Absence from Classes

A student should report all absences that may have a significant effect on his or her status to his or her Resident Dean and to the instructor(s) of the course(s) concerned. A student who is called away in an emergency or is otherwise unavoidably absent from College should notify his or her Resident Dean both before departure and upon return. Absence from College without such notification may lead to requirement to withdraw. A student who is sick may consult either Harvard University Health Services or his or her own physician but should report all cases of serious illness promptly to Harvard University Health Services either in person or by telephone (617-495-5711).

Absence from academic exercises, for whatever reason, including representing the College in extracurricular and athletic activities, does not relieve a student from responsibility for any part of the work in the course required during the period of absence.

Storm and Emergency Conditions

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences rarely cancels classes due to weather. However, the faculty and section leaders who need to commute should not put themselves in danger during serious storms, and may choose to cancel their individual classes. Students may find the following information helpful:

Hour and Midterm Examinations

The administration of hour and midterm examinations (not midyear) is the responsibility of the instructor; ordinarily, such exams should be scheduled during regular class meeting times. Instructors are required to offer makeup exams to students who are absent from hour and midterm examinations for the observance of a religious holiday. If an instructor is satisfied that an absence for another reason is necessary and that omitting a grade for the missed hour or midterm examination will not affect the student’s course grade, final evaluation of the student’s work in the course may be determined from the remainder of the course work. The instructor may also elect to give a makeup examination. The responsibility for such decisions rests with the instructor only, and not with the Dean’s Office or the Administrative Board.

Although instructors are obligated to offer makeup exams only in the case of absence for the observance of a religious holiday, students who have obtained proper Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) documentation of illness may not be penalized for their absence from hour and midterm examinations. The appropriate form must be signed by a HUHS medical professional and given to the student’s Resident Dean, who will write the student a letter that acknowledges receipt of the HUHS form. This letter may be presented to the instructor as certification of the student’s illness.

Absences for Religious Reasons

In accordance with Massachusetts law, students who are unable to participate in an hour or midterm examination as a consequence of their religious beliefs shall be provided with an opportunity to make up the examination, without penalty, provided that the makeup examination does not create an unreasonable burden on the College. It is the responsibility of the students concerned to provide instructors with the dates on which they will be absent because of a conflict with the religious holidays they will be observing.