Makeup Examinations

The Administrative Board of Harvard College has sole jurisdiction over granting makeup examinations for undergraduates. The FAS Registrar’s Office has been authorized by the Graduate School to approve or deny makeup petitions for graduate students. Course heads may not give a makeup final examination without notification from the FAS Registrar's Office (see Special Senior Makeup Examinations below for exception). Moreover, course heads may not give a makeup examination at any time or location other than that specified by the FAS Registrar’s Office. The granting of a makeup examination by the Administrative Board does not imply that the student may receive credit for any assigned work in the course not submitted by the end of the Examination Period.

Makeup examinations are ordinarily granted by the Administrative Board in cases of medically documented illness or extraordinary circumstances over which the student had no control, such as a death in the family. Makeups are sometimes granted to undergraduate participants in intercollegiate competition, but only when out of sequence or in absentia examinations cannot be arranged. By vote of the Faculty Council, makeup examinations may also be granted when a student who is in good standing in the course misses an examination because of inadvertence, provided the petition is supported by the course head and filed on time. Undergraduate and graduate students in the FAS may be granted a makeup examination on the grounds of inadvertence only once during each tenure at Harvard.

If called upon to do so, course heads must prepare appropriate makeup examinations and grade them. Makeup exams are usually administered at the beginning of the following term based on the schedule established by the FAS Registrar’s Office. Ordinarily, a makeup examination should not be a duplicate of the original exam. Course grades dependent upon makeup examinations should be reported to the FAS Registrar’s Office no later than one week after the date of such examinations.

Makeup midterm examinations are not granted by the Administrative Board or the FAS Registrar’s Office. Offering such makeup examinations or substituting other work is at the discretion of the course head, except in the case of an absence for the observation of religious holidays. (See Hour and Midterm Examinations.) The FAS Registrar’s Office has no role in midterm examinations.

Special Senior Makeup Examinations

Graduating seniors who are absent from a spring term final exam in the last semester before graduation are permitted to write a makeup final exam as soon as possible. The scheduling and administration of the special senior make up exam are arranged by the graduating senior and the faculty; neither the Registrar’s Office nor the Administrative Board make provisions for the special senior make-up exam, although faculty may want to work with the student’s Resident Dean in arranging the exam. In the cases of special senior makeup exams, time is of the essence. The student and the teaching staff should arrange the special make up exam in a timely manner to ensure meeting the Registrar’s grades submission deadline for graduating seniors.