Exam Policy

Detailed information on examination policy can be found in the Harvard College Handbook for Students and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Handbook.

Students may receive approval to take an exam at a date/time outside of the main exam under limited circumstances (known as taking an exam out of sequence). If approved for an out of sequence exam, students will be notified of their reschedule details approximately 3 weeks prior to the Final Exam Period. Please contact the Registrar’s Office at exams@fas.harvard.edu or 617-495-1542 with any questions.

Academic Conflicts

If you have a conflict between exams listed on the three-hour exam schedule, the Registrar’s Office will automatically resolve the conflict by rescheduling one of the exams. No student action is needed to facilitate the rescheduling process.

For conflicts with an exam not listed on the schedule or with an exam at another school, please contact the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible. Student action is needed to facilitate the rescheduling process.

Religious Observance

Please complete the Religious Out of Sequence Exam Form to request an out of sequence exam due to religious observance. The form is due 30 days prior to the start of the Examination Period, and the rescheduled exam will typically be held within 24 hours of the main exam. 

Accessible Education Office

The Registrar’s Office will schedule out of sequence exams for students who are registered with AEO and currently receive accommodations. AEO will send an email requesting confirmation of your accommodations.  Please confirm your exam accommodations by responding to AEO’s email.

If you are not currently registered with the Accessible Education Office (AEO) but anticipate needing disability-related or health-related accommodations for final exams, contact AEO, otherwise exam accommodations will not be possible.  The registration procedure is outlined on the AEO website.  Temporary accommodations may be possible in the event of unanticipated illness or injury.  Please contact AEO at aeo@fas.harvard.edu with any questions about accommodations. 

Cross Registered Students

Final Exams cannot be rescheduled due to a difference in term end dates for cross registered students. According to FAS Cross Registration Policy,  “Students cross registered in FAS courses that have a final exam scheduled by the Registrar’s Office must take the exam on the date and time of the scheduled exam or risk receiving a failing grade of ABS."

Other Requests

Undergraduate Students

Students anticipating a conflict other than the previously mentioned circumstances should contact their Allston Burr Assistant Dean or Resident Dean of Freshmen as soon as possible.

Graduate Students

Students anticipating a conflict other than the previously mentioned circumstances should contact the Registrar’s Office to request an Out of Sequence exam. Requests are subject to approval based on the nature of the conflict.

Exams In Absentia

If you have been approved by, or are seeking approval from, the Administrative Board of the College to take your final exam in absentia, you must complete the In Absentia Exam Application.  This form must be submitted in its entirety and is due to the Registrar’s Office at the same time that the in absentia petition is submitted to the Administrative Board. If you are taking more than one exam in absentia, you must submit a separate application for each course.

You are responsible for finding a suitable proctor to administer the exam in absentia.  Contact your Allston Burr Assistant Dean or Resident Dean of Freshmen if you have questions about finding a proctor.

Athletic competitions may result in student athletes taking final exams in absentia.  The Department of Athletics will make the appropriate arrangements with the Registrar’s Office.

Please contact the Registrar’s Office at exams@fas.harvard.edu or 617-495-1542 with any questions.