Dean’s Excuses: Policies and Requests

I. Yale College Policy Governing Dean’s Excuses:

A Dean’s Excuse is a paper form signed by the residential college dean that authorizes the postponement of written work or exams during term-time.

There are three kinds of late or postponed work: (1) work late during term time; (2) work incomplete at the end of term; and (3) postponed final examinations. Instructors of courses may, during term time, give permission to make up late or missed work, provided that such work is submitted before the end of term.  Please keep in mind that if you do not feel comfortable discussing your situation with your professor you should contact the Dean directly.

It is important to be aware of your instructors’ authority to postpone work, since a Dean’s Excuse can be issued only in the following instances, which are outlined in the Academic Regulations of Yale College, here:

  1. Incapacitating illness or incapacitating condition of any kind
  2. Death of a family member
  3. A comparable emergency
  4. Observance of religious holy days
  5. Participation in varsity intercollegiate athletic events

Dean’s Excuses must be requested promptly.  In any of the five cases above, please notify me as soon as you are able via email or a call to the Dean’s office.

Because the language of the academic regulations is necessarily efficient and judicious, it cannot account for every situation. If you think you may qualify for a Dean’s Excuse, but you’re not certain whether your circumstances fit under one of these categories, please come talk with me as soon as possible.

It is also important to know that Dean’s Excuses can only extend deadlines: they cannot excuse absences, whatever the reason. If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to notify your instructor.

Work Incomplete at the End of Term

The rules governing the postponement of work at the end of term are different than those governing the postponement of work during the term. Only residential college deans can authorize extensions for work or make-up examinations after the close of the teaching term (i.e. after the end of reading week).  Without WRITTEN permission from me, you will not to be able to postpone a final examination or any other end-of-term project, or regular course work due late in the term itself, regardless of whether the instructor has given you permission.

II. How to request a Dean’s Excuse:

If you find yourself in one of the situations listed above and require a Dean’s Excuse as a result, you should do two things:

1) Please email me ( as soon as you know that you need a postponement of written work, explaining briefly your reason for requesting a Dean’s Excuse. In your email request, please also include the following information:

1. Course title and number
2. Name and contact information of your instructor(s) (and TA, if applicable)
3. A description of the assignment
4. The original deadline of the assignment
5. How much additional time you think you need (NB: make-up exams are scheduled by arrangement with the instructor, and so this applies to other written work)
6. Whether you have requested an extension from your professor

2) Please contact Jen (203-432-0520; to make an appointment with me so that we can discuss the Dean’s Excuse, determine an appropriate revised deadline, and make a plan to get back on track in your coursework if necessary. If you are unable to come to my office in person for an appointment, please contact Jen nonetheless so that we can speak by phone.