S3 deans write excuse notes to verify medical or personal circumstances for professors or, in some cases, to support an undergraduate's request for assistance with their academic obligations. A student who thinks they might need an excuse note, or who has been asked to get an excuse note from a professor should be in touch with S3. In most cases, the student will be asked to email their professor with the specific request and to CC the S3 dean. The email should include a general description of the problem and a specific request regarding the academics. If part of the student's request is delaying coursework, the email should include a proposal for making up the work. S3 may follow-up with a supportive email, but generally only after the student has had an in-person meeting with a dean. In rare instances (e.g., serious emergencies), a dean in S3 will contact professors on behalf of the student.
If a professor has asked for a note to confirm an illness or medical issue, the student should call and/or email the appropriate medical professional at MIT Medical or off campus, and give them permission to confirm to S3 the reasons for the student's visit and the date(s) that the student was seen. It is the policy of MIT Medical not to write excuse notes for students. S3 will generally verify the medical circumstances prior to sending out documentation.
Under most circumstances, our deans will write notes for students struggling with:
- Verifiable medical issues
- Verifiable personal issues (e.g., family, financial, racial inequity, relationship, etc.)
- Emergencies or special circumstances that make it impossible for the student to fulfill his/her academic obligations
NOTE: Circumstances that do not fall into these categories should be discussed with a dean in order to come up with an appropriate resolution.