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Types of Exams

Questions about exams should be directed to Academic Services at

Quizzes, Hour, and Midterm Exams

Students are expected to take their exams on time and as scheduled by their instructors. Students who are unable to take a quiz, hour exam, or midterm due to extenuating circumstances should contact their instructor immediately. Instructors have varying policies regarding make-up quizzes, hour, and midterm exams.

Final Exams

A final exam, paper, or project is required in all courses. Seminars and workshops in which students are evaluated on the basis of reports and ongoing weekly assignments are the exceptions to this policy. Only registered undergraduate- and graduate-credit students are allowed to take final exams and submit final papers and projects.

Final exams are generally two hours long and usually administered on the last day of class. Your instructor will inform you of the format of the final exam in your course.

Instructors will confirm exam dates, times and locations before the exam period since it may be held in a different room from the class meetings. If you are unable to take your final exam at the scheduled time, you may not make separate arrangements with your instructor to take the final exam at an earlier or later time. Grades are not accepted for students who do this. If you cannot take your final exam at the scheduled time you may be eligible to appeal for a make-up final exam.

If you sit for your final exam and are unable to complete it for any reason you are assigned a failing grade (E), or zero, for the incomplete portion of the exam. You are not allowed to complete the final exam at another time or appeal for a final make-up exam. If you attend the final exam and do not submit a bluebook or exam sheet, you are assigned an E for the final exam. If you do not take your final exam and did not withdraw from the course by the withdrawal deadline you are assigned a failing grade for the final exam.

Final Take-Home Exams

Students who miss the deadline for a take-home exam should call their instructor immediately. The instructor may approve an extension-of-time (EXT) grade and write a new take-home exam, or assign the student a failing grade for the exam depending on the instructor’s policy for take-home exams.

Distance Education and Proctored Exams

The academic policies outlined in this section apply to distance education students as well. If you are taking an online course, also review the policies for distance education students, including proctored exam information.

Exams in Online Courses

Many distance education courses have exams, which may be take-home, online, or proctored exams. Instructors will inform students of the format of course exams.

Online Exams

An online exam is a timed exam that is taken on a specific date and within a specific 24-hour period. Instructors may elect to administer exams online via Canvas, Proctorio, or a third -party testing tool. Students should refer to the syllabus or contact course staff members with any questions about online exams. Students enrolled in online courses are expected to have the necessary computer systems (hardware and software) and internet access to take exams online. Paper exams will not be administered in lieu of the online exam except for accommodations approved by the Accessibility Services office.

Students with extenuating  exam proctoring concerns should contact to discuss their situation and for additional guidance.

Getting Help

Need more help? For more information, email Academic Services at

Exam Absences, Conflicts, and Make-ups

Make-Up Final Exams

Students who cannot take their final exams as scheduled because of a religious conflict, documented serious illness, or compelling, unexpected circumstances may appeal for a make-up final exam. The following are examples that are not considered compelling reasons to grant a make-up exam: lack of preparation, negligence, misinformation, or planned vacations and other events.

Make-up appeals are considered only for students who provide documentation of a compelling reason for missing the exam; owe no other work in the course than the final exam; have good records of attendance and participation; and are in good financial standing with the Division of Continuing Education. Academic Services contacts instructors to verify students’ academic standing in courses for which they’ve applied for make-up exams as part of the appeals process.

Supporting documentation must accompany the appeal. Two pieces of documentation are required, except in cases of personal illness. Documentation must be written in English. It should confirm the reasons for missing the exam, signed by the appropriate person in an official capacity on official letterhead, and include travel information if relevant. Medical documentation must be in the form of a letter on the medical provider’s letterhead and based on a physical exam within two days of the missed exam. The signed letter should include a description of the illness, specific dates or range of dates of the illness, and physical and functional limitations of the illness that prevented taking the exam as scheduled. Documentation written on prescription pads will not be accepted.

Students may appeal for make-up exams by submitting make-up final exam forms no later than three calendar days after the missed exam. Incomplete and late appeals will not be considered.

Contact Academic Services at for information and guidance on the appeals process.

Make-up exams for courses that have an online final exam are administered on:

  • January 20, 2021 for fall courses
  • February 3, 2021 for January session courses
  • June 9, 2021 for spring courses.

A student who does not take the make-up exam as scheduled is assigned a failing grade for the exam.

Final Exams in Absentia

If you relocate before or during the final exam period you may appeal to take your exam in absentia at an institution in your new location with an approved proctor. In addition to following the appeal procedures for make-up exams, you must include on the appeal form the name, title, business address, business website, and business telephone number of the person who will proctor your exam.

Exam proctors must be teachers, professors, librarians, or administrators in local secondary schools, colleges, universities, or testing centers. They cannot be family members, friends and acquaintances, or co-workers. See “Exams in Online Courses” above to find a qualified Proctor.

Exam Conflicts

An exam conflict occurs when a student has two exams or a class meeting and an exam scheduled for the same day and time. If the conflict involves two exams, the student will take both exams on the same day: one with the class and the second exam at a different time that day as scheduled by Academic Services.

If an exam conflicts with a class meeting, the student will attend the class. Academic Services will reschedule the exam at a different time that same day.

Students should complete the exam conflict form and submit it to Academic Services no later than two weeks before the conflict date.

Absences for Religious Reasons

You may request that an exam be rescheduled without penalty if your exam is scheduled on a day of religious observance for you. Speak with your instructor no later than two weeks before the exam date to reschedule the exam.

Students who have a religious obligation that conflicts with a final exam must submit a completed make-up final examination form to Academic Services by the deadline indicated on the form. The make-up final exam appeal fee is waived for students with religious conflicts. However, students must include documentation from an appropriate religious or spiritual leader confirming the conflict with their appeal. Exams are rescheduled for the same day as the make-up exams in the same term. Students who also have religious conflicts with the scheduled make-up date should indicate this in their appeal statement. Accommodations are not possible if the conflict is reported after the exam.

Learn more about absences from class due to a religious conflict.

Transcripts and Enrollment Verification 

Transcript Requests

The easiest and quickest way to order a transcript is to submit the request through MyDCE. You can also complete a transcript request form and mail it to the address on the form or scan and email it to If you prefer to fax the form to us, you can do so via standard fax to (617) 495-3662. All requests must be made via online services or by using the transcript request form. Telephone and email requests are not accepted.

Transcript requests are typically processed within two business days from the date of receipt. However, it can take three to four business days or longer to process requests during busy periods. Submit your requests as early as possible, particularly if you have a deadline.

There is no charge for transcripts. Academic Services reserves the right to limit the number of transcripts issued per request.

About Transcripts

The transcript is your complete, official Division of Continuing Education academic record. It includes all credit and noncredit courses you have taken at the Harvard Extension School and Harvard Summer School, your grades, and withdrawal and disciplinary notations. Transcripts for degree and diploma candidates also include relevant degree and diploma information. Professional certificates are noted on transcripts. However, Division of Continuing Education professional development programs do not appear on transcripts.

Official transcripts are embossed and signed by the Registrar. They may be sent directly to third parties or to students in sealed, signed envelopes for delivery to third parties. Student copies are unofficial and are neither embossed nor signed. They are marked Issued to Student and sent directly to the student.

Official transcripts are not issued to third parties for any students who have not met their financial and library obligations to Harvard University. Unofficial transcripts are issued directly to these students.

Hague Apostille

A certification or legalization is generally needed for US documents that leave the United States for recognition in the country of intended use. International students and US students living, working, and studying outside the United States may need to have their transcripts and diplomas authenticated by a designated federal authority. This authentication takes the form of a certification called an apostille as approved by the 1961 Hague Convention.

To obtain the apostille, submit a request for a notarized copy of your transcript. The notarized copy is issued to you in a signed, sealed envelope. Bring the notarized document to the Commissions Section, Room 1719, McCormack Building, 1 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108 for certification and the apostille. Or mail the necessary documentation to the above address. For more information about the documents and information needed, as well as fees for each certification and apostille, see Certifications and Apostilles on the Secretary of the Commonwealth website.

The Extension School does not notarize diplomas. Instead, the Academic Services Office writes a letter verifying the degree and includes the following information in the letter as appropriate: the student’s name; degree, certificate, or diploma received; date of receipt; area of concentration; field of study; honors. The letter is signed by the associate registrar for Academic Services or the assistant registrar for Academic Services.

Letters of Enrollment

A letter of enrollment includes a listing of courses in which you are registered for the term. It does not include grades. You may request a letter of enrollment for any term in the current year by completing a letter of enrollment request form. Please mail it to the address on the form or scan and email it to If you prefer to fax the form to us, you can do so via standard fax to (617) 495-3662. All requests must be made in writing. Telephone and email requests are not accepted.

Academic Services reserves the right to limit the number of letters per request. Letters of enrollment are not issued if you have not met your financial and library obligations to Harvard University, or if you have pending disciplinary or administrative proceedings.

Requests may be submitted throughout the term but are not processed until after the course drop deadline for half-tuition refund each term: September 16 for the fall, January 6 for the January session, and February 9 for the spring.

Degree Verification

Students and third parties may request degree or enrollment verification via email by writing to Such disclosures are limited to directory level information permitted under FERPA.

Loan Deferments

Harvard Extension School is a participant in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), which provides electronic deferment processing for students. The Extension School transfers enrollment data of its students to the Clearinghouse after the course drop deadline for half-tuition refund each term: September 16 for the fall, February 9 for the January and spring terms, and monthly thereafter. The Clearinghouse electronically supplies verification of enrollment information to participating lending agencies. You do not need to be an admitted degree candidate in order to qualify for loan deferment. See Enrollment Polices for detailed information on full- and part-time enrollment status.

All guarantors and most major student loan lenders and servicers (including servicers for Perkins, private/alternative, and institutional loans), as well as the Department of Education, participate in the Clearinghouse.

If your loan company does not participate in the paperless deferment process, contact your lender and servicer directly to obtain a deferment form. Academic Services will process the form and mail it directly to the loan agency on your behalf.