Incomplete Coursework

Effective Date
September 1, 2010
Responsible Office
Graduate School - Academic Affairs
Rodney D. Priestley, Dean of the Graduate School

Academic Affairs

Administers incompletes policy.


Responsible for reviewing incompletes issued from the previous year.

Course Instructor

Responsible for reviewing all material submitted to resolve the incomplete and completing the grade change request.

Graduate Student

Responsible for completing all work related to a course in order to resolve the incomplete.

  1. Policy Statement

    This policy addresses incomplete coursework and the time in which incomplete courses must be resolved before an administrative F is issued.

  2. Who is Affected by this Policy

    This policy applies to all regularly enrolled graduate students as well as nondegree students eligible to take courses.

  3. Definitions

    Regular Enrollment
    A student within the defined program length who is pursuing degree-related work, completing requirements and making sufficient academic and/or research progress as specified by the department or program and the Graduate School. The student has registered by completing academic year sign-in and is in residence – that is, regularly present on campus, using University resources to fulfill degree requirements and objectives a majority of days per week for the academic term or year. Ordinarily enrolled students receive all benefits reserved for regular degree-seeking students. For Ph.D. students, this includes tuition and stipend support. The standard tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled regularly.

    Nondegree Students
    Students who are currently enrolled, but not receiving a Princeton graduate degree.

  4. Policy

    Students should complete the work of graduate courses, both 500- and 700-level, and any other courses during the regular academic term in which they are taken. Failure to do so may result in deferred reenrollment, which in turn has an impact on the student’s financial support and registration and course enrollment for the next academic year.

    This expectation of students should also guide faculty members who teach graduate courses. That is, faculty are obliged to evaluate and grade graduate student work by the end of the term in which the course is given. A grade of “Incomplete” (INC) should be given only in exceptional circumstances when there are compelling reasons, discussed in advance between the course head and the student, either for the student’s not turning in the work by the end of the academic term or for the course head’s not grading the work by the end of the academic term.

    A faculty member may set a deadline for submission of work and resolution of an incomplete for up to a maximum of one year from when the course began.  For a course that began in the fall term, for example, the maximum deadline would be the start of the following fall term.  If a student has not turned in the final paper or work for a course within one year after the beginning of the course, the grade in the course will be recorded by the Graduate School as “F.”

    The Graduate School encourages departments to establish the following procedures, if they have not done so already:

    • Set rules or policies governing incomplete coursework, communicate them to their students early and clearly, and then enforce their policies strictly and fairly, especially during the annual reenrollment process. Failure to do so leaves students uncertain about their own academic progress and their department’s academic standards. 
    • If a grade of incomplete is given, the department should record when the student turns in the final paper and notify the course head. The director of graduate studies has the responsibility of following up with the faculty member to get the work graded.
  5. Procedures (if applicable)


  6. Related Documents/Pages/Forms (if applicable)


  7. Roles and Responsibilities