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Class Attendance Policy for Students at UW-Madison

The following section explains the class attendance policy for UW-Madison and L&S undergraduate students.

It is expected that every student will be present at all classes.   In accordance with UW-Madison policy, faculty are asked not to schedule mandatory course requirements on dates when a religious observation may cause substantial numbers of students to be absent.  Faculty/instructors are encouraged to extend reasonable consideration to accommodate students should their university-endorsed extracurricular activities (not including practice activities for performances or athletic events) conflict with class attendance requirements.  It is expected that students provide adequate and reasonable advance notice to faculty and instructors in order that they can ensure that an accommodation, if granted, not jeopardize or compromise the pedagogical goals and requirements of the course and students' learning.   See class attendance policy for more information.

  • Faculty policy allows instructors to indicate what criteria need to be met for an absence to be considered "excused".  
  • Instructors should make sure they publish their criteria for excused absences in a clear and consistent manner on their syllabi.
Students are required to be present at the beginning of the semester/term and to remain until the work of the semester/term is completed (which includes final examinations).  Note that any excused or unexcused absences may have a negative impact on a student's final grade in a course.  Students should be mindful of class attendance policies for each of their classes and make sure they completely understand the ramifications of missing classes (either excused or unexcused).
Please note that it is against university policy to attend classes without being enrolled.  Faculty and instructors may require enrolled students to attend scheduled meetings of a class and/or to participate in other course-related activities, including online learning.  Students are responsible for materials presented in such meetings or activities.  Because courses are designed and conducted in diverse ways, faculty and instructors should inform students in writing at the beginning of each course if there are specific expectations for attendance and/or participation, including whether any component of the grade will be based on such attendance or participation.

Religious Observances

It is faculty policy that mandatory academic requirements should not be scheduled on days when a religious observance may cause substantial numbers of students to be absent from university functions.

A student's claim of religious conflict should be accepted at face value.  A great variety of valid claims exist for religious groups and there is no practical, dignified, or legal means to assess the validity of individual claims.  State law mandates that any student with a conflict between an academic requirement and any religious observances must be given an alternative means of meeting the academic requirement.   The law also stipulates that students be given a means by which they can conveniently and confidently notify an instructor of the conflict.

For more information about the UW-Madison's policy on religious observances, please see the Academic Calendar on the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty website.

General Regulations

Students are required to be present at the opening of the semester and to remain until the work of the semester is compelted.  It is expected that every student will be present at all of the classes for which the student has registered.   The relevant department should contact the student.

The faculty and departments have the authority to determine what types of excuses for absences are acceptable or what measures shall be taken in the case of a student who has excessive absence from classes.

It is the student's responsibility to satisfy the instructors that he/she was justifiably absent.  A dean never gives excuses for absences but does facilitate cooperation between student and faculty member in settling matters of absences from Class.

Absence from Class Because of Ill Health

A student may be asked to present evidence of ill health or injury to an instructor and/or a dean.  If the student has been under the care of a private physician, he/she should request the physician to write a letter indicating the nature and extent of the illness or injury.

If the student has not been under the care of an physician, the instructor will decide whether or not the absence should be excused on the basis of other information.

The report of a house fellow, parent, or other person concerning a student's absence may be accepted as an explanation of that absence by the instructor; however, the instructor is not obligated to excuse the absence on the basis of this rep

For more information about class attendance, please refer to Class Attendance Policy.  Also see Religious Observances (Academic).


Keywordsattendance, class attendance, excused absence, missing class, absence, ill health, sickness, religious observances, vacation   Doc ID24628
OwnerTori R.GroupL&S KB
Created2012-06-11 11:38 CSTUpdated2021-11-09 12:40 CST
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