Dealing With a Crisis

This document focuses on handling the academic issues associated with being unable to do class work for an extended period of time. If this inability to work is caused by or aggravated by problems with your physical health or mental well-being then see Dealing With Non-Academic Problems for a descriptions of some of the resources that the University provides to help deal with those types of problems.

If a crisis has arisen that will prevent you from doing most or all of your academic work for an extended period of time, you have two options for dealing with it:

  1. Attempt to continue with your courses, maybe with adjustments like dropping a course or requesting to receive grades of I (Incomplete) for some of them to give you extra time to make up the missed work.

  2. Withdraw from the University (drop all courses), and restarting your studies at the start of a new semester after the crisis has passed.

Which is the best option will depend on how long you expect to be absent, the specific courses that you are taking, and how long you expect to be unable to do class work. Talk to the instructor for each of your classes and ask about the work that you will be missing and what can be done to make it up, and ask whether the instructor would be willing to allow an incomplete if you requested it.

Discuss your options with your adviser or another faculty member and formulate a plan.


Things to keep in mind while formulating a plan:

  1. The consequences of dropping a course depend on when it is in the semester. Dropping a curse may affect your financial aid. Courses dropped prior to roughly mid-term will not appear on your transcripts and will not affect your GPA. Later than that but prior to the last two weeks of classes, your academic dean assigns a grade of X or XF that appears on your transcript, with the XF counting the same as an F in the calculation of your GPA. You may be able to use the Course Exclusion option to remove the XF from the calculation of your GPA. Courses cannot be dropped during the last two weeks of the semester. See Dropping a Course and Course Exclusion for additional details.

  2. Both your instructor and the instructor’s academic dean must approve a request for an incomplete. For all courses except graduate thesis courses the work must be completed by the earlier of the following two dates or the I becomes an F: (a) two weeks prior to the last day of classes in the next academic session of enrollment, excluding summer term; or (b) 24 months from the date the I was issued. See Requesting an Incomplete for additional details.

  3. The consequences of withdrawing from the University depend on whether it is an Academic Withdrawal or a Medical Withdrawal and the date of the withdrawal. The consequences are discussed on the page: Withdrawing from the University.

  4. If you stop attending class and do not return prior to the end of the semester, and do not complete the paper work for either withdrawing or getting an incomplete for each of your classes, then you will receive an F for each of your classes.

Revised: 08/26/14