Checklist for Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements

Information for instructors and students, as well as staff (e.g., coaches) involved in students’ extracurricular activites.

On May 14, 2014 the Academic Senate Divisional Council approved the revised “Guidelines Concerning Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements” , developed by the Committee on Educational Policy.  These guidelines “focus on the handling of conflicts that arise between extra-curricular activities and academic requirements, and specifically concern the schedules of student athletes, student musicians, those with out-of-town interviews, and other students with activities that compete with academic obligations.” These guidelines are also relevant concerning religious accomodation and scheduling of other campus approved conflicts with academic requirements.

The following checklists summarize the responsibilities of instructors, students, and staff regarding conflicts in schedules. Faculty members should be aware of the relevant policies and communicate with students about them, using the checklists as a helpful resource and guide.


  • List the dates of all major exams, papers, projects, assignments, and field trips in the course syllabus and on the course website and distribute this information to students on the first day of class (or earlier if practicable). 
  • If you do not or are not able to provide advance notice about the course schedule and exam assignment deadlines, accommodate students who have conflicts and who have notified you of those conflicts in a timely manner.
  • Remind students to notify you by the second week of the term about any known or potential extracurricular conflicts.
  • Try to accommodate the student’s schedule when occasional foreseen conflicts arise (such as religious observances, graduate or medical school interviews, or team activities) and the student has notified you at the outset of the semester with a proposed solution.
  • When unforeseen conflicts arise (such as family emergencies or suddenly scheduled job or graduate school interviews), apply your best judgment to each situation, since it is very hard to generalize. Some instructors insist on documentation; others, however, assume that most students will be honest.
  • For tests, you may (but are not required to) offer an alternative exam date, time, and/or place to students who have notified you in advance about a legitimate, previously scheduled conflict. For exam proctoring for student athletes, both on and off campus, contact the Athletic Study Center.
  • For general assignments, students are expected to have their work in the hands of instructors before they leave campus so that it can be evaluated and graded with the work of the student’s cohort, unless you agree in advance to other arrangements
  • Consider dropping a student from your course (within the first two weeks in most cases) if you and the student are not able to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement about missed classes, or if systematic and consistent conflicts occur with no mutually workable solution.
  • You may decline to enroll students who cannot be present at all scheduled activities.  Encourage them to sign up for a different section or semester.
  • Take special care to note specific language from the Guidelines that states: "The pedagogical needs of the class are the key criteria when deciding whether a proposed accommodation is appropriate. Faculty must clearly articulate the specific pedagogical reasons that prevent accepting a proposed accommodation. Absent such a reason, the presumption should be that accommodations are to be made."


  • Know your extra-curricular activity schedule in advance and arrange your courses accordingly.
  • Notify your instructor or GSI in writing before the end of the second week of the term of all foreseeable conflicts between the syllabus and scheduled extra-curricular activities.
  • Include in your notification a proposal for resolving those conflicts.
  • If unforeseen conflicts arise, promptly notify your instructor and arrange to discuss the situation as soon as these conflicts (or the possibility of these conflicts) are known.
  • Make arrangements to cover the material in all missed classes, both absences scheduled in advance and those that happen ad hoc.  It is not your instructor’s or GSI’s responsibility to tutor you in the missed material.  Contact other students in the class to find out what  you’ve missed or view the webcast or podcast.
  • If your off-campus events conflict with the due dates of projects, make sure your work is in the hands of your instructor before you leave campus, unless your instructor has agreed in advance to other arrangements.
  • Discuss the possibility of an alternate proctored exam (on- or off-campus) with your instructor if you have a scheduled conflict.  Be aware that sometimes no alternative exams will be given outside of the scheduled classrooms or the appointed hours.
  • If in the opinion of your instructor your list of foreseeable conflicts reveals multiple unresolvable scheduling conflicts, recognize that you may be advised to find another class that better suits your schedule.
  • Know that your instructor has the option of declining to enroll you in the class if you cannot be present at all scheduled activities. 
  • If systematic or frequent unresolved conflicts are evident, be aware that the instructor may drop you from his or her class.

Coaches and Staff:

  • Stress to students the primacy of their academic coursework.
  • Remind students not to enroll in classes at times that will continually conflict with activities.
  • Remind students that faculty don’t “have to excuse” them from class.
  • Seek to minimize the number and impact of conflicts between extracurricular activities and students’ regularly scheduled classes and exams.
  • Let students know they are responsible for notifying you by the second week of the term concerning academic conflicts with extracurricular activities.   
  • Work with students to find workarounds for conflicts (such as homework time on the road, proctored exams, etc.).