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Attendance and Absence Policy

MSUCOM considers student education a participatory activity. Student attendance and participation in scheduled MSUCOM PA Medicine courses is expected and can be used in faculty's assessment of student performance. The college supports and understands the right of the faculty to expect student attendance and participation in many curricular components and the need to impose consequences if those expectations are not met.

As future medical providers, MSUCOM PA Medicine students will enter careers in which unplanned absences may be disruptive to the healthcare team. Students are expected to demonstrate personal responsibility in participating in coursework and integrity in seeking excused absences. Communication regarding unexpected health issues or family emergencies must be communicated in a timely, professional, and honest manner.

MSUCOM PA Medicine students must follow the requirements outlined in the course syllabus. Receiving an excused absence from a course activity does not affect the expectation that the student will meet the course requirements as outlined in the course syllabus.

Mandatory Class Sessions and Examinations

  • In the spirit of professional behavior and the mastery of defined educational objectives, MSUCOM PA Medicine students are expected to attend all class sessions (e.g., lectures, laboratories) whether in person, or broadcasted live via platforms like Zoom or Zoom webinar, at the scheduled time of the session. Students are also expected to take all examinations during their originally scheduled times.
  • COM Distant-Site Classes: students will be taking a large portion of their didactic coursework alongside MSUCOM DO students. Because MSUCOM has three campuses, lectures may be broadcasted live to the East Lansing site from either the Detroit medical Center (DMC) site or Macomb University Center (MUC). This will be clearly indicated on the calendar. Attendance at the East Lansing site at the scheduled time of broadcast is expected.
  • Recorded lectures: certain lectures may be recorded ahead of time and will be clearly indicated on the schedule. Students are encouraged to watch the recording at the scheduled time to ensure they keep up to date with course content. Students may opt to watch the recorded content at a different time, but are ultimately responsible for having all content completed in time for scheduled assessments, etc.
  • If attendance is not possible due to an acceptable reason, the student must request an excused absence. Not all requests for an excused absence are approved; requests based on events such as weddings, vacations, and family celebrations will be denied.
  • If an excused absence request is not made, or if the excused absence request is denied, the course coordinator(s) may give the student a "zero" for class session(s)/examination(s) missed, which may result in an "N" grade for the course(s).
  • An excused absence does not relieve the student from responsibilities for missed mandatory class sessions and examinations. It is highly possible that an excused absence will not be granted for a mandatory class session due to scheduling of equipment and faculty. If one or more mandatory sessions is missed, even though an excused absence is granted, and cannot be made up, the student may be required to repeat the course at its next offering. It is the student's responsibility to refer to course syllabus to understand daily requirements, responsibilities, and the consequences of not completing these requirements.
  • To request an excused absence, the student must complete an Excused Absence Request form prior to the scheduled mandatory class session(s) or the administration of an examination(s), or as soon as possible after the event (see below). The form is available online via the student portal.  Materials documenting the reason for the absence should also be attached to the Excused Absence Request Form.

Absences for Religious Observances

  • Michigan State University acknowledges religious holidays ( Students may request leave with the college and hospital/clinic and the request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis per the clinical training requirements. For more information, see the Leave of Absence section.


  • Acute illness, hospitalization, automobile accident, or death of an immediate family member will be acceptable reasons for a retroactive excused absence.

  • Retroactive excused absence requests must be received within a reasonable time frame after the relevant emergency. Failure to request an excused absence within a reasonable frame may result in the excused absence not being granted.

When there is Advance Notice of Absence

  • A student must submit his or her excused absence request at least one week in advance of the scheduled mandatory class session(s) or examination(s).

  • The request for an excused absence will be considered and the student will be notified of a decision in a timely fashion. Retroactive excused absence requests will not be accepted.

Conferences, Conventions, Meetings, College/Program Sponsored Activities

  • MSUCOM PA Medicine students are encouraged to participate locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally with student organizations and other medically related groups. However, the college & PA Medicine program recognizes the student's academic program to be the priority and it is the students' responsibility to fulfill all course requirements.

  • If a student wishes to attend a conference, convention, meeting, or college sponsored activity which will cause him or her to miss a mandatory class [session(s) or examination(s)], he or she must complete and submit an Excused Absence Request form to in accordance with the course syllabus at least two weeks prior to the expected absence period and provide a copy of the conference, convention, meeting, or college sponsored activity announcement.

  • Examination dates and mandatory class sessions will not routinely be changed for these activities. In order to make up a missed mandatory class session or missed examination, a student must have obtained an excused absence.

  • If an excused absence is not obtained, the course coordinator(s) may give the student a "zero" for those examinations and mandatory class sessions missed which may result in an "N" grade for the course(s).

Extended Absences

  • MSUCOM PA Medicine will not excuse students for extended absences involving elective travel and medical mission work in another country. Approval of extended absences for unavoidable situations will be considered in accordance with the course syllabus on a case-by-case basis.

  • Any absence that exceeds three consecutive days will trigger automatic review by the PA Medicine Promotion Committee. ​​​

Leave of Absence

Refer to the policy on Retention, Promotion, and Graduation section 9 for program leave of absence policy. Students will need to complete the leave of absence form found at the following link: leave of absence form.  A leave of absence may be requested by a student who is enrolled in the PA Medicine program and encounters medical/personal hardships that necessitate an extended absence from the program for more than 5 days in the preclinical phase (or 25% of scheduled SCPE). The Promotion Committee, in conjunction with the Program Director, will review and consider all requests for leave of absence.

The Department PA Medicine faculty approved this student handbook and policies on March 16, 2020.
Revised and approved by the Faculty of the Department of PA Medicine on 3/19/2021, 3/15/2022, 4/18/2023.