Course Meeting Times

FAS Schedule Change Legislation 
The instructional day is organized around designated class start times and fixed pass times. All classes (including labs, discussions, etc.) must adhere to the designated class start times.  
Classes requiring up to 75 minutes in any single meeting shall begin from a specified subset of the designated class start times: 9:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm, 6:00pm, and 7:30pm.  
Classes, seminars, colloquia, and labs requiring more than 75 minutes in any single meeting shall begin from a specified subset of the designated class start times: 9:00 am, *9:45 am, 12:00 pm, *12:45 pm, 3:00 pm,*3:45 pm, and 6:00 pm. 
*Courses meeting for exactly two hours may begin at 9:45 am rather than be required to begin at 9:00 am, or at 12:45 pm rather than be required to begin at 12:00 pm, or at 3:45 pm rather than be required to begin at 3:00 pm. 
By Faculty vote, no class meeting, tutorial conference, examination, or other academic activity under the control of this Faculty and involving the presence of a voting member of this Faculty, and no meeting of any committee of this Faculty or any of its subdivisions, shall be scheduled on any of the days designated for meetings of the Faculty (usually the first Tuesday of the month, from 3 to 5 pm, October through May excluding January). Exceptions to this rule may be granted only by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 
Please consult the amended FAS Schedule Change Faculty Legislation for more information. 
Holidays and Days Preceding and Following Holidays and Vacations 
FAS classes will be held on observed Veterans Day (check the Academic Calendar for the specific date). Otherwise, classes should not be held on holidays or during vacations. By vote of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, instructors are expected to hold regular classes on the days preceding and following holidays and vacations. Students should not be excused from class on those days or allowed to transfer temporarily from one section to another to accommodate a longer holiday or vacation. 

Courses Meeting Away from the University 

Ordinarily, courses should be organized to meet only in their regularly scheduled times, plus the additional times scheduled at the beginning of the term for sections and laboratories. In some cases, an instructor may wish to include a field trip or project that would take students away from the University on days when classes are normally held and, thereby, interfere with students’ ability to attend other courses. In such cases, permission to include activities that will take students away from the University must be obtained before the course may be listed as having a field trip component in the my.harvard Course Search. Instructors must consult with the Office of Undergraduate Education about courses below the 200- or 2000-level and with the Dean of the Graduate School about courses at or above the 200- or 2000-level. Ordinarily, instructors should plan no more than one class day away from the University in any given week and never more than five class days during the term, or ten days total including weekends. In all cases, the students’ obligations to other courses meeting at their regularly scheduled times must have priority over course requirements that take students away from the University. Instructors must announce at the beginning of a course any requirements that would take students away from the University so that students may consider these requirements when choosing their courses.

Reading Period

At the end of each term, a period of six or seven days prior to the start of the Final Examination Period is designated as Reading Period. Reading Period is intended to be a time for students to reflect, review, and synthesize what they have learned during the semester. In order to protect this educational purpose, the following rules apply during Reading Period:

  • With the exception of designated intensive language courses, no regular instruction may take place during Reading Period. Sections and review sessions may take place during Reading Period as may class sessions that must be made up due to weather or other emergencies.
  • Courses may not assign new material during Reading Period.
  • All seated final examinations, of whatever duration (up to three hours) or scope, must take place during the course's Exam/Final Deadline Group, as assigned by the Office of the Registrar.
  • Final papers, take-home exams, projects, presentations, and other culminating course assignments due after the end of regular classes must be due on or before the day of the course’s assigned Exam/Final Deadline Group, but no earlier than the fourth day of Reading Period. Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled beginning on the fourth day of Reading Period and may extend through the Final Examination Period.*
  • Short, regular assignments that address material covered in the last two weeks of classes (such as problem sets or response papers) may be due during the first three days of Reading Period.

Regardless of whether a class meets during Reading Period, that time is an integral part of the term. Students are expected to remain in the immediate vicinity of Cambridge throughout this period.

* Each course will be assigned an Exam/Final Deadline Group to spread out student deadlines and to establish grading due dates. While instructors may establish earlier deadlines per faculty legislation, the spirit of this policy is to spread students’ final assignment deadlines across the entire exam period to avoid having all assignments due at the same time. If an instructor decides to use an earlier deadline it is very important that students are well informed about this change from the posted deadline.

Examination Period

Courses that culminate in a final examination of any duration (up to three hours) must hold their exams during the designated Final Examination Period and during the Exam/Final Deadline Group assigned by the FAS Registrar's Office. There are two exam sessions each day: morning exams begin at 9:00 a.m. and afternoon exams begin at 2:00 p.m.