All students are expected to attend classes regularly. Students on probation are compelled by university policy to attend every class meeting. In addition, an individual faculty member may establish attendance requirements for all students in the course, and may insist on the completion of all assignments even if a student was not in attendance for the period. Tardy students may be marked absent at the discretion of the instructor.
Students who need to miss class due to illness, family emergency or any otherwise unavoidable reason are advised to contact both their academic advisor and the professor(s) or TA(s) of the course(s) affected, whether by email, phone, etc. This initial notification does not ensure an extension or the opportunity to make up an examination. Students will need to discuss the matter in greater detail with their professor(s) in order to make specific arrangements. The Brandeis Health Center does not write "sick or excuse notes" for class absences.
Students with a serious illness or condition that lasts longer than a few days or results in hospitalization should contact the Academic Services Office (781-736-3470) for advice on managing their academic obligations and their health conditions. In these serious situations, Academic Services can facilitate communication and medical accommodations. The Health Center, with written consent from the student, can validate conditions and care plans as needed.
In rare circumstances, students may have to miss more than a week of class due to serious illness or to family emergencies. In these cases, a student should be in immediate contact with his/her academic advisor to discuss what options may be available. Because class participation and peer learning are important aspects of the Brandeis educational experience, students who miss more than two weeks of class ordinarily withdraw from the semester.
Excused Absences and Excused Incompletes
Sometimes a situation arises that prevents a student from completing a final assignment or taking a final exam at the scheduled time. During these situations, the university is prepared to work with both the student and faculty to facilitate a conversation about whether receiving an excused absence (EA) and/or excused incomplete (EI) may be appropriate. Typically, a student would receive an EA or an EI only for emergency or medical reasons. An EA and/or EI is not given because of conflicts in travel plans or reasons related to a lack of appropriate planning for the finals period.
Students in good academic standing are eligible to request an EA and/or EI. It is a contract that is agreed upon by both the student and instructor at the end of the semester in the event that the student is not able to complete the final exam or submit the final paper/project on the pre-assigned date. To be given an EA and/or an EI, the student must meet with his or her academic advisor in the Academic Services Office.
An EA indicates that the student has completed the required coursework during the semester, but is not able to take the final exam on the scheduled date. The student would agree to take the exam during the conflict resolution period or during the make up exam period at the start of the next semester.
An EI indicates that the student has completed the required coursework during the semester, but the final paper or project cannot be submitted by the scheduled date. An EI is a written agreement between the student and instructor granting an extension beyond the end of the semester. The due date should be mutually agreed upon by the student and instructor, but should not extend past the Office of the Registrar’s published deadline in the academic calendar.
An EA or EI notation serves as a temporary place holder until the work has been completed by the agreed-upon course of action. The instructor will then issue a grade change to the Office of the Registrar's. Any work that is not completed by the published deadline date will be replaced with an E denoting that the student has failed the course.
To arrange an EA or EI, the student is encouraged to meet with his/her instructor to request an incomplete. The student is also encouraged to meet with his/her advisor to help facilitate the conversation with the faculty member. For an EA or an EI to be granted, the instructor must agree on the extension, and the student must meet with both the instructor and the advisor to fill out the appropriate contract together.
Leave of Absence — Non-Medical Reason
Any degree-seeking undergraduate student who has been in residence for two semesters, and who has a complete and satisfactory record from the preceding semester, is eligible for a leave of absence. A leave of absence is granted for one or two semesters and may be extended once only. Normally, leaves are arranged in advance through Academic Services.
Students planning to study abroad are required to return to Brandeis from a leave of absence for at least one semester prior to studying abroad.
On an exceptional basis, personal leave may be granted for a semester in progress, in which case permission must be secured from the Academic Services Office no later than the 20th day of instruction. Students are required to inform the Academic Services Office in writing of their intentions at a specified date prior to the beginning of the term in which they are scheduled to register. Credit will not be granted for academic work taken at other institutions during a leave of absence.
Leave of Absence — Medical Reasons
A student may petition to take a Health Leave of Absence (HLOA) for personal health or family health reasons. Petitions and supporting documentation are submitted to the Academic Services Office. During a leave of absence for health reasons, students may take two courses (eight credits) per semester for a maximum of four courses (16 credits) and receive numeric course credit. Coursework taken over the maximum may be approved for use towards general University requirements and requirements for the major or minor. Courses must be approved by the Office of the University Registrar prior to enrollment. Course credits may count toward the 128 credits needed for graduation as defined in the academic residency requirement.
Students requesting to return from an HLOA must first seek approval from the Health Leave of Absence Committee, and then petition the Committee on Academic Standing for their approval. Both processes are managed through the Academic Services Office. The HLOA Committee will evaluate the documentation submitted by a student's health care provider, and determine whether the health condition in question has been adequately alleviated for return to rigorous study. The Committee on Academic Standing (COAS) will then review the student's overall academic record, their academic progress for the semester in which the student withdrew, and their readiness to successfully make academic progress toward graduation.
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