Incompletes and Mandatory Leave

Students should request Incompletes rarely if at all. It is far better to plan ahead and use advising and academic support resources to ensure finishing the coursework on time.

Students with one Incomplete must finish the work by the fifth week of the next semester. Students who accumulate two or more Incompletes (i.e., multiple Incompletes) will become eligible for a Mandatory Leave of Absence.

The decision to grant an Incomplete or not is solely that of the instructor teaching the course.

Unfinished coursework may result in an F grade.

If the work for a course is incomplete as a result of the student's unexplained failure to hand in assigned work or to take the final examination at the regularly scheduled time, the instructor will issue a grade of F for the course. If an Incomplete is not made up by the deadline below, it will become an F.

Incompletes can be extremely problematic

  • Incompletes affect the number of credits earned in the short term and can have an impact on financial aid, athletic eligibility or visa status for international students.
  • Students who receive an Incomplete are rendered ineligible for the Dean's List and possibly Phi Beta Kappa, even if their academic qualifications would have otherwise been sufficient.
  • Students with two or more Incompletes will be eligible for a Mandatory Leave of Absence. (See more on multiple Incompletes and Mandatory Leave of Absence below.)
  • Students often find that incomplete coursework from previous terms is very difficult to finish while carrying a full schedule in the current term.

Change of Grade from an Incomplete

The Incomplete is made up only when the official grade is received by the College Office. If a grade is converted to an F, the instructor may choose to change it up to two full semesters (excluding summer) after the term in which the course was taken. The instructor who gives an evaluation, exam or course grade has sole authority for changing such evaluation, exam or course grade, provided the instructor remains on the faculty (or the emeritus faculty) of the University of Pennsylvania.

In cases in which faculty appointments have terminated, or faculty have resigned or are deceased, sole authority for changing an evaluation rests with the undergraduate chair of the relevant department.