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 due to the following exceptional circumstances as stated in the Yale College Programs of Study:
1. Incapacitating illness or condition of any kind
2. Death in the family
3. A comparable emergency
4. Observance of religious holy days
5. Required participation in intercollegiate varsity athletic events
Dean’s Excuses are limited in scope and only cover the postponement of assignments, quizzes, tests and other phenomena with a deadline that is ‘postponable.’ In all other cases of work missed during the term, only the instructor has the authority to decide whether or not the student is permitted to make up the work, so the student should contact the instructor directly. When contacting instructors, remember that you do not have to disclose confidential information if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
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 the Dean, 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.