Common Hour Exam Policy

Introduction and Purpose

Common hour exams are given during the semester for multi-section courses. Dates and times are posted online at These exams take the place of one class meeting and are included in the student’s commitment to the course upon enrolling in it.


1. The nominal examination time may be from one to two hours.

2. For each Common Hour Examination, students will be excused from an equivalent period of instruction.

3. Requests regarding the date, duration, and room assignments for Common Hour Examinations must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by the 20th class day of the prior semester.

4. Departments must provide for make-up/conflict examinations or other equivalent means of evaluating the student who are absent from the scheduled examination for legitimate reasons.

4.1 Make-up examinations for conflicts are to be given only to those students who, at the same hour:

a. Have another Common Hour Examination

b. Have a regularly scheduled class

c. Are engaged in an activity or event sanctioned in paragraph 310.01 of the Student Conduct Code (Official student representatives with a regularly scheduled practice or meeting that conflict with a Common Hour Exam see point 5 below.)

d. Sustained a personal emergency that prevented participation in the scheduled examination.

4.2. During the third week of classes, the Registrar’s Office will disseminate a list of the students who have conflicts among scheduled common hour examinations (cf 4.1.a.). This list will be updated regularly after that date and made available to all instructors. A priority list for resolving conflicts between common hour examinations (cf 4.4.) will also be published during the third week of classes.

4.3. Students are responsible for identifying all conflicts. Apart from unforeseeable, personal emergencies (4.1.d.), students are required to confirm the need for make-up examinations with the instructor as early as possible, but no later than ten (10) days before the scheduled examination.

4.4. In the event of a conflict between scheduled common hour examinations (cf 4.1.a.), the priority of scheduled versus make-up examination will be determined by the priority list published by the Registrar’s office. The order of priority will vary from semester to semester.

4.5. Dates for make-up examinations will be arranged by the instructor. The examinations are to be equivalent to the original examinations as a means of evaluating the student. These examinations and their scheduling are to be non-punitive.

5. Students who are official representatives of MSU who have regularly scheduled meetings or practices that conflict with a Common Hour exam may request of their instructor that they be allowed to arrive up to thirty (30) minutes late for a Common Hour Exam.  The approval of such a request, however, is entirely at the discretion of the instructor.  The instructor must be notified at least ten (10) days in advance. Students and instructors are encouraged to work with the Testing Center to assist with any accommodations if alternate testing possibilities cannot be arranged readily within the program or department.

6. All faculty should consider the Common Hour Examination schedule when planning ad-hoc evening examinations and other activities. Common Hour Examinations take precedence over all activities that occur outside of scheduled class hours except as provided for in this policy.