Department of Linguistics
Incomplete Grade Policy for Graduate Students
5/12/2006: Approved by faculty
In recognition of the excessive number of “I” grades which are being issued, the difficulties
incurred by students carrying incompletes into the course and research load of subsequent
terms, and the confusion of what constitutes acceptable completion of course requirements in
a timely manner, this document spells out some of the most basic issues surrounding the
issuance and resolution of “I” grades for graduate students in the Linguistics Department.
An incomplete may be issued when the quality of work is satisfactory, but some minor yet
essential requirement has not been completed, for reasons acceptable to the instructor. In the
case of graduate seminars, this is often manifested when the bulk of the work on a final paper
has been completed, but there are exceptional circumstances preventing the timely completion
of the paper. Exceptional circumstances may include personal emergencies or other hardships,
but do not include other academic work or poor planning.
Incompletes are granted at the discretion of the instructor only on the request of the student.
Faculty should never give an incomplete grade to a student simply for failing to meet the course
requirements. If a student wishes to request an incomplete grade assignment, he/she must
make the request prior to the due dates of the course requirements. If the instructor is willing
to consider an assignment of an incomplete, he/she should meet with the student and
determine whether this is an appropriate course of action. If the instructor then decides that an
incomplete is indeed reasonable, then he/she and the student should develop a contract
outlining the requirements and specific deadlines for making up the incomplete. Contracts
should be filed in the departmental office.
In establishing the contract, faculty are discouraged from setting deadlines or workloads which
may interfere with the student’s subsequent coursework. For example, a contract for course
work to be finished during a holiday period is far preferred to one for which the work must be
finished during or at the end of the following academic term. Common incomplete contracts
require that a final course paper be submitted before the beginning of the next term. For some
courses, when a student is unable to complete the term and has assignments and attendance
to complete, a contract might involve the student participating (not as a registered student) in
the same course the next time it is offered to (partially) fulfill the current course requirements.
Obviously this type of contract requires the participation of the next instructor. Note however,
the Registrar’s Office limit of one year to remove an incomplete (see below).
It is important that both parties understand that failure to meet the terms of the contract shall
resolve the “I” grade to a “no pass”. Contracts may be renegotiated only exceptionally.
In addition to the requirements of the agreement between student and instructor, the
Registrars’ Office has the following requirement:
Graduate students must convert graduate course incompletes within one calendar year of the
assignment of the incomplete or the "I" will remain on the academic record. marks of "I" do not
automatically convert to grades of "F" or "N." Students may request additional time for the
removal of the incomplete by submitting a petition stating the course requirements that were
not initially completed, with the instructor's signature, to the dean of the Graduate School for
review. This policy does not apply to incompletes routinely assigned to courses applying to the
completion of research (601), thesis (503), dissertation (603), and terminal projects (609,709).
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Incomplete Policy for Graduate Students