STUDENT SUCCESS & How to Complete an Incomplete

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 1/1/16.

If you have been granted an incomplete, follow these instructions to complete your incomplete.

First, know that as professors we always hope students will not have to take an incomplete in our courses. This is because though an incomplete grants a 10-week extension from the last day of the course, it will usually require a student to double-up and work on two courses at the same time. In this face-paced accelerated format of Wesley Seminary this is difficult to do.

So, the best tactic is to avoid an incomplete. Here are several brief ways to avoid an incomplete:

1) Do your work early each week. Unforeseen events will always occur and if you have completed your work early in the week you will have the flexibility to address these unanticipated events. It is important to develop a rhythm in your academic work week that includes doing your work early in the week.

2) Tell your professor immediately if there are extenuating circumstances.

3) Know the Wesley Seminary Official Policy on late work (repeated below). Adjunct professors cannot deviate from these policies.  But, as a full-time professor I have adjusted late penalties to be less severe. See my late penalties here.

4) Know the Wesley Seminary Official Policy on requesting incompletes (repeated below). I have written more about how to do this here.

5)  Do not violate the attendance policy. “The issuance of an incomplete cannot be given if the student fails to meet the attendance requirements.”

6) Following these rules allows professors to be fair to all students. Professors will be reluctant (justifiably so) to grant an extension if you do not follow the rules. It would be unfair to those students who did follow the stipulations.

Official Wesley Seminary Late Policy:

Late Policy:

  • No credit is available for postings of any kind made in the discussion forums after a given workshop ends.
  • If your instructor approves your submission of late assignments, each assignment score will be penalized 10% per day up to six days late. After the end of the sixth day, late assignments will not be accepted. An assignment is a paper, a project, a team presentation, etc., but not a discussion or quiz/test.
  • No late assignments will be accepted after the close of the final workshop.

Incomplete Policy:

Students are expected to complete the course requirements by the last class session. There may be instances when crisis circumstances or events prevent the student from completing the course requirements in a timely manner. However, the issuance of an incomplete cannot be given if the student fails to meet the attendance requirements. In these rare situations, a grade of “I” (incomplete) may be issued but only after completing the following process:

  • At least 65% of the work must be completed at the time of the request.
  • The student must request an “I” from the instructor at least one week prior to the end date of the course.
  • The instructor must obtain approval from the Dean of Wesley Seminary.

Because “incompletes” are granted only for extenuating circumstances, the student’s grade will not be penalized.

A student who receives an “incomplete” has 10 weeks from the final meeting date of the course to complete course requirements and turn them in to the instructor. If, at the end of the 10-week extension, the student has failed to complete the course requirements in order to receive a passing grade, the “incomplete” will become an “F.” A student with more than one incomplete on record is subject to academic suspension.

Therefore, students must meet the following criteria and follow the steps below:

1)  The withdrawal request or incomplete request must be submitted before 5 PM on the Thursday of week 14 for a 16-week course.  If you are in an 8 week course, then you must request an incomplete before 5 PM on the Thursday of week 7.

2)  A withdrawal request must be made to the IWU Registration Change Counselor in the Office of Student Services (email them at

3) Remember, “the issuance of an incomplete cannot be given if the student fails to meet the attendance requirements.”

4) An incomplete request must be made to your professor (

  • Again, the request must be made before 5 PM on the Thursday of week 14 or week 7 (for 16 week or 8 week courses respectively).
  • You must have at the time of the request have completed at least 65% of the coursework.

From the above policies you can see that typically,

  • No credit is allowed for postings in a workshop after a given workshop ends.
  • If a late posting is approved, it still will receive a 10% a day reduction due to tardiness and fairness.
  • No homework will be accepted after the last day of a course.
  • But, a withdrawal or incomplete can be requested
    • on the last day of week 14 in a 16-week course or the last day of week 7 in an 8-week course
    • if the student has 65% of their coursework completed (the student must demonstrate to the professor that they have completed this percentage.)

So, knowing the above how do you complete an incomplete?

TIMING:  First an incomplete allows you an extra 10-weeks after the last scheduled day of the course. No further extension can be granted.

CONTENT:  An incomplete is very similar to an “independent study course” which means:

  1. The student must present a plan to the professor of the assignments that they will redo or do (if they have not been completed).  Creating this plan counts as part of your 10-week extension.
  2. The professor cannot give feedback on assignments or feedback on the final grade. Feedback was given for assignments submitted on time during the course. Additionally detailed input was given in the instructions for each assignment. Because this is similar to an “independent study course” the student will not receive feedback from the professor, but must independently complete the assignments from the instructions and the feedback given during the course. This rule cannot be broken, since the professor will have moved on to instructing other students. It would unfair to them to take time away from them and allow a student’s tardiness to affect current students.
  3. The student must compute how many days each and every assignment is late (add up the total days each was overdue from the day it was due to the day the incomplete was requested). For my students, follow my lesser late penalties here.
  4. The student will submit the following in one (1) email before the end of 10-weeks (counting from the last day of the scheduled course):
    • One email with all forum postings, written assignments, etc.
    • Each completed assignment will have a “heading” that includes:
      1. title, number and student name,
      2. points possible,
      3. days late and total percentage each assignment is to be reduced,
      4. followed by the assignment (follow the syllabus instructions, e.g. forum postings do not need to be in APA format, but end-of-week papers do need to be in APA format).
    • The professor will submit your grade within six weeks after receiving your email with the above assignments.
  5. The above must be followed carefully or the homework cannot be accepted. Because an incomplete adds considerably to a professor’s workload after the course was completed, these rules ensure the professor’s current students are not penalized.
  6. Your professor will be praying for you.  We want all students to succeed and to increase their world-changing impact.