University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

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

Policy Statement

University policy recognizes that there are a variety of legitimate circumstances in 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. Students are responsible for planning their schedules to avoid excessive conflicts with course requirements.

  1. Instructors may not penalize students for absence during the academic term due to the following unavoidable or legitimate circumstances:
    • 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;
    • participation in formal University system governance, including the University Senate, Student Senate, and Board of Regents meetings, by students selected as representatives to those bodies;
    • taking college entrance exams (PSAT, ACT, SAT) for Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) students that are provided at their high school; 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.
  2. Voting in a regional, state, or national election is not an unavoidable or legitimate absence.
  3. 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.)
  4. For circumstances not listed in (1), the instructor has primary responsibility to decide on a case-by-case basis if an absence is due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances and grant a request for makeup work.

Notification, Verification of Absences, and Make-up Work

  1. Students must notify their instructors of circumstances identified in (1) 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, and the student must provide if requested, verification for absences, with the exception of a single episode medical absence that does not require medical services.
  3. The instructor has the right to request verification for a single episode medical absence if (i) the student has had more than one single episode medical absence in the class, or (ii) the single episode medical absence involves missing laboratory sessions,exams or important graded in-class assignments.
  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 (1);
    • 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, especially when the absence involves activities that may not be possible to make up, such as laboratory or clinical sessions and performances.
  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

For health or safety of a campus, the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer’s designee may waive the requirement that students provide verification from a health care provider for illness.


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.


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



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 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 Information

Related Administrative Policies

Other Related Information

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



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