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Conduct of Courses

How to Conduct Princeton Undergraduate Courses Regulations Governing Course Deadlines, Examinations and Grading

Rev. 9-22-18

Princeton’s procedures for conducting courses, including tests, exams, and grading, are institutionally specific. We encourage all faculty to familiarize themselves with these procedures (and/or to refresh your memory).

This memo details how midterms and final exams are scheduled and administered; the importance of University-established deadlines; how faculty can change a previously submitted grade; and when course evaluations are available. Please bear with us as we enumerate the following eight important points:

  1. Tests during the term are given during the assigned class period. Several departments that offer large multiple-hour courses (Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Physics, and Mathematics) combine sections for specially scheduled midterm exams during evening hours of midterm week, October 22 – 26. Midterm exams scheduled outside normal course hours might conflict with regular class meetings in other courses. In such circumstances, the midterm must be administered at a different time for students who have conflicting courses. If you require a midterm test during midterm week outside of normal class hours, please contact your department office.
  2. The final examination schedule is developed by the Office of the Registrar, acting for the Faculty Committee on Classrooms and Schedule. The exam schedule is developed after the period for adding a course ends each semester; it’s released by the end of the fourth week of class. This schedule will dictate where and when your course’s final exam will be held.
  3. Extensions beyond the University deadlines for papers or projects due at the end of the term; postponements of deadlines; and any adjustment of final examinations for more than 24 hours before or beyond the schedule exam may be granted only by students’ residential college deans or directors of studies, in consultation with the faculty member in charge of the course. Adjustments within 24 hours of a scheduled examination may be made by the Registrar. Do not make special arrangements of your own with your students for late submission of work. Individual arrangements of this kind cause great difficulty and are unfair to other students. Applications for late completion of a course are available from the deans and directors of studies in the residential colleges. The registrar records unauthorized incompletes as an “F.” For a more detailed account of policies governing end of term work and extensions please see the Undergraduate Announcement.
  4. All in-class tests and final examinations are administered under the provisions of the Honor Code. Under the Honor Code, members of the faculty do not proctor in-class examinations. After distributing the test or exam materials and answering any student questions, the faculty member must leave the room.
    • Students may not take examination materials out of the designated examination room without the permission of the faculty member. Permission to take examinations elsewhere, if granted to one student, must be granted to any others who so request.
    • Students should sit in alternate seats. The use of laptop computers, as well as hand-held electronic communication devices (cell phones, iPods, iPads, iPhones, CD and MP3 players, etc.) are forbidden while the examination is in progress except when explicitly authorized by the instructor. Students may leave the examination room for short breaks, provided they do not take examination materials with them.
    • Faculty must return to the examination room at the end of the exam period to collect the exams directly from the students. Arrangements should be made for the collection of examinations from students who finish early so that completed exams are never simply left unmonitored in an examination room. Only the three hours allotted by the Committee on Classrooms and Schedule may be used for a final examination. Students must write and sign the honor pledge in full on their completed examination papers.
    • You should immediately check the examinations against the current class roster to make sure you received all the exams. Please contact the Office of the Registrar immediately if any student who was expected to take the exam did not return the completed exam.
  5. Final grades are reported electronically to the Office of the Registrar. Failure Statements must be submitted for all failing final grades; A+ Statements must be submitted for all undergraduate final grades of A+. Procedures for reporting grades are available online. Faculty receive grading instructions in November.
  6. Requests for grade changes may be made online only by the instructor in charge of the course. Requests will be reviewed by the senior associate dean of the college acting for the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing. Grade changes are approved only to correct a miscalculation or a data entry error and should not be used as a mechanism to address student grade appeals. The process by which students may appeal a grade is found in the Undergraduate Announcement.
  7. Members of the faculty should discuss results of final examinations with any student who so requests. Many instructors return examinations to students immediately after grading them; instructors should keep unreturned examinations for one year.
  8. Students who have completed the online course evaluation process will have electronic access to final grades as soon as members of the faculty submit them. Faculty will have access to their course evaluation results after submitting grades.

Thanks for your attention to these details. We appreciate your willingness to make this experience consistent for all of our undergraduate students. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of the Dean of the College (609-258-3040) or the Office of the Registrar (609-258-3361) or email us at or