expected to be regular and punctual in class attendance and to fully participate in the course. Students themselves are primarily responsible for attendance and class participation. Since students may be permitted to add classes beyond the official start date, instructors should be attentive to student enrollment dates when assessing adequate participation.

Instructors will provide students with written statements of their policies with respect to absences for all courses; instructors will provide students with statements of how participation will be evaluated for all courses.


The University differs from the K-12 system, where the attendance policy is universal, and absences are reported to and maintained by the school’s administration. At the University of Arizona and most institutions of higher education, each instructor establishes and manages their class attendance practices. Instructors will provide students with a syllabus that outlines their policies with respect to absences.

General Philosophy

Students are responsible for communicating attendance issues with their instructors with as much notice as possible. The communication may occur via visiting office hours, after class, or email.

Class Attendance and Participation

Types of Absences

Extended Absences

Students who need to miss more than 1 week of classes (or the equivalent for accelerated courses) should provide documentation to the Dean of Students office ( sends e-mail)). Documentation should be submitted prior to a planned absence. Documentation may be submitted during or after an unplanned absence. Examples of appropriate documentation include:

  • doctor’s note
  • jury service verification
  • letter from the Office of Institutional Equity
  • other documents that demonstrate extenuating circumstances

If the student is unable to offer documentation or communicate due to the nature of the situation, the Dean of Students office should be contacted to better assess what supports are needed for the student. The Dean of Students Office will communicate the receipt of the documentation (with expected end date) to the relevant faculty.

Students who adhere to this process should not be penalized per the attendance policy for the course. Instructors should work with students to provide means to participate in or view lectures, turn in assignments, and complete exams remotely if possible. Students remain responsible for staying abreast of the coursework and for completion of all assignments or examinations. Non-attendance for any reason does not guarantee an automatic extension of due dates or rescheduling of examinations, laboratory, or practicum work.

General Absences

Absences related to medical appointments, interviews, weddings, funerals, personal/vacation travel, jury duty, etc., are examples of absences student must discuss directly with their instructor(s).

Religious Accommodations

The University of Arizona Religious Accommodation Policy requires faculty to reasonably accommodate the religious needs, observances, and practices of students upon request. Students should make accommodation requests directly to their instructors with as much notice as possible.

Military Leave

While rare, active duty and ROTC students may have summer military training/orders that conflict with the first week of classes. Students are aware of their training dates in advance and must inform their instructors with as much notice as possible. Faculty are encouraged to accommodate the students.    

Dean’s Excuse/Excused Absence for Group of Students

A Dean’s Excuse provides excused absences for university-sponsored events/activities for academic, non-academic, and recognized student organizations. Examples include student athletes, student body presidents, and student members of clubs/orgs representing the University of Arizona. If a student must miss a class or classes for a university-sponsored event, the faculty or staff responsible for that event requests a UA Official Activity Excused Absence Request Form from the Dean of Students Office. Activity’s Excuses should be emailed to note that this form is intended for students missing class or classes; the policy points out the importance of the days reserved for finals as an exception. For this reason DOS will approve requested dates only up to the last day of classes each semester.

Students who miss academic work (including but not limited to exams, homework, and labs) as a result of their absence, are required to make up the missed work within a reasonable period of time without penalty. Only University of Arizona personnel can request a Dean’s Excuse for students, the student is responsible for ensuring documentation is submitted appropriately, and for contacting their instructors to initiate arrangements for making up any missed work.

Emergency Notifications

The Dean of Students Office provides emergency notifications in situations where students must be absent from class due to an emergency situation but are unable to contact their instructors due to their condition. Emergency Notifications are not excused absences.