The Washington University in St. Louis academic calendar is designed to establish and preserve maximum classroom instruction time for all courses, protect students’ opportunities for review of course material, and provide faculty with ample means to evaluate performance.

To that end, the Academic Calendar Committee has established a period of reading days and final examinations so that students may sufficiently prepare for and demonstrate proficiency in the discipline and subject matter of their course work.

Reading Days

The reading days between the end of classes and the beginning of final examinations exist in order to provide a period of time during which students might synthesize and conclude their course work in preparation for final examinations.

Study sessions, portfolio reviews and critiques are appropriate activities during Reading Days. Final examinations are not.

Final Examinations

Examinations are part of the process of education as well as a means by which the student’s performance in course work may be measured.  The structure, content, frequency and length of examinations will vary with the nature of the course and the material presented in it at the discretion of the faculty, subject only to the limitations described herein.

A final examination schedule is published each semester, having been carefully designed to achieve three goals:

  1. To protect valuable classroom instruction time at the end of the semester,
  2. To make efficient use of the entire period of reading days and final examination, and
  3. To minimize overcrowding of students’ schedules.

If a final examination is given for a course, it must be administered on the date and at the time specified in the exam schedule. Courses which do not administer a final examination must be so noted in the course listings. Evening courses may administer a final examination during the last week of class.

Student and Faculty Responsibilities

When registering for classes at Washington University, students commit to all course requirements including the examination procedures chosen and announced by the course instructor. In selecting courses, students are advised to take note of all final exam information. Students anticipating conflicts in their final examination schedule should seek to resolve these with the course instructors involved before enrolling. Students should not register for courses that result in three or more final examinations on one day.

If unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from sitting for the regularly scheduled examination, instructors should make alternate arrangements on an individual basis. Faculty members are encouraged to be responsive to requests from students whose religious commitments conflict with scheduled examinations.

Updated February 27, 2009