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Northwestern University


You are expected to complete all work in each of your Weinberg College courses by the appropriate deadline. You will not be granted permission to make up a final examination or complete other assigned course work after the end of a quarter except in unforeseen circumstances clearly beyond your control, such as incapacitating illness or family emergency.

Incomplete grades will generally be given only to students who have already completed most of the assignments for the course and who have a reasonable chance of passing by making up the missed work.  They are not a way to get extra time to improve performance, and they are not appropriate for a student who has abandoned a course (stopped attending and turning in work). To ensure fairness, all requests for incomplete grades must be approved by both the professor and the Assistant Dean for Academic Standing. You will be asked to provide documentation of your circumstances. Because incompletes are not always an optimal solution to academic difficulties, you may want to consider withdrawing from the course, if that deadline has not yet passed. Consult your College Adviser if you have concerns.

Grades of X are given when students have been making good progress in a course, but miss the final exam. If you expect to miss or have missed a final exam, you must follow the steps below in order to request permission to take a makeup exam. Requests for makeup exams should be made no later than the first week of the following quarter. 

Grades of Y are given to students who have been making good progress in a course, but have not completed assigned work, such as course papers, because of illness or other circumstances beyond their personal control. Instructors may assign a Y grade only with prior permission from the Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising, so students requesting a Y must follow the steps below prior to the end of the quarter.

Incomplete petition process

 In order to obtain an incomplete grade for a course, a student must:

  1. Complete the student portion of the Petition for an Incomplete
  2. Request an incomplete grade from your professor
  3. If approved, the professor must complete the faculty portion of the Petition for an Incomplete
  4. Obtain documentation to verify the unforeseen circumstances
  5. Submit the completed petition and the supporting documentation to the Weinberg Advising Office, 1908 Sheridan Road, where a College Adviser will discuss the situation with you; it then is submitted to the Assistant Dean for Academic Standing for final approval.

Documentation to support a Petition for an Incomplete

Students must submit documentation to support their petition for an incomplete.  All documentation for physical health ailments must be submitted to and verified by Searle Student Health Center.  Students must submit verifiable documentation of all other emergencies with the Petition for an Incomplete

Please review the Searle Medical Excuse Policy for additional information.

Completing course requirements

When you talk with an instructor to request permission for an incomplete, you should also discuss a timeline for completing the course requirements. All missing work, including exams, must be made up before the end of your next quarter at Northwestern. Keep in mind, however, that finishing up remaining work from a previous quarter can be very difficult once you are involved in a new set of courses. Also, when the break between quarters is long, you may find it difficult to recall some key information from a course. It is often to your advantage, therefore, to complete missing work much sooner than the end of your next quarter.

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