Absences from class

How to manage situations where a student misses class, including guidance on making up exams.


A decision on how to manage the absence from class is about whether an accommodation should be made. Accommodations will fall into two categories: required and non-required.

Required and non-required accommodations

The UW-Madison policy on class attendance (University Policy II-108) leaves the final decision to the instructor for non-required accommodations for students who miss scheduled class activities.

If a student misses classes due to illness, injury, family emergency, or some other reason, it is the responsibility of the student to notify their instructors of this absence as soon as possible. In such circumstances where a student is unable to communicate on their own behalf, staff in the Dean of Students Office are available to assist with facilitating faculty notification.

Notifying the instructor

If a student misses classes due to illness, injury, family emergency, or some other reason, it is the responsibility of the student to notify their instructors of this absence as soon as possible.

In such circumstances where a student is unable to communicate on their own behalf, staff in the Dean of Students Office are available to assist with facilitating faculty notification.

If you are concerned about a student

If a student is struggling to communicate their circumstances for absences, is non-responsive, or has shared information that causes concern for their success and well-being, please consider filing a Student of Concern Report.

Student of Concern

Any student displaying behaviors that may interfere with their ability to be successful or disrupts the learning of others.

Report a concern

Missing student

A student who suddenly stops attending classes, activities, misses an exam, or stops responding to communications.

Report a missing student

Policies and Additional Exam Information

Students are welcome to discuss their situations with the Dean of Students Office drop-in staff. Be sure to familiarize yourself with mid-term and final exam policies and information about final exam locations.

Mid-term Evening Exam Policy

Exceptions to this general policy may be authorized by the academic Vice-Chancellor.

Two evening examination periods have been established for daytime classes that require evening mid-term examinations.

  • The first 90 minute period is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. to accommodate examinations of 90 minutes. Examinations can begin any time before or during this period as long as they end no later than 7:00 p.m.
  • The second period begins at 7:15 p.m. and will accommodate longer exams.

Instructors of daytime courses who plan to give evening mid-term examinations must make a request to footnote that information on the course so students will be aware of potential conflicts with evening courses or other commitments. Whenever possible the times and/or dates of evening examinations should also be footnoted.

Instructors who schedule evening examinations should make every possible effort to accommodate students with unavoidable conflicts. It is the instructor’s responsibility to assure that all students with conflicts between daytime courses with evening exams and evening courses are treated fairly and without penalty.

If a scheduling conflict exists between the evening exam of a daytime course and a regularly scheduled evening course, then the evening course takes precedence over the exam.

Fall and Spring Term Final Exam Policy

The academic semester consists of an advising and a course registration period, a regularly scheduled instructional period, and an eight-day summary period.

  • The first day of the summary period is for individual study and review, and no classes or exams are to be scheduled then.
  • The last seven days are prescheduled to include one two-hour summary block for each course of two or more credits. This two-hour block shall be used for an examination or for other instructional activities as deemed appropriate by the instructor and as approved by the instructional unit offering the course.
  • Final examinations or other summary period activities cannot be scheduled during the two weeks preceding the summary period. Take-home final examinations are due at the scheduled two-hour block.

The summary period block schedule must be published and must be adhered to by all faculty in accordance with faculty legislation requirements. The Office of the Registrar is authorized to prepare the summary period block schedule without submitting it to the faculty for approval, except that any college or school may prepare its own summary block schedule.

The time of a two-hour block for a class and/or the due date for the take-home examination may be changed only with the prior approval of the dean. Where a student has more than two summary blocks scheduled within a period of 24 hours, the instructor may, within guidelines adopted by the college or school faculty, reschedule a final exam to avoid hardship. Rescheduled summary blocks shall be of the same general nature and quality as the activities of the regular two-hour summary block.

Special hours within the prescribed summary period shall be assigned by the Office of the Registrar, in consultation with the dean, for combined summary periods in multiple-section courses that have no common meeting hour.

Undergraduate seminar courses, independent study, and directed study courses are exempted from the above rules. Also, the rules apply only to courses numbered 699 or below.

Course grades must be completed by each instructor and submitted to the Office of the Registrar within six calendar days (144 hours) from the date and hour of the two-hour block scheduled during the summary period.

See: Faculty Legislation, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Academic Matters: II-105 Summary Period for Academic Semester 

Final Exam Times and Locations

Summer session final exams

Summer mid-session exams are typically held during the scheduled class period. Final exams are held at the last class meeting unless otherwise announced by the instructor.

Final exams on the web

Fall and Spring locations for final exams given in General Assignment Classrooms will be available in Student Center and Faculty Center four weeks before the start of final exams. If your course is not listed, contact the instructor or department giving the exam to determine the location.