Absences From Class Due to Illness and Other Emergencies



(608) 265-5600 -- UHS (Mental Health Services)
(608) 263-5700 -- Dean's Office

Dean of Students Office
70 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1380

Hours (Drop-In)
Fall and Spring Semesters: Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Winter Break and Summer: Monday-Friday, 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m.

UHS and Dean of Students Office policy on Medical Excuses:

UHS does not provide medical excuses for missed classes, exams, etc. UHS does not provide excuses because the organization has finite resources that are better devoted to providing health care, a lack of direct knowledge about illnesses or injuries you’ve effectively managed by self care, and a strong commitment to student privacy. In the event of a prolonged illness or injury for more than 5 days, UHS will work with the student to obtain proper documentation. 

Just as most employers do not require employees to submit letters from physicians to verify their illnesses or absences, most faculty members and teaching assistants accept your word that you have a legitimate reason for missing a class, an exam, or an assignment deadline. Written verification is generally not necessary. In the event of an illness, accident, or an emergency, the best practice is for you to make direct contact, preferably before the class or exam takes place, with your professor or teaching assistant (TA). You should talk with her/him in person, if possible, or through a telephone call.

If you cannot reach her/him through either of these means, you can leave a message in your instructor's department mailbox, being sure to note your telephone number and when you can be reached. If you need to leave the city, state or country, you can go directly to the departmental office and leave a note explaining your situation.

Neither the Office of the Dean of Students nor University Health Services writes excuses for students. These matters need to be communicated and discussed with your instructors; all decisions about the impact of your absence on your grade, as well as any arrangements for making up work, rest with your instructors. Faculty and departmental phone numbers and addresses can be obtained by calling Campus Information at (608) 263-2400. If you are unable to make a direct contact with your instructor, or to leave word with the department, a member of the Dean of Students staff will inform her/him of the circumstances by sending a brief note or making a phone call. You should be aware that this intervention does not change in any way the outcome of the faculty member's or TA's decision regarding your academic work and performance in the course.

You will still need to make that personal contact as soon as you are able. If you need assistance from the Dean of Students, please provide the names, course numbers, and departments of the instructors needing notification. You may also want to use the Dean's office simply to discuss your circumstances and get some advice about how you should proceed. Remember that your academic dean's office is also a valuable resource for advice in this matter.

In the event of a prolonged illness or injury requiring medical attention and an absence of more than five days, we frequently work with students to provide appropriate documentation. Documentation of mental health illnesses is generally provided only to those clients with whom we have an ongoing or formerly established therapeutic relationship.

For further information about mental health services: https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/