Holidays and Days Preceding and Following Holidays and Vacations
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.
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.
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.