Mandatory Leave of Absence

Incomplete Course Support Plan

A Mandatory Leave of Absence prevents students from re-enrolling at Penn until all the incomplete coursework has been finished and those courses’ grades reported. This frequently entails at least one semester off from school.


Students who accumulate two or more Incomplete grades in each term or in cumulative terms and do not finish the work by the Multiple-Incomplete deadline will be placed on a Mandatory Leave of Absence by the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standing until all academic work is finished satisfactorily. This action is not intended to be punitive; rather, it is an opportunity for students to finish incomplete courses so that they may start a new term without the burden of extra work and address the issues that led to the incomplete work.

At the end of each semester, students who have multiple Incomplete grades are notified that they are eligible for Mandatory Leave of Absence and informed of the deadline by which they must resolve all coursework connected to multiple Incompletes to avoid being placed on leave. Students are requested to fill out an Incomplete Course Support Plan (see red box above) and return it to the Academic Standing Coordinator.

The Multiple-Incomplete deadline is earlier than the deadline for single Incompletes and falls between the end of the make-up exam period and the end of the Course Selection Period in the fall and spring semesters. The exact date is listed in the Incomplete Course Support Plan for a particular semester. Students should be aware that instructors are not obligated to adjust to this shorter timeframe.

Students who are enrolled in summer courses and have Incompletes from the spring must finish all Incomplete work (other than postponed exams scheduled for the beginning of the fall semester) before Summer Session I begins if they want to participate in summer coursework at Penn. Summer Credit Away at other institutions will not be accepted if a student has not resolved all Incomplete work prior to the Penn Summer Session I deadline.

  • Weingarten Center: Learning Instructors at the Weingarten Center are available to work with students who have Incompletes to help develop and work through manageable plans for finishing the work. The Center offers individual appointments as well as group workshops on completing your Incompletes.
  • Incomplete Course Support Plan: Students who are working on multiple Incompletes should fill out an Incomplete Course Support Plan. Dr. Doug Paletta, Academic Standing Coordinator, will receive a copy. The completed Plan should detail what work remains for each Incomplete course and include a timetable for finishing the work by the Multiple-Incomplete deadline. Students should use the Incomplete Course Support Plan to frame a conversation with each instructor about how the coursework will be resolved within the Multiple-Incomplete deadline.
  • Communication with Instructors: Students should keep in contact with the instructors whose courses they are working toward completing. Students should clarify with instructors what work remains and when it needs to be submitted to comply with the College’s Multiple-Incomplete deadline, as well as with any stipulations made by individual instructors about their own availability to review work. All work should be submitted to allow instructors ample time to review students’ work before the College deadline.

When all coursework is completed, it is the student’s responsibility to ask the instructors to email the Academic Standing Coordinator in the College Office and confirm that the work is completed and the student is expected to receive a passing grade.

If all incomplete work is not confirmed completed and passing by instructor(s) by the Multiple-Incomplete deadline, students will be placed on Mandatory Leave of Absence. A Mandatory Leave of Absence entails at least one semester off from school. Students may not apply to return to classes until all coursework has been completed and the grades reported.

There are several things to consider when placed on a Mandatory Leave of Absence:

  • Courses for the following term may be dropped immediately and students will not be able to return from leave until the work for ALL Incompletes is confirmed as finished.
  • A return from Mandatory Leave of Absence is contingent upon achieving good academic standing. If one or more of the incomplete courses results in a failing grade or if the term or cumulative g.p.a. is below 2.0, students may be placed on academic probation or required to remain on leave for a full academic year.
  • Students who were on academic probation in the semester in which they were placed on Mandatory Leave of Absence are required to remain on leave for a full academic year.
  • Students may not receive Penn credit for courses at any other institution while on leave.
  • Student PennCards will be deactivated when the leave is imposed.
  • Students may not live in University-owned housing, nor may they participate in and/or hold a leadership position in a registered University organization while on leave.
  • Students may be asked for additional documentation to help determine their readiness to successfully resume full-time studies.