Incomplete Policy & Process


Incomplete Policy:

The grade of Incomplete (“I”) is reserved for exceptional circumstances such as an illness, an accident, a family emergency, or another extraordinary life challenge that makes it impossible for a student to complete the course requirements. As soon as possible after the qualifying event, a student should request the grade of “I” from the faculty instructor for the course they are enrolled in. The request must be submitted prior to the last day of class for the course. Any course in which a student fails to complete the work of the course and does not provide the instructor with a satisfactory explanation before the date when grades must be turned in will be graded F.


To be eligible for an “I” grade, a student must have satisfactorily completed, passed, and attended the majority of the course. The faculty member will determine if the student has met an acceptable threshold for the course in order to qualify for an “I” grade. Faculty members will thoughtfully review the request, keeping in mind the circumstances for which an “I” grade is appropriate. The faculty member is not required to offer the “I” grade to the student. If they do decide to grant a student an “I” grade, the student must submit a “Contract for Incomplete Course Grade”. The faculty member must outline and provide details for the specific remaining coursework that will need to be completed along with a timeline for completion. Although the I may remain on the record for a maximum of one year, the instructor should normally set a much briefer period within which the uncompleted work must be made up. Once the student receives an “I” grade, they must arrange to fulfill all the terms of the “Contract for Incomplete Course Grade” with their faculty. 

A student can not have an “I” removed by re-taking or re-registering for the same course at GW or taking the same course equivalent elsewhere. Students will not be able to register for a course in which the course with the “I” grade is a prerequisite for, until the “I” grade is satisfied, unless given an exception from the instructor of that course. An Incomplete that is not removed by the end of the contract is automatically changed to an “F”. When the “I” is changed to a letter grade, the “I” will be replaced by the letter grade on the transcript. All SEAS graduate students with two or more outstanding Incompletes are barred from further course enrollment; see Incompletes under University Regulations regarding continuous enrollment. Please note, as per the continuous enrollment policy, that for international students studying on an F-1 visa this might mean that they have to return to their home country and reapply for a visa in order to complete their incomplete courses.


Process for students and faculty:

A student who wishes to request a grade of Incomplete (“I”) must submit an official request to the faculty member of the course via email providing a detailed reason for the request, at least a few days prior to the final exam. In many cases, supporting documentation (ex: medical, military orders, etc.) that verifies the reason for the request should be included in the email. The faculty member will review the request and the documentation. If the request is denied, the faculty member will notify the student within one day, providing the student enough time to appear for the final exam. If the request is granted, the faculty member will submit an "I" grade for the course in GWEB.


If the Incomplete request is granted, the student must follow these steps: 

  1. Complete the Student Information Section of the Contract for Incomplete Course Grade and submit to the faculty member
  2. The faculty member will complete the remaining sections of the Contract for Incomplete Course Grade, sign it, and return it to the student for signature. The student will submit the completed and signed form to the faculty member and the SEAS Graduate Advising and Student Services Office at [email protected].
  3. The work completed date should be prior to the last day of class of the 2nd semester after the incomplete is granted, but can not exceed one year.
  4. Failure for the student to submit the completed and signed Contract for Incomplete Course Grade to [email protected] will result in a hold placed on their account until the form is submitted.
  5. The student is responsible for working with the faculty member to complete the coursework in accordance with the established deadline.
  6. Upon completion of the required coursework, or the expiration of the agreed upon time frame in the Contract, the faculty member will change the student’s grade in GWEB. 
  7. If the terms of the Contract are met, the faculty member will convert the “I” grade to the appropriate grade. 
  8. If the terms are not met, the faculty member will convert the “I” grade to an “F” grade.
  9. Faculty will have 15 days after the deadline of the Contract to convert these grades in GWEB.