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Incomplete Grades


Incomplete Grades (Grade of I)

Whenever students cannot be assigned a grade at the end of a course in which they have been enrolled because their work is for good reason incomplete, the instructor will postpone the grades, reporting I grades to the University Registrar.

Assignment of I Grade

  • If a student is unable to complete all work by the end of the course term, the student may request, or an instructor may recommend, a grade of “I” in those instances in which all three of the following conditions apply:
    • The unfinished portion of the student’s work is small.
    • The completed portion of the student’s work is satisfactory quality (C- or above).
    • There is such evidence of hardship as to make it unreasonable to hold the student to established course or semester deadline. Hardship may include unexpected illness or hospitalization; a death in the family; military service; or other emergencies or crisis situations beyond the student’s control.
  • Completion of outstanding work cannot require the student attend the course again from the beginning or a substantial portion of it.
  • Completion of outstanding work cannot depend on the instructor to provide significant additional individual instructional support.
  • An incomplete can only be assigned at the end of the term and instructors are strongly encouraged not to offer an Incomplete ahead of that time. In the case where a student’s ability to complete coursework is negatively impacted in the early part of the term, the student should talk to the instructor and their advisor about the likelihood of academic success and positive learning outcomes if they choose to remain in the course.
  • Instructors will submit a final course grade upon completion of outstanding coursework, or once the completion date specified in the contract has passed; this includes a final grade in the event that some or all outstanding coursework has not been submitted.
  • Any incomplete grade that has not been resolved by the end of the completion semester will automatically default to the alternative final grade submitted with the original or revised extension contract.

Purpose of Incomplete Grade Contract

  • If the student’s situation meets all three criteria for an incomplete (See Assignment of I grade), the instructor and student will discuss and agree to the terms by which the remaining work will be completed, including timeline and any modifications to outstanding assignments.
  • Instructor will fill out the Incomplete Grade completion contract in myZou through the grade roster.
  • Incomplete Grade contract explicitly sets the requirements for successful completion of remaining coursework.
  • Incomplete Grade Contract serves as a record of outstanding work and grade to be assigned in the event the instructor leaves the university and the program offering the course must resolve the final grade.

Completion of Incomplete Grade Contract

  • Instructor will be required to provide the following information in the contract:
    • A brief statement documenting the circumstances for which the incomplete is being granted.
    • The grade for work completed at the time the incomplete is assigned and the percentage of the total grade it represents.
    • An itemized list of outstanding assignments (quizzes, papers, projects etc.) and the weight of each in the final course grade.
    • A completion date no later than the deadline for submission of final course grades for the subsequent full semester term (referred to below as ‘the incomplete period”); however, the instructor may assign an earlier deadline.
      • Incompletes assigned in the fall term will expire at the end of the following spring term, while incompletes assigned in the spring or summer term will expire at the end of the following fall semester.
    • A final course grade based on work completed at the time the “I” grade was originally submitted, in the event that the incomplete work is not submitted, or not submitted by the contract deadline (F or higher).
  • Once the instructor has filled out the incomplete grade information in myZou and submitted it with the final course grade roster, the next time the student logs into their myZou student account, they will be automatically prompted to consent to the terms for the incomplete and the default grade based on work to date.
  • If the student does not consent to the terms for the incomplete, or to the default grade based on work to date, the student may address with the instructor directly, through the grade appeal process (see Faculty Handbook, IV. Credits and Grades, 10. Review of student grades), or through the Revision of Records process.

Incomplete Grade Extension

Can the deadline for an incomplete be extended?
  • Extension of incomplete deadlines within the initial incomplete period.
  • If a deadline is assigned earlier than the end of the initial incomplete period, the instructor may assign the final grade based on all submitted work once that deadline has passed.
  • Any extension of the original deadline within the initial incomplete period must have instructor’s consent but does not require revision of original contract.
  • There is no “automatic” extension of deadline beyond the one specified in the original contract to the end of the initial incomplete period.
Extension of incomplete beyond the initial incomplete period

The instructor may request an extension of one additional semester beyond the original incomplete period, provided that the circumstances warrant it (i.e., significant ongoing hardship beyond the student’s control).

  • To do this, the instructor must submit a revised completion contract with any necessary changes regarding grade for completed portion, remaining assignments, and new completion deadline.
  • As with the original contract, student must indicate consent to the new conditions.
  • The extension of the initial incomplete period to a second semester must be approved by the academic dean of the student’s school or college, who will review the student’s larger record to ensure that the extension does not negatively impact the student’s overall academic success.
  • If the extension period expires without completion of the incomplete, the instructor will assign a final grade based on all submitted work at that time. There will be no additional extensions granted beyond this semester. Students may then wish to consider the Revision of Records process or the MU course repeat policy.


Exceptions to an unresolved incomplete grade changing to an F are:

  • courses taken for graduate level credit
  • courses taken prior to fall 2003
  • undergraduate research, honors research or problems courses
    that are approved for multiple terms of continuous research


A grade of I is not figured into the grade point average.


Students should not re-enroll in a course for which they have been assigned a grade of I.

Graduate School Incomplete Policy

Please visit the Graduate School website for more information.

Questions? Contact the Office of the University Registrar-Records at 573-882-7881.
Policy Source: Faculty Council, Article VII, 2C