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Excused Absence Policy

Undergraduate Excused Absence Policy

Regular class attendance, participation, and engagement in coursework are important contributors to student success and consistent with expectations outlined in the Class Attendance Policy. Absences will be excused as provided in the University of Houston Undergraduate Excused Absence Policy which applies to all undergraduate courses in all delivery modes.

    1. EXCUSED ABSENCES
      Absences from class including exams and submission of assignments or other course requirements may be excused for the following reasons:
      1. Medical
        1. Injury or illness of a student that is too severe or contagious to attend class or participate in course requirements. Students should not come to class or participate in campus activities if they are sick and may be contagious and should contact the Student Health Center or their health care provider as necessary.
        2. Illness of a dependent family member.
        3. Serious illness of a close family member (parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, cohabitating partner, child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s parents, cohabitating partner/spouse’s grandparents, step-parents, step-siblings, step-grandparents, grandchild, step-grandchild, legal guardian, and others as approved by course instructor, college dean, or dean’s designee).

      2. Death in Family—Death of a close family member (parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, cohabitating partner, child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s parents, cohabitating partner/spouse’s grandparents, step-parents, step-siblings, step-grandparents, grandchild, step-grandchild, legal guardian, and others as approved by course instructor, college dean, or dean’s designee).

      3. Legal or Government Proceeding—Participation in legal or government proceeding that cannot be rescheduled.

      4. Professional and Educational Activities
        1. Mandatory interviews for graduate or professional school that cannot be rescheduled.
        2. Mandatory interviews for full-time employment or internships that are related to the student’s academic program and cannot be rescheduled.
        3. Presentation of research or scholarship at a professional conference that is related to the student’s academic program.

      5. University Sponsored Activity—As indicated in the Class Attendance policy, absences caused by participation in a campus-sponsored activity are considered official if the sponsor of the activity has received approval from the appropriate university administrator.

      6. Athletic Competition—Mandatory participation as a student athlete in NCAA-sanctioned competition.

      7. Weather Related Events- Dangerous weather conditions in which driving or other means of travel is considered by local authorities to be unsafe.

      8. Other—Additional compelling reasons as approved by instructor or college dean.

    2. EXCUSED ABSENCE APPROVAL PROCESS
      1. Notification
        1. Students are required to submit an excused absence request in writing (email is acceptable) to the instructor(s) of the course(s) in which absences occur. Students should contact their instructor(s) by phone if written or email communication is not possible. Instructor(s) phone numbers can be found in the Campus Directory
        2. Requests for planned absences should be submitted to instructors as soon as the conflict becomes known and no later than 5 business days, if possible, before the anticipated absence.
        3. Unexpected absences should be communicated to the instructor before the next class meeting, or as soon as possible afterwards with an explanation regarding why the notice could not be sent before the next class meeting.

      2. Documentation
        1. Documentation to support requests for excused absences may include but is not limited to the following:
          • Written confirmation from the student’s medical provider if medical professionals are involved in the care of the student. Confirmation should include the date and time of the medical assessment and the date at which the student may return to classes. Students cannot be required to provide detailed medical information.
          • Written confirmation from the medical provider involved in the care of the student’s close family member or dependent if medical professionals are involved in the care of the family member or dependent. Students cannot be required to provide detailed medical information.
          • Death notice, obituary, or death certificate for a student’s immediate family member.
          • Copy of appropriate documentation related to legal activities.
          • Confirmation of mandatory athletic participation from an appropriate Athletics administrator.
          • Confirmation of mandatory interviews from employers or appropriate officials at institutions of higher education.
          • Conference program including documentation confirming that the student will be a presenter of scholarly work.
          • Confirmation of participation in a University sponsored activity from an appropriate administrator.
          • A number of reasons for absence are not documentable, and instructors are encouraged to use their best judgment in evaluating student requests.

        2. Providing false information or documentation is unacceptable. Allegations of misconduct will be referred for review and may be considered as prohibited conduct under the Student Code of Conduct or an act of academic dishonesty under the Academic Honesty Policy.

      3. Verification and Decision
        1. An instructor may verify a student’s absence documentation or defer verification and decision, including cases when documentation is not available, to the college dean or dean’s designee.
        2. The instructor, dean, or dean’s designee must provide the student with a decision in writing regarding whether the excused absence is approved within three business days of receiving the student’s request. Decisions must be made irrespective of the grade the student is currently earning in the class. 

      4. Appeal
        1. A student may appeal an instructor’s decision regarding an excused absence request within 3 business days of receiving the decision. The appeal should be submitted in writing (email is acceptable) to the college dean or dean’s designee who must provide a decision in writing to the student within 3 business days of receiving the appeal.
        2. A student may appeal the decision of a dean or dean’s designee within 3 business days of receiving the decision. The appeal should be submitted in writing (email is acceptable) to the appropriate administrator in the Office of the Provost who must provide a decision in writing to the student within 3 business days of receiving the appeal.
        3. The decision of the Office of the Provost is final and further appeal is not permitted.

    3. MAKE UP WORK
      If a student’s absence is excused, the instructor must either provide the student an opportunity to make up any quiz, exam or other work that contributes to the course grade or provide a satisfactory alternative by a date agreed upon by the student and instructor.

    4. EXTENDED ABSENCES
      1. Excused Absence Limit— Excused absences under this policy may be granted for a maximum percentage of coursework as determined by the instructor in each class, typically 15%.  Coursework limit may include “clicker” questions, exams, quizzes, and homework. The limit does not include the final exam.

      2. Extended Absence Alternatives—Students with absences that exceed 15% of coursework are encouraged to seek potential alternative options provided in other policies including Dropping Courses, Withdrawals, and temporary grades of Incomplete. Faculty also have the option to drop students for excessive absences until the official closing date of the term.

    5. RELATED POLICIES
      Additional policies address excused absences for reasons that are not covered in this policy including the following:
      1. Military Service: Excused Absence for Military Service Policy.
      2. Religious Holy Days: Religious Holy Days Policy.
      3. Pregnancy and Related Conditions: University of Houston System Anti-Discrimination Policy.
      4. Disability: University of Houston System Student Academic Adjustments/Auxiliary Aids Policy.

    1. Additional policies that address extended absences:
      1. Emergency Withdrawal: Medical/Administrative Withdrawal
      2. Military Withdrawal:  Students Called to Active Duty

 

Graduate Excused Absence Policy

Regular class attendance, participation, and engagement in coursework are important contributors to student success. Absences may be excused as provided in the present University of Houston Excused Absence Policy, which applies to all graduate courses in all delivery modes (in person and online). Graduate and professional students are expected to comply with their program’s attendance and excused absence policies and those requirements supersede this policy.

    1. EXCUSED ABSENCES
      Absences from class including exams and submission of assignments or other course requirements may be excused for the following reasons:
      1. Medical
        1. Injury or illness of a student that is too severe or contagious to attend class or participate in course requirements. Students should not come to class or participate in campus activities if they are sick and may be contagious and should contact the Student Health Center or their health care provider as necessary.
        2. Illness of a dependent family member.
        3. Serious illness of a close family member (parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, cohabitating partner, child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s parents, cohabitating partner/spouse’s grandparents, step-parents, step-siblings, step-grandparents, grandchild, step-grandchild, legal guardian, and others as approved by course instructor, college dean, or dean’s designee).

      2. Death in Family—Death of a close family member (parents, siblings, grandparents, spouse, cohabitating partner, child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s child, cohabitating partner/spouse’s parents, cohabitating partner/spouse’s grandparents, step-parents, step-siblings, step-grandparents, grandchild, step-grandchild, legal guardian, and others as approved by course instructor, college dean, or dean’s designee).

      3. Legal or Government Proceeding—Participation in legal or government proceeding that cannot be rescheduled.

      4. Professional and Educational Activities
        1. Mandatory interviews for graduate or professional school that cannot be rescheduled (maximum of 1 per class each term).
        2. Mandatory interviews for full-time employment or internships that are related to the student’s academic program and cannot be rescheduled (maximum of 1 per class each term).
        3. Presentation of research or scholarship at a professional conference that is related to the student’s academic program (maximum of 1 per class each term)

      5. University Sponsored Activity—Absences caused by participation in a campus-sponsored activity are considered official if the sponsor of the activity has received approval from the appropriate University administrator.

      6. Athletic Competition—Mandatory participation as a student athlete in NCAA-sanctioned competition.

      7. Other—Additional compelling reasons as approved by instructor or college dean, or dean’s designee.

    2. EXCUSED ABSENCE APPROVAL
      1. Notification
        1. Students are required to submit an excused absence request in writing (email is acceptable) to the instructor(s) of the course(s) in which absences occur.  Students should contact their instructor(s) by phone if written or email communication is not possible.
        2. When possible, requests for planned absences should be submitted to instructors as soon as possible but no later than 5 business days before the anticipated absence.
        3. Unexpected absences should be communicated to the instructor before the next class meeting or as soon as possible afterwards with an explanation as to why the notice could not be sent before the next class meeting.

      2. Documentation
        1. Documentation to support requests for excused absences may include but is not limited to the following:
          • Written confirmation from the student’s medical provider if medical professionals are involved in the care of the student. Confirmation should include the date and time of the medical assessment and the date at which the student may return to classes. Students cannot be required to provide detailed medical information.
          • Written confirmation from the medical provider involved in the care of the student’s close family member or dependent if medical professionals are involved in the care of the family member or dependent. Students cannot be required to provide detailed medical information.
          • Death notice, obituary, or death certificate for a student’s immediate family member.
          • Copy of appropriate legal documentation related to legal activities that may be redacted for privacy
          • Confirmation of mandatory athletic participation from an appropriate UH Athletics administrator.
          • Confirmation of mandatory interviews from employers or appropriate officials at institutions of higher education.
          • Conference program including documentation confirming that the student will be a presenter of scholarly work.
          • Confirmation of participation in a University-sponsored activity from an appropriate administrator.
          • A number of reasons for absence are not documentable, and instructors are encouraged to use their best judgment in evaluating student requests.

        2. Providing false information or documentation is unacceptable and may be considered as prohibited conduct under the Student Code of Conduct or an act of academic dishonesty under the Academic Honesty Policy.

      3. Verification and Decision
        1. An instructor may verify a student’s absence documentation or defer verification and decision, including cases when documentation is not available, to the college dean or dean’s designee.
        2. The instructor, dean, or dean’s designee must provide the student with a decision regarding whether the excused absence is approved within three business days of receiving the student’s request. Decisions must be made irrespective of the grade the student is currently earning in the class. 

      4. Appeal
        1. A student may appeal an instructor’s decision regarding an excused absence request within 3 business days of receiving the decision. The appeal should be submitted in writing (email is acceptable) to the college dean or dean’s designee who must provide a decision to the student within 3 business days of receiving the appeal. Unexcused absences cannot be appealed. Instructors are encouraged to use their best judgement in evaluating unexcused and no-fault student requests.
        2. A student may appeal the decision of a dean or dean’s designee within 3 business days of receiving the decision. The appeal should be submitted in writing (email is acceptable) to the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School (gradschool@uh.edu) who must provide a decision to the student within 3 business days of receiving the appeal.
        3. The decision of the Office of the Provost is final and further appeal is not permitted.

    3. MAKE UP WORK
      If a student’s absence is excused, the instructor must either provide the student an opportunity to make up any quiz, exam, or other work that contributes to the course grade, or provide a satisfactory alternative by a date agreed upon by the student and instructor.

    4. EXTENDED ABSENCES
      Extended Absence Alternatives—Students with excessive  or extended absences are encouraged to consult their instructor to seek potential alternative options provided in other policies including Dropping Courses, Withdrawals, and temporary grades of Incomplete. Through the last day to drop a course with a grade of W, an instructor may also drop students for excessive absences.

    5. RELATED POLICIES
      Additional policies address excused absences for reasons that are not covered in this policy including the following:
        1. Military Service: Excused Absence for Military Service Policy.
        2. Religious Holy Days: Religious Holy Days Policy.
        3. Pregnancy and Related Conditions: University of Houston System Anti-Discrimination Policy.
        4. Disability: University of Houston System Student Academic Adjustments/Auxiliary Aids Policy.