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Effective Date: May 2012


This publication is intended to bring together the policies and procedures developed by the University for the administration of final examinations.


The Faculty Council has approved various policies and procedures regarding examinations. In order that we may have uniform administration of this policy, the procedures below were developed to apply to all schools and departments.

General Examinations Procedures

  • Undergraduate courses taught on campus must include a final assessment (i.e. final examination) unless the Provost grants an exception. A traditional final examination is written, is administered at a predetermined time as specified in the final examination schedule, and takes place at a designated location.
  • Only the Provost can grant exceptions to the scheduled time and location of a traditional examination after review and approval of the appropriate department head and the dean.
  • For graduate and professional level courses, final examinations, which may or may not be written, may be given at the option of the college/school dean and the instructor.
  • The final examination schedule, announced prior to the beginning of the semester, sets the time for each examination. No special preparation quizzes may be given during the last five days of classes (last 2 days of classes for Summer School) before the beginning of the final examination period.
  • No examination (except for laboratory sections) may be held at a time other than that specified in the general schedule except with the advance approval of the Provost.
  • No examination may start later than 7:00 PM.
  • Final examinations for a full course should ordinarily cover a minimum of two hours and should not exceed a period of three hours.
  •  Courses with one hour of academic credit may administer their final exams during the last class period; all others must follow the published Final Examination Schedule.
  • Only examinations requiring an exceptional portion of practical work should be longer than three hours. Departmental chairs (i.e. heads of instructional units) must give permission for faculty to use non-traditional examinations, such as a portfolio of a semester’s work or a take-home examination.
  • Faculty employing an alternative form of final assessment must adhere to the general final examination schedule, must allow adequate time for completion, and should bear in mind that the students have other scheduled examinations. The chair should submit to the appropriate dean an annual summary of the exceptions that were granted.
  • For multidisciplinary and co-taught courses, permission to give a non-traditional examination must be granted solely by the chair of the instructional unit in which the course is based.

Who May Take Final Examinations

The following may take the regular final examination in a course:

  1. Only regularly enrolled members of the class whose registration has been certified by the University Registrar’s Office may take the final examination in any course. Students auditing a course do not write examinations or papers and do not participate in class discussions unless otherwise directed by the course instructor. They do not appear on the instructor’s class roll and may not request grades. The Registrar’s Office will not accept final grades for auditors.
  2. Instructors may arrange a suitable time for make-up final examinations upon receipt of a signed “Examination Excuse” (from the dean of the school in which the student is registered) or an “Official Permit to Take a Final Examination” (from the University Registrar’s Office).
    The instructor will assign a grade of “AB” (Absent from final examination, but could have passed if exam taken) or “FA” (student did not attend the exam, and could not pass the course regardless of performance on the exam) until the exam is taken.

    • When the dean authorizes the official excuse, the student will be provided a copy of the “Examination Excuse” to present to the instructor. A second copy of the excuse is on file in the University Registrar’s Office. In the event of loss or question, the University Registrar’s Office will provide the student a permit to take the final examination.
    • When the University Student Health Service authorizes the official excuse, the University Registrar’s Office will issue the student an “Official Permit to Take a Final Examination.” The University Student Health Service routinely provides the University Registrar’s Office a daily list of all students medically excused during the examination period.
      It is the student’s responsibility to present the Permit to the instructor. The list is not distributed elsewhere on campus.

Examinations in Absentia

Only in very exceptional cases can arrangements be made to take examinations in absentia. There is a fee of $10.00 for each examination taken in absentia.

Applications for examinations in absentia should be directed to the dean of the school in which the student is registered.

Student Pledge

Each student is required to sign his/her name to the following pledge or its equivalent on every paper:  “I hearby certify that during this examination I have neither given nor received aid.”

The instructor will not report a final grade for any student whose examination paper lacks this pledge.  In these cases, a grade of “IN” (incomplete) will be entered on the electronic grade roster in ConnectCarolina.

If the student later signs the pledge, the instructor may then report his/her proper grade to the University Registrar’s Office on an Official Grade Change Form.

The Time of an Examination

The examination schedule at the end of each term having once been fixed cannot be changed, and the examination must be held at the time shown on the schedule. In any case where it appears necessary and desirable to deviate from this rule, the following procedure should be adhered to:

  • Request of an individual student to take a regularly scheduled examination at any time other than the time set in the schedule.  If students know in advance that they must miss one or more final examinations because of illness, religious observance or other serious problems, they should notify in writing both the course instructor and the dean of the school in which they are enrolled no later than the last day of classes. If this is not possible, they should write or see their dean as soon after the fact as possible.  The dean may require documentation of a student’s religious observance, illness, or problems.
    1. The student should be required to obtain an Examination Excuse from his/her academic dean. The student may then take the examination at a later date in accordance with the procedure outlined in the regulations for removal of an excused AB.
    2. The student should make application through the dean of his/her college or school if there are compelling and extraordinary circumstances for taking the examination prior to the time set in the schedule.
      Approval by the dean will be forwarded to the Provost whose decision is final. The application must be made no later than three weeks before the scheduled exam. In the summer sessions, applications should be made through the dean of his/her school or the college of the Dean of Summer School.
    3. A student who has three exams scheduled by the Registrar’s Office within a twenty-four hour period may petition his or her dean for permission to have one of the scheduled examinations rescheduled. In the event that one of the exams is a common final exam for a multiple section course, that examination is the one to be rescheduled.
  • Request by an instructor or department to change the time of an examination for an entire class after it has been fixed in the schedule.
    1. In all cases in which an examination is to be rescheduled, the instructor may reschedule that exam during the final examination period, but no later than the end of the following semester. Any petition for a change in the examination schedule because of this rule must be made before the first day of the final examinations, through the department head and dean, with final approval of the Provost.
      If approved, the instructor would assume responsibility for making special arrangements to give the examination to any student who had a schedule conflict as a result of the change.
  • The change could be made only to one of the other exam periods in the schedule. Such changes will be granted only under the most extenuating circumstances.

Grade Books and Final Examination Papers

Faculty members must retain on campus in their office all final examinations and unclaimed tests, term papers, and homework for one year after completion of a course, as mandated by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

In the case that a student contests a course grade, faculty members can confidentially dispose of coursework after resolution of the formal protest. It is also desirable that faculty members who leave the University deposit grade records from the prior three years with the department chair.

These requirements are based on the fact that students frequently attempt to remove the temporary grades of “AB” and “IN” in courses which they took with instructors who are no longer members of the faculty.