Excused absences

In some circumstances, a student may request to be excused from missed academic work including a midterm or final examination; final paper or project; qualifying exams; thesis committee meeting; and/or attendance in the classroom or lab. In order for the request to be considered, the student must have verifiable medical or personal issues.

If you need to be absent

  • In the event of illness, the student should see a healthcare provider without fail.
  • Students are expected to initiate the request for an excused absence by contacting the course instructor or advisor.
  • The student should contact GradSupport in the Office of Graduate Education with
    • information on the reason for the absence. If illness, the student should give the health provider’s name, contact information, and the date(s) that the student visited the health provider. Other absences may require documentation as appropriate.
    • information on the nature of the missed academic work, such as the subject number(s) and instructor’s name(s), and any specific assignments, exams, or meetings.

OGE staff will contact the provider for confirmation of the student’s condition or otherwise verify documentation. Approved requests for excused absences will generate notification to the advisor or instructor as appropriate.

Receiving a grade of O

A student who was progressing satisfactorily during the term but was absent from the final examination, did not turn in the final paper or project, and/or was absent during the last two weeks of the term will receive a grade of “O” in that subject. Like an F grade, an O grade carries no credit for the subject, but the O grade may be converted to a grade of OX if the absence has been excused by the Office of Graduate Education (OGE). An OX also carries no credit for the subject. However, the faculty member in charge must provide the student the opportunity to receive a credit-carrying grade.

Changing a grade of O to OX

A student who wishes to convert a grade of O to OX must complete a general graduate petition, noting any consultation with GradSupport about the missed coursework or exam, and submit to the OGE at oge-petitions@mit.edu. The student and the department academic administrator will be notified when an O is changed to an OX.

Changing a grade of OX to a letter grade

The faculty member in charge must provide the student the opportunity to receive a credit-carrying grade. This may be done with or without the instructor requiring a makeup final examination or other additional evaluation procedure.

The work is to be completed before Add Date of the succeeding term of the regular academic year; however, the faculty member in charge, in negotiation with the student, has the right to set an earlier or later date for pedagogical reasons or extenuating circumstances.