This policy applies to all coursework in years 1 and 2.  For attendance and absence policies during years 3 and 4, refer to the Attendance and Absence Years 3 and 4 Policy.

It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM-P) to hold professionalism as a major tenet, and medical students, as future professionals, should conduct themselves accordingly. This includes arriving to educational activities on time, avoiding disruptions to any educational environment, and using laptops and other electronic devices only for course work during the educational activity. Absences and tardiness negatively impact others. Therefore, 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). 

Although attendance at non-mandatory sessions is not formally tracked, students pursuing the Doctor of Medicine degree have entered a profession in which full participation in the learning environment is an essential component. Throughout students’ undergraduate medical education, they are expected to exhibit professional responsibility by actively contributing to their own learning, to the collective educational community at the COM-P, and ultimately to the care of their patients. Therefore, they are responsible for and are encouraged to participate in all course learning experiences. 

Mandatory Sessions

Course* syllabi will clearly identify all sessions requiring mandatory, in-person attendance. Failure to attend mandatory sessions, without prior approval of the course* director, will result in an unexcused absence.  See below for emergency absences. Students will be responsible for material covered in all sessions.

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 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 that acutely disrupt the student’s ability to attend mandatory course* sessions. 
  • Personal wellness (healthcare maintenance, illness, injury, or disability) – In the case of a student’s own wellness, illness, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the course* director is 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. 

Extended or Recurrent Absences 

  • If a student is unable to participate in a course* 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 of Unexcused Absences

  • Any non-emergency absence that is taken without prior notification by the student, the student’s designee, or permission of the dean, student affairs/or designee and/or the course* director is considered an unexcused absence and will be treated as an act of unprofessional behavior which will negatively impact student professionalism competency rating. Students are responsible for all material missed because of the absence with the understanding that some material cannot be reproduced by the course* director.

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 dean, 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 they will utilize the electronic absence request system immediately and notify the course* director that day, 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.
  • For personal/sensitive/religious absence requests, the dean of 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* director

Additional considerations regarding requests for excused absences

  • In the event the student is granted an excused absence, the course* director will establish guidelines for implementation of make up plans, where available, that are specific for the unique requirements of the course. The implementation guidelines will apply for all students in that course*.
  • In the case where (1) the absence is requested at least 30 days in advance and (2) the course* director is unable to arrange an alternate make up plan because of a student’s prolonged absence or the course* director’s inability to recreate the needed clinical, lab or didactic material, the course* director may deny approval for the requested absence.
  • Absences for social engagements, fundraising events, and non-approved conferences will not be approved as excused absences from mandatory sessions.
  • For further details see individual course* syllabi.
  • For longer-term absences, please see the Enrollment, Sequencing and Grading for Pre-Clerkship Policy.

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

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