Exam Conflicts and Absences

Absence Verification for an Exam Or Class

Students having a one-time short-term absence (ie. illness, RU-Club/Sports activity, death in the family, etc.) that affects ability to attend classes, exams, or complete assignments should bring documentation (ie. Dr’s note, obituary, etc.) into the Dean of Students Office (including a convenient location in the Busch Campus Center opposite the info desk). The Absence Verification letter will provide support for the instructor to allow you to make up work or exams, change the grading schema, etc. The final decision for any accommodation is up to the instructor. In absence of documentation, the Dean of Students cannot provide you with a letter. For religious observances, students must negotiate directly with the instructor.

If your absence is repeated, chronic, lengthy, or involved that you cannot make up the missed work in a timely manner, you should see a dean in Academic Services to discuss your options of withdrawing from one or more classes. For absences longer than 2 weeks or for chronic health conditions, students should consider the following approaches to their education:

Things to Consider

1. Health first: Take a leave of absence from school in order to attend to any serious health, emotional, or other extenuating circumstances.

2. For chronic issues while attending school, register with the Office of Disability Services in order to receive the proper accommodations, which may include longer test times and alternate testing locations.

3. Attend school as any other student. Absence Verification letters from a dean would be for short term absences with specific dates. SOE deans and faculty do not have a blanket semester excusal or similar accommodation. If your circumstances are so severe that they are affecting school for more than 2 weeks, you should keep in touch with the academic deans in the  Office of Academic Services (B100) so that we can provide you with options including course withdrawals, a complete semester withdrawal, etc. 

Common Hour Examination Conflict

A student shall be said to have a common hour exam conflict if that student has:

  • another Common Hour Examination or a regularly scheduled class at the same hour. 
  • an equally pressing reason supported by a documented excuse that is acceptable to the instructor or Dean of Students.

Students having an exam conflict should contact the instructor of the course(s) involved for information regarding the arrangements for the make-up examination. If an instructor desires verification for the absence from an exam, the student must provide it. The student can obtain such verification from the Academic Services Dean’s Office (EN-B100) by providing documentation (ie. course schedule showing class hours, course syllabus showing exam date/time, etc). 

Rules For Final Examinations 

Exam schedules and policies.

The following rules shall govern the construction of the examination schedule and the handling of examination conflicts.

  1. All final exams must be scheduled during the official Final Examination period as stated in the academic calendar except those approved by the dean of instruction of the academic unit (Office of Academic Services for SOE).
  2. Exam periods will be three hours in length and will be scheduled at the following hours: 8:00 -11:00 am, 12:00 Noon -3:00 pm, 4:00 -7:00 pm or 8:00 -11:00 pm.
  3. Exams for courses regularly scheduled in the evenings have priority in terms of space and time over group or conflicts exams which might also be scheduled in the evening, Students enrolled in courses which are regularly scheduled in the evenings must take those exams at their scheduled times.
  4. A student shall be said to have an exam conflict if that student has:
    • ​3 or more exams on one CALENDAR DAY (do not confuse with 24hr period)
    • 3 or more exams scheduled in consecutive periods (ex. 4-7pm, 8-11pm, 8-11am next day)
    • 2 exams scheduled for the same exam period

      Exam times can be checked online by visiting http://finalexams.rutgers.edu and logging in with NETID and password. In case of a conflict a student can print a list of final exams and share it with instructors. Students having an illness requiring medical attention or conflict due to a religious observance, should contact the instructor of the course(s) involved for information regarding the arrangements for the make-up examination. The instructor may re-schedule the examination during the examination period and is responsible for rescheduling, proctoring, and grading make-up examinations to accommodate students who have conflicts.

  5. ​If an instructor desires verification of the absence from an examination, the student must provide it.  Instructors should accept printouts from http://finalexams.rutgers.edu that show a conflict in accordance with the above definitions.  Letters from the Dean’s Office should not be required except in the case of providing documentation for exams missed due to illness or other special circumstances.
  6. Exams During the Last Two Weeks of Classes: During the 13th and 14th weeks of the semester tests of more than 30 minutes duration may not be given except where a course gives more than one hour test and a final.  If there is no final examination in a course, the last hour test must be given earlier than the 13th week or at the hour scheduled for the final examination.
    This rule means that a second or third or fourth hourly exam can be given during the last two weeks, as long as there is a final exam in addition in the scheduled exam time, but no other exams of longer than 30 minutes can be given during that period.  A final exam cannot be disguised as an hourly exam and slipped into the last two weeks of classes.
  7. Reading Days: No exam, classes, or presentations may be scheduled during the 2 day reading period.  Optional review sessions may be held on those dates, and they may be used as due dates for submission of papers or projects.
  8. Guidelines for handling official exam conflicts: Students have the right to a non-punitive conflict exam at a different time in place of one of the original exams.   In general, there have been no rules about which exam must provide the alternate time period, and it has been up to the student to talk to each instructor.  There are advantages to flexibility in this matter, as for example the regular make-up exam for one of the conflicting courses may be scheduled at the time of one of the student's other exams, and the student can make the case with one of the other instructors about the need for accommodation.  Also, larger courses will frequently have scheduled alternative times, while smaller courses may not.

Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which the student will have a legitimate conflict and yet none of the three instructors is willing to provide the alternatively timed conflict exam.  In this case, the faculty Dean's office must step in.  We have set up the following as standard practice for course finals.

  1. In the case of a student with a 3 exam conflict (3 final exams in one calendar day or in consecutive exam periods, as listed in the rules for final exams), if none of the instructors will initially agree to provide the student with a non-punitive exam at an acceptable alternative time, then the middle of the 3 exams will be the one for which such a conflict exam period must be found.
  2. In the case of a 4 exam conflict it will be the second exam which must yield.  If there were 5 consecutive exams, it would be the middle exam to yield.

This rule will apply when it is the result of conflicts because of the original scheduling of exams.  If the conflict is the result of a Department or Instructor having rescheduled an exam outside of the ordinary time period given by the rules for scheduling final exams, then it is the responsibility of the rescheduling department or instructor to provide the alternate exam period.