Penn’s Official Policy on Religious Holidays

“The University recognizes that there are other holidays, both religious and secular, which are of importance to some individuals and groups on campus. Such occasions include, but are not limited to, Sukkot, the last two days of Passover, Shavuot, Shemini Atzerat and Simchat Torah, Chinese New Year, the Muslim New Year, Diwali, Navaratri, Rama Navami, Paryushan, and the Islamic holidays Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Students who wish to observe such holidays must inform their instructors within the first two weeks of each semester of their intent to observe the holiday even when the exact date of the holiday will not be known until later so that alternative arrangements convenient to both students and faculty can be made at the earliest opportunity. Students who make such arrangements will not be required to attend classes or take examinations on the designated days, and faculty must provide reasonable opportunities for such students to make up missed work and examinations. For this reason it is desirable that faculty inform students of all examination dates at the start of each semester. Exceptions to the requirement of a make-up examination must be approved in advance by the undergraduate dean of the school in which the course is offered.”

Helpful Links

  • - PennBook Policy

  • - Official Recognized List of Religious Holidays - Chaplain Office


Further Resources


Tips for talking to professors

1. Tell them as early as possible - teachers want to help you, but can’t make accommodations at the last minute.

2. Talk in person.

3. Be polite.

4. You have a good, true reason, so use it - don’t be afraid to cite Penn’s official handbook.

5. If there are multiple students in the class, ask a group.

6. Be reasonable.

7. And if professors are being difficult to reach out to TAs, the Chaplain’s office, and the MSA.

8. Click for sample email to professors.