Hello and welcome to “Quick Question,” the jcomm advising podcast. Today’s quick question is about getting an incomplete. What is it? What does it mean?
An “incomplete” or “I” grade is one of the possible grades you might get for a class. It does not initially affect your GPA nor do you earn credit for the class. As the name suggests, it actually means you haven’t finished the class. It’s incomplete.
It does, however, imply that your work in the class was satisfactory and that you were passing a class but a small (yet essential!) requirement for the class had not been completed. The reason why it wasn’t completed has to be accepted by the instructor. Common reasons may include having to leave the class early for a family or medical emergency. Again, the instructor has to accept your reason for not being able to finish the course right away.
You have one calendar year to have this incomplete grade changed to a regular one. Your professor or the academic department involved may impose a shorter deadline. If they don’t, you have one year. If the instructor doesn’t change the grade within the year or within the set deadline, that “I” grade will change to an F or failure, if you took the course graded, or an N or no pass if you took the course pass/no pass. The F will affect your GPA; the N will not.
The important thing to note here is that the grade can only be changed by the instructor of the course. It’s important because there are several misconceptions about how to remove an incomplete. Understand this: your transcripts reflect what you do academically term by term. Say you get an incomplete in one class this term. If you register and complete the same class in another term, you will earn a grade for that term, not the term you got the incomplete. The original “I” will remain an “I” in the original term until the 12-month period is over. Then, it will convert to an “F.”
In other words: If you took J100, a graded course, from Prof. Roberts in Fall 2008 and earned an "I," you need to work with Prof. Roberts within one calendar year to have that incomplete removed. If you don't, after Fall 2009, that "I" grade will automatically change into an "F." Again, not good for your GPA.
After receiving the "I" in Fall 2008, it would be a mistake if you decide to register for J100 again in Winter 2009 and take it with Prof. Jackson instead. Again, this is a mistake. Don’t do this. If you do this, you will receive a grade for J100 for Winter 2009. Your incomplete grade from Fall 2008 will not go away and will become an "F" after one year. You cannot do this even if Prof. Roberts was teaching J100 again in Winter 2009.
If you need more information about this, the university’s incomplete policy is on the registrar’s office website. Your academic advisor can also help you with this.
“Quick question” is an advising podcast provided by the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Visit the J-school Student Services office in 101 Allen Hall or on the web at jcomm.uoregon.edu.