Times of Class Meetings

You cannot change the scheduled time of your class except under extraordinary circumstances. In the latter case, you must arrange any change with your department chair.

Duration of a Class

  • You are expected to use your full class time, beginning your class at the precise start-time and concluding your class at the precise end-time indicated in the official University Class Schedule.  This will also allow for 15 minutes between classes, which will serve as a pass time for students.
  • Set an example of punctuality for students by beginning at the scheduled time.
  • Ending class on time is an essential courtesy to the instructor and students of the next class meeting in that room, as well as to your own students.
  • Your class runs from the first scheduled day and ends on the last scheduled day (see Registrar’s calendar). Late start or early end dates are not allowed.

Faculty Absence from Class

If you are unable to meet a scheduled class due to illness or other unavoidable circumstances, please notify your department administrator. Note that you are then responsible for scheduling and holding a make-up class.

Attendance Policy and Assignment Deadlines

  • You are expected to take attendance. There are a variety of ways to do that efficiently in large classes, using sign-up sheets with verified signatures, classroom response systems (clickers), one-minute in-class assignments, etc. If you want to place a limit on the number of class meetings students may miss (e.g., without a grading penalty), include your attendance policy in the syllabus of the course.
  • Also spell out your policy concerning missed or late assignments. It is a good idea to reiterate these policies a few times during the semester.

Class Lists

Your class lists are available online, via the (Kerberos password-protected) Faculty Link.

These lists give you access to pictures of your students (useful for learning their names), along with academic information including what courses they have taken. This allows you to verify that each student has completed the proper prerequisites for your class.

Classroom Emergencies and Maintenance

The Boston University Classrooms website provides comprehensive classroom information for all Registrar-controlled classrooms, with emphasis on all aspects of instructional technology: Equipment, Training, and Assistance. Your department administrator can assist you with information regarding proprietary rooms (department-controlled rooms).

  • If you experience difficulties with technology in a Registrar classroom, call the Classroom Technology Hotline (617-353-3227) to receive help within approximately five minutes. The hotline number and corresponding email address (classrooms@bu.edu) are posted in every Registrar classroom.
  • If a classroom emergency is related to facilities, rather than technology (e.g., you and your students are locked out), it should be reported to the Facilities Operations & Service Center at 617-353-2105 (emergency number).
  • In the unlikely event of a health or safety emergency in your classroom, faculty should never hesitate to call the BU Police at 617-353-2121.
  • Non-emergency problems with the physical state of your classroom (e.g., broken furniture) can also be reported by email, with copies to your department administrator and to Daryl Healea, Assistant Dean for Curriculum & Enrollment Services. In the event that there is a problem with a proprietary classroom, report the issue to your department administrator in the first instance.

Course Evaluations

  • All departments will arrange for student evaluations of your course near the end of the semester. These end-of-semester evaluations are required in all CAS/GRS courses. Please ensure that you set aside adequate time for your students to complete the evaluation during the class period.
  • It is also a good idea to get timely feedback from students via an informal mid-semester evaluation.

Final Exams and Final Grades

  • You should normally hold a final exam during the final exam period at the day and time scheduled by the Registrar.
  • The time of the final exam — as well as the room, which may not be your usual classroom — will be confirmed by your department.
  • You are not allowed to hold final exams during the last week of classes or during the reading (study) period.
  • Final grades must be submitted within 72 hours of the end time of your final exam (or within 48 hours of the last scheduled exam for that semester). Failure to meet this deadline may jeopardize seniors’ graduation or prevent students from completing applications for which they need up-to-date transcripts.
  • Take care, especially if you are uploading grades from a spreadsheet, that names and grades are correctly matched. As the instructor of record for the course, you are responsible for the accuracy of grade reporting.
  • If in an emergency you will not be able to meet the deadline for submitting your final grades, contact your department administrator immediately.


For a chart of assignable letter grades at BU, see the University Bulletin (catalog).


  • Possible final grades do not include A+, D+, or D-.
  • Pass/fail grading is not an option in CAS courses that carry credit toward the BA and is very rarely applicable in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
  • In GRS, grades of C+ or lower are failing grades.

To ensure that your evaluation of students’ work and level of achievement is appropriately rigorous and fair, make your expectations clear at the beginning of the semester and then grade according to how well each student has met those expectations.

Grades should reflect the distribution of effort and success in the class. If your distribution of grades is skewed toward the high end, it might be either that an “A” does not require a high level of achievement in your course or that you are demanding less of your students than they are capable of achieving. Easy grading disserves all students and is unfair to those who really deserve the top grades.

  • Ask your chair for guidance in aligning your grading criteria and standards with those for similar courses in your department.
  • Chairs can also share data about average grades in the department and College.
  • Consistency of standards is especially important across multi-section courses.

Incomplete Coursework and “I” Grades

If a student for good reason could not complete the final stages of your course (e.g., missed the final exam because of illness), you and the student can enter into a contract in which you specify the work that needs to be completed and the date by which it must be handed in to you. Your department administrator or CAS Advising can assist you with the appropriate documentation.

That date must be no later than one calendar year from the end of the semester in which the course was offered. For CAS courses, “I” grades not replaced by a letter grade within one year will be changed to “F.” For GRS courses, the “I” becomes permanent after one year.

Grade Changes

In the event that you need to change a student’s grade after the final grades have been submitted, you will need to fill out a change of grade form, which must be approved by your department chair. Please note:

  • Good reasons for changing grades are limited for the most part to a) calculation errors and b) completion of assignments as specified in incomplete contracts.
  • A student’s expressed “need” for a higher grade point average is not a good reason; acceding to one student’s request would be unfair to other students in the class.
  • Once final grades have been submitted, students are not allowed to hand in additional work for “extra credit.” Nor can grades be changed after a student has graduated.
  • In CAS courses, all changes of grades other than the “I” grade must be recorded within six months of the completion of the course; in GRS, the maximum allowable time for all grade changes is one year.

Policy on Grade Grievances for Undergraduate Students

This policy provides a means for a student to contest a final grade when that grade is alleged by the student to be arbitrary.  Any questions about implementation should be addressed to Steve Jarvi, Associate Dean for Student Academic Life (617-358-2738).

Holidays: Civil

For actual dates in any given semester, see the Official Academic Calendar

Classes are not held on the following civil holidays when they fall within a semester:

  • Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October) The next day (a Tuesday), the University typically follows a Monday class schedule.
  • Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday in January)
  • Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February) The next day (a Tuesday), the University typically follows a Monday schedule.
  • Patriots’ Day (3rd Monday in April) Two days later (a Wednesday), the University typically follows a Monday class schedule.

Holidays: Religious

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.
  • The University’s official Religious Observance Policy under Massachusetts state law is posted here.
  • You can use an interfaith calendar to anticipate actual dates of religious holidays in planning your syllabus.
  • Contact Steve Jarvi, Associate Dean for Student Academic Life with any questions.
  • If you will yourself be absent from campus for reasons of religious observance, please be sure to notify your students and your department’s front office staff about how your class will be covered or made up later.

Library Materials: Reading and Video

  • You can place reading materials on reserve at the Library, using the form available here.
  • You can also place videos (VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray) on reserve at the Geddes Language Center (685 Commonwealth Avenue, CAS Room 537) for students to watch outside of class or showing times.
  • Additionally, you may ask the Krasker film library, located within the Mugar library, to place videos at Geddes for a period of time.

Office Hours

Full-time faculty are expected to hold a minimum of three offices hours per week.

  • These should not all be scheduled in the same time slot (e.g., MWF 9–10), since 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. Your department office should post them as well.

All part-time faculty in CAS are expected to hold at least one office hour per week; two to three hours may be expected, depending on your department and the course(s) you are teaching. Consult your chair or department administrator.

Reading (Study) Period

There is a study period — usually including two business days — between the end of classes and the start of final exams. This period is intended for the students to organize and carry out their own study for exams and work on final papers and projects; you may not hold classes, mandatory meetings of the students in the class, or exams during the study period. The Office of the Registrar has information on dates.

School Closings

In the event of inclement weather, you can determine if the university is closed or if opening will be delayed by calling the BU snow hotline, 617-353-SNOW (7669). News of school closings and delayed openings is also posted on the University homepage.


For CAS requirements regarding course syllabi and also suggestions for syllabus language and course policies, see the section Syllabus Resources in the CAS Instructors’ Guide.


Find comprehensive information here on how to research and adopt textbooks online through the Barnes & Noble/BU Bookstore.

You can also contact the Bookstore’s Textbook Department by phone (617-236-7740) or email to textbks@bu.edu with questions about your order.

Adopting textbooks on time (no later than mid-December for Spring, or mid-April for Fall) ensures that they will be available on the first day of class. It also helps students to plan ahead for your course and increases their access to used texts and other affordable options.