Incomplete (IN) and Withdrawal (W) Grade Option FAQs 

Incomplete Grade Option FAQs

What is an Incomplete grade?

An Incomplete (IN) is assigned as a grade option for work not completed as a result of documented illness or other emergency. Typically, grades of IN can only be assigned after academic week 12 in the semester, but in Fall 2021, an exception was granted to allow students the ability to request an IN as of October 25, 2021.

When should I request a mark of Incomplete?

You should request a mark of Incomplete if personal circumstances currently prohibit you from continuing in the course this semester.  If your professor agrees to grant the Incomplete, you should fill out the top portion of the Assignment of Incomplete and Requirements for Completion Form (To the student/personal information) and then submit the form to your professor.  On the form, your professor will indicate the assignments, projects, and/or examinations you must submit to officially complete the course.  Both you and your professor should sign the form and each of you should keep a copy of it for subsequent reference. You should also submit a copy of the form to your academic advisor. 

You must complete the pending work within one year (no later than December 15, 2022), or the mark of IN will turn into a permanent grade of IX (Expired Incomplete), which calculates in your Grade Point Average (GPA) as 0 points. 

Note that if you enroll for Spring 2022 courses, you will have work to do from any Fall 2021 course in which you requested an Incomplete in addition to your new courses.

How do I take an Incomplete in my classes?

Contact your instructor(s) to discuss your request. If the professor approves, fill out the Assignment of Incomplete and Requirements for Completion Form and give it to the professor to fill in the respective section.  Both you and your professor should keep a copy of the completed form.

What should I do if my instructor denies my request to take an Incomplete?

Contact USC Advisor Connect for advisor assistance.

When should I withdraw from a course versus requesting an Incomplete?

A Withdrawal mark of W is not factored into your GPA.  Withdrawing from a course should be done if you know you will not pass a course, or you would need to invest too much time in the course to earn a passing grade.  Withdrawing from a course frees you from having to spend any additional time in the course (submitting projects or preparing for and taking the final exam).  You will not earn units for a course you withdraw.  The Withdrawal grade will appear on your USC transcript.


Withdrawal FAQs

When should I withdraw from a course versus taking it for Pass/No Pass?

The Withdrawal mark is not factored into the GPA.  Withdrawing from a course should be done if you know you will not pass a course, or you would need to invest too much time in the course to earn a passing grade.  Withdrawing from a course frees you from having to spend any additional time in the course (submitting projects or preparing for and taking the final exam), but you will not earn units for a course you withdraw.  The Withdrawal grade will appear on your USC transcript.  

The Pass/No Pass grade is not factored into the GPA. You should take the course for Pass/No Pass if you believe you have a chance of reaching a C- grade (B grade for graduate students) after all assignments and exams (including the final exam) have been completed.  You will earn units for the course if you earn a Pass grade.

What does a Withdrawal (W) mark on my transcript mean?

Having a single W probably does not mean much to employers or graduate admission programs, but if you have multiple Withdrawal (W) marks, you may need to provide additional information on why you withdrew from courses.