Policies on Absences, Exam Schedules and Conflicts

Absence Verification for Classes or Exams

All students, including student athletes, are responsible for the timely notification of their instructors regarding any expected absences. They are also responsible for making up the missed work and/or exams according to an appropriate schedule agreed upon with their instructors. If a student knows in advance of an unavoidable absence, then the student must submit the Self-Reporting Absence Application (sims.rutgers.edu/ssra).  

If a student is not able to attend classes or complete assignments due to an emergency or unavoidable conflict (illness, personal or family emergency, court order, or participation in recognized curricular or extracurricular activities, etc.), the student should reach out to the instructor directly.  If the instructor desires a verification of the absence, the students can obtain an Absence Verification Letter from the Dean of Students Office at RU-NB (88 College Avenue, New Brunswick; Contact Information & Walk-in Hours), not the Office of Academic Services (EN-B100) at the School of Engineering.   Please note that the Dean of Students Office does NOT provide verification for students’ personal obligations such as weddings, birthday celebrations, or other planned personal or family commitments. In which case, students would need to present and explain the situation to the instructor, and the final decisions for any accommodation is up to the instructor. 

It is the policy of the University (Policy 10.2.7) to excuse without penalty students who are absent because of religious observances; or participation in University-sponsored intercollegiate athletics obligations (with written verification provided by the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics); and to allow the make-up of exercises or examinations missed because of such absence. Absences due to religous observances do not require a letter from the Dean of Students Office (http://deanofstudents.rutgers.edu/student-advocacy/absences-for-religious-obligations).

If the absence of a student is repeated, chronic, lengthy, or involved that the student cannot make up the missed work in a timely manner, then the student should see a dean in the Office of Academic Services (EN B100) at the School of Engineering to discuss 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 (EN 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 the Office of Academic Services (EN B100)  by providing documentation (ie. course schedule showing class hours, course syllabus showing exam date/time, etc). 

Policies on Final Examinations and Conflict Handling

COVID-19 update from the University on the final exam policies for Spring 2020 can be found here.

The following policies shall govern the examination schedules and the handling of exam conflicts. The official University policy can be found here

  1. All final exams must be scheduled during the official Final Examination period as stated in the academic calendar.
  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. Official exam times can be checked online at http://finalexams.rutgers.edu. Students can print out final exam schedules and share with the instructors. Instructors should accept the printout to verify the exam conflict in accordance with the definitions below. In case of a conflict, the instructor may re-schedule the examination during the examination period.  The instructor is responsible for rescheduling, proctoring, and grading make-up examinations to accommodate students who have conflicts. 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
  4. During the last two weeks of the class period, tests of more than 30 minutes duration may not be given except where a course gives more than one hour test AND a final exam.  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 a final exam cannot be disguised as an hourly exam and slipped into the last two weeks of classes.
  5. No exam, classes, or presentations may be scheduled during the two reading days before the final exam period.  Optional review sessions may be held during the reading days, and they may be used as due dates for submission of papers or projects.

Guidelines on Handling Exam Conflicts

Students have the right to a non-punitive to reschedule an exam when in conflict. In general, it has been up to the students to talk to each instructor.  Sometimes, large classes will be more likely to have makeup exams already planned, while smaller courses may not.  Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which the student will have a legitimate conflict according to the university definition above, and yet none of the three instructors is willing to provide the alternatively timed conflict exam.  In this case, the 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 per university definition above), 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 if the conflict is from the original scheduling of exams.  If the conflict is the result of a department or instructor having rescheduled an exam outside of the official exam period (http://finalexams.rutgers.edu), then it is the responsibility of the rescheduling department or instructor to provide the alternate exam period.