University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Excused Absences and Makeup Work: Crookston, Morris, Rochester, Twin Cities

Policy Statement

The University's mission centers on learning, and a critical component of learning is class attendance. Students are responsible for planning their schedules to avoid conflicts with course requirements and for attending all scheduled class meetings. However, the University recognizes that extenuating circumstances may impact students’ abilities to attend specific class sessions. Effective and timely communication between students and instructors is essential regarding excused absences and related makeup work because of the impacts on students, their classmates, and instructors. If notified about an excused circumstance within a reasonable timeframe, instructors must provide opportunities for makeup work that do not penalize students and that maintain the academic goals and standards of the course. This policy applies to all required or graded course components, including final examinations.

Guiding Principles

  1. Students are expected to attend all meetings of their courses. Class attendance, including participation in class activities and assessments, is a critical component of learning. Students recognize that their absence may have an impact on other students in the class and instructors.
  2. Instructors provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and assume that students have purposefully enrolled in their course with the intent to engage in all class activities and assessments.
  3. The University recognizes students may have to miss a class due to extenuating circumstances, and that students have a responsibility to initiate the request for makeup work.
  4. Instructors have the discretion to consider additional circumstances beyond what the University provides in this policy.
  5. The University encourages timely communication between an instructor and a student regarding substance of and due dates for makeup work.
  6. At the discretion of an instructor, and based on essential components of the academic content of the course, there may be a limit to the amount of work that is reasonable to make up.
  7. Makeup work needs to be equitable compared to the work completed by other students in the course.

Makeup Work

  1. Makeup work is a reasonable provision an instructor provides to a student when the student notifies their instructor as soon as reasonably possible of an excused circumstance (see list in 6.) that causes the student to miss a scheduled class session in which a graded course component, including an exam, takes place.
    1. Instructors will consider all available factors when determining arrangements and timing for makeup work that has an impact on the course grade.
    2. If a student has missed required or graded components of the course that cannot be made up in exactly the same manner, the instructor may substitute an equitable type of activity or assignment in order to assess the missed component.
    3. If no substitution for a course requirement that impacts a student’s grade can be devised, the missing component will not be factored into determining that student's final grade for the course.
  2. Instructors are not obligated to continue providing makeup work options to a student who has missed so many of the essential components of a course, even for legitimate reasons, that arrangements for makeup work would not be reasonable.
    1. This does not apply to absences governed by Title IX regulations and due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. For additional information, please see Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Lactation, and Related Medical Conditions.
    2. For concerns regarding absences for intercollegiate student athletes, please refer to the travel letter provided by the student from the campus’ Athletics department.

Notification and Verification

  1. Students must notify their instructors of circumstances causing them to miss a scheduled class meeting and must provide information to explain the absence. Students must provide required notification prior to the missed class meeting when the circumstance allows for advanced notice. When circumstances are sufficiently urgent that advanced notification of a class absence is not possible, students must notify the instructor as soon as reasonably possible.
  2. Instructors may request verification.
    1. Requested verification documentation must be appropriate for the circumstances.
    2. For students working with the Disability Resources (DR/C) office, instructors should refer to the student’s accommodation letter. Verification or questions regarding disability-related absences or accommodations for students with DR/C letters should be directed to the Disability Resource professional who signed the accommodation letter.
    3. In the case of health-related absences, students are directed to submit the self-report form as documentation.
  3. Colleges and academic units may establish and publicize to students more specific criteria for notifying instructors and for completing makeup work when class is missed due to an excused circumstance, especially when the absence involves course activities and assessments that may not be possible to make up, such as laboratory or clinical sessions and performances.

Excused Circumstances

  1. Instructors will not penalize students, and may arrange makeup work, when students provide timely notification for missing required or graded course components taking place in scheduled class sessions due to the following circumstances:
    1. Illness (physical or mental) or acute injury of the student, a student’s dependent, a student’s immediate family member, or someone for whom the student is a primary caregiver;
    2. The need for reasonable accommodation due to disability;
    3. Pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and/or related medical conditions of the student or student’s birthing partner;
    4. Participation in NCAA intercollegiate athletic events;
    5. Subpoenas, jury duty, arrest, and/or mandatory court appearances;
    6. Serving as an election judge on official election days;
    7. Required appointments related to visa or immigration-related matters;
    8. Participation in a formal University hearing;
    9. Military service and ROTC Field Training Requirements;
    10. Bereavement, including travel to/from bereavement;
    11. Religious observances or participation in cultural ceremonies;
    12. Disruptions to public transportation (e.g. transportation strike);
    13. Participation in formal system governance, including the University Senate, Student Senate, and Board of Regents meetings, for students selected as represented to those bodies;
    14. Taking college entrance exams (PSAT, ACT, SAT) at high schools for students participating in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) program;
    15. Activities sponsored by the University if identified by the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer’s designee(s) as a basis for excused absences.
  2. 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).
  3. Students may notify their instructors of class meeting absences not specified as excused circumstances by this policy, and instructors will determine whether to provide reasonable provisions for those absences.


If a student believes they have been wrongly denied the opportunity to make up work due to disagreement with the instructor about the legitimacy of an absence or the timeliness of the student’s notification to the instructor, the student may pursue resolution to their concern using the campus’s process for informal conflict resolution or formal student grievance appeals. In the case of a disability-related absence, students should follow the DR/C grievance process. Additional information can be found in the FAQ.

Students should consult Administrative Policy: Addressing Student Academic Complaints for more information.


This policy does not apply to the Duluth campus.

Reason for Policy

The University aims to foster an atmosphere of honesty and trust between instructors and their students. It is in both the University's and the student's interest to outline 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.


Procedures for obtaining approval for additional activities sponsored by the University



Frequently Asked Questions


Primary Contact(s)Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn (undergraduate) 
Toni Abts (graduate)
[email protected] 
[email protected]
Crookston CampusJason Tangquist218-281-8424[email protected]
Morris CampusPeh Ng320-589-6015[email protected]
Rochester CampusPaul Hanstedt [email protected]
Twin Cities CampusStudent Conflict Resolution Center612-624-7272[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
  • Jessica Kuecker Grotjohn
  • Toni Abts


Excused Absence

Excused absences are absences that are excused based on the requirements set forth in the policy. Absences not listed in this policy may also be excused at the instructor’s discretion.

Title IX Regulations

The Title IX educational statute protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Please see the University of Minnesota's Title IX Statement for more information.


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.


Medical provider

A licensed mental health or medical professional including registered nurses (RNs).



  • Provide timely and clear responses to requests for makeup work for absences.
  • Provide reasonable and timely accommodation for makeup work for excused absences.
  • Maintain consistency in how this policy is applied to all students enrolled in the course.
  • Consult with the University’s calendar for Holidays and Religious Observances before scheduling exam dates and deadlines.


  • 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.

College, Department, or Unit

  • Encourage dialogue and consistency across the department in determining the timing and method for makeup work.
  • Departments may consult with University resources such as the Center for Educational Innovation when appropriate.

Related Information

Related Administrative Policies

Other Related Information



May 2024 - Comprehensive Review. Minor revisions.

  • Rename to “Excused Absences and Makeup Work” and removed references to "legitimate"
  • Added guiding principles.
  • Removed reference to "single episode medical absence" in response to the documentation for medical absences being a self-report form (Health centers across the system are not providing absence notes to
  • Updated list of excused circumstances to reflect feedback received during consultation.
  • Removed specific reference to voting as not being an excused absence; added FAQ about voting.
  • Updated policy statement to include reference to excused absences.
  • Added a reference to the “travel” letter for student athletes in Makeup Work 2.b.
  • Consistently referred to Disability Resource Centers as DR/C.
  • Reworded Excused Circumstances
  • Revised and reorganized the FAQs into categories for searchability


October 2020. Expands the list of legitimate absences to include taking college entrance exams.


July 2017 - Comprehensive review, Major Revision: adding participation in U Senate, Student Senate, and Regents meetings by student reps to the list of approved absences. Specifying when instructors can request verification for "single episode" medical absences. Adding two FAQs about single episode medical absences. Adding an FAQ about student government absences. Adding a definition of a "medical provider"


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