Printed on: 05/24/2017. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences: Twin Cities, Crookston, Morris, Rochester

Responsible University Officer(s):

  • Executive Vice President and Provost

Policy Owner(s):

  • Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education

Policy contact(s):

Date Revised:

December 2015

Effective Date:

April 2009


The new version of this policy has been approved but will not be displayed or in effect until Fall Semester, September 2017. For questions, please call the primary contacts for this policy.

University policy recognizes that there are a variety of legitimate circumstances under which students will miss coursework, and that accommodations for makeup work will be made.

This policy applies to all course requirements, including any final examination.

  1. Students are responsible for planning their schedules to avoid excessive conflict with course requirements.
  2. Voting in a regional, state, or national election is not an unavoidable or legitimate absence.
  3. Instructors may not penalize students for absence during the academic term due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances.  Such circumstances include:
    • illness, physical or mental, of the student or a student's dependent;
    • medical conditions related to pregnancy;
    • participation in intercollegiate athletic events;
    • subpoenas;
    • jury duty;
    • military service;
    • bereavement, including travel related to bereavement;
    • religious observances; and
    • activities sponsored by the University if identified by the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer's designee as the basis for excused absences.
  4. Instructors are expected to accommodate students who wish to participate in party caucuses, pursuant to Board of Regents resolution (see December 2005 board of Regents Minutes, p 147.)
  5. For circumstances not listed in (3), the instructor has primary responsibility to decide on a case-by-case basis if an absence is due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances. Instructors have the discretion to grant a request for makeup work in such circumstances.

Notification, Verification of Absences, and Make-up Work

  1. Students must notify their instructors of circumstances identified in (3) or other circumstances leading to a request for makeup work as soon as possible and provide information to explain the absence. Some situations will be sufficiently urgent that arrangements for makeup work cannot be made prior to the date of an absence.  In such cases, arrangements should be made as soon as possible following the student’s return.
  2. The instructor has the right to request verification for absences.
  3. Students must provide verification of the absence if requested by the instructor.
  4. The instructor may not penalize the student and must provide reasonable and timely accommodation or opportunity to make up missed work, including exams or other course requirements that have an impact on the course grade if the student:
    • Was absent due to circumstances identified in (3);
    • Has complied with the notification requirements; and
    • Has provided verification if the instructor has requested further information.
  5. Colleges and academic units may establish more specific criteria for notifying instructors and completing the associated make-up work.
  6. Instructors are not obligated to accommodate a student who has missed so much of the critical components of a course, even for legitimate reasons, that arrangements for makeup work would not be reasonable.

Instructors should take all factors into consideration when determining whether to grant an excused absence and how to make arrangements for makeup work that has an impact on the course grade. If a student has missed a component of the course that cannot be made up in exactly the same manner, the instructor may substitute another activity or assignment in order to assess the missed components. If no substitution can be devised, the missing component(s) cannot be factored into determining that student's final grade for the course.


If a student believes the student has been wrongly denied the opportunity to make up work due to disagreement with the instructor about the legitimacy or unavoidability of an absence, the student should pursue the student's complaint using the usual process for appeals of student grievances. Chairs and deans who have questions about what constitutes an excusable bereavement absence, religious observance, or eligible dependent illness should consult with the senior academic officer for the campus for resolution of the disagreement.

In accordance with the Administrative Policy:  Addressing Student Academic Complaints, final authority rests with the senior academic officer for the campus.

Special Situations

In the event that the University declares a pandemic emergency (e.g., a flu epidemic), the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer's designee may waive the requirement that students, if requested by the instructor, provide verification from a health care provider for illness.


This policy does not apply to the Duluth campus.


It is in both the University's and the student's interest to outline some academic protections for students when they miss class for legitimate reasons. This policy places parameters around what is a legitimate absence, and reinforces the responsibilities of the instructor and the student.






Primary Contact(s)
Jennifer Reckner (undergraduate)
Karen Starry (graduate)
Crookston Campus
Morris Campus
Rochester Campus


A person, typically a qualifying child or other relative, other than the taxpayer or spouse, who entitles the taxpayer to claim a dependency exemption for tax purposes.
Intercollegiate athletics
Sports teams organized and funded by the institution through the athletics department. Intercollegiate does not refer to or include recreational sports, intramural sports, club sports, or other special interest sport clubs or organizations.


  • Provide timely and clear responses to requests for makeup work for absences.
  • Provide reasonable and timely accommodation for makeup work for legitimate absences.
  • Maintain consistency in how this policy is applied to all students enrolled in the course.
  • Plan schedules to avoid excessive conflict with course requirements.
  • Notify instructors of circumstances related to absences as soon as possible.
  • Provide verification of absence, if requested by the instructor.


Related Administrative Policies

Other Related Information

  • Board of Regents resolution, December 9, 2005, "Approval of a resolution related to Events and Classes on Precinct Caucus Night", [See pp.147-8].


December 2015 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revisions. 1. Organizes the information more logically and includes key subheadings. 2. Expands on the FAQ to incorporate numerous questions and answers received or given over the past years, including information related to family vacations and attendance at weddings. 3. Added new language addressing travel related to bereavement.
June 2014 - Comprehensive Review. Clarifies the instructor responsibility for accommodating student absences due to medical conditions related to pregnancy, supporting a request from Kim Hewitt. Moves the sentence re: instructors having the right to request verification to a separate bullet. Adds instructor and student to the Responsibilities section.
January 2011 - Comprehensive Review. Expands allowable absences to include caring for student's dependent. Documentation required only when requested by instructor. Responsibility for determining whether absence is legitimate rests with instructor.
May 2010 - Expands the application of this policy to final exams, in addition to all course requirements, since legitimate absences can occur anytime during the academic year.
December 2009 - Policy now applies to Crookston.
April 2009
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