L&S Incomplete (I) Grade Information

The following section explains what it means to earn a grade of I (incomplete) for an L&S undergraduate student.

Qualifications for receiving an Incomplete (I) grade

An instructor may choose to give a student a grade of Incomplete (I) if the student:
  • was 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 only a small amount of missing graded work (e.g., a single paper or test). An instructor should never grant a student an incomplete if the student has more than 3/4th of the work to complete for the particular course.
It is not appropriate to require a student to retake the course to satisfy an incomplete.

Instructor responsibilities

The following are instructor responsibilities when granting an Incomplete grade:
  • Ensure that the student meets the qualifications above
  • Consult with the student and determine what they must do to complete the course and have the Incomplete from their record, and by when. Work must be completed by the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes of the student's next semester in residence, although the instructor may assign an earlier deadline.
  • Assign the Incomplete grade in SIS (if appropriate)
  • Assign the final grade once the student has completed the work.

Student responsibilities

The following are student responsibilities with Incomplete grades:
It is not appropriate to require a student to retake the course to satisfy an incomplete.

The Incomplete (I) grade is temporary. If work for the course has not been complete by the deadline:

  • the Incomplete (I) grade will lapse into a Failure (F), unless the time limit has been extended by a grade change form [granted an extended incomplete (EI)] signed by the course instructor before the end of the fourth (4th) week of classes.
    • If a student has been awarded an Extended Incomplete (EI), the student must complete the work and have the final grade reported to the Registrar's Office before the last day of classes. If the EI has not been removed by the last day of classes, it will lapse into a Failure (F).
  • A grade of permanent incomplete (PI) will replace an Incomplete if it was received the last time a student was registered and has not been removed/resolved within five years. In other words, a permanent incomplete will replace an I if the student received it at least five years ago when the student was last enrolled at UW-Madison and it has not been resolved within the 5-year period. For more information, see grades and GPA.
Additional information can be found in the Guide under Incompletes.

Resources for Questions:

L&S Student Academic Affairs: (608) 262-0617, lsdeans@saa.ls.wisc.edu
L&S Academic Advising: (608) 262-5858, advisingaas@ls.wisc.edu

See Also: