Index > Student Academic Policies > Absence Policy

Absence Policy

At RISD, active and engaged participation and peer learning are important aspects of the educational experience in the classroom. For this reason, all students are expected to attend every class on time and be prepared to contribute constructively to class activities. Absent unavoidable circumstances, a student who does not attend the first class meeting, or any two or more class meetings may be removed from the course if the instructor so requests. Due to the nature of one-credit course schedules, an instructor may request that a student be removed from a one-credit course for any absence that is unexcused.

Faculty generally have the right to decide how many student absences will impact enrollment and evaluation in their class and they will state their pedagogically appropriate policy in the course syllabus.

Unavoidable Circumstances

Students who must miss a class or classes due to unavoidable circumstances are required to personally inform their instructors, in advance whenever possible. Students must inquire into the possibility of making alternate arrangements so that the absence is not counted against class enrollment. In light of the pedagogical requirements of the class it is generally up to the instructor as to whether or how to approve such requests. Unavoidable circumstances include but are not limited to serious illness, important religious observances and disability-related accommodations approved through the Office of Disability Services Just because an absence is unavoidable, it does not mean that it is excused.

If a student has been approved by the Office of Disability Service for a disability-related accommodation that permits them to miss class, the absence is excused. If, however, the student has not received an accommodation from the Office of Disability Services and feels that the instructor's decision is not in line with their stated absence policy, the student may ask the relevant department head to review the instructor's decision. Any such request must be made within two business days of the student's receipt of the instructor's decision. If the department head believes the student's concerns appear to have merit, the department head will promptly discuss the matter with both the faculty member and the division dean and then make the final determination. In a case where the instructor is the relevant department head or division dean, the student should instead see the division dean or Dean of Faculty, respectively.

Important considerations

Depending upon when the instructor submits the form for removal, the student is either dropped from a course, given the grade of "W", or a grade of "F". Requests received during the Add/Drop period will result in a class drop; receipt during the Course Withdrawal Period will result in the posting of a final grade of "W" to the student's record, and receipt after the Withdrawal deadline will result in a final grade of "F".

International Students

International students must attend classes full-time to maintain F-1 Visa status. Please see the Office of International Student Services if there is a medical or academic need for a reduced credit load.

In the event of a need for extended absence, students should refer to the Leaves of Absence Policy for personal, medical, administrative, or military leave.