Attendance in the MD Program
A high rate of attendance is key to the success of medical students, given the competency-based, experiential nature of medical training and the central role played by highly interactive small-group modes of instruction at the University of Toronto. At the same time, we recognize that you are adult learners who should be given the flexibility and freedom to make judgements regarding your own learning needs. The MD Program has adopted a set of Regulations for student attendance and guidelines for approved absences from mandatory activities, colloquially known as 'absence policy'.
We understand that special circumstances may warrant your absence from a mandatory activity, and we will accommodate reasonable requests from students that demonstrate respect for the following principles:
- equitable treatment of oneself in relation to other students
- recognition and fulfillment of one’s academic responsibilities
- awareness of the factors contributing to one’s well-being
- sound judgement with regard to one’s abilities and limitations
- respect for all aspects of the MD Program and all members of the MD Program community
You must report absences for all activities that are scheduled assessments or mandatory learning activities. Absences fall into three categories:
- planned absences - prior knowledge of an anticipated absence requiring a request for approval from the MD Program to miss an activity/activities
- unplanned absences - absence arises due to unforeseen and often emergent circumstances
- leave of absence - constitutes an official, temporary withdrawal from studies, and is recorded on the student’s transcript
Reporting an absence
Students will be required to follow-up with Course Directors/Tutors/Admins for any missed work.
Respect for the workplace nature of the clinical environment is an important part of student professionalism. It is important, then, that students make reasonable attempts to inform clinical site leaders as soon as possible of any absence. When reporting an absence via e-mail, please include your clinical supervisor and coordinator, if known, on the CC line (e.g. Clinical Skills/ASCM, Clerkship rotation clinics, etc.).
For reference, U of T's Verification of Illness Form.
Submit using your UTORemail.
Students should not assume a request has been approved until they receive communication from the MD Program. Please note that requests for changes to student call schedules are not considered an absence request. Students who would like to request a change to their call schedule should contact the relevant Clerkship course director and Clerkship course administrator.
Possible types of planned absences are as follows:
- Academic conference; presenting
- location of conference and travel days if applicable
- required to attach correspondence confirming acceptance of paper/poster
- required to attach a copy of your abstract
- if you're not the first author you also are required to have a letter from the research supervisor and/or first author explaining why you're being asked to present
- Research project participation
- location of research project and travel days if applicable
- a clearly set-out plan and articulated objectives for the proposed absence, including how it compliments the MD Program (required)
- a statement of support from the research project surpervisor may also be required
- Appointment with a course director or MD Program leader
- include the name/role of the person
- Attendance at an MD Program committee meeting
- describe the committee and your role
- Family emergency
- do not specify details
- Funeral or memorial service
- indicate relationship
- Health care appointment
- include rough time frame of appointment; do not specify details
- Major personal celebration of event; active participation
- describe the event, indicate your role, include intended travel days if applicable
- Organized athletics event or other competition; invited participation
- required to attach correspondence of invitation
- Religious holiday
- specify specific date(s) and holiday
- Other (attach copies of any relevant documentation)
For health care appointment and family emergency/situation, students may be required to provide information and/or supporting documentation for private review by the Associate Dean of Health Professions Student Affairs (OHPSA).
Submit using your UTORemail.
Staff and faculty
Staff and faculty reporting that a student was unexpectedly away from a mandatory activity and were not previously aware of this absence can report the sbsence below.
General regulation on taking examinations as scheduled
The Faculty expects students to be present at examinations as scheduled. Nevertheless, illness or personal circumstances may interfere with a student’s ability to adequately prepare for or write an examination as scheduled. In these circumstances, students should contact the appropriate Course Director as soon as the problem becomes apparent. It is the responsibility of the Course Director in the first instance, to determine whether the circumstances warrant an accommodation. As it is the Faculty’s policy to strongly encourage students to take examinations as scheduled wherever possible, in most cases (for example those involving less serious illness) you will be encouraged to attempt the examination as scheduled.
Students who feel that their performance on an examination may have been compromised by their personal illness or personal circumstances must complete a Petition for Consideration for Performance on an Examination or Assessment (PDF) form through Enrolment Services. This form should be completed with 24 hours of the scheduled examination and may require medical documentation.