Student Attendance

All students are expected to attend classes regularly. 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 required by the course during the period of absence. Students who, by their classroom absence, neglect work in a course may be excluded from the course. (See Exclusion.)

Students should not leave the Cambridge vicinity during Reading Periods or Examination Periods or for an extended time during the term without the permission of their Allston Burr Assistant Dean or Resident Dean of Freshmen.

Storm and Emergency Conditions

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences rarely cancels classes due to weather. However, faculty and section leaders who commute should not be expected to put themselves in danger during serious storms, and may choose to cancel their individual classes. Because the Faculty rarely cancels classes, it is important that course staff inform students at the start of the term of the procedures for learning of class meetings that will be canceled. Similarly, it is important that the course staff provide students with instructions on how to inform instructional staff of planned absences. Instructors might find the following information helpful in establishing storm and emergency procedures for their courses:

  • For the most part, undergraduate students are in residence and are expected to attend classes. Undergraduate students who decide that they cannot make it to class should be able to find in their course materials instructions on how to inform the course’s instructional staff of absences from class. For example, some courses request that the student inform the instructor or the teaching fellow of the planned absence by email or by telephone.
  • Similarly, students should be able to find instructions in the course materials that indicate how the instructional staff would inform students of the cancellation of a class or section meeting. For example, courses might inform students of the cancellation via an announcement posted at the course’s home page on the web, via an email to the class attendees, or by leaving a message on the voice mail system of a centralized departmental telephone.
  • FAS offices and academic departments will be open depending on staff availability and whether there are critical functions in progress. Call the central number for that office before going there.
  • Final examinations and makeup examinations are rarely cancelled by the College and students should report to their exam rooms on time.

Restricting Attendance

With the exception of classes held prior to Course Registration deadline, when any registered student may attend a class, ordinarily only students enrolled in a course and auditors who have been given specific permission by the instructor may attend course meetings. From time to time, instructors may permit other guests, such as colleagues, parents, alumnae/i, or prospective students, to attend individual class meetings; however, instructors are always free to restrict attendance at a class meeting or meetings to regularly enrolled students and authorized auditors. Each term the Registrar’s Office publishes the Visitor’s Guide to Larger Lectures. Copies of this guide are made available to visiting prospective students and their parents through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Any instructor who does not wish to have his or her course listed in the guide should contact the Classrooms Office classrooms@fas.harvard.edu (617-495-1541) no later than the Course Registration deadline.