Texas Tech University


[Minor revision–posted 1/5/24 (replaces 6/20/16 edition)]
[PDF Version]

 Texas Tech University

Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 34.10: Final Examinations

DATE: January 5, 2024

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to ensure understanding and standardized procedures concerning final examinations.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in March of odd-numbered years by the Office of the Registrar and the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success with substantive revisions presented to the Provost and Senior Vice President (PSVP).


1.  The “last week of classes” is defined as the last five weekdays or calendar class days prior to “individual study day” and the first day of final examinations, or the last two days in the summer session.

2.  During the two long semesters, an “individual study day” will be scheduled before the first day of final examinations.

3.  The final examination policy is as follows:

a.    Five days are to be scheduled for final examinations at the end of each long semester—fall and spring. Two days are scheduled for finals at the end of each summer term.

b.    A 2 ½ -hour period of time is to be available for administering individual final examinations. Within the time period, instructors may limit the time of a given exam by prior announcement.

c.    Individual faculty members determine whether a final examination or some other summary submittal or performance is appropriate for the course being taught. Program objectives, student welfare, and faculty responsibilities should be considered in reaching this decision. Faculty members make the final decision about whether or not to give a final exam unless there is a departmental exam for that course, in which case the departmental exam will be given.

d.    Individual faculty members decide whether student exemptions from a final examination are appropriate unless there is a departmental exam for that course, in which case the coordinator or faculty group overseeing the exam will be involved in determining the exemption.

e.    Final exam times are based on the credit-bearing portion of the course.

f.    All faculty members giving final examinations must adhere to the printed scheduled time. Examinations will take place in the rooms in which the individual classes have been meeting unless a change is announced or a common final examination is given. A change in the final examination time or room assignment may only be made with the written approval from the department chair and dean of the college or school in which the course is taught. Classroom space desired for final examinations different from that assigned for class use during the semester should be requested in writing to the Assistant Registrar of Section Inventory in the Office of the Registrar at least 30 days prior to the first day of final exams that semester. Reservations are confirmed in writing by the Office of the Registrar. Approvals and justifications should be sent to the Office of the Registrar, and the request with the recommended accommodations will then be forwarded to the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success for final approval.

g.    Examinations, other than bona fide make-up examinations, are not to be given during the last week of classes. Lab examinations and design studio reviews normally scheduled the week prior to finals are excluded from this policy. For summer sessions, two days before final examinations will be set aside as days of no examinations, except for administering bona fide make-up or lab examinations.

h.    No extracurricular activities may be scheduled within individual study days and the final examination period except on rare occasions for which certain exceptions can be made. Written exception requests with justifications should be submitted to the Assistant Managing Director of Events and Instructional Space Management in the Operations Division Planning and Administration office. If needed, the request will be forwarded to the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success for final approval.

i.    Days of no classes are designated as study days, and no class review sessions, make-up exams, etc., may be scheduled then or during final exams.

4.  A departmental exam, or common exam, covers several sections of the same course taught by different instructors for the purpose of establishing uniformity in test administration and scale of achievement. Departmental, or common exams, are scheduled through the Office of the Registrar using the following guidelines:

a.    Multiple section courses (courses with two or more sections in a semester) may schedule a common final exam with approval from the department or area head, dean, and the Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success. Approval should be sought prior to the start of the semester in which the common exam is to be scheduled to avoid potential conflicts in students' individual exam schedules and to optimize assignment of classroom space.

b.    Multiple sections of a single course taught by the same instructor are not eligible to give common examinations unless they are among sections of the same course taught by more than one instructor.

c.    The same exam is to be given to all sections of the same course in the semester for which a common exam is scheduled for that course. (An exception could be an honors section of the course taught separately from the standard sections.)

d.    Room assignments for common exams will be made according to the total number of students enrolled in the course for that term and not on a section-by-section basis. Requests for modifications or additions to room assignments for common exams must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Registrar for consideration at least 30 days prior to the first day of final examinations.

5.  Off-time-cycle courses have final exams at the same time as the on-time-cycle course immediately preceding their class time. For example, a MWF 3:30 p.m. class will test at the same time as the MWF 3:00 p.m. classes. For more information regarding standard university time-start and time-stop cycles, refer to OP 61.23, Use of University Classrooms for Academic Scheduling. Courses that meet daily should use the final exam time slot dedicated to MWF classes. For example, if a class meets every weekday at 11:00 a.m., the class should use the exam time slot allotted to 11:00 a.m. MWF courses and not to 11:00 a.m. TR courses. Departments should contact the Office of the Registrar for clarification regarding exam times or if conflicts are anticipated.

6.  Instructors of sections taught exclusively online who wish to give a final exam should select a 24-hour period within the final exam week (excluding Sunday) in which to make the exam available. A period of up to 2 ½ hours will be used for timed exams.

7.  Classroom doors must be unlocked by academic departments during final examinations, including Saturdays. Doors should be unlocked at least 15 minutes prior to the first exam time slot and should be locked at the conclusion of the last exam time slot.

8.  There is no university policy that provides relief to students who have three or more examinations scheduled the same day; in that situation, students may seek the assistance of the course instructors, department or area head, and/or dean of the college. Students should check the Final Examination Schedule prior to registration in order to avoid an inconvenient overload during final exams.

Operating Policies & Procedures