Attendance Guidelines

Authorizing Body:

Curriculum Committee

Responsible Office:

Medical Education

Date Issued:

August 1, 2011

Last Update:

Dec. 2, 2022


The School of Medicine requires every student pursuing the degree of Doctor of Medicine to be responsible for meeting the school's expectations regarding attendance in all aspects of the curriculum. When the school confers the M.D. degree, the faculty is attesting not only that the student has achieved a level of competency as measured by performance on tests, but the student has shown a commitment to professional responsibility and has also participated in the entire educational experience that is defined by the curriculum. Attendance and participation are necessary components of our interactive curriculum and therefore are considered professional responsibilities. Students are obligated to complete all assigned course work and to attend class on a punctual and regular basis. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, do not absolve the student of these responsibilities. Students are expected to contribute to the collaborative learning process by being an integral part of the team-approach, sharing expertise and problem solving. Attendance and participation are expected in all educational activities, and are required for all assessment activities, laboratory sessions, sessions with patients, small group and team-based learning sessions, as well as other sessions as specified by the course and clerkship directors.

Scope and Applicability:

All Students enrolled in the School of Medicine

Standard Practice Guideline:

Student participation is an essential component of the academic process in all types of instructional sessions and is therefore considered in assessment and grading of student performance. Each course, clerkship and elective syllabus will document how attendance may be used and how final grades are calculated. As with all professionalism issues, attendance issues and/or excessive tardiness may be reflected in the Medical School Performance Evaluation (MSPE). The Directors have final authority on decisions regarding attendance and absences. In the event of a crisis or a confidential matter that requires immediate attention, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in coordination with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education may authorize an absence without disclosing the confidential matter to the Director.


Religious Observance

Please see the School of Medicine Standard Practices and Guidelines on Religious Observances.


General Rules of Attendance

  • Students must attend all mandatory scheduled activities.
  • The course coordinator is the point of contact for reporting unanticipated absences and requesting anticipated absences.
  • The course director has the responsibility for excusing absences.
  • Unanticipated Absences must be reported by email as soon as feasible, to the appropriate course leadership including a phone number or email where the student can be contacted. Verification of receipt of the student’s message and the granting or denial of the student’s request for an excused absence will be communicated by the course leadership to the student as soon as possible. Students may be required to provide written proof of the reason for unanticipated absences (doctor’s note, towing receipt, etc.).
  • It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for the completion of any missed academic assignments.
  • Any absence that has not been excused will be classified as an unexcused absence.
  • Students will not receive credit for activities that were missed during an unexcused absence.

Attendance at Instructional Sessions

  • Excused absences are counted as absences for any attendance requirements.

Attendance during M3-M4 Clinical Training

  • Students must attend all scheduled activities during M3-M4 clerkships, courses, sub-internships, and electives. Any scheduled absence must be approved by the Clerkship/Course Director. 
  • An unexcused absence during M3-M4 clerkships, courses, sub-internships, and electives, will be reflected unfavorably on the student’s written record and clinical performance evaluation and may adversely affect the student’s clerkship grade. Both anticipated and unanticipated absences must be officially documented to avoid an unexcused absence. The Clerkship / Course Director will determine the process and timeline if any missed activities will need to be made up. Failure to meet the timeline to make up missed assignments may result in a professionalism feedback form (PFF) being filed and may be reflected in the MSPE. Students are expected to make up absences as soon as possible and no later than the end of the academic year.
  • Until the time missed is made up, the student’s clerkship/course grade will be recorded as an Incomplete.
  • Requests for all anticipated absences in the M3-M4 year may not exceed 3 days during the clerkship / course and must be submitted by email to the appropriate Coordinator and Director at least thirty (30) days before the clerkship/course start date. If a student is absent for more than 3 days during the clerkship / course, they will be expected to make up the days missed. Verification of receipt of the student’s message and the granting or denial of the student’s request by the Director or designee for an excused absence will be communicated within one week of the student’s request.
  • Permission to take more than 3 days must be obtained in advance from the Elective Director and approved by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education. If a student takes more than three days off an elective, they will be expected to make up the days missed.
  • If a student is absent from clinical training during an M3-M4 clerkship/course at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital for more than two (2) days due to an illness, the School of Medicine requires that the student inform Graham Health and the Office of Student Affairs to officially document and track the student’s status before being permitted to return to their clerkship/course.
  • A release to the Director and a copy to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education is required before being permitted to return to clinical training.
  • Students are permitted to take three days during a 4-week elective for the purpose of attending residency interviews or taking the STEP 2 CS or STEP 2CK examination. Proof of interviews via confirmation email from the residency program and the STEP exam via email from NBME must be submitted to the Elective Director and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education. 
  • Students will be discouraged from taking time off during all 2-week M3-M4 electives/clerkships. If a student requires time off, they must obtain prior written permission from the Elective/Clerkship Director and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education in advance of making plans.
  • Students are discouraged from taking time off during the 1-week M3 Ophthalmology clerkship. Students are however allowed up to ½ day absence from clinic during this clerkship without having to make up missed time. Students are required to remediate any additional time off, missing of an OR assignment, didactic session, or quiz as determined by the Clerkship/Elective Director and approved by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Clinical Education.
  • If a student misses more than 25% of the M3-M4 clerkship/course, the student will be required to repeat the entire course.
  • Missed Assignments: During the M3-M4 years of training, students are required to make up required assignments/activities missed during clerkships/courses, a grade of incomplete will be designated until all assignments have been completed and submitted.

Attendance at Assessment Sessions

  • Any unexcused absence from an examination will result in a failure of the examination.
  • For anticipated absences from examinations, the student must petition the course leadership at least three weeks prior to the examination.


Anticipated Absences: Absences that are planned in advance.

Business Days: Oakland University workdays.

Attendance: Students must arrive on time, stay as long as required to complete the activity, and be fully engaged in the activity, to be considered as in attendance.

Coordinators: Staff members who manage the operations of a course, clerkship, or an elective.

Course Leadership: The Directors and Coordinators are the leadership of courses, clerkships, and electives. 

Crisis: An event in the life of the student or a close family member that requires immediate attention and disrupts a student’s participation in the curriculum.

Director: A faculty member that oversees the content of a course, clerkship, or an elective, and provides students with formative and summative feedback, evaluations, and grades.

Excused Absences: Excused absences are absences that have received approval from the course leadership or that are due to an illness/injury or a crisis. Excused absences are granted at the discretion of the course leadership.

Release: A written release from the student’s primary care provider stating that the student was absent due to an illness/injury and is fit to resume studies. The primary care provider cannot be a relative and must have examined the student in person.

Unanticipated Absences:
Absences or tardiness from a scheduled academic activity due to an unanticipated event such as a personal illness or crisis.

Unexcused Absences: Any absences that are not formally excused by the course leadership.

Related Policies and Forms:

Absence Request Form (M3 & M4 students)

OUWB Religious Observance