Undergraduate Policies

Student Religious Observance Policy

I. Policy Statement

Thomas Jefferson University understands that some students may wish to observe religious holidays that fall on scheduled class days. This policy provides a means for students to communicate with their instructors about their desire to observe religious holidays, and affirms that instructors will work with students to make alternate arrangements, when necessary and absent undue hardship, for the provision and completion of exams, assignments and other course activities without an academic penalty.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all Thomas Jefferson University students who are taking on-campus courses or synchronous online courses.  This policy does not apply to students taking asynchronous online courses, as the course delivery format already provides students with scheduling flexibility for completing course requirements.This policy does not apply in the context of experiential education. Students engaged in experiential education must follow the policies of their assigned organization or facility regarding religious observance.

III. Components

  1. Students will notify their instructor, in writing, of any days on which they will miss class because of the observance of religious holidays. Students must provide this notice within three business days of the first class session. Instructors and students will collaboratively develop a plan to reschedule any exams, assignment due  dates, or any other course activities that are affected by the religious holidays. If multiple students provide notice for the same holiday, the faculty member has the right to provide a uniform, reasonable arrangement that applies to all the students involved.
  2. Any class absences that a student takes for the purpose of a religious observance (if notification is made as above) will be considered an excused absence and there will be no penalty with regard to course grading or academic standing. Likewise, any alternative tests or assignments must be equal in rigor and scope to the original tests or assignments.
  3. If a student and an instructor cannot reach an agreement about alternative arrangements, either party has the right to seek recourse with their appropriate program director or chairperson. If, after consulting with the director or chairperson, an agreement still cannot be reached, either party can seek recourse with the College or School Dean or designate, who will consult with all involved stakeholders, and then make a final decision about any outstanding disagreement if necessary. The College or School Dean or designate will inform the Associate Provost for Student Affairs about these cases, so that the University Student Affairs Committee can monitor and review how they are being managed across the University.
  4. Students will not be excused from class for days that are intended for travel for religious observance.
  5. Students who are engaged in experiential education (clerkships, rotations, internships, etc.) must follow the policies of their organization or facility regarding absence for religious observance.