Term Regulations and Examination Policies

These term regulations and examination policies derive from Rules and Regulations of the Faculty. They apply to academic exercises during the fall and spring terms. Questions of interpretation and requests for exceptions to regulations should be referred to the Chair of the Faculty.

All Subjects

Class Times. Academic exercises are, in general, held between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Classes begin five minutes after and end five minutes before the scheduled hour or half-hour.

Beginning of Term. Early in the term, the faculty member should inform students of expectations regarding permissible academic conduct. Particular attention should be given to such questions as the extent of collaboration permitted or encouraged, and the use of prior years' materials in completing problem sets, lab reports, and other assignments.

Scheduling Final Examinations. Final examinations for full-term subjects and H2 and H4 half-term subjects are held during the five-day final examination period at the end of each term, and are scheduled through the Schedules Office. Final examinations are scheduled in either the morning (9 am to noon) or afternoon (1:30 pm to 4:30 pm) on examination days. A final examination in any of these subjects must be scheduled to last at least one hour and not more than three hours. Final examinations may not be cancelled once they are announced, and, after the final examination schedule is published, the time of the final examination may not be changed. Instructors may not administer a take-home examination as a final examination, except as permitted with respect to ex camera examinations.

Final examinations for H1 and H3 half-term subjects shall be held during a regularly scheduled class period in the final week of the subject (the Half-Term Final Examination Period). The final examination scheduled in any H1 and H3 half-term subject shall last no longer than one class period.

Students are responsible for attending the final examinations in subjects for which they are registered. The schedule of final examinations for full-term subjects and H2 and H4 half-term subjects is published on the web by the end of the third week of the term. The Schedules Office contacts students who have conflicts between scheduled final examinations to notify them of the conflict examination schedule, which is announced the day after Drop Date. The Schedules Office also provides instructors with the conflict examination schedule immediately after Drop Date.

After the Last Scheduled Class. No required classes, examinations, oral presentations, exercises, or assignments of any kind may be scheduled after the last regular scheduled class in a subject except for final exams scheduled through the Schedules Office. (The architecture design reviews that occur during finals week are considered to be equivalent to final examinations and are scheduled by the Department of Architecture.)

Formal review must be held during regular class periods. However, instructors may schedule optional reviews or sessions at which the instructing staff is available to answer questions for students who choose to attend after the last day of classes. No new material may be introduced during optional events.

An instructor may give an extension to an individual student for an assignment, but blanket extensions should not be given to the entire class.

Excused Absences from Final Examinations. A student may be excused from a scheduled final examination for reasons of illness or significant personal problems. To seek an excused absence in these situations, an undergraduate student should contact a dean in Student Support and Wellbeing and a graduate student should contact the Office of Graduate Education; faculty members with questions about this process should contact the appropriate office. See definition of "O" and "OX" under Grades.

In addition, the faculty member in charge of a subject may excuse a student from a final examination for reasons such as a conflict with another examination or a religious holiday. In these cases, a mutually satisfactory agreement must be reached between the student and the faculty member, the agreement must be ratified in advance of the examination by the head of the department in which the subject is offered, and the faculty member must be prepared to submit a grade based on other evidence.

Faculty members are not required to provide make-up examinations to accommodate an individual student's personal plans at the end of term.

Undergraduate Subjects

Class Times. For undergraduate subjects taught on campus during the instructional period of the fall and spring terms, there should be no required academic exercises between 5 pm and 7 pm, Monday through Thursday, and between 5 pm Friday and 8 am Monday. This same restriction also applies to undergraduate subjects taught during the Independent Activities Period.

Beginning of Term. By the end of a subject's first week of classes, the faculty member must provide:

  • A clear and complete description of the required work, including the number and kinds of assignments
  • The approximate schedule of tests and due dates for major projects
  • An indication of whether or not there will be a final examination
  • The grading criteria and procedures to be used

The precise schedule of tests and major assignments must be provided in full-term subjects by the end of the third week and in half-term subjects by the end of the second week.

Tests and Academic Exercise Outside Scheduled Class Times. Tests, required reviews, and other academic exercises held outside scheduled class times may not be held on Monday nights.

In addition, tests will:

  • Not exceed two hours in length
  • Be scheduled through the Schedules Office
  • Begin no earlier than 7:30 pm when held in the evening

A student who is unable to take a test that is held outside of scheduled class time owing to a conflict with a scheduled academic exercise or extracurricular activity must be allowed to do so at another time.

When a test is held outside scheduled class time, during that calendar week either:

  • A regularly scheduled class session (lecture or recitation) must be cancelled, or
  • No assignment will fall due

Ex Camera Finals. In some undergraduate subjects, final examinations may be ex camera (out-of-room) examinations. Ex camera examinations are a different mode of testing that gives students access to computers and libraries and evaluates their abilities to select resources and answer questions of an integrative nature. Ex camera final examinations are not intended as a way to increase the amount of material covered.

A faculty member must obtain the permission of the Chair of the Faculty to hold an ex camera final examination and permission will be granted for no more than five years. The ex camera examination must:

  • Be scheduled through the Schedules Office
  • Be offered over the course of a single afternoon, starting at 1:30 pm and ending no later than 7:30 pm
  • Permit students unrestricted use of resources

End-of-Term Tests and Assignments. For full-term subjects and H2 and H4 half-term subjects, there shall be no tests after the Last Test Date, which is defined as the Friday preceding the start of the Reading Period. Unit tests may be scheduled during the final examination period.

For each subject in which there is testing during the final examination period, no assignment may fall due after the Last Test Date.

For each subject in which there is no testing during the final examination period, at most one assignment may fall due between the Last Test Date and the end of the last scheduled class period in the subject. This single assignment may include both an oral presentation and a written report if the two derive from the same project. However, students may not be required to attend additional lecture or recitation hours beyond the assigned units to accommodate oral presentations.

Optional assignments between the Last Test Date and the last scheduled class period in the subject should be for self-study and may not be used toward part of the grade in a subject, even for extra points or as substitutes for earlier assignments.

For H1 and H3 half-term subjects, there shall be at most one assignment due or one exam held during the final week of the class, to be called the Half-Term Final Examination Period. Optional assignments during the Half-Term Final Examination Period shall be for self-study, and may not be used toward part of the grade in a subject, even for extra points or as substitutes for earlier assignments.

Graduate Subjects

Beginning of the Term. By the end of the third week of classes in a full-term subject and by the end of the second week of classes in a half-term subject, the faculty member must provide:

  • A clear and complete description of the required work, including the number and kinds of assignments
  • The schedule of tests and due dates for major projects
  • An indication of whether or not there will be a final examination
  • The grading criteria and procedures to be used

Tests and Academic Exercise Outside Scheduled Class Times. A student who is unable to take a test that is held outside of scheduled class time owing to a conflict with another scheduled academic exercise or extracurricular activity must be allowed to do so at another time.

End-of-Term Tests and Assignments. For each full-term subject or H2 or H4 half-term subject with a final examination, no test should be given and no assignment, term paper, or oral presentation should fall due after the Friday preceding the start of the Reading Period.

For each full-term subject or H2 or H4 half-term subject without a final examination, no more than one of the following may be given or fall due between the Friday preceding the start of the Reading Period and the end of the last regularly scheduled class in the subject: in-class test, assignment, term paper, or oral presentation. An in-class test given during this period is limited to one normal class period (or to one and one-half hours, whichever is shorter).

For H1 and H3 half-term subjects, the final week of the class shall be called the Half-Term Final Examination Period. During this week, no more than one of the following may be given or fall due: in-class test, assignment, term paper, or oral presentation. An in-class test given during this period is limited to one normal class period (or to one and one-half hours, whichever is shorter).

Students must not be required to attend additional lecture or recitation hours beyond the assigned units to accommodate oral presentations.

Policy for Emergency Closing during Final Exams

Every effort must be made to give final exams as scheduled during the final examination period. Because students have included the final exam in their planning for the subject, faculty members may not choose to cancel exams; they must give the exam as scheduled, or as rescheduled in the event the Institute is closed because of snow or other emergency (see below).

  • In case of inclement weather during exams, getting to MIT may be difficult for individuals involved with proctoring an exam. Thus, it is the responsibility of the department and the faculty member in charge to provide in advance for alternate staff who are physically at MIT and who have access to the written exam questions. Exam proctors will accommodate late student arrivals to the extent possible.
  • In case of emergency closing or delayed opening during exam week, students, faculty, and staff can  go to the final examination schedule to get up-to-date information. Exam information is also available from the "snow" link that is provided on the MIT home page during emergencies. In the event of an emergency closing or delayed opening, callers receive specific instructions regarding rescheduled exam times and locations.
  • If the Institute is closed, the exams scheduled during that period are postponed to the next available "contingency" exam periods, usually evenings 6-9 pm through the last day of the exam period, and either the second day of IAP (for fall exams) or the day following the exam period (for spring exams). Information about postponed exams will be added to the final examination schedule
  • Students who miss exams given at the rescheduled times will be excused; faculty should submit the interim grade O, to which an "X" will be added routinely. These students will take a postponed final exam given near the beginning of the next regular term.

Student Absence for Religious Observances

Massachusetts state law regarding student absence due to religious beliefs has been adopted by the Institute as follows:

Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of his or her religious beliefs is excused from any such activity. The student will be given the opportunity to make up the work that was missed, provided that the makeup work does not create an unreasonable burden upon MIT.

The Institute will not levy fees or charges of any kind when allowing the student to make up missed work. In addition, no adverse or prejudicial effects will result because students have made use of these provisions.

For more information about religious holidays, visit the Registrar's website.