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Grades of In-Progress or Incomplete, Graduate

Type: Grading
Effective Date: 4/20/2023

In-Progress Grade (“IP”)

Northern Arizona University uses the "IP" grade for courses that, by their content and requirements, normally require more time than the term or session for which a student has enrolled. NAU recognizes the following graduate courses as appropriate for the "IP" grade: final project (689), thesis (699), dissertation (799), field work experience, and internship. 

Students must request that an “In-Progress” grade be given, unless they are enrolled in thesis (699) or dissertation (799). Forms should be available in the departmental office. Students must be making satisfactory progress in a course in order to receive a grade of "IP." Graduate students may complete "IP" grades until the time limit on their academic plan expires. 

Incomplete Grade (“I”)

A student, who, for reasons beyond the student's control, is unable to complete course requirements during the instructional period, may make a request to the instructor for a grade of Incomplete (“I”). The student must be passing the course and must have completed a majority of the course. Non-attendance, poor performance, or intentions to repeat the course do not justify issuance of an “I” grade. Instructors cannot assign an “I” grade unless the terms to resolve the Incomplete are finalized and an Incomplete Contract is completed before the course ends. 

If the instructor approves the request to give an Incomplete grade, the student and the instructor must complete a written agreement using the Incomplete Contract, Graduate form, located on the Registrar’s Office website. This form will specify course work to be completed by the student and due dates, in order for the Incomplete grade to be replaced with a grade for the completed course. Due dates may not extend further than 12 months from the end of the term in which the student was enrolled in the course. 

The original form must be signed by the instructor and the student, after which a copy is filed in the office of the unit that offered the course. Both the instructor and student should retain copies of the approved agreement. Once the specified due date in the contract has passed, the instructor will grade the work submitted by the student and submit a grade change form to the Registrar's Office. 

Outcome 1: For graduate students, a grade of Incomplete becomes a permanent “I” on their transcript if a grade is not assigned by the instructor within one regular semester following the due date (within one year of incomplete grade) listed in the Incomplete Contract.  Therefore, the graduate student and the professor should set a specific date when completing the Incomplete Contract of when the professor will submit the grade change form to the Registrar’s office.  

Outcome 2: Failure to fulfill the requirements of the Incomplete Contract without any “re-negotiation” or approval from the instructor may result in the student’s “I” grade changing to the grade earned in the course with the missing assignments factored into the final grade.

Outcome 3: If the student meets the requirements of the Incomplete Contract, the “I” grade will change to the grade earned in the course with all completed activities factored into the final grade.

Overcoming the hardships that made an incomplete necessary is an important accomplishment that should be recognized by the student and faculty.

Students eligible for graduation may elect to graduate with Incomplete grades as a part of their permanent academic record, if those courses are not required for graduation. Following degree conferral, Incomplete grades may not be changed. 

In order to earn credit for courses with permanent Incomplete or Fail grades, students must re-enroll and repeat the course. NAU does not use Incomplete grades in calculating grade point averages.

Personalized Learning

A Personalized Learning graduate student, who, for any reason, is unable to complete course requirements during his or her subscription period, will automatically receive an incomplete grade "I". In order for the Incomplete grade to be replaced with a grade for a completed course, coursework must be completed within one calendar year from the end of the subscription in which the “I” grade was posted.

For graduate students, any grade of Incomplete becomes a permanent “I” on their transcript.


For Non-Personalized Learning courses

To request an In-Progress "IP" grade, complete a Request for "IP" Grade form, usually available in the departmental office.

To request an Incomplete "I" grade, complete an Incomplete Contract, Graduate form available on the Registrar’s Office site under General forms, or from the departmental office.

Meet with your instructor to map out the contract, which must state expectations and a definite start/due date. Obtain other appropriate departmental approvals (if applicable). Complete the required work and submit it to the instructor. Once the contract work is successfully completed, the instructor will submit the appropriate grade change to the Registrar and your record will be revised.

Appeal eligible: Yes

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which no specific appeal or petition process exists. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. When applicable, the student’s advisor and department chair may endorse the petition letter. In some specific instances, utilizing the Graduate Academic Appeal Policy and UGCHP is more appropriate.

Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for clarification on which process to initiate.

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