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Incomplete Grades

Northwestern undergraduate students may request an incomplete grade of Y only in a course in which they have substantially completed the work, including any requirements of attendance or engagement. The university minimally requires that more than 50% of the course requirements must be complete in order for the course to be “substantially completed.” Students must also be passing the course based on the materials submitted thus far to be eligible for an incomplete Y grade. 

This policy allows but does not compel incomplete Y grades in the above circumstances; Grading is the purview of the faculty, as governed by school policies, and they may choose to deny requests for incomplete grades in cases where this policy allows them. 

If you believe you will need an incomplete in a SoC class, you must complete the incomplete grade petition form and have it approved by your instructor no later than the last regular class meeting of the quarter. Your instructor must approve the incomplete and verify remaining assignments required for you to receive a grade. You will then have one quarter to complete the work for the class and receive a grade. Any extension beyond one quarter will only be made with written approval of the Undergraduate Dean prior to the end of the one-quarter period. If you have questions about this process, please call the Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising at 847-491-7214, or email 

When the work is completed, the instructor will submit a grade change request to give the student their final grade. Failure to make up work within one year will result in a grade of “F.” Any extension beyond one quarter must be approved by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Advising before the expiration of the first incomplete deadline. 

Other Northwestern Schools may have different processes in place to accommodate incomplete requests. If you are requesting an incomplete in a class offered through the Bienen School of Music, McCormick School of Engineering, or the School of Education and Social Policy, please contact your course instructor directly for clarification.  To request an incomplete in a course taken in Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, please consult their incomplete policy.