(Approved by the President May 6, 2016; Technical Amendments August 7, 2017; Technical Amendments October 1, 2019)


An excused absence is an absence for which the student has the right to receive, and the instructor has the responsibility to provide academic accommodation.

Students are expected to take full responsibility for their own academic work and progress. Students, to progress satisfactorily, must meet all of the requirements of each course for which they are registered. Students are expected to attend classes regularly. Consistent attendance offers students the most effective opportunity to gain command of course concepts and materials. Excused absences must be requested promptly and must be supported by appropriate documentation. During the Fall 2020 semester, exceptions will be made for a student’s inability to perform course activities as per expectations due to medically necessitated or other COVID-19 related reasons, as indicated below.

Excused absences do not alter the academic requirements for the course. Students are responsible for information and material missed on the day of absence. Students are within reason entitled to receive any materials provided to the class during the absence. Students are responsible for making provision to determine what course material they have missed and for completing required exercises in a timely manner.

Events that justify an excused absence include religious observances; mandatory military obligation; illness of the student or illness of an immediate family member; participation in university activities at the request of university authorities; and compelling circumstances beyond the student’s control (e.g., death in the family, required court appearance). Absences stemming from work duties other than military obligation (e.g., unexpected changes in shift assignments) and traffic/transit problems do not typically qualify for excused absence.

Notification and Documentation

To receive accommodation for an excused absence:

  • The student must notify the instructor in a timely manner. The notification should be provided either prior to the absence or as soon afterwards as possible. In the case of religious observances, athletic events, and planned absences known at the beginning of the semester, the student must inform the instructor during the schedule adjustment period. All other absences must be reported as soon as is practical.

  • The student must provide appropriate documentation of the absence. The documentation must be provided in writing to the instructor by the means specified in the syllabus.
    1. For medically necessitated absences: Students may, one time per course per semester, provide a self-signed excuse as documentation of an absence from a single class (e.g., lecture, recitation, or laboratory session) that does not coincide with a major assessment or assignment due date.

      For all other medically necessitated absences, a course instructor may request that students provide documentation from a physician or the University Health Center to verify an absence. In cases where students are asked to provide verification, the course instructor may request the dates of treatment or the time frame that the student was unable to meet academic responsibilities, but may not request diagnostic information.

For all other absences students must provide verifiable documentation upon request (e.g., religious calendar, court summons, death announcement, etc.).

Providing false information to University officials is prohibited under Part 10.e.1 of the University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00[B]) and may result in disciplinary action.

mask with words: Covid 19 policy exception


Students are not obligated to provide documentation from the University Health Center, from their physician, or from another source to verify their inability to perform course activities as per expectations, or missed due dates for assignments.

The student should contact the course instructor (using the communication method specified in the course syllabus), explaining the absence or due dates missed, and a statement that the information is accurate and that they recognize the expectations in the University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00[B]). Instructors may prefer that students use this template to certify their absence or missed due dates.

Instructors should provide academic accommodations to students who present self-certified notes. Instructors may consider alternative assignments and make-up work, as well as re-weighting of course assessments, as ways to accommodate missed work to allow a student to proceed meaningfully through the course. How this may work in a course should be indicated in the course syllabus. If absences or missed work impact a student’s ability to complete coursework according to the defined course schedule, the instructor and student are encouraged to develop alternative plans for the student to complete the course. If that is not feasible, the student should consult with an academic advisor.

Please also see FAQ: Fall 2020 Instruction

Academic Accommodations

In keeping with the USM III-5.10 Policy Concerning the Scheduling of Academic Assignments on Dates of Religious Observance, “Students shall not be penalized because of observances of their religious holidays and shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances.” For all other excused absences, the student must be provided academic accommodation. The accommodation provided should, within reason, neither advantage nor disadvantage either the student or the rest of the class.

If the accommodation is a makeup assessment, it must be timely, at a time and place agreed upon by the instructor and student, cover the same material, and be at the same level of difficulty as the original assessment. In the event that a group of students requires the same makeup assessment, one time and place may be scheduled. The makeup assessment must not interfere with the student's regularly scheduled classes, and must be consistent with the V-1.00(A) University of Maryland Policy on the Conduct of Undergraduate Classes and Student Grievance Procedure.

If makeup work is not feasible, an alternate accommodation for excused absences will be provided. Alternate accommodations will be according to the principles established by the unit offering the course.

Students who miss a substantial number of class sessions or course assignments should seek guidance from an academic advisor with respect to academic options.

Extended absences stemming from active military duty are addressed in the USM V-7.00 Policy on Students who are called to Active Military Duty during a National or International Crisis or Conflict.

Absences related to a student’s disability are addressed in the VI-1.00(D) University of Maryland Disability & Accessibility Policy and Procedures.


Students who feel that they have unfairly been denied either excused absence or appropriate accommodation for an excused absence should first seek to resolve the disagreement with the course instructor. If the student and instructor are unable to find a mutually agreeable resolution, the student may file an appeal with the head of the administrative unit offering the class. In most cases this will be the Chair of the Department. In the case of non-departmentalized units and interdepartmental programs, this role will be taken by the Dean (or the Dean’s designee).

The unit head should use procedures similar to those specified in the III-1.20(B) University of Maryland Procedures for Review of Alleged Arbitrary and Capricious Grading – Undergraduate Students – but with clear indication that the appeal is with regard to excused absence, not arbitrary and capricious grading.

Replacement for:
Policy III-5.10(A) University of Maryland Policies and Procedures Concerning Academic Assignments on Dates of Religious Observances
Policy V-1.00(G) University of Maryland Policy for a Student’s Medically Necessitated Absence from Class