Attendance Expectations

In person learning is central to the mission of Bowdoin College; our curricular and co-curricular experiences are carefully designed for students engaged in a residential liberal arts education.  To fulfill the requirements of a Bowdoin degree, students are expected to attend—in person—classes, lectures, labs, discussion sections, performances, and all other forms of instruction or course requirements. Students are also expected to take exams as scheduled. Please review the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook for more information.

All Bowdoin courses must meet minimum federal credit hour requirements through attendance. Faculty have latitude to implement specific attendance policies within the parameters determined by the College. Nothing in this policy is intended to supersede that discretion. If a student is unclear regarding an instructor's attendance policy, the student should inquire directly with their instructor.

Except in very limited circumstances (e.g., concussion, death of a family member, etc.), which will be clearly communicated to the student, the Office of the Dean of Students, Counseling and Wellness Services, Health Services, and the Athletic Department do not provide absentee notes to faculty or academic instructors. 

Student Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the student to communicate directly with their instructors via phone or email to notify an instructor of an anticipated absence from class, preferably before the class is missed.

Students are also responsible for making appropriate arrangements, to stay current in their coursework. Faculty are not required, nor expected, to find notetakers, make arrangements for remote or virtual observation, record and distribute lectures, create or accept make-up assignments.

Student should be aware that remote or virtual observation is considered an “absence” from class. Remote or virtual observation is appropriate only in very limited, short-term circumstances, (e.g., isolation restrictions for communicable illness or academic-related travel, such as participation in an academic conference or an invitation to present a paper or research). 

Approved Extended Absence

In rare and exceptional circumstances, such as the death of a student’s immediate family member or caregiver, a student may be granted permission for an extended absence. Generally extended absence must be approved in advance, when feasible, and in writing by the student’s dean and the associate dean for Academic Affairs. In these extraordinary situations, students’ faculty members will be notified by Academic Affairs. 

Because of the rigor of Bowdoin’s in-person educational program, in general, a student’s extended absence cannot be granted beyond two weeks, whether consecutive or cumulative. If a student is absent beyond two weeks, that student will be required to review the policy regarding Leaves of Absence with their dean to determine if a leave from the College is appropriate.  

Administrative Leave

Students who are absent beyond two consecutive weeks without communication to either their student dean or their instructors may be administratively placed on the type of leave that most appropriately corresponds with their circumstances, as understood by the College at the time of the student’s departure. The types of leaves available to students may be reviewed here.