Incompletes are meant to help you through an emergency, such as serious illness or a crisis in your family, that occurs near the end of a semester. If your work is of passing quality throughout the semester, but for reasons beyond your control you cannot take the final exam or complete the final paper on time, your instructor may agree to give you an Incomplete. If you want to take an Incomplete, read on. 

Before the semester ends...

  • Confirm with your instructor exactly what you must do (paper, rescheduled exam, etc.) to complete the course. Establish a date for submitting the missing assignment or taking a make-up exam. The date must be well in advance of L&S's established deadlines to give the instructor enough time to grade the work, determine the overall grade, and post the grade in CalCentral before the deadline.
  • If it is a Political Science course, the instructor will need to fill out an "Incomplete Contract" from the department which you will then need to sign.
  • And -- very important! -- get contact information from your instructor, especially if he/she is a visiting professor and will leave the vicinity at the end of the semester. It will be your responsibility to submit your work by the agreed-upon date in order to get your final grade. If taking a make-up exam, it will be your responsibility to contact the instructor a few weeks before the pre-arranged make-up exam date to finalize the time and location.

If you don't finish the Incomplete by the deadline...

You can extend your Incomplete by petition if necessary. You must do this BEFORE the deadline occurs and you will need your instructor's permission. Fill out a "Petition to Extend an Incomplete Grade," have your instructor sign it, and ask the instructor to submit the form to the Poli Sci Undergraduate Advising Office ( before the original deadline, and we will forward it to the College. Be sure to establish a new deadline!

If you decide not to finish the course...

If you never want to finish the course, you may have the Incomplete permanently frozen, but you have to freeze it BEFORE the Incomplete deadlines occur. If you extended your Incomplete, you cannot then have it frozen. Frozen Incompletes may never be completed, nor can that course be repeated. Freezing an Incomplete is done by Petition. You may freeze up to two Incompletes.

Doing nothing about an Incomplete grade...

If you do nothing to complete, extend, or freeze your Incomplete by the deadline, it will lapse permanently to an F.  

Important to know!

Seniors! If you are graduating you must complete all Incompletes in required courses (i.e., necessary to graduate) by the end of the semester (the last day of finals) or you will not graduate that term.

You cannot remove an incomplete grade by repeating the course. If you repeat the course the incomplete lapses to an F or NP. If attending class is required by the instructor as a condition of removing the incomplete grade, you should arrange to sit in on the course informally.


  • Grades for Incompletes received in a fall semester must be posted in CalCentral by the instructor by the first day of classes the following fall semester
  • Grades for Incompletes received in a spring semester must be posted in CalCentral by the instructor by the first day of classes the following spring semester
  • Grades for Incompletes received in Summer Session are the same as for Spring Incompletes - they must be posted in CalCentral by the instructor by the first day of classes the following SPRING semester