MIT’s religious accommodations policy

April 30, 2020

Dear students,

As you continue to navigate this extraordinary year, we want to remind you about MIT’s policy on academics and student religious observances. The policy, based on Massachusetts law, allows for students to be granted absences from classes or a deferment on academic work or exams if they fall on the same day as a religious observance in their faith tradition. The policy states:

“Any student who is unable to attend classes or participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of his or her religious beliefs is excused from any such activity. The student will be given the opportunity to make up the work that was missed, provided that the makeup work does not create an unreasonable burden upon MIT… The Institute will not level fees or charges of any kind when allowing the student to make up missed work. In addition, students will suffer no adverse or prejudicial effects because they have made use of these provisions.” (from Section 9.10.2 of MIT’s Policies and Procedures)

MIT encourages all members of the community to express their beliefs freely. Whether students are on-campus or learning remotely, we are committed to equal opportunity in education and employment as outlined in the nondiscrimination policy. Please consult this partial listing of religious holidays compiled by the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life to identify potential issues.

We encourage you to contact instructors to discuss and plan for upcoming religious observances that may occur at the same time as a class, assignment due date, or exam. Additionally, Student Support Services (for undergraduates) or the Office of Graduate Education (for graduate students) are available to discuss options with you and support your discussions with faculty. Lastly, the Chair of the Faculty can assist if needed.

Please contact Gustavo Burkett, senior associate dean for diversity and community involvement, if you have questions about the policy or would like suggestions on how best to support students. Gus is available by email at or by phone at 617-258-0801.

Best regards,

Blanche Staton
Senior Associate Dean and Director, Office of Graduate Education

David Randall
Senior Associate Dean, Student Support and Wellbeing

Gustavo Burkett
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Community Involvement

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