Requesting an Excused Absence

Updated policy as of 9/28/23: Formal excuses are not required for medical absences for up to a week of missed classes. Students may contact their faculty directly to discuss completing missed assignments and exams.

Students missing more than a week of classes due to illness will be required to provide a doctor’s note or other supporting documentation to the Student Success Office. Your Class Dean will communicate the receipt of the note (with expected end date) to the relevant faculty.


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Your first commitment at Rensselaer is to your academics. It is essential that you attend all your class meetings; however, we understand that unforeseen events or preplanned opportunities may conflict with scheduled class time.

Student Success does not issue excuses during final exams, contact your Class Dean immediately if you missed a final exam. In extreme circumstances (such as being hospitalized), your Class Dean may intercede on your behalf and issue a "No Examination Grade." Details regarding missing final exams.

Types of Absences

Include but are not limited to:

  • Job interviews
  • Graduate school interviews and/or visits
  • Family reunions
  • Performances
  • Weddings
  • Fraternity/sorority trips
  • Non-sanctioned club or organization functions
  • Professional conference
  • Research
  • Discipline symposium

In all instances, if the faculty member approves the absence, no excuse from Student Success is required.

Include but are not limited to:

  • Hospital admission
  • Death of a family member or significant other
  • Serious illness of a family member or significant other
  • Extended illness or physical immobility
  • Family crisis

If you are on campus and feeling unwellplease contact the Student Health Center at 518-276-6287.


  • Obituary from local newspaper
  • Email from a parent or guardian confirming the date(s) of absence and relationship to the deceased

Family reunion

  • Email from a parent or guardian requesting your presence, date(s), and location of the event

Health absence

  • Illness or injury-related absences diagnosed and treated by the Student Health Center
  • Documentation from your personal physician, treatment provider, or a hospital


  • Invitation addressed to you specifying the date(s) and the location of absence
  • Email from a parent or guardian requesting your presence, date(s), and location of the event

Rensselaer sanctioned group event or conference

  • Email from the Rensselaer Union or sponsoring department
  • Conference material stating the title, date(s), and location of the event

Religious absence

  • Rensselaer is a non-denominational university that welcomes all faiths, if there is a conflict between the university calendar and the individual’s beliefs, arrangements will be made to assure that religious participation is not restricted

Sports absence

  • Excuse forms should be provided by your coach, no excuse from Student Success is necessary

Job interview

  • Email from the company, including interview date(s) and location


  • We generally do not provide excuses for weather-related absences, if classes are in session, it is expected that students will attend


  • We generally do not provide excuses for travel-related absences, if you find yourself in this situation, contact your instructor and your Class Dean

How do I request an absence from class?

  • Request an absence directly from your course instructor at least one week in advance
  • If your instructor agrees, you're done, no formal excuse is necessary
  • If a formal excuse is requested, fill out the online form and attach appropriate documentation at least three days in advance.
  • If you miss more than a week of class you will need to request an absence and provide medical documentation. Your class dean may reach out for more information.

There are no "group excuses" or acceptance of a list of participants for class excuses. Each student must discuss the absence with his/her course instructors directly.

What happens next?

Excused absence requests are emailed directly to the primary instructor listed for each course in the Student Information System, not to Teaching Assistant's or to all faculty in team-taught courses. A confirmation will also be sent to your Rensselaer email. If your request is not approved, your Class Dean will contact you directly.

How do I make up missed work?

Each professor handles missed classes and work differently, so be sure to consult with your instructor directly. Depending on the assignment/absence, it may not be possible to make up missed work. For example, a group presentation may not be able to be rescheduled. If an exam is missed, please make arrangements to take the exam a soon as possible.

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