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L&S Incomplete (I) and Extended Incomplete (EI) Grade Information
L&S Policy and Guidance for the use of the Incomplete (I) and Extended Incomplete (EI) Grade
What is the Incomplete (I) grade?
Incomplete (I) is a temporary grade assigned by an instructor when a student is not able to complete course work at the end of a term due to unforeseen circumstances. After completion of the course work subject to L&S policy and guidance, the Incomplete (I) grade will be changed to the letter grade earned by the course work.
L&S Policy for Assigning the Incomplete (I) Grade
Instructors of a course may assign the Incomplete Grade (I) if an L&S student:
- has completed at least 3/4th of the coursework and is missing only a small amount of graded work and
- is passing the class up to that point and
- was unable to complete the class by the end of the semester because of unforeseeable circumstances and
- can reasonably complete the remaining work in a timely fashion and
- has been in communications with the instructor and agreed upon a plan to complete course work.
Work must be completed by the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next fall or spring semester in residence (not summer), although the instructor may assign an earlier deadline. It is not appropriate to require a student to retake the course to satisfy an incomplete. A student does not need to be currently enrolled at UW-Madison in order to make up the work needed to remove an Incomplete (I) grade from their records. Note that students in schools or colleges other than L&S are governed by those schools’ policies re: maximum deadlines for Incompletes.
More about Incomplete deadlines
- The Incomplete deadline, the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next fall or spring semester in residence (not summer), is the same as the pass/fail and 50 percent tuition refund deadlines (unless the instructor sets an earlier deadline).
- The Incomplete (I) grade will lapse into a Failure (F), unless a grade for an incomplete is submitted electronically or the time limit has been extended via the Non-Roster Grade Change eForm by the instructor before the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes.
- Incompletes will not lapse prior to the end of the sixth week in the semester/term in order to allow instructors time to submit the final grade for work completed.
- Should an “I” remain unresolved for five years while a student has remained unenrolled, it will be replaced with a Permanent Incomplete (PI) grade. For more information, see valid grades.
Process for assigning and resolving an Incomplete Grade (I)
L&S Instructors may and are encouraged to consult with L&S ADS Deans if they have any questions.
- Ensure that the student’s situation qualifies for a grade of (I) per L&S policy (please see the guidance page)
- Consult with the student, determine, and communicate clearly the plan for coursework completion, and associated deadlines. Work must be completed by the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next fall or spring semester in residence (not summer), although the instructor may assign an earlier deadline.
- Assign the Incomplete grade in faculty center (if appropriate)
- Assign the final grade once the student has completed the work and before the end of the 6th week of classes.
- Reach out to the instructor to discuss options as soon as possible when they believe they cannot complete a course by the end of the semester, and if they meet the qualifications above.
- Discuss with the instructor what they must do to complete the course and have the Incomplete grade removed from the student's record, and by when. Work must be completed by the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next fall or spring semester in residence (not summer), although the instructor may assign an earlier deadline.
- Complete the work, as per their agreement with the instructor, by the deadline to have the grade of Incomplete removed.
Extended Incomplete (EI)
More about Extended Incomplete
It is within the purview of the instructor to determine whether or not a student's circumstances qualify them for an Extended Incomplete (EI). However, it is recommended that they consult with L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans' Services (L&S ADS).
If a student does qualify for an Extended Incomplete, the instructor will need to submit a grade change via the Non-Roster Grade Change eForm. Once an instructor submits the eForm, the EI grade change request will be routed directly to the L&S ADS’s worklist for approval.
Deadlines for resolving an Extended Incomplete
- The deadline for instructors to submit a grade in place of an Extended Incomplete is the last day of the classes.
- The student must complete and submit the remaining work prior to the end of the semester (at least two weeks before the last day of classes) allowing enough time for grading, and submission and processing of the final grade.
- If the grade for the Extended Incomplete (EI) is not submitted for processing by the last day of classes, the Extended Incomplete will lapse to a grade of "F".
- The final deadline for an Extended Incomplete is the end of the semester. Students cannot get multiple semesters/terms of Extended Incomplete for the same course.
Special Situations-residency, refunds, and graduation
- An Incomplete grade received in a student's last semester at UW-Madison may not be removed after five years of absence from the University without advanced permission from L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans’ Services. Such Incompletes must remain on the record with grades of permanent incomplete (PI) and do not lapse into failures.
- If a student enrolls with an Incomplete grade from a previous semester and is dropped later in the semester because the Incomplete has lapsed to an F or has been changed to a low grade, the student will be withdrawn. Permission to continue in the current term requires consultation with an L&S academic dean. Students who do not consult with a dean or are not granted permission to continue will be withdrawn from the term using an effective date within the refund period closest to the time of the student's actual withdrawal.
- If a student is graduating and has an incomplete in the term they wish to graduate, they will need to complete the work before their degree can be awarded. Finishing up work for an incomplete after the term/semester means that a student will be awarded their degree at the next official graduation date.
- For example, if a student plans to graduate in Spring 2024 and gets an incomplete in a spring course, they will need to complete the work by May 13 2024, in order to be eligible for a May degree. If they complete the work in July 2024, for example, they will be awarded an August 2024 degree.
- See “What is my graduation date” section of Graduation page for more information.
Contact the L&S Academic Dean's Office with further questions:
Phone: (608) 262-0617