Policy on Incomplete Coursework

Incompletes are granted or denied at the discretion of course Instructors. Incompletes can be granted in cases of incapacitating illness, serious family emergency, or in circumstances of comparable gravity. Permission can also be granted in order to allow a student to consult research materials not obtainable in the course of the semester. 

If an instructor grants an incomplete for a course, the instructor and student must agree on a date on which the coursework will be completed. This date must be no later than the last day of the exam period of the following semester. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure a grade is submitted by the agreed-upon date. The instructor is not required to submit a grade for the course after the agreed-upon date. The mark of incomplete (IN) is not a final grade. Therefore, if a final grade is not submitted by this date, the mark of IN will revert to UW (Unofficial Withdrawal), and the credits in the course will be forfeited. Note that students cannot be certified for graduation with a notation of incomplete (IN) on their transcript. All grades must be final in order for a student to graduate.

SIPA policy states that if the outstanding coursework is not completed by the last day of the exam period of the following term, the grade will automatically revert to Unofficial Withdrawal (UW), defined as "student did not complete attendance and/or assignments, but failed to withdraw." The mark of UW is a final, permanent grade that cannot be changed. Students with two or more marks of incomplete (IN) will have a registration hold placed on their account and may not register for classes in subsequent semesters (in exceptional circumstances, a student may submit a written appeal to the Committee of Deans for approval to continue, but the Committee of Deans may decline such requests, and there is no further appeal). 

Any student who believes that their situation warrants the granting of "IN" must follow this process:

1. Students will initiate the Incomplete process by speaking with the instructor and securing instructor approval.

2. The student will complete the Application for Incomplete and upload the instructor’s approval by the last day of the final exam period

3. The student will be contacted and counseled by their SIPA Advising Dean. The Advising Dean will approve and post the grading notation of Incomplete.

4. After the Application for Incomplete is received by OSA, the student should meet with their Advising Dean or Program Director. OSA approves and posts the Incomplete grading notation after receiving the student's completed form. 

5. Once an Incomplete has been entered into the student’s record, instructors can update that notation with a letter grade in SSOL once the student has completed all course requirements.

For questions on the incomplete process, instructors should contact Senior Assistant Dean Stefan Brown in the Office of Student Affairs at asb167@columbia.edu.