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Excuse Note Policy

Our Policy

Student Health utilizes a "No Note" policy. We do not issue medical excuse notes for academic deficiencies. In the event of illness or injury that is expected to result in significant academic disruption, the student is advised to contact his or her professor(s) as soon as possible to notify them of the anticipated delinquency. Whether the disruption is a missed test, a late assignment, or absence from class, early notification of the professor is very important.

Why we do this

This well-received and successful policy was adopted in 1998 for several reasons:

  • First and foremost is the highly regarded Honor System at Rice. Feigning illness is a form of cheating. An ill student is the only one to be able to determine if they are too ill to fulfill expected academic responsibilities. The student must honestly decide whether or not they can do their work and take responsibility for this.
  • Furthermore, the academic relationship between the student and professor must remain in the classroom. The professor is in the best position to know the student and to judge the student's academic performance. The physicians at Student Health are not able to function as independent--and omniscient--arbitrators regarding whether a student feels too ill to do their work.
  • An additional consideration is appropriate utilization of limited healthcare resources. A student should not be required to seek medical care solely for the purposes of obtaining an excuse note.


We recognize that unusual or extenuating circumstances do occur so there are exceptions to our "No Note" policy. If a professor requests a medical excuse note in writing (e-mail or campus mail) and the student has given permission, then a physician at Student Health will generate an appropriate reply. We ask that professors only do this for unusual circumstances.

In cases of medical conditions causing severe academic disruption (e.g., withdrawal from school, taking incompletes, or dropping classes) appropriate documentation will be furnished to the Committee on Examinations and Standings if requested by the student. In all cases strict patient confidentiality will be followed.

Revised 2005