March 4, 2022

Dear Yale College Instructors,

I am writing to announce a change in terminology for the dean's excuse, the familiar term for the accommodation that residential college deans issue to extend deadlines for student assignments in certain circumstances, as described in the Yale College Programs of Study. The new term is dean's extension.

This change signals no shift in policy -- the academic regulations governing the completion of course work remain unchanged -- and it requires no action from you. It goes into effect immediately, although you may continue to see and hear the term “dean's excuse” for a while because of its longstanding use among both students and instructors.

The change, made in consultation with the FAS steering committee, DUSs, and Yale College senior leadership, recognizes the distinction between residential college deans' authority to extend certain deadlines and instructors' sole authority to excuse (or not excuse) work.

It also better reflects YCPS wording about work missed during the term, including when students ask that in-class work (such as attendance and participation) be excused. That wording explains that “[i]n all other cases of work missed during the term, permission to make up course work must be secured directly from the instructor of the course, since the instructor is the only person who can decide, in the context of the nature and requirements of the course, whether such permission is appropriate." (YCPS, H., “Work Missed During the Term,” para 2).

As always, if you have questions about the Academic Regulations, you can direct them to Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs.


Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College
Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology; Neuroscience; Cognitive Science