Attendance monitoring

How and why the University monitors your attendance, what you should do if you are absent, and what happens if you stop attending your studies. The University’s full student attendance policy, and related documents, can be found on this page.


Video: Attendance monitoring

Our video below explains attendance monitoring and provides information on taking absences.

What are my attendance responsibilities?

You should:

  • Attend and engage with your studies on a regular basis, as set out in the University Regulations XIV.
  • Ensure you record your attendance for every relevant session, using whatever method(s) are in place to do so, eg digital check-in, paper register, meeting record.
  • Arrive on time for any scheduled activities to avoid being recorded as ‘absent’ from the session.
  • Inform your department of any absences and submit any relevant paperwork where this applies, in line with the guidance found in your student handbook on reporting absences. In the case of long-term absences, you should submit a Leave of Absence form (student login required).
  • If you feel your circumstances are directly impacting on your academic performance, for example in examinations, assessments, or failure to submit coursework by given deadlines, you are advised to consider the advice found on the University's Extenuating Circumstances webpages (student login required), completing an Extenuating Circumstances Form where appropriate.
  • Check your emails regularly and respond to any correspondence regarding your attendance, engagement or progression. It is your responsibility to complete any actions within the given timeframes.
  • Act honestly in accordance with whatever methods are in place to record attendance and engagement with your studies. Falsification of records could lead to disciplinary action.

Why does the University monitor my attendance?

There are clear benefits of regular attendance on your progression, wellbeing and academic achievement at the University. By attending studies, you can be confident that you are getting the most out of your university experience and obtain the highest result possible. It is important that the University checks your attendance to:

  • Ensure you are engaging with your course.
  • Identify where you might be struggling.
  • Ensure you have access to the right support.
  • Ensure compliance with statutory and/or professional obligations.

Do I have a choice about whether I attend or not?

Upon registering, you will have been informed of the General University Regulations, which specify that every student is required to regularly attend their studies and submit assessments. 

For some students, the University also has a duty to comply with statutory obligations relating to attendance, including those of loan agencies, external sponsors and professional or statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs). If you are a visa-sponsored international student then UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires the University to check your attendance and engagement and take action if you are not consistently attending your studies. 

You can read the regulations and related policies below.

How is my attendance monitored?

The University records attendance and engagement using a variety of different methods ranging from paper attendance registers to digital based methods such as digital registers, QR codes or the PATS tutoring system.

Attendance can be taken for a range of activities and may be recorded for such things as timetabled teaching events, supervisor meetings, labs and practical workshops, and exams or assessments. 

The University is currently working to standardise the use of digital check-ins (iSheffield) for all timetabled events across the institution. This will be gradually introduced from the 2023-24 academic year and will make recording attendance much faster, easier and more consistent for students across departments. You will receive more information about how to use the new iSheffield digital check-in when this is implemented in your department.

If you are in the following departments: Biosciences, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry, East Asian Studies, Economics, Journalism, Law, Management School, Physics, Psychology, School of Maths and Statistics, see our instructions on how to use the digital check-in tool.

If you have any questions about how attendance is recorded in your department, refer to your Student Handbook or contact your department directly. 

How is my attendance data used?

Attendance data is reviewed by both Academic Departments and Central Support Services to identify students whose attendance and engagement may be of concern and who may need additional support. In such cases, the University will contact you to provide further information and signpost you to support services.

In the case of continued absences the University will contact you further and may wish to discuss the reasons for non-attendance and what support we can provide to you. Unfortunately, for a small number of students, non-attendance over a sustained period of time can lead to the initiation of formal non-attendance processes, as detailed in the section “What happens if I stop attending regularly?

Attendance data is processed and managed appropriately in line with GDPR requirements and meets the University’s data and privacy policies, for which more detail can be found in the section “Where can I find more information?” below.

What if I am absent from studies?

If you are unable to attend an expected session, you must contact your department, in line with the guidance found in your student handbook on reporting absences. Depending on your circumstances, and your department's procedures, the department may or may not authorise the absence(s).

For longer term circumstances affecting attendance and engagement, it is recommended that you contact your department to apply for a Leave of Absence from studies (student login required). 

What happens if I stop attending?

If you miss a single teaching session, this will not usually trigger further action. However if you do not regularly attend teaching the University will contact you about this issue, and may ask you to discuss the reasons for your non-attendance and what support we can provide to you. Unfortunately, for a small number of students, lack of attendance over a long period of time can lead to formal action and in some serious cases can result in withdrawal from the University.

If you are escalated under one of the University’s Routes for action you will receive further information and instructions regarding the process at the relevant time. 

Support services

If you're struggling to attend University for whatever reason, you can speak to your personal tutor or department in the first instance.

Our dedicated support services can also offer you help and guidance, whether academic, financial or health-related:

Where can I find more information?

You should take the time to read The University’s Attendance and Engagement Policy for Students (PDF, 100KB) to fully understand the University’s attendance procedures, including how this is managed, what is expected of you, and what happens in cases of poor or non-attendance.

The University Calendar includes the general regulations - see sections 50-54 (page 63) of the calendar which refers to attendance under REGULATION XIV.

The Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer refers to the agreement between the student and the University in relation to attendance on a course, and explains what makes up your contract with the University.

Make yourself aware of the University’s Privacy Notice and Registration Declaration.

If you’re an international student on a Student visa you can find more guidance for Visa sponsored students, which goes into more detail about the visa attendance process.

If you are studying at the English Language Teaching Centre you should read their Attendance Policy and ensure you are aware of their own processes relating to attendance.

If you are a Postgraduate Research student, see the PGR Code of Practice.

If you are in one of the departments that is using the new digital check-in tool, familiarise yourself with the instructions, video demo and user guides.

Frequently asked questions

Can I engage via online or digital learning only?

We are a residential university, and as such we want most of our students to engage with and regularly be on the campus - not just for teaching and learning but for study, socialising, community building, sport and all the other parts of being a student.

For standard on-campus students, it is primarily your physical attendance that will be recorded for attendance monitoring. Whilst some online engagement may be used to supplement your attendance record, and you will have access to online resources to support your learning, these should not be used as a replacement for in-person attendance.

In addition, for visa-sponsored international students there are visa requirements that mean you must be studying in person on University premises. 

What if I have lots of authorised absences?

Prolonged or repeated authorised absences, such that you are no longer in regular attendance on your programme for a sustained period, may still mean that you are contacted by the University and considered under one of the University’s Routes for action. If you are having serious issues that are impacting your ability to attend over time you should request a Leave of Absence from studies instead (student login required).

I am a distance learning student, how is my attendance monitored? 

Whilst distance learning students are not required to be in physical attendance, departments may capture other forms of attendance, eg online supervisory meetings, or more engagement related contact, such as online learning and submissions, and email or telephone contact. 

What if I'm studying at the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC)?

The ELTC has its own attendance monitoring policy and procedures. This is because there are different attendance rules for visa-sponsored international students studying below degree level. The ELTC should provide you with further information.

What if I am on a placement or study abroad period away from the University?

Whilst you are on placement or study abroad, your attendance and engagement will still be recorded and checked by the University, although the frequency and type of attendance may be different or reduced from what is normally expected. Your department may record this via alternative means, for instance by checking any assessments, diaries or reports, by maintaining general contact with you (email or phone calls) or by directly checking with your placement provider.

Your department should provide you with further details about how you are expected to remain in contact with the University during your placement/ study abroad period.

What if I'm researching a project or completing a dissertation?

During periods of research, including masters students in their dissertation period, you are expected to be actively engaged with your studies by attending supervisor or tutor meetings, and by remaining in contact with department and academic staff and responding to them as needed.

Although you are likely to have less frequent interaction and fewer contact points than a student with timetabled teaching, it is still important that you remain engaged throughout the full duration of your programme.

Still got questions?

Find what you're looking for on Student Answers, our FAQ knowledgebase.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.