Requesting Absences from Scheduled Classes and/or Clerkships

UNR Med Student Handbook: Attendance and Absence Policy

Students are permitted to request an absence from a curricular and/or clinical activity to access healthcare services, due to illness, an emergency or personal issue. The policy for religious holidays can be found at https://www.unr.edu/student-conduct/policies/university-policies-and-guidelines/religious-holiday-observation

Absences for medical needs:

  • In case of illness, students are encouraged to take appropriate time off and seek medical care.
  • Students are required to inform the responsible faculty member (block/clerkship director, attending physician) of any absence due to anticipated medical needs prior to the absence, if possible.
  • If a student is ill for >3 days, students must inform the course/clerkship director for the respective clerkship and the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs and Office of Medical Education.
  • Unexcused absences will result in a professionalism report and possibly other repercussions related to assignment of a final grade.
  • If you have a recurring medical appointment or other issue, be in contact with the Office of Student Affairs who can help you communicate with the responsible faculty member.
  • Depending on the circumstance and the length of time away from the clerkship, the director may give students an in progress grade and require that further work be completed in the clerkship at another time.
  • A student who is unable to undertake an assessment because of an unforeseen illness or personal/family issue must notify the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.

Absences during Year 1-2:

  • Students must request an absence from a required activity in Year 1-2 by emailing Dr. Singer, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Dr. Howard, the Director of Curricular Operations, at least one month in advance of the requested leave. The request must include a description of the required activities that you will be missing.
  • Approval will be based on several factors including: any academic concerns related to the requesting student, the number of days being requested, the material covered during the leave, and the purpose of the request.
  • Students will be responsible for completing any missed required assignments at the discretion of the Block Director(s) in whose block the leave falls and provide approval from the Block Director(s) regarding their plan.

Absences during Clerkships or Electives:

  • Students are allowed 3 excused absences for a four-week elective. They must request an absence, even for interviews. Additional absences may be granted at the director's discretion with an agreement that missed days will be made up.
  • Coordinators should be given as much time as possible to accommodate your request. Two weeks is standard. If students must make a last minute change (<2 weeks), the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs should be included in the communication.
  • Failure to follow this process may negatively reflect your evaluation and/or grade in the course, as well as lead to a professionalism report that could be referred to the SPCC.
  • Students are required to inform their supervising faculty member in advance when personal matters take them from educational and patient care responsibilities, and are responsible for arranging coverage while absent. 


Requesting absences for traveling to conferences or residency interviews:

  • Please note that students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to travel to conferences.
  • Permission must be obtained in advance from the course/clerkship director and then from the supervising faculty member(s).
  • Attendance at conferences is usually granted only if a student is presenting scholarly work at that meeting.
  • Interviewing for residency positions should be scheduled during vacation time. If interviews cannot be scheduled during those times, written verification of the date(s) made available by the interviewer must be submitted to the elective director. The student and elective director will draft a written agreement to specify length of absence and any material to be covered during the absence, along with any other stipulations required by the elective director. A copy of the agreement will be forwarded to the Student Records Coordinator in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs to be placed in the student's file.