Excused Absence

Excused absences

There are several reasons you may find it necessary to leave campus for a short period of time. In some cases, your professors or instructors will require confirmation of your absence from the Student Experience office. The Student Experience office’s role is to validate/confirm your documentation for being away. Keep in mind that you will still be responsible for making up any quizzes, exams, labs, etc. that were missed during your absence and it is your responsibility to make the necessary arrangements with your professors. Each professor handles missed classes/make-ups differently – consult your course syllabus and your professor for details.

You may submit the details of your absence either prior to leaving or upon your return to campus. However, in all cases, you will need to submit supporting documentation. It is in your best interest to have an excuse processed in advanced when you know of an upcoming event.

Excused absences will not be issued for reasons including, but limited to, the following:

  • Over-booking of your schedule
  • Forgetting exams or assignments
  • Poor time management
  • Not being prepared

The Student Experience office will only issue excuses during final exams for “extreme circumstances” (such as being hospitalized). Poor planning of flights, not being aware of when your exams are, etc. are not acceptable reasons to miss a final exam and an excuse will not be issued.

Individual excused absences are emailed directly to the primary professor listed for each course in the Student Information System. Group excuses are now distributed electronically as well (new effective October, 2011). Electronic excuses are not distributed to students.

Graduate students can work directly with faculty members as needed regarding missing classes. Should you experience trouble, please contact the Office of Graduate Education.

Excused absence options

Individuals – stop by the Student Experience office

Stop by the Student Experience office in 4600 Academy Hall to fill out a request form – don’t forget to bring your documentation with you (examples below). Your request will be processed and notifications will be sent to your professors. Want to save time? Print the request form ahead of time and bring it with you!


Excused absence required documentation examples


  • Obituary from local newspaper
  • Card from funeral home with deceased person’s name
  • E-mail from a parent or guardian confirming the date(s) of absence and relationship to the deceased

Family reunion

  • A letter from parent or guardian requesting your presence on a specific date for the reunion.

Health absence

  • All illness- or injury-related absences are to be diagnosed and treated in the Student Health Center in order to receive approval for an excused absence. The Student Health Center will automatically notify the SE office of any approved absences.
  • If you have not been diagnosed or treated in the Student Health Center, but have documentation from your personal physician, Samaritan Hospital, etc., an absence can be approved through the Student Experience office.


  • An invitation addressed to you specifying the date(s) and the location of absence.
  • An e-mail from a parent or guardian stating the reason and date(s) for the absence.

RPI-sanctioned group event or conference

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

Religious absence

  • Because Rensselaer is a non-denominational university that welcomes all faiths, the decision regarding absence from class and laboratories on religious holidays is left to the individual. In the case of conflicts between the university calendar and the individual’s beliefs, students, faculty, and administrative staff will make arrangements to assure that religious participation is not restricted.

Sports absence

  • A student who is a member of an authorized team or organization for which events are scheduled is excused from class attendance during the time actually spent away from the campus or during the hours of the events on campus. The student still has to complete the work that is missed.

Job interview

  • An invitation letter from the company, including interview date(s) and location.


  • We generally do not provide excuses for weather-related absences. If Rensselaer is open, classes are in session and it is expected that students will attend them.


  • We generally do not provide excuses for travel-related absences (late bus/train/flight, dead car battery, flat tire, etc.). You are expected to plan adequately for travel needs.


  • Required documentation can be discussed – please stop by or contact us in advance of your absence.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Student Experience office by calling (518) 276-8022, stopping by the office in 4600 Academy Hall, or via email.