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. 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.
The decision to grant an Incomplete or not is solely that of the instructor teaching the course. If an instructor chooses to grant an Incomplete, he or she may grant a short Incomplete or a long Incomplete. If an Incomplete is not made up by the deadline below, it will become an F.
Deadlines for Short and Long Incompletes
- A short Incomplete (I) must be made up by the end of the fourth full week of the next term.
- A long Incomplete (II) must be made up by the end of the next regular term in which the student is enrolled (summer sessions excluded). *
*Starting Summer 2022, a Long Incomplete (II) is no longer available as a grading option.
Risks of Incompletes
Multiple incompletes - mandatory leave
- Students with two or more Incompletes will be eligible for a Mandatory Leave of Absence.
- 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 often find that incomplete coursework from previous terms is very difficult to finish while carrying a full schedule in the current term.
- A student may not graduate with an "I" or "II" on the transcript.
Repeating an Incomplete Course
The Incomplete designation may not be used to allow a student to repeat the course in a subsequent semester. If a student must repeat a course in order to complete the work for it, the instructor will assign a grade of F for the initial semester and the student must re-register for the course for credit in a subsequent semester. In some cases, the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standing may permit a student to withdraw retroactively from the course by petition.
Resolving an Incomplete Grade
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.