Classroom Policies and Scheduling

Information on office hours, class duration, reading period, scheduling of exams, add/drop periods, and holidays.

Address questions on classroom support and other issues to:

  • your department administrator
  • your department chair
  • your associate dean for students (or equivalent), or
  • the CTL:

Office Hours

Most colleges in the University expect full-time faculty to hold a minimum of 3 office hours per week. These should not be scheduled in the same time slot (for example, MWF 9-10), because students who have a class at that time could not attend any of your office hours. Post your office hours outside your office door and in your syllabus.

Times of Class Meetings

You cannot change the scheduled time of your class except under extraordinary circumstances, with the approval of your dean’s office.

Duration of a Class

You are expected to use your full class time. For Charles River Campus courses, there will be a Pass Time of 15 minutes between classes, and the actual class times will appear in the Schedule of Classes (e.g., 8 a.m.—8:50 a.m., 9:05 a.m.—9:55 a.m., etc.). Further guidelines, and standard meeting pattern are available on the University Registrar’s website.

Final Exam

You should normally hold a final exam at the day and time scheduled by the Registrar. [The Link (click on “Faculty”) contains the entire class schedule.] You should not hold final exams during the last week of classes or during the reading period.

Reading Period

There is a study period – usually 2 business days – between the end of classes and the start of final exams. This period is intended for study by the students; you should not hold classes, mandatory meetings of the students in the class, or exams during the reading period.


You are expected to take attendance; for large classes, a sign-up sheet requiring a verifiable signature is helpful. If your class uses electronic student response systems, you can use the database generated during the class to confirm the attendance of each student.

Include in the syllabus of the course your policy concerning missed or late work.

If a student has missed several of your classes, inform the office of your associate dean for students or equivalent.

Add/Drop Policies

To check the exact dates of the following deadlines during a given semester, see The Office of the University Registrar’s Calendar.

The last day for a student to add a course is two weeks after the semester begins. The student must obtain your signature in order to add the course, and you must ascertain that there is an available seat (according to the official Registrar’s class list available on the faculty link at the University’s website).

The last day to drop a class “freely” is at the end of the 4th week of the semester. If a student drops your course after this date, a mark of “W” (withdrawal) will appear on the student’s transcript. The instructor’s signature is not required for a student to drop a course.

The last day to drop with a “W” mark is at the end of the 10th week of the semester. On the final grade sheet printed by the Office of the Registrar, a printed “W” will appear in the grade column for students who dropped the course between the start of the sixth and end of the eighth week of the semester. Instructors must assign an academic letter grade to all other students; they may not enter a mark of “W”.

Civil Holidays

For any given semester, see the Official Academic Calendar

  • Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving recess (Wed.-Fri. near the end of November)
  • Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday in January)
  • Presidents Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Patriots Day (3rd Monday in April)

Religious holidays

You must respect the rights of students to observe religious holidays. This means that you must allow students to make up any work (including exams) missed and that you cannot penalize students for absences because of such observances. It does not mean that you need to repeat a lecture, however. It is a good idea to check the dates of the major religious holidays before you compose your syllabus so that you can avoid exams, etc., on days when many of your students will be missing class.