Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Student Advising

End-of-Semester Note: Policy on Incompletes

Dear Students:

Knowing that this can be one of the most difficult times of the academic year, I write today to ensure that you are as fully informed as possible about the best thing to do in case you find yourself in an emergency situation as we approach finals. (Of course, in the midst of a true emergency, you should always call Public Safety at 212-854-5555.)

While most students complete the semester without incident -  they take their finals, write their papers, and complete all work within the set deadlines – some students experience incapacitating illness and must be hospitalized or face grave family emergencies. Students in these rare circumstances may request an Incomplete. If you find yourself in this situation (which we truly hope you do not), please speak to your advising dean as soon as possible to talk about requesting an Incomplete. You must request the Incomplete before the relevant exam or deadline, not after.

To be eligible for an Incomplete, you must normally provide documentation regarding your circumstances and have completed all work for the course except for the final project, paper, or exam. (Incompletes cannot be used as a way to gain an extension on work due within the semester.)

Students who find themselves incapacitated by illness or in a grave family crisis and therefore need to petition for an Incomplete must:

  1. Contact your advising dean to discuss the request and receive the incomplete petition paperwork. (If you don’t know the name of your advising dean, please check your SSOL account or go to the front desk in 403 Lerner.)
  2. If possible, request that the instructor(s) complete the instructor information form (included in the paperwork from your advising dean) or ask your advising dean to help you reach out to the professor.
  3. Talk with your adviser about supporting documentation you might need.
  4. Meet with me or, if I’m not available, Dean Andrew Plaa, to seek approval for your request.

All of this should normally be do-able in one visit to the CSA.

In collaboration with the professor, we will assign a deadline for completion of overdue work (or a deferred exam date) for the few students who are granted an Incomplete. If a student fails to meet those deadlines, the contingency grade determined by the faculty will be assigned for the course.

As the end of the term draws near, I hope you are faring well. If not, please reach out to your advising dean or me in the Center for Student Advising (CSA) on the fourth floor of Lerner Hall. And if you have questions, please let me know.


Monique Rinere
Dean of Advising


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