It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM-P) that all 3rd and 4th year clinical experiences (clerkships, selectives, and electives) are mandatory. Any absences must be recorded and are not to exceed 0.5 days per week on average. Exceeding this amount of time may result in a grade of Incomplete being assigned until remediation occurs. While some absences are unavoidable, student absences impact student experience, as well as the entire clinical team and patient care on clinical rotations. Exceptions to this may be considered by the associate dean of student affairs and the associate dean of clinical and competency based education in consultation with the course* director (*course in this policy will refer to any component of the curriculum in which a grade is earned: clerkship, course, elective, selective). Extended periods of absence may result in a student’s inability to successfully complete the course*, as remediation of such absences may not be possible.

Absences will be remediated. Students should work with their course* director to determine a remediation plan. Direct clinical experiences for absence remediation is preferred for students to gain the necessary experience. Regardless of remediation type, students are still responsible for meeting all learning objectives and requirements for each course*.

Clinical rotations include:

  • Emergency Medicine.
  • Family, Community & Preventive Medicine.
  • Internal Medicine.
  • Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC).
  • Neurology.
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Psychiatry.
  • Surgery.
  • Ambulatory Selective.
  • Critical Care Selective.
  • Sub Internship Selective.
  • All Electives.

For non-clinical courses* (Intersessions, Longitudinal Patient Care, and Scholarly Project), attendance is critical as well. Therefore, like the clinical rotations, attendance, including tardiness, is part of the behavioral assessment of professionalism and poor performance may result in failure to meet competency expectations (i.e., earning a Level 1). Students should work with the course* director to determine a remediation plan for absences.

Excused Absences

An excused absence will be approved for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Presentation at a professional conference or leadership activity (e.g., as an AMSA committee member) on behalf of the COM-P, the number of days excused will be decided in consideration of the student’s role and duties at the conference and the requirements and experiences of the course* that would need to be remediated.
  • Religious observance – Students may request an excused absence for religious observances, in accordance with Arizona and federal laws and the Religious Accommodations Policy.
  • Personal circumstances – Personal circumstances may include, but are not limited to, significant family or personal events (e.g., a wedding, car trouble, etc.) that disrupt the student’s ability to attend to mandatory course* responsibilities.
  • Personal wellness (health care maintenance, illness, injury or disability) – In the case of a student’s own wellness, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate parties, including the site and the course* directors are informed of the absence in a timely manner. If the student is seriously ill, a family member or friend can inform the appropriate parties. Please see the procedures section for the appropriate parties who must be informed.
  • Residency interview and application related activities – It is expected that students use discretionary time when possible to schedule interviews and applicant visit days. An interview or visit requiring an absence may be unavoidable, particularly during the months of November, December, and January. It is the student’s responsibility to notify appropriate parties, including the course* and site director so that appropriate remediation may be determined.

Extended or Recurrent Absences

  • If a student is unable to participate in a clinical experience because of their own serious illness, injury or disability, or other personal reasons, they should be apprised of the COM-P’s Leave of Absence Policy and the University of Arizona’s withdrawal policies.
  • Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodation(s) must register with the University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Center in accordance with procedures outlined and work with that office to affect such accommodations.

Unexcused Absences and Consequences

  • Any non-emergency absence that is taken without prior notification by the student, the student’s designee, or permission of the associate dean, student affairs and/or the course* director is considered an unexcused absence and will be treated as an act of unprofessional behavior. For clinical courses*, this will be included in the student’s final assessment and result in a grade no higher than pass. For non-clinical courses, this will negatively impact student professionalism competency rating. Students are responsible for all material missed with the understanding that some material cannot be reproduced by the course* director.


  • Students participating in a course* will observe the holiday schedule of the University of Arizona during third year required clerkships. A student may request to work on a day designated as a holiday by the University of Arizona. Upon approval by the course* director in advance, the holiday may be substituted for a regular, non-holiday work day.
  • Specifically, students participating in all electives and selectives will observe the holiday schedule of the institutions of their rotations.

Requesting an Excused Absence^

  • To request an excused absence, students must request the absence through the electronic absence request system 30 days in advance for scheduled events, or as early as possible in the setting of unanticipated and/or urgent events. The reason(s) and the date(s) of the absence must be included in the request. If >30 days notice is not provided, the student must provide the nature (reason) of the request. These requests will be reviewed by the associate dean of student affairs or designee and the absence may not be approved. In the event that the absence is not approved, it will be considered unexcused. The course* director and site director must be notified by the student requesting the absence and the director will work with the student on an individualized remediation plan.
  • If a student requests an excused absence due to an unanticipated illness or injury, they will utilize the electronic absence request system immediately and notify their site director unless unable to do so because of such illness or injury. It is expected that the student reports their absence, in the electronic absence request system, as soon as physically possible. The course* director and site director must be notified by the student and the director(s) will work with the student directly to develop an individualized remediation plan.
  • For personal/sensitive/religious absence requests, dean, student affairs/ or designee will notify the student and the course* director of their decision regarding the requested absence via the electronic absence request system.

^Students do not need to reveal personal nature/aspects of the absence request to the course or site director.

Remediation of Clinical Absences

  • The course* director will establish general guidelines for implementation of remediation plans for clinical absences that are specific for the unique requirements of the course*. The implementation guidelines will apply for students at all sites within that course*. Guidelines will be made available to the students and reviewed by the course* director during course* orientation.
  • In the case where a remediation plan cannot be arranged with an individual student, it may be necessary to give the student an incomplete, which will be resolved following the procedures outlined in the Grading and Progression for Clerkships and Selectives Policy or the Grading and Progression for Electives Policy.

Course* = Any component of the curriculum where a grade is earned.

Curriculum Committee
  • Original Approval Date:
  • Revision/Reaffirmation Date:
  • Current Effective Date: