Religious Accommodations

Bowdoin College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive learning community. This commitment includes recognizing and honoring the wide variety of religious traditions practiced on our campus. Below is a summary of Bowdoin’s religious observance policies along with some helpful tips and resources for students.
Students sit in the Sukka with Rabbi and observe the Jewish holiday Sukkot

Faculty Expectations

Bowdoin faculty are governed by the Faculty Handbook, which sets the following policies for academic religious observance accommodations: “No student is required to take an examination or fulfill other scheduled course requirements on recognized religious holidays. Instructors are encouraged to avoid scheduling examinations on recognized major religious holidays. Students are expected to declare their intention to observe religious holidays at the beginning of the semester. A list of religious holidays will be provided each year in the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook.” (from the 2022-2023 Faculty Handbook, §V.D.2)

Student Expectations

At the beginning of each semester, students should review the syllabus for every course and notice if any coursework deadlines conflict with religious holidays they intend to observe. If students anticipate needing any academic religious observance accommodations, then they must notify their professor(s) of their intention(s) at the beginning of the semester. Professors and students can then work together to determine a reasonable alternative arrangement for completing course requirements. Students should keep in mind that:

  • It is your responsibility to communicate your religious observance needs to your professor as early in the semester as possible. Faculty are not obligated to honor requests that are made later in the semester and/or at the last minute. See the reverse side for a sample email template you can use when making your request.
  • You are welcome and encouraged to propose an alternative arrangement for completing a course assignment that is impacted by your religious observance, but faculty are not obligated to honor your preferred accommodation. Remember that faculty must take into consideration many factors when making accommodations, including their schedule, the schedules of TAs or proctors, and their other academic obligations.

Common Religious Holidays

The calendar below includes major observances of the officially recognized religious groups at Bowdoin. In addition, the multifaith calendar from the Harvard Divinity School is a valuable resource regarding many other religious observances that do not appear in the list below but that may be of significance to members of our community.

Students or faculty who have any questions regarding how best to balance the academic calendar alongside religious observances are encouraged to consult with the Director of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Religious Holidays, 2022-2023 Academic Year

Rosh Hashanah^

September 25-27, Sunday-Tuesday

Yom Kippur^

October 4-5, Tuesday-Wednesday

Diwali

October 24, Monday

Ramadan^

March 22-April 20, Wednesday-Thursday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Passover^

April 5-13, Wednesday-Thursday

Good Friday

April 7, Friday

Easter

April 9, Sunday

Eid-al-Fitr^

April 20-21, Thursday-Friday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Eid-al-Adha^

not within the 22-23 academic year

^ = holiday begins at sundown on the first date and ends at sundown on the last date; dates subject to change 

Religious Holidays, 2023-2024 Academic Year

Rosh Hashanah^

September 15-17, Friday-Sunday

Yom Kippur^

September 24-25, Sunday-Monday

Diwali

November 12, Sunday

Ramadan^

March 10-April 9, Sunday-Tuesday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Good Friday

March 29, Friday

Easter

March 31, Sunday

Eid-al-Fitr^

April 9-10, Tuesday-Wednesday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Passover^

April 22-30, Monday-Tuesday

Eid-al-Adha^

not within the 23-24 academic year

^ = holiday begins at sundown on the first date and ends at sundown on the last date; dates subject to change

Religious Holidays, 2024-2025 Academic Year

Rosh Hashanah^

October 2-4, Wednesday-Friday

Yom Kippur^

October 11-12, Friday-Saturday

Diwali

November 1, Friday

Ramadan^

February 28-March 30, Friday-Sunday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Eid-al-Fitr^

March 30-31, Sunday-Monday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Passover^

April 12-20, Saturday-Sunday

Good Friday

April 18, Friday

Easter

April 20, Sunday

Eid-al-Adha^

not within the 24-25 academic year

^ = holiday begins at sundown on the first date and ends at sundown on the last date; dates subject to change

Religious Holidays, 2025-2026 Academic Year

Rosh Hashanah^

September 22-24, Monday-Wednesday

Yom Kippur^

October 1-2, Wednesday-Thursday

Diwali

October 20, Monday

Ramadan^

February 17-March 19, Tuesday-Thursday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Eid-al-Fitr^

March 19-20, Thursday-Friday (dates tentative; subject to change)

Passover^

April 1-9, Wednesday-Thursday

Good Friday

April 3, Friday

Easter

April 5, Sunday

Eid-al-Adha^

May 26-27, Tuesday-Wednesday

^ = holiday begins at sundown on the first date and ends at sundown on the last date; dates subject to change