Part II - Graduate Student Policies

This handbook contains policies set forth by the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is current as of August 2017. Previous versions of the handbook are available in the archives. Individual graduate programs or departments may have additional policies. Please consult the Web sites and contacts given throughout this handbook or at the University of Illinois homepage for current policies in other units.

Chapter 1: Admission to the Graduate College

Students must apply to and be admitted to the Graduate College through the standard admission process. Students may or may not be degree-seeking, and admission procedures differ based on this distinction. Except in the case of non-degree admission, students may only be admitted to the Graduate College if first approved and referred for admission by the academic program of study. Admission procedures and policies also differ depending on whether an applicant is defined as having domestic or international citizenship.  

 

A. Graduate Admission Policies

  1. Application Materials
    The Graduate College follows the University rules about how admissions information is shared and how decisions are made. See the Admissions Task Force Report for details.
     
  2. Graduate Admissions Deadline Policy
    Approved October 8, 2009; Effective Spring 2010

    The Graduate College application and admissions deadline is the 10th day of classes for each admission term. Graduate departments may apply earlier deadlines for each term for those applying to their degree programs. However, applications received by the Graduate College after the 10th day of classes will be reviewed on a case by case basis considering both the applicant’s credentials and the departmental justification for the late admission.
     

  3. Graduate Student Application for Admission Fee
    Approved September 1, 1988; Revised May 13, 2008

    An applicant for graduate admission who wishes to change the desired term of entry either before or after receiving a Notice of Admission must contact the admitting department to request the change. If the applicant is requesting to defer the entry term for more than one year, a second application fee will be required by the Graduate College.
     

B. Non-Degree Applicants

Applicants may seek admission to the University of Illinois as a non-degree seeking student in one of two ways:

  1. Non-degree admission to the Graduate College, no program assigned:
    • Available for all terms,
    • No department approval,
    • *Bachelor’s degree verification within first term of enrollment
    • *Application Fee

Non-degree admission to a graduate program:

  • Available for all terms,
  • With department approval,
  • *Bachelor’s degree verification within first term of enrollment
  • *Application Fee

*Note: These conditions do not apply to international exchange students.

Approved March 1, 2010; Effective Summer 2010

 

C. Degree-seeking Applicants

  1. Application Requirements
  2. Minimum Requirements for Admission
  3. Transcripts
  4. Defining Applicants as International or Domestic

  1. Application Requirements
    Applicants apply to an academic program using the online ApplyYourself system and the application instructions provided by the home academic unit and the Graduate College at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Programs may set additional application requirements, and deadlines will vary by unit. Applicants should consult with the desired program offices for details. Programs will review the application first and may either deny admission or recommend admission to the Graduate College. The Graduate College will then review and grant official admission to the University if the applicant meets the Graduate College minimum requirements.  Applicants may not apply to a program in which they already hold a similar degree (see chapter 4 A. 7. for details.) The Graduate College requires all applicants to submit these materials with the online application:
    • Application form,
    • Academic credentials from all post-secondary institutions attended,
    • Personal Statement,
    • Resume,
    • Three letters of recommendation, and
    • Application fee (waived for some individuals). The non-refundable application fee amount is determined by citizenship status. Payment may be made online via credit card. An application cannot be processed until the application fee has been submitted. A change in desired term of entry may require a second application and application fee to be assessed.

    For undergraduate degrees obtained at institutions outside the United States, please review our minimum admission requirements by country site to determine if your degree would be accepted as a comparable bachelor's degree.

  2. Minimum Requirements for Admission
    A student who does not meet one or more of the admission requirements may be approved for admission with limited status with support from the academic program and approval from the Graduate College.
    • Applicants must have earned at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college in the United States or a comparable degree from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant, for last two years of undergraduate study is a minimum requirement for admission. If your undergraduate study is longer than 4 years, additional semesters may be used to calculate the admission GPA. Please note that proposed programs of study may require a higher GPA than the Graduate College's minimum standard.
       
    • Applicants enrolled in the final year of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college in the United States or a or comparable degree program from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad, and who meet the GPA requirements stated above will be admitted conditionally pending receipt of final academic credentials showing the undergraduate degree as conferred.
    • International applicants must meet minimum requirements based on their country of origin. Please note that proposed programs of study may require a higher GPA than the Graduate College's minimum standard.
  3. Transcripts
    Applicants must list in the online application each institution of post-secondary education from which they have earned credit. Applicants must also upload their transcript / academic record (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if the degree is awarded and not listed on the transcript) for each of these institutions to their online application.

    Official Academic Credentials

    All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. You will only be asked to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) if you are admitted. These must be submitted during your first term of enrollment at the University of Illinois in order to continue beyond the first term.

    The University of Illinois reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and to rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found. (See the Student Code for additional information.)

  4. Defining Applicants as International or Domestic
    1. Domestic Applicants

      Domestic applicants are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States, or have been granted Asylee, Refugee or Paroled in the Public Interest status by the United States government. Domestic applicants are required to submit a $70.00 application fee. Lawful Permanent Residents are also required to upload a copy of their Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) directly to the online application. If you have submitted an application, but have not yet been approved for United States Permanent Residency, please see the instructions for International applicants in the next section.

    2. International Applicants

      International applicants are citizens or permanent residents of a country to which they intend to return other than the United States. International applicants may be in the United States on an educational, worker or visitor visa, or be residing in their home country. International applicants are required to submit a $90.00 application fee by credit card. International applicants who are requesting F-1 or J-1 visa eligibility documents are also required to provide evidence of financial support.

      Please note: International applicants who have filed an application for United States Permanent Residency, but have not yet been granted approval, are considered International applicants and are required to submit a $90.00 application fee (effective with 2011 applications) but are not required to provide financial documentation. The applicants should choose the "Adjusted in Status" citizenship type and upload a copy of the Application Receipt notice from USCIS directly to the online application.

D. English Proficiency Requirement for Admission of International Applicants

All applicants, except for a non-degree exchange student at an admitting program’s request, whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the TOEFL or IELTS as evidence of English proficiency. Official scores are required to be submitted directly from TOEFL/ETS or IELTS. Only at the request of an admitting program, a non-degree exchange student whose native language is not English could verify English proficiency by either submitting sufficient TOEFL or IELTS results, or a letter submitted from the exchange student’s home institution that documents and certifies the student’s English proficiency.

Minimum Scores for English Proficiency Requirements for Admission can be found at www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/instructions/04c. Students not meeting the minimum score for admission may be admitted on Limited Status. Please note that admission minimums are not equivalent to minimums required for holding a Teaching Assistant Appointment.

  • Graduate applicants may be exempt from providing a TOEFL or IELTS score if one of the following criteria is met:
    • Completion of at least two years of post-secondary full-time study, as defined by the home institution, in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    • Completion of at least two years of professional work experience in a country where English is the primary language within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    • Completion of a post-secondary degree in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.

 

IMPORTANT: Please note that this exemption is for admission purposes only. This may not necessarily provide an exemption for international teaching assistants. For more information, please see the English Proficiency Requirement for International Teaching Assistants.

Please click here for a list of countries that qualify for an exemption from the admissions requirement.

 
Revised August 2017

Chapter 2: Student Status and Registration

There are three academic terms in each academic year: fall, spring, and summer. Graduate-level courses are assigned 400- and 500-level course numbers.  Some 600 and 700-level courses are also approved for graduate credit.

A. Student Status

A student may be admitted to the Graduate College with either full graduate standing or with limited status, as a degree-seeking student or as a non-degree student. The admission status is stated in the Notice of Admission letter. Students must have full graduate standing and be degree-seeking in order to be awarded a graduate degree.

  1. Limited Status
  2. Non-degree Status

  1. Limited Status:
    A student who does not meet one or more of the admission requirements may be approved for admission with limited status. The most common reasons for limited status admission are:
    • course deficiencies, as determined by the department, that must be remedied,
    • low GPA (grade point average below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale), see Chapter 3.B.3 for more information,
    • no comparable bachelor's degree, see Chapter 3.B.3 for more information, or
    • a lack of demonstrated English language proficiency.

    Students admitted with limited status must address deficiencies in order to be granted a degree. Additionally, to continue beyond the first semester, students must fulfill all conditions of admission, including providing all required transcripts.
     

  2. Non-degree Status:
    There are several types of non-degree students. Non-degree students who wish to take classes in the fall or spring semesters must apply to and be recommended for admission by a department or the Graduate College, and must be admitted by the Graduate College. Exchange students and students taking classes through the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning are often non-degree. There are a number of restrictions and conditions that apply to non-degree status. A non-degree student:
    • may only receive an assistantship appointment if the non-degree status is a result of an Exchange agreement that includes an appointment in the terms of the agreement, or a petition to hold the assistantship is approved (one semester appointments only),
    • is not eligible for financial aid administered by the Graduate College, such as fellowships and conference travel awards,
    • must reapply for admission and pay the application fee if they wish to become a degree-seeking student,
    • is limited to taking fewer than 12 hours per fall or spring semester (fewer than 6 hours in the summer), which means they are not considered to be full-time for most purposes; (see chapter 2. C.); exceptions are BGAA Traveling Scholars and international students participating in special exchange programs for which full-time approval has been obtained from the Graduate College prior to admission, and international students who do not hold student visas,
    • may request to transfer 12 hours of credit taken as a non-degree student (see chapter 3.C) to a degree program, if subsequently admitted to and enrolled in a degree program, and
    • cannot register in on-campus course sections until the fourth day of instruction for the fall or spring semester, and can only register if space is available.  The late registration fee will not be assessed if the student completes his or her registration on or before the tenth day of instruction in a semester.

B. Registration

1. General Information for All Students 6. Audit
2. General Information for International Students 7. Credit-No Credit
3. Registration Deadlines and Types 8. Off-campus and Online Courses
4. Registration Options 9. Enrollment Verification
5. Study Away 10. Academic Leaves of Absence

  1. General Information for All Students:
    Students must enroll during their term of admission. Admission for a term must be requested and granted by the Graduate College by the 10th day of class. Approvals for late admission will be granted based on applicant merit and departmental justification. If enrollment in that term is not possible, students should contact their graduate program to request their admission term be changed. Students are expected to be enrolled for spring and fall semesters throughout their graduate program, and students must be admitted to the degree program and enrolled in the program for at least one term after admission, which could be spring, summer or fall in order to graduate from the program (see chapter 4.A.2 for more information). Fellowship and traineeship recipients must be enrolled during the terms of their appointments. Students with assistantships for spring or fall must be enrolled during the term in which they are appointed. See chapter 8.A for information about summer appointments and assistantship policies.

    Students must register online using the UI-Integrate Self-Service registration system by the tenth day of instruction. All students are strongly encouraged to register by the tenth day for many reasons including implications for financial aid and insurance coverage.

    Students are responsible for their own registration and for ensuring the accuracy of their schedules. Students can check their registration online and print their schedules as needed. Students who find errors in their schedules should immediately correct these errors. Corrections must be completed before the deadline for adding or dropping a course.

    Students should note that changes to registration - including dropping, adding, withdrawal, or cancellation - should be considered carefully as these changes may impact tuition assessment, financial aid, waiver eligibility and other important aspects of student standing.

    Complete registration information including a link to online registration, a registration checklist, and registration help can be found at the Office of the Registrar. In particular, the section on registration procedures includes information on time tickets (the earliest date and time a student can enroll for a future semester), eligibility to register, holds, enrollment requirements and prerequisites, “authorization only” courses, credit-no credit (Chapter 2.B.7), canceling registration (Chapter 7. C), and withdrawal (Chapter 7.C) (including refund deadlines).

  2. General Information for International Students:
    International students must register for full-time enrollment in every fall and spring term and must register by the tenth day of instruction to comply with SEVIS requirements. International students require the prior approval of International Student and Scholar Services to drop below full-time enrollment, and they should see the explanation of full-time status in this handbook (see chapter 2.C.) for more information.

  3. Registration Deadlines and Types:
    1. Deadlines. The deadlines for students to add and drop classes vary depending on the length of the class (e.g. full semester or part of term) and the term. See the Graduate College Academic Calendar for exact dates.
      1. Add deadlines

        After the tenth day of instruction, students who wish to register or add a course must complete a Late Registration/Late Course Change Form.  The student’s registration or course add must be approved by the faculty member offering the course indicated by the faculty member’s signature on the form. Students must also obtain approval on the Late Registration/Late Course Change form from an Authorized Signatory of their academic program. The enrolling department must indicate its approval with a department stamp, signature and date on the form. Forms must be submitted to Graduate Student Academic Services for final review and completion of the request.

        The last time to submit changes to a student’s current term registration is 5:00 p.m. on Reading Day.
         

      2. Drop deadlines

        In the fall and spring semesters, students can use UI-Integrate Self-Service to drop full semester classes until the end of the eighth week of instruction. After the eighth week and until the end of the twelfth week of instruction, students wishing to drop full semester classes may do so through the Graduate College, without receiving a grade of W. After the twelfth week, students wishing to drop a class will need to complete the Late Course Change form with academic departmental approval, and will receive a grade of W for the class. The last time to submit changes to a student’s current term registration is 5:00 p.m. on Reading Day. Summer deadlines vary; see the Graduate College Academic Calendar for details.
         

    2. Holds. Holds can be placed on a student’s record for several reasons. Most commonly these include departmental deficiencies, immunization requirements, disciplinary reasons, financial encumbrance to the University, lack of academic progress, failure to submit transcripts, or low GPA. Holds may prohibit the student from making changes to their registration, from receiving a transcript, or from graduating. Holds will appear in the Registration section of a student’s UI-Integrate profile
       
  4. Registration Options:
    1. In absentia registration. In absentia is a registration type designed for students who wish or need to remain registered, but plan to be studying or doing research for at least one semester at least 50 miles away from campus. In Absentia registration is not permitted for students enrolled in courses meeting on campus. Students may register in absentia for any number of credit hours. There is no decrease in tuition rates when a student is registered in absentia, and tuition assessment will be based on the student’s college and curriculum of enrollment, their residency status, and the number of hours for which the student is registered.

      In absentia registration, however, recognizes that such students do not access the full range of campus services and resources while away. Therefore students registered in absentia are only assessed the general fee. Payment of the general fee provides students with access to their university e-mail and access to library services. Because students are not assessed other fees they are not eligible for services associated with those fees.  For example, if students registered in absentia wish to have health insurance they must make alternative arrangements. For a list of what services each fee includes and for the amount of each fee, refer to the Office of the Registrar.

      A student must submit a form to the Graduate College to request in absentia registration. in Absentia requests are only accepted for the current/upcoming term and must be submitted by the 10th day of classes. Students must be registered using Student Self-Service prior to submitting the request.
       

    2. Zero hours registration. Graduate students who have completed all degree requirements except the thesis or dissertation may consider registering for zero hours of research credit. It is important for such students to consider the implications of not being a full-time student (see chapter 2.C.1 for more information). Students with waiver-generating fellowships or traineeships are not eligible for zero hours registration during the period of the fellowship or traineeship.
       
    3. Graduate College (GC) 599. GC 599 is a zero credit hour registration option for advanced doctoral students who do not have any financial assistance (such as an assistantship, fellowship, etc.) that would cover his or her tuition and fees for the semester but must maintain full-time enrollment to defer student loans. To be eligible to register for GC 599, a student must:
      • have a guaranteed student loan that would require immediate repayment if the student were not registered for the minimum credit required by the lender to defer the loan,
      • have passed the preliminary examination prior to the term in which he or she wishes to register for GC 599,
      • have completed all Graduate College and departmental requirements for the degree except for completing the dissertation, defending, and depositing,
      • not have any financial assistance that would cover tuition and fees, and
      • complete and submit the appropriate form to the Graduate College.

      Students who are required to complete a mandatory internship as part of their degree requirements may also register for GC 599 provided they comply with all but the third bullet point listed above.

      Students enrolled in GC 599 for zero credit are assessed Range IV tuition plus the general fee. Payment of the general fee provides students with access to their university e-mail and access to library services. Because students are not assessed other fees they are not eligible for services associated with those fees.  For example, if students registered in GC 599 wish to have health insurance they must make alternative arrangements. For a list of what services each fee includes and for the amount of each fee, refer to the Office of the Registrar.
       

  5. Study Away:
    1. Big Ten Academic Alliance (CIC) 500. This registration option is used with the Traveling Scholar Program, which allows doctoral students to utilize special class offerings, laboratory facilities, or work on an independent study at a participating BTAA institution. Registration is limited to 2 semesters per BTAA policy. Contact the Graduate College for more information.
    2. Graduate College (GC) 498. Registration in GC 498 is to be used when studying at another U. S. institution. For registration procedures, students must contact the unit on this campus through which they are studying. Units then forward the registration request to the Graduate College for approval and processing. See the Course Catalog for more information.
    3. Graduate College (GC) 499. Registration in GC 499 is to be used when studying abroad. For registration procedures, students must contact the unit on this campus through which they are studying. The unit will then forward the registration request to the Graduate College for approval and processing. See the Course Catalog for more information. 
       
  6. Audit:
    An auditor is only a listener in the classes attended; he or she is not a participant in any part of the exercises. Auditors are not permitted in studio, laboratory, or activity courses. An audited course will appear on the student’s transcript with a grade of AU. Audited hours do not count toward assessed hours.  An audited course does not count toward the registration requirement for fellows. A course, once audited, may not be repeated for graduate credit.

    Students wishing to audit a class must make the request using an Auditor’s Permit. The student should take the Auditor’s Permit form to the first class meeting and ask the instructor to sign, indicating approval. The form should then be submitted to the Graduate College for approval. Approval from both the instructor and the Graduate College is required. The deadline for submitting the Auditor’s Permit to the Graduate College is the 10th day of instruction in the fall and spring terms. See the Graduate College Academic Calendar for summer term deadlines. Students who are registered for less than 12 hours, not including the audited course, who do not have a tuition waiver will be charged a $15 audit fee.
     

  7. Credit-No Credit:
    Credit-no credit is a permanent notation on the academic record that may be requested by a student with the adviser’s approval. Grades for study abroad and transfer credit are also designated on the transcript as credit-no credit.

    Students on limited status admission or probation are not allowed to register for credit-no credit course work until the limited status or probation has been removed. Students are advised to check the Class Schedule to be sure that the course desired is not limited to letter grading only, which means the course cannot be taken for credit-no-credit.

    In any one semester, a student may take no more than 4 semester hours on a credit-no credit basis, except in these cases:

    • students registering for Study Abroad or Domestic Study Away, or
    • students enrolling in one 5 hour undergraduate language course.

    Over the entire degree program, a student must earn at least 2 hours of graded (A-D) course work for each hour of credit-no credit course work.

    The form to request credit-no credit notation must be completed and submitted to the Graduate College before the deadline published in the Graduate College Academic Calendar. After the request is approved and processed, the letter grade reported by the instructor will change to the credit-no-credit notation as follows. A grade of C- or better will be converted to CR (credit), and a letter grade of D+ or lower or a grade of ABS will be converted to NC (no credit).

    A student may amend a credit-no credit request and return to a regular grade mode by filing a second credit-no-credit form and submitting it by the published deadline as indicated in the Graduate College Academic Calendar. Additional information about credit-no credit can be found in the Student Code.
     

  8. Off-campus and Online Courses:
    Graduate courses are offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at various sites throughout the state and through online and Guided Individual Study instructional delivery modes. Similarly, some courses are available to University of Illinois graduate students at other Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions through CourseShare. Information about these courses is available from the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning and on the Big Ten Academic Alliance website.

    Students should consult the sections of the handbook related to residence credit (see chapter 4.A.4) and transfer of credit (see chapter 3.C ) when determining how these course may be applied to their graduate degree. International students studying on campus should consult International Student and Scholar Services when considering enrolling for an online or off-campus course. 
     

  9. Enrollment Verification:
    Students often need to verify that they are enrolled. The University of Illinois has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide enrollment verification information online.
  10. Academic Leaves of Absence:
    Note: Graduate students who leave the University at any time should also refer to the Student Code Sections 3-308, 3-313, and 3-314b for additional information.
    1. Academic Leave of Absence Policy. Graduate students in degree-seeking programs are entitled to a total of two terms (fall and/or spring semesters) of academic leave of the types described below, in the course of a single degree program. However, students must document their request for a leave and meet the eligibility requirements.  Students who anticipate not being enrolled for one or more terms, (fall or spring semesters, not summer), for whatever reason must meet with their program adviser before the first day of classes of their period of non-enrollment to apply for and receive approval for an Academic Leave of Absence.  Students who are enrolled in summer only programs must apply for a Leave of Absence before taking a summer term off.
      1. Categories
        There are two categories of Academic Leaves of Absence:
        • Personal Academic Leaves of Absence may be requested for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to leave for health reasons, for personal reasons, for active military service, or to take care of dependents or family members. Students who are on an approved Personal Academic Leave of Absence use the leave for personal reasons and not to make progress on the degree. In addition, students on Personal Academic Leaves of Absence should not expect that faculty will provide feedback on academic work, including proposals or drafts of theses.
        • Academic Progress Leaves of Absence may be requested for instances of academic activity such as Study Abroad when the student registers at another institution, or fieldwork when the student is not using UIUC resources including faculty time, nor receiving financial support paid through the University. Students who are on an approved Academic Progress Leave of Absence do use the Leave to make progress toward completion of the degree, but must not use campus resources. Expectations of progress to be made during the Leave should be documented in the student’s academic file.
           
      2. Student status
        Student status does not change during the period of an approved Leave of Absence. Standing that was in place at the time of the leave is not changed at the time of return as long as the conditions of the approved leave are met.
         
      3. Timing and limits
        All Academic Leaves must be requested before the term begins. An Academic Leave of Absence cannot be requested retroactively, cannot be used to return to good standing, and cannot be used to extend the time to degree. Note: the maximum allowed Academic Leave of Absence is two terms (spring or fall or two summer terms for summer only programs) during a student’s degree program. These terms may be consecutive terms or terms approved individually.

        In cases where an enrolled student must leave the University after the first day of classes, the student must withdraw from the current term.  In these cases it may or may not be appropriate to request an Academic Leave of Absence for the following semester.
         

      4. Student Responsibilities when requesting academic leaves
        Students who are requesting a Leave are responsible for knowing the potential consequences of taking an approved Academic Leave of Absence on benefits and services dependent on their being an enrolled student. A student who is not enrolled does not have access to the services dependent on enrolled student status. For example, the student’s Net ID will be deactivated and the student will not have access to a University email account or access to the University library. Other impacts include loss of health insurance, loss of graduate student employment, potential loss of fellowship support, loss of loan deferment, etc.

        The Graduate College policy on time to degree applies and must be addressed in the record of the approved leave. If by requesting a Leave, the student is going to go beyond the degree program’s approved time to degree during the Leave, then the student also needs to request a time extension for the degree through the Graduate College petition process at the time of the request for Academic Leave.

        Students with an approved Academic Leave of Absence must ensure that they have cancelled their registration for the term during which the leave will occur before the first day of classes.

        • International Students: International students must meet with an ISSS adviser prior to requesting a leave and the ISSS adviser must sign the Request for Academic Leave of Absence form
           
        • All students: All students are responsible for informing relevant offices or agencies of their non-student status. Other offices that a student may need to consult about the effects of non-student status are:
          • Office of Student Financial Aid
          • Website includes information on eligibility requirements for financial aid funds that you have received.  Check www.osfa.illinois.edu for additional information.
          • Loan Servicers
          • Review the status of any student loans you have borrowed and determine repayment options at http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/
          • Student Insurance/Insurance Providers
          • Graduate College Fellowship Office
          • Assistantship appointing unit
             
      5. Procedure to request an Academic Leave
        Requests must be approved by the department prior to the first day of classes. To request a formal academic leave the student must complete the following before the first day of classes of the term of non-enrollment:
        • Complete the written Request for Academic Leave of Absence form
        • If necessary, complete a petition to request an extension of time to degree
        • International students must meet with an ISSS adviser and obtain a signature on the Request for Academic Leave of Absence form
        • Submit the written Request for Academic Leave of Absence form to the department
        • Meet with her/his adviser and Director of Graduate Studies, either by phone or in person, to review the request
           

        The department reviews the Request for Academic Leave of Absence form and completes the following:

        • Review and document the student’s current academic progress in the program by recording the academic requirements that have been completed as well as the student’s academic status
        • Document the student’s remaining requirements for degree completion upon return.
        • Document the length of the approved period of non-enrollment to be not more than 2 terms (spring or fall) during a student’s degree program. These may be consecutive terms or single terms approved individually
        • Document the potential financial support that may be available to the student upon return to the degree program, including current department policies on financial support that exist at the time the leave is approved.
        • The original approved Request for Academic Leave of Absence form is placed in the student’s academic file in the unit.  A copy is given to the student.
        • In addition, the department may put an advising hold on the student’s record until the return from approved Academic Leave.
        • A copy of the approved form is forwarded to the Graduate College for inclusion in the student’s academic record in the college.

        Note: Faculty do not need to provide feedback for work by students who are not enrolled, for example, feedback on thesis chapters or grading work turned in as a requirement to change an I grade.

      6. Return from approved Academic Leave of Absence
        • Domestic Students
          Domestic students must notify their departments of their intent to return so that departments may review and confirm their academic status at the time of return.  The department may need to remove an advising hold from the student’s record. If a domestic student has not been enrolled for three consecutive terms including summer, the student must complete and receive approval of a Graduate College Application for Re-entry. The Approved Academic Leave of Absence form must be attached to the Application for Re-entry to document the approved leave terms and for the return to enrolled student status.
           
        • International Students
          International students must notify their departments of their intent to return so that departments may review and confirm their academic status at the time of return.  The department may need to remove an advising hold from the student’s record. Because of student visa requirements, all international students taking leave outside the U.S must complete and receive approval of a Graduate College Application for Re-entry. The Approved Academic Leave of Absence form must be attached to the Application for Re-entry to document the approved leave terms and for the return to enrolled student status. International students taking leave outside the U.S. should begin this process at least three months in advance to allow for document processing and visa issuance, if required.
    2. Absent without Leave Policy. Degree-seeking graduate students are required to request a formal Academic Leave of Absence before not being enrolled for one or more terms, (fall or spring semesters, not summer).  Students in summer only programs are required to request a formal Academic Leave of Absence before taking a summer term off from their enrollment.  There are potentially negative consequences for failing to request an Academic Leave of Absence.  Students who do not enroll and do not meet with the program and document their status with an approved Academic Leave of Absence before a period of non-enrollment begins are considered Absent without Leave. A program may put an advising hold on a student who is Absent without Leave. A student who is Absent without Leave may be prevented from re-enrolling, may have additional degree requirements to complete if allowed to return, or may be subject to new degree requirements.

      Revised August 2017

C. Course Loads

  1. Full-time Enrollment
  2. Minimum Enrollment
  3. Maximum Enrollment

  1. Full-time Enrollment:
    Graduate students may be required to maintain “full-time enrollment,” and what constitutes full-time enrollment can vary. For example, departmental requirements, eligibility for student loans or other financial aid, fellowships, certain types of non-University insurance policies, or tax requirements may use different definitions of full-time enrollment. Students are responsible for understanding what requirements apply to them.
    1. International students. International students are considered by the Graduate College to be enrolled full-time when they meet the requirements as follows:
      1. International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are required to maintain full-time enrollment for purposes of Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) reporting. Students who are required to take ESL classes as a result of the English Placement Test (EPT) or because of teaching assistantship obligations, may reduce their course load by four credit hours for each ESL course taken. If the ESL class is recommended, not required, and you are having difficulty with English, you may ask for a reduction based on academic reasons.
      2. International students whose first term of study is the summer term must carry a full course load.
      3. Continuing international students are not required by the campus to enroll for the summer terms, although their departments may require enrollment. Those who do enroll do not need to carry a full course load for SEVIS purposes.
      4. International graduate students who have completed all credit requirements (course work and thesis research) for their degree programs may register for zero hours of 599 until completion of study. This registration will be considered full-time for purposes of SEVIS reporting. International students seeking this exception to the full-time credit requirements should contact Office of International Student and Scholar Services before registering for the reduced credit load.

      International students with questions about full-time enrollment should see http://isss.illinois.edu/students/f1j1/ and contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for more details.
       

    2. Fellows and Trainees. Fellows and Trainees with waiver-generating appointments are required to register during each semester of the appointment.
       
    3. Assistants. Assistants with waiver-generating appointments are considered by the Graduate College to be enrolled full-time when they meet the requirements as follows:
      1. Fall and/or spring term appointments: a minimum of 8 hours; individual programs may set higher requirements.
      2. Summer term appointment: a minimum of 4 hours for at least the eight week portion of the summer term (enrollment during the four-week portion of the summer term will not qualify as full-time registration) [Please note that the University does not require summer registration to be eligible to hold a summer assistantship.
         
    4. Students without appointments. Students without waiver-generating appointments are considered by the Graduate College to be enrolled full-time when they meet the requirements as follows:
      1. Fall and spring terms: a minimum of 12 hours
      2. Summer term: a minimum of 6 hours for at least the eight week portion of the summer term (enrollment in only the four-week portion of the summer term will not qualify as full-time registration)
         
    5. For all students.
      1. The Student Code contains the University definition of full-time status for students.
      2. Simultaneous enrollment at another institution may not be added to hours enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in order to determine full-time status.
      3. For the Graduate College, enrollment in off-campus or online courses offered through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign counts toward full-time enrollment.
      4. Audited courses do not count as any hours toward load.
      5. For purposes of loan deferral only, zero credit registration in GC 599 will count as full time registration.
      6. Graduate student employees with assistantship appointments who are not registered for at least a half-time load in a particular term will be subject to Social Security and Medicare deductions from the assistantship pay for that term.
      7. Verification of full-time enrollment may be ordered from the Office of the Registrar’s Transcript Section.
         
    6. Students with questions.
      1. about registration load and loan deferment should consult their lenders (school, bank, or loan agency). Students may also contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, or finaid@illinois.edu, for advice or referral to the appropriate office or agency.
      2. about certification of full-time status should contact the Office of the Registrar.
      3. about the requirements of specific academic programs should be directed to the graduate office for that program.
      4. about their fellowships or traineeships should consult the Graduate College Fellowship Office or the funding agency.
      5. about full-time enrollment for international students on visas should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services
         
  2. Minimum Enrollment:
    • All students should keep in mind that enrollment below a full-time course of study may jeopardize progress toward a degree, financial aid, fellowship, loan deferment, or the visa status of an international student (see Full-time Enrollment above).
    • Some departments have established a minimum amount of credit for which their students must register.
    • The Graduate College has established a minimum amount of credit for which students with waiver-generating fellowships must register. Some departments have established a minimum amount of credit for which their students must register. 
       
  3. Maximum Enrollment:
    The maximum amount of credit in which a graduate student may enroll is 20 hours in fall and spring terms and 12 hours in the summer term. Students in non-degree status have other restrictions, and can see chapter 2.A.2 for more information.
     

Chapter 3: Academic Record

Beginning in Fall 2004, graduate credit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is measured using semester hours, and the numbering of graduate level courses changed from 300- and 400- level courses to 400- and 500-level courses.  Some 600 and 700 level courses are also approved for graduate credit.

A. Grading System

Details of the grading system in use by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign are found in the Student Code. See article 3-102, article 3-103, and article 3-104 of the Student Code for more information on course grades.

  1. Courses Grades
  2. Minimum Grades and Credit for Repeated Courses

  1. Course Grades:
    Grades and the points used in the computation of grade point averages are as follows:
     
    A+ 4.00      D+ 1.33
    A 4.00   D 1.00
    A- 3.67   D- 0.67
    B+ 3.33   F 0.00
    B 3.00   F by rule 0.00
    B- 2.67   ABS 0.00
    C+ 2.33      
    C 2.00      
    C- 1.67      

    A grade of F may be assigned to courses dropped for academic irregularities. Since Fall 2004, a grade of F is assigned when an I grade or DFR in a non-thesis course grade is not replaced with a permanent grade by the deadline. See DFR and I below for more information.

    F-by-rule. Prior to Fall 2004, a grade of “FR” was automatically assigned when a grade of Incomplete or DFR in a non-thesis course had not been replaced by a letter grade by the deadline. See DFR and I below for more information.

    The grade of ABS may be assigned when the student is absent from the final examination without an acceptable excuse. A grade of ABS counts as a failure and is not acceptable for degree credit.

    In addition to assigned grades that are included in the computation of Grade Point Average (GPA), the following notations may be used, but are not included in computation of GPA:

    AU No Points
    CR-NC No Points
    DFR No Points
    I No Points
    NR No Points
    NV No Points
    S/U No Points
    W No Points

    AU – Audit. A permanent notation that indicates attendance as a visitor only. Information about auditing a course is located in chapter 2.B.6.

    CR-NC – Credit earned-No Credit earned (see chapter 2.B.7.).

    DFR – Grade deferred. To be used only in those thesis, research, and special problems courses extending over more than one semester that are taken by graduate students as preparation for the thesis, and in other approved courses that extend over more than one semester. The symbol DFR in courses other than thesis (499/599) must be converted to a permanent grade no later than 5:00 p.m. on Reading Day of the next semester in which the student is registered. If no grade change is submitted within that period, the DFR will be converted as follows: for graded courses to an F, for S/U courses to a U, and for C/NC courses to an NC. The DFR symbol for thesis courses (499/599) stands indefinitely until a Supplemental Grade Report Form is submitted by the adviser at the completion (successful or unsuccessful) of the thesis. See chapter 4.A.6. for more information on thesis research credit.

    I – Incomplete. Approved extension of time to complete the final examination or other requirements of the course. (Entitles the student to an examination later without fee, or to additional time to complete other requirements of the course. The final grade must be reported on the Supplemental Grade Report Form.) The instructor may authorize such extension of time for a graduate student regardless of the level of the course. A grade of Incomplete must be replaced by a letter grade no later than 5:00 p.m. of Reading Day of the next semester in which the student is registered or it automatically becomes an F grade. If the student does not enroll the following semester in a graded course, the incomplete grade becomes an F-by-rule after one year. Incomplete grades earned in the spring semester will not be converted to F-by-rule until the end of the following fall semester, whether or not the student registers for the summer term. A student will not be certified for a degree with an Incomplete grade in the academic record.

    NR – Not reported. This temporary notation is automatically entered if an instructor does not report a grade by the deadline. A student will not be certified for a degree with an NR notation in the academic record.

    NV – Not valid. This temporary notation is used when an instructor reports a grade in a mode that has not been approved for use with that course.

    S/U – Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory. A permanent notation used as a final grade only in courses (generally thesis research or seminar courses) approved for this grade mode.

    W – Withdraw. A permanent notation signifying an approved withdraw without credit, (see chapter 7.C for more information)
     

  2. Minimum Grades and Credit for Repeated Courses:
    The Graduate College has no minimum grade policy, but a department or program may set a minimum grade to be earned in order for a course to count as credit toward the degree.  Students are responsible for knowing their departmental requirements. The program determines whether hours for repeated courses count toward the degree. When a graduate student repeats a course, all hours and grades count toward the cumulative graduate GPA.

 

B. Academic Standing

Graduate students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) and make satisfactory progress in all other aspects of their degree programs in order to continue as students. Academic Standing reflects the student’s level of accomplishment with regard to these aspects. The Graduate College monitors cumulative graduate GPA, and the graduate programs monitor all other aspects of academic progress. There are three categories of Academic Standing: Good Standing, Probation and Dismissal.

  1. Minimum GPA
  2. Grade Point Average (GPA) Computation
  3. Academic Standing
  4. Minimum Program GPAs

  1. Minimum GPA:
    Campus policy requires a student to maintain a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 2.75 in order to continue in an advanced degree program, and to have a cumulative graduate GPA of at least 2.75 to graduate. Many departments, however, require a minimum of 3.0 or higher. For departments with higher minima, the Graduate College enforces the department’s minimum based on the calculated graduate cumulative GPA. Students enrolled in joint degree programs must meet the minimum GPA requirements of both degree programs in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress and to graduate.
    1. Minimum GPA Requirements by Program. All graduate students must meet the minimum degree GPA specified by the degree program in order to have the degree certified and to graduate. Students admitted in an earlier term may have a different requirement. See the Academic Catalog for the term of entry to determine minimum required GPA.
       
  2. Grade Point Average (GPA) Computation:
    The graduate GPA includes all hours and grades for all courses taken while enrolled as a graduate student. See chapter 3.A.2. for information about repeated courses. The GPA component of academic status is calculated at the end of each semester. At the point of calculation, graduate students must have a cumulative graduate GPA at or above their department’s minimum to be in good standing. See chapter 3.A.1. for more information about grade points used in computations.
     
  3. Academic Standing:
    All graduate students must meet the minimum program grade point average (GPA) specified by the program in order to have the degree certified and to graduate. The Graduate College monitors minimum program cumulative GPA, and failure to meet this requirement in any term can result in the student being placed on probation or dismissed from the Graduate College. Other factors that determine satisfactory academic progress are monitored by the student's program, and failure to meet these requirements can result in the program recommending to the Graduate College that the student be placed on probation or dismissed from the Graduate College.
    1. Good Standing:
      Good academic standing requires more than an acceptable cumulative GPA. Graduate students must make satisfactory progress in all aspects of their program in order to continue as students and to graduate. Additional factors that a program may use to assess academic progress include, but are not limited to, performance in course work, satisfactory and timely completion of all milestones as determined by the program, satisfactory progress in research, overall graduate and/or program GPA, and performance on qualifying, preliminary, and other examinations. Failure to meet these requirements can result in the program recommending to the Graduate College that the student be placed on probation or dismissed from the Graduate College. Good standing can also be referred to as Full Graduate Standing, which is the normal status of graduate students with no holds (chapter 3.B.3.) or limited status (chapter 2.A.1) or probation status at the University.
       
    2. Probation:
      Students placed on probation have one semester to improve their standing to Full Standing, or will be dismissed from the Graduate College. A student who has a cumulative graduate GPA below the degree program's minimum at the end of any semester of enrollment will be placed on Graduate College probation. Once a student has been placed on probation, the student must raise the cumulative GPA to his/her program's minimum by the end of the next term of enrollment, or face dismissal from the Graduate College. 
       
    3. Admission on Limited Status Due to Low GPA or No Comparable Bachelor’s Degree:
      Students who are admitted to the Graduate College on limited status because of no comparable bachelor’s degree or low GPA are admitted on probation (see chapter 2.A.1 for more information). If these students do not meet the minimum GPA for their program in the first semester of graduate work, they will receive a notice of dismissal from the Graduate College (see chapter 3.B).
       
    4. Dismissal:
      A graduate student placed on probation who fails to improve the GPA to the required level by the end of the next term of enrollment will receive a notice of dismissal from the Graduate College. This action prohibits the student from registering and drops any courses for which the student has pre-registered. If a student is dismissed from the Graduate College because of a low cumulative graduate GPA, the graduate student petition process may be used to request reinstatement. The Graduate College will consider petitions containing strong program support and strong justification based on other factors pertinent to the program's determination of satisfactory academic progress.
       
    5. Minimum Program GPAs:
      All graduate students must meet the minimum degree GPA specified by the degree program in order to have the degree certified and to graduate. Below are the current GPA requirements by program. Students admitted in an earlier term may have a different requirement. See the Academic Catalog for your term of entry.   

       

      Program or Major Minimum GPA
      Accountancy 3.0
      Advertising 2.75
      Aerospace Engineering 3.0
      African Studies 3.25
      Agricultural and Applied Economics 3.0
      Agricultural and Biological Engineering 3.0
      Agricultural and Consumer Economics 3.0
      Agricultural Education 2.75
      Agricultural Engineering 3.0
      Agricultural Production 2.75
      Animal Biology (see Biology)  
      Animal Sciences 3.0
      Anthropology 3.0
      Architecture (all programs) 2.75
      Art and Design (all programs) 2.75
      Art Education 2.75
      Art History 2.75
      Asian Studies 2.75
      Astronomy 3.0
      Atmospheric Sciences 3.0
      Audiology 3.0
      Biochemistry 3.0
      Bioprocessing & Bioenergy 2.75
      Bioengineering 3.0
      Bioinformatics (Animal Sciences, Bioengineering, Computer Sciences, Crop Sciences, Library and Information Science) 3.0
      Bioinformatics (Chemical and Biological Engineering) 2.75
      Biology (all programs) 3.0
      Biophysics and Computational Biology 3.0
      Business Administration 2.75
      Business Administration MBA 2.75
      Business Administration Executive MBA 2.75
      Cell and Developmental Biology M.S. 2.75
      Cell and Developmental Biology Ph.D. 3.0
      Chemical Engineering 2.75
      Civil and Environmental Engineering (all programs) 2.75
      Chemistry (all programs) 3.0
      Classics (all programs) 2.75
      Communication (LAS) 2.75
      Communications (ICR) 3.0
      Communications & Media 3.0
      Community Health 3.0
      Comparative Biosciences 3.0
      Comparative Literature 3.25
      Computer Science 3.0
      Curriculum and Instruction (all programs) 3.0
      Creative Writing 3.0
      Crop Sciences 3.0
      Dance 2.75
      East Asian Languages and Cultures 2.75
      East Asian Studies 2.75
      Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology 3.0
      Economics 3.0
      Educational Organization and Leadership 3.0
      Educational Policy Studies 3.0
      Education Policy, Organization and Leadership 3.0
      Educational Psychology 3.0
      Electrical and Computer Engineering 3.0
      Engineering 3.0
      English 3.0
      English as a Second Language, Teaching of 3.0
      Entomology 3.0
      European Union Studies 2.75
      Finance 3.0
      Financial Engineering 2.75
      Food Science and Human Nutrition 3.0
      French 2.75
      General Engineering 2.75
      Geography 3.0
      Geology (all programs) 3.0
      Germanic Languages and Literatures 3.0
      Health Communication 2.75
      History (all programs) 2.75
      Human and Community Development 2.75
      Human Resource Education 3.0
      Human Resources and Industrial Relations 3.0
      Industrial Engineering 3.0
      Informatics 2.75
      Information Management 2.75
      Journalism 3.0
      Kinesiology 3.0
      Landscape Architecture 3.0
      Latin American and Caribbean Studies 3.25
      Law (all programs) 2.75
      Library and Information Science, M.S. 2.75
      Library and Information Science, C.A.S. and Ph.D. 3.25
      Linguistics 3.0
      Management 2.75
      Materials Engineering 3.0
      Materials Science and Engineering 3.0
      Mathematics (all master's programs) 3.0
      Mathematics, Ph.D. 3.25
      Mechanical Engineering 3.0
      Microbiology 3.0
      Molecular and Cellular Biology 2.75
      Molecular and Integrative Physiology 2.75
      Music (all programs) 3.0
      Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences 3.0
      Neuroscience 3.0
      Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (all programs) 2.75
      Nutritional Sciences 3.0
      Pathobiology 3.0
      Philosophy 3.25
      Physics (all programs) 2.75
      Plant Biology 3.0
      Plant Biotechnology 3.0
      Political Science 3.0
      Psychology 2.75
      Psychological Sciences 2.75
      Public Health 3.0
      Recreation, Sport and Tourism 3.0
      Regional Planning 3.0
      Rehabilitation 3.0
      Religion 2.75
      Russian and East European Studies 3.25
      Slavic Languages and Literature 2.75
      Social Work 3.0
      Sociology 3.25
      South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 3.25
      Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese (all programs) 3.0
      Special Education 3.0
      Speech and Hearing Science (all programs) 3.0
      Speech Communication 2.75
      Statistics (Applied and Economic) 3.0
      Statistics (Analytical, MS and PhD) 2.75
      Strategic Brand Communication 2.75
      Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering 3.25
      Taxation 3.0
      Teaching of Earth Science 3.0
      Technical Systems Management 2.75
      Technology Management 2.75
      Theatre 3.0
      Theoretical and Applied Mechanics 3.0
      Translation and Interpreting 2.75
      Urban Planning 3.0
      Veterinary Biosciences 3.0
      Veterinary Clinical Medicine 3.0

       

C. Transfer of Credit

There are two types of credit that a graduate student may wish to transfer. Graduate students may wish to transfer credit completed outside the Graduate College, or graduate students may wish to transfer credit from one graduate degree program to another graduate degree program within the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Different rules apply for each type of transfer of credit.

  1. Transferring Credit from Outside the Graduate College
  2. Transferring Credit between Programs within the Graduate College

  1. Transferring Credit from Outside the Graduate College:
    Graduate students may request transfer of credit from outside of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be counted toward a graduate degree, but it is generally limited to a maximum of 12 semester hours.

    Types of credit allowed to transfer. Course work completed outside the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate College that can be transferred includes these types:

    • graduate level work taken as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    • graduate level work taken at another accredited institution

    • graduate level work completed while enrolled as a non-degree student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

For credit types allowed to transfer, only credit from outside the Graduate College that meets the conditions below will be considered for transfer:

  • that has not previously been applied toward a degree or other transcripted credential,

  • that is graded graduate level course work from an accredited institution, and

  • for which the student has achieved a grade of B or better.

When supporting requests for transfer credit, it is the program's responsibility to determine whether old course work is still relevant to the current degree.​

 

Applying transfer credit. Students utilizing transfer credit to count toward their degree need to be aware of residency requirements and how those limits effect the total number of hours applied toward doctoral or master’s level degrees.

Credit from outside the Graduate College may not be transferred to count toward Stage II or Stage III of a doctoral program (see chapter 6.A).
 
To request transfer of credit from outside the Graduate College, a student should submit the appropriate form, accompanied by official transcripts, and validation by specialists in the area of the course work in the student’s department that the course work is both applicable and of an appropriate level of difficulty.
 
Most transfer credit will be reflected on the transcript without course titles and grades. The exceptions are:

Students who have earned up to 12 hours of graduate credit while enrolled as a non-degree student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may request those hours and up to 12 hours of graduate credit taken at another institution. These requests may be submitted after the student receives notice of admission.

  • graduate credit transferred from the University of Illinois at Chicago or from the University of Illinois at Springfield,

  • graduate credit earned through the BTAA  Traveling Scholar Program.

Transferring Credit between Programs within the Graduate College:
Graduate students may request transfer of credit within the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be counted toward a graduate degree. For these requests, there is no limit on the number of hours that a student may request be transferred. 

Between graduate programs. Graduate students may request transfer of credit from one graduate program at this University to another graduate program at this University as long as:

  • ​it was not applied toward another degree, and

  • The Graduate College requires that both departments involved approve the transfer of work from one program to the other.

The Graduate College requires that both departments involved approve the transfer of work from one program to the other.

To request a transfer of credit from one program to another within the Graduate College, a student should submit the appropriate form clearly specifying the above requirements have been met.

Into graduate programs. Graduate students may request transfer of credit earned within the Graduate College into one of its graduate programs. Examples include: 

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, and credits earned through its Traveling Scholar Program are earned within the Graduate College.

  • Graduate level work completed while enrolled as a non-degree student admitted by the Graduate College are earned within the Graduate College.

The Graduate College requires that the transfer of such work into a graduate program be approved by the program’s department or governing unit.

 

 

Chapter 4: Graduate Degree and Graduation Requirements

Students are bound by the program and degree requirements in effect at their term of admission and are expected to be aware of these requirements. Students are not obligated to follow any subsequent changes to degree requirements unless the student has been Absent without Leave from the program (see Leave of Absence policy. for details). Additional specific information on master’s and post master's degree requirements (see chapter 5.), and doctoral degree requirements (see chapter 6) can be found in this handbook.  

A. Graduate Degree Requirements

1. Departmental Expectations 8. Graduate Majors
2. Registration Requirements 9. Graduate Minors
3. Changing Departments or Programs 10. Graduate Concentrations
4. Residence Credit 11. Joint Degree Programs
5. Proficiency Examinations 12. Dual Degree Programs
6. Research Credit and 599 13. Annual Academic Progress Reviews
7. Second Degree in a Similar Area  

  1. Departmental Expectations:
    Requirements for specific graduate degrees are listed in the appropriate sections of the Academic Catalog, and in departmental handbooks. All departments should distribute a handbook or statement to their graduate students listing the requirements for the graduate degree programs to which they are admitted.

     

  2. Registration Requirements:
    In order to receive a graduate degree a student must be admitted to the degree program and enrolled in the program for at least one term after admission, which could be spring, summer or fall. To be counted toward the graduate degree, hours must be at the 400-level or greater and approved for graduate credit. 

     

  3. Changing Departments or Programs:
    Graduate College policy allows students to transfer from one academic program to another, provided that both departments agree to the transfer. The mechanism to complete the transfer process depends on the program. Some programs allow students to transfer using the Graduate Student Request form. When transferring using this form, students are not required to complete a new application or pay an application fee. Some programs require a full application with all required materials, including an application fee. Please contact your new proposed program of study for instruction.

    Students should note that tuition assessment and tuition and fee benefits are tied to the program in which they are enrolled.  An approved change in curriculum during the term that occurs after tuition has been assessed and payments credited may result in recalculation of tuition assessments that result in the student incurring additional expenses.

    International students with F-1 or J-1 visas who transfer from one program to another are required to obtain new immigration documents from International Student and Scholar Services.

     

  4. Residence Credit:
    University of Illinois rules prescribe that a certain amount of credit hours for each degree received from this campus be taken as residence credit. Residence credit includes:
    • graduate credit earned through an on-campus course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
    • graduate credit earned through an Urbana-Champaign off-campus course or program,
    • graduate credit transferred from the University of Illinois at Chicago or from the University of Illinois at Springfield,
    • graduate credit earned through the BTAA Traveling Scholar Program, and
    • credit earned in the College of Medicine that is approved for application to the student’s graduate program for students in the Medical Scholars Program.

    Students should also be aware of the transfer policies related to this type of credit used toward a degree.

    Residence requirements are outlined in Rule 3-801 of the Student Code and in this handbook as related to specific degrees.
     

  5. Proficiency Examinations:
    Graduate students may satisfy specific requirements through proficiency examinations; however, in such cases, credit cannot be earned toward the required hours for the graduate degree. Students should check with their department for details about proficiency examinations.

     

  6. Research Credit and 599:
    A student cannot deposit a thesis without record of registration in research credit courses. Likewise, students with a record of registration in research credit will be required to deposit a thesis to complete their degree. Most departments use the course designation “599” to indicate research registration for both master’s and doctoral students. Graduate students should register for research credit during semesters when they are working on the thesis.
     
    Departments may set criteria that determine at what point in the program students may begin registering for research credit (599). Registration in research credit must always be done with the approval of the student’s adviser.

    The grade of DFR (deferred) is reported for research credit until the thesis has been completed, successfully defended if required, and deposited in the Graduate College. When a thesis is successfully defended and deposited, the DFR grades will be changed to S (satisfactory). If the student fails the final defense, the grade becomes U (unsatisfactory), and the thesis cannot be deposited.

    If research credit is taken but thesis work is not completed, the 599 registration cannot be removed from the record. If the work will not be completed, the student must successfully petition for grades to permanently remain as deferred (DFR) in order to receive a degree. Students will not be certified for a degree with any grades of DFR in their academic record unless a petition has been approved.

     

  7. Second Degree in a Similar Area:
    An individual should not receive another degree for work that is substantially similar to the work used to complete a previous degree. Therefore, the Graduate College will generally not allow the awarding of a second graduate degree in an area in which a graduate degree at an equivalent level (master's, doctoral) has already been earned. This rule applies to cases where the first degree is from the University or from another domestic or international institution.  Requests for exceptions may be allowed in cases where it is clear that the student's degree programs differ significantly. These decisions are made during the process of admission to the Graduate College or when a change of curriculum is requested.
     
  8. Graduate Majors:
    A graduate major is an official degree program designation for the academic record. The approved graduate majors are listed in the Academic Catalog.

     

  9. Graduate Minors:
    A graduate minor is an approved program in a secondary area of study that relates to but is outside of a student’s chosen major and may be included on an academic transcript. A list of campus-approved graduate minors is available in the Academic Catalog. As noted in the Policy for Graduate Minors, students majoring in an area of study may not pursue a minor in the same area.

    Each program has its own procedures for applying to and completing the minor, and students should contact the minor department for details. Students who wish to add or drop a graduate minor from their academic record must submit the appropriate form to make the change to their academic program. An academic program change alters the requirements needed for graduation, and therefore changes should be made carefully and in consultation with the graduate program adviser. It is at the discretion of the major degree department to determine which, if any, of the courses used to fulfill the minor will also be used to fulfill the requirements for the graduate major degree.

    Minor(s) will not be added retroactively to a student record after the major degree is conferred. Even though a minor may be included in a student’s academic record, it will not show on a transcript until the degree has been conferred. A student's approved enrollment period will not be extended for the purpose of completing a minor.

    If a student has requested to receive a minor, and then wishes to change to a new program before receiving a degree, the new program must note on the Graduate Student Request form  that they will accept the minor in their degree program and note if any of the courses used to fulfill the minor will also be used to fulfill the new major graduate degree. If the new program does not accept the minor, the minor will be removed from the record when the request is processed.

     

  10. Graduate Concentrations:
    A graduate concentration constitutes a coherent program of study which gives a student more breadth or depth in their major. As indicated in the Policy for Graduate Concentrations, approved concentrations may be included on academic transcripts. Some concentrations (major-based) are only open to a student majoring in the offering department. Other concentrations (floating) are open to students in a broad range of majors. A few majors require a concentration, but most do not. Approved Graduate Concentrations and their related majors are listed in the Academic Catalog.

    Students who wish to add or drop a graduate concentration from their academic record must submit a Graduate Student Request form to request the change to their academic program and to what appears on the transcript. A change in concentration is a program change, and will alter the requirements needed for graduation, and therefore changes should be made carefully and in consultation with the graduate program adviser. Approvals are required from the major department and adviser and the unit overseeing the concentration.

    Because a concentration is intended to be within the major area of study, the hours required to fulfill the concentration should likewise apply toward completion of the degree.  However that is not to say that completion of a concentration within a degree couldn’t require more hours than the degree itself, in that the student is earning an additional credential.

    Concentration(s) will not be added retroactively to a student record after the major degree is conferred. A student's approved enrollment period will not be extended for the purpose of completing a concentration.

    If a student successfully requests to receive a concentration, and then wishes to change to a new program before receiving the degree, the new program must note on the request whether they will accept the concentration in their degree program and note which of the courses used to fulfill the concentration will also be used to fulfill the new major graduate degree. If the new program does not accept the concentration or the new program does not offer the concentration, the concentration will be removed from the student record when the request to change programs is processed. 

     

  11. Joint Degree Programs:
    A joint degree program is a campus approved program in which a student concurrently pursues two specifically identified degrees, and those degrees are conferred simultaneously. For graduate students this is a combination of a graduate degree with one of the following: another graduate degree, an undergraduate degree or a professional degree. The total time for the two degrees can be decreased by a predetermined maximum through the acceptance of required courses in one program as electives in the other, if so approved. A list of approved joint degree programs and individual program requirements can be found in the Academic Catalog, including any exceptions to the simultaneous conferral rule.

    A student interested in pursuing joint degrees should consult both departments, as they must be admitted separately to each program as a joint degree candidate. A student in a joint degree program must be admitted to each degree program and be enrolled in each program for at least one term after admission, which could be spring, summer or fall (see chapter 4.A.3 for information about changing programs), and must complete the minimum requirements for each degree. Doctoral students pursuing joint degrees may be enrolled in either program when they take their preliminary exams or defend their dissertation. For details regarding joint programs, see the Graduate College Policy for the Approval of New and Revised Graduate Degree Programs.

    Joint Bachelor’s/Master’s Programs

    Approved joint programs include programs that combine a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in the same field. Like other joint degree programs, both the bachelor’s and the master’s degrees are generally awarded at the end of the program. Because of this, these students are admitted to the Graduate College before they have earned a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, students must fulfill the minimum total hours required for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and in others, students may double count some course work. In either situation, the time to completion for both degrees is reduced by efficiencies of scheduling and the ability to take both graduate and undergraduate work in the senior year. See the undergraduate college’s Program of Study for details about a specific program.

                       List of approved bachelor/master joint degree programs:
        

    Accountancy B.S./M.A.S.
    Bioengineering B.S./M.Eng
    Community Health B.S./M.P.H.
    Computer Science B.S./M.C.S.
    Computer Science B.S./M.S.
    Engineering B.S./M.Eng Concentration Energy Systems
    Electrical & Computer Eng B.S./MENG
    German B.A./M.A.
    Health B.S./M.P.H.
    Industrial Engineering B.S./M.S.
    Kinesiology B.S./M.P.H.
    LAS (any major) B.S. or B.A./M.B.A.

    LAS (select majors)  BA/MA in European Union Studies

    Materials Science & Engineering B.S./M.Eng.
    Materials Science & Engineering B.S./M.S.
    Mechanical Engineering B.S./M.S.
    Urban Planning B.A./M.U.P.

     
     

  12. Dual Degree Programs:
    A dual degree program is defined as one in which a student pursues two post-baccalaureate degrees simultaneously. In dual degree programs, students must complete all requirements for each degree, without overlap. With the approval of both departments, students would have the opportunity to integrate their studies rather than completing the degrees in series. A student pursuing two post-baccalaureate degrees simultaneously must be admitted to each degree program and enrolled in each program for at least one term after admission (see chapter 4.A.3 for information about changing programs), in order to obtain both degrees. Dual degree students earning a doctoral degree may be enrolled in either program when they defend their dissertation. 
     
     
  13. Annual Academic Progress Reviews:
    Graduate units must conduct annual academic progress reviews for all graduate students enrolled in degree-seeking programs at least once every academic year. A written copy of the review must be given to the student and be placed in the student’s academic file.

    Ideally, academic progress reviews should include the following elements:

    • A student self-report and assessment of academic progress.
    • A review prepared by the adviser and at least one other faculty member to focus on an assessment of degree progress and student strengths and weaknesses. A copy of this written review is given to the student.
    • An opportunity for the student to discuss this review in person.

 

B. Graduation Requirements

  1. Degree Conferral (Graduation Date)
  2. Applying for Graduation (Adding Your Name to the Degree List)
  3. Theses and Dissertations
  4. Request for Certification of Degree Letter
  5. Commencement

  1. Degree Conferral (Graduation Date):
    Graduate degrees are conferred in May, August, and December.
     
  2. Applying for Graduation (Adding Your Name to the Degree List):
    In order to receive a degree, a student must apply to be on the degree list for the appropriate graduation date. Students should apply for graduation using the UI-Integrate Self-Service system. Deadlines for applying to be on the list for each graduation date are noted on the Graduate College Academic Calendar. Applying for graduation is not the same as applying to participate in departmental or campus commencement ceremonies.

    A student may not receive a degree with a grade of I, NR, or DFR in any course except thesis research, on their graduate record. 
     

  3. Theses and Dissertations:
    A thesis or dissertation is an original, significant contribution to the scholarly literature of an academic discipline.  In this section, “thesis” refers to both master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

    All University of Illinois graduate students whose programs require the completion of a thesis must deposit their manuscript electronically in the Graduate College.

    1. Faculty and Departmental Approval. The adviser (for master’s students) and final exam committee (for doctoral students) must approve the thesis. Departmental review and approval is also required before the thesis can be deposited with the Graduate College. (In the case of a doctoral student who passed the final exam with one dissenting vote, the dissenting member may, but is not required to, approve the thesis.)
       
    2. Deposit. The Graduate College does not require students to be registered at the time of deposit, but some departments may, so students should consult with their department before depositing. A thesis will not be accepted for deposit until all required materials have been submitted and all corrections requested by the Graduate College Thesis Office have been made.  Deposit must be completed by the appropriate master’s or doctoral deposit deadlines set for each term.  Upon deposit, the thesis becomes part of the student’s academic record.  No changes may be made to a thesis after it has been deposited at the Graduate College.
       
    3. Format. The Graduate College will only accept theses that meet the formatting requirements set forth in the Thesis Requirements.  Many departments have additional, discipline specific format requirements, and the Graduate College requires that all students secure format approval from their department prior to format review in the Graduate College Thesis Office. 
       
    4. Dissemination. Theses that are deposited as a requirement for the awarding of a degree are considered to be publications. Copyrightable works prepared by students as part of the requirements for a University degree program are deemed to be the property of the student.

      As a condition of degree award, the University has the royalty-free right to retain, use and distribute a limited number of copies of the thesis, together with the right to require its publication for archival use (see Article III Section 4, University of Illinois Board of Trustees’ General Rules).

      In order to best disseminate and archive the significant work of University of Illinois graduates, the Graduate College requires that every thesis and the abstract be published. The Graduate College will determine the method of publication that most effectively secures the existence of the thesis in perpetuity. The theses will be available to the public through the University Library.
       

    5. Permissions for previously published work included in the thesis. Prior publication of parts of the thesis is increasingly common.  If the copyright to the published work has been transferred to the publisher (or to any other party), the student should secure written permission from the current owner of the copyright to include the previously published material in the thesis to be submitted for deposit. Two copies of these copyright permissions should be included with the student’s deposit materials. 
       
    6. Patent review. If a student’s thesis contains potentially patentable information, a student may wish to have the thesis held by the Thesis Office while patentability is assessed.  Holding a thesis does not postpone degree conferral or graduation. A student wishing to have a thesis held during the patent review process must contact the Office of Technology Management (OTM) prior to deposit. OTM will review the student’s request and notify the Graduate College if a thesis is to be held. Intellectual property is an important aspect of thesis research. See chapter I.C for more information.
       
  4. Request for Degree Certification Letter:
    A student who has fulfilled all of the degree requirements before the next conferral date may need certification for employment or to meet visa requirements. To request a degree certification letter, the student should use the Degree Certification Letter Request form. A student who has not deposited the thesis with the Graduate College (when deposit is required), who owes money to the University, or who is enrolled in any course other than research credit is not eligible to receive a degree certification letter. 
     
  5. Commencement:
    Commencement is a celebratory event, not a degree requirement. For details about participation, see the Commencement Office website.

Chapter 5: Requirements and Policies for Master’s Degrees, Certificates of Advanced Study and Artist's Diplomas

Students are bound by the program and degree requirements in effect at their term of admission and are expected to be aware of these requirements. Students are not obligated to follow any subsequent changes to degree requirements unless the student has been Absent without Leave from the program (see Leave of Absence policy for details). Students should also review chapter 4 for more information about degree requirements.

Some academic units, such as the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the School of Music, and some departments in the College of Education, offer post-master's degrees for students who are interested in additional professional training beyond the master's degree but are not planning to obtain the doctoral degree. More information about Certificates of Advanced Study and the Artist's Diploma can be found in the Post-Master's Degrees section.

Distinct from the C.A.S. and other post-master's degrees, some academic programs may offer certificates tied to the completion of requisite courses that are not recorded on the transcript. Students must contact those programs for more information.

A. Master’s Degrees

  1. Credit Hour Requirements
  2. Examinations
  3. Completion of Theses
  4. Time Limits

  1. Credit Hour Requirements:
    The Graduate College requires a minimum of 32 semester hours of graduate credit for the master's degree, although a number of programs require more. The Graduate College requires that at least 12 hours be at the 500-level or greater and approved for graduate credit (including thesis, research or independent study credit), and that 8 of these 12 hours be in the major. Half or more of the hours applied to a master's degree must be earned in courses counted for residence credit.  See the Graduate College Policy for the Approval of New and Revised Graduate Degree Programs for more details.
     
  2. Examinations:
    The Graduate College does not require a final examination or thesis committee for the master's degree. Departments that have such requirements determine their own rules for committee membership and administration of the examination. Master’s students are not required by the Graduate College to be registered during the term in which they take their final exam, but some departments may.
     
  3. Completion of Theses:
    When a thesis is required for the master's degree, it must be deposited with the Graduate College. The Graduate College requires that master’s theses be approved by a member of the Graduate Faculty. In programs requiring a thesis deposit, the Graduate College does not require master’s students to be registered during the term in which they deposit, but some departments may.
     
  4. Time Limits:
    A master's degree candidate is expected to complete all degree requirements within five years of first registering as a degree-seeking student in the master’s degree program, unless the student is enrolled in a program with a different time limit that has been approved by the Graduate College. Students may request an extension of this time limit through the Graduate College petition process up to one year prior to the degree conferral date.

    When supporting petitions for extensions of time to degree, it is the program’s responsibility to determine whether old coursework is still relevant to the current degree.

     

B. Certificates of Advanced Study

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science and some departments in the College of Education, offer the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) for students who are interested in additional professional training beyond the master's degree but are not planning to obtain the doctoral degree. A master’s degree is required for admission to these degree programs.

Certificates of Advanced Study:

  1. Credit Hour Requirements. These programs require completion of at least 32 semester hours of course work beyond the master's degree. However, requirements do vary, and information concerning specific Advanced Certificate programs is available from departmental offices and in the appropriate Academic Catalog.
     
  2. Time Limits. A candidate for Certificate of Advanced Study is expected to complete all degree requirements within five years of first registering as a degree-seeking student in the degree program, unless the student is enrolled in a program with a different time limit that has been approved by the Graduate College. Students may request an extension of this time limit through the Graduate College petition process up to one year prior to the degree conferral date. When supporting petitions for extensions of time to degree, it is the program's responsibility to determine whether old course work is still relevant to the current degree.
     

C. Artist's Diplomas

The School of Music offers an Artist's Diploma degree, which is intended only for musicians at the highest level of artistic accomplishment and potential. A master's degree is required for admission to this program.

Artist's Diplomas: 
The School of Music offers an Artist’s Diploma degree, which is intended only for musicians at the highest level of artistic accomplishment and potential. Upon completion of the Diploma, students are expected to be ready for entrance into the music profession as a solo artist, member of an orchestra or chamber or jazz ensemble, or as an apprentice in an opera company.

a.   Credit Hour Requirements. This degree requires completion of 32 semester hours of course work beyond the master's degree.

b.   Time Limits. A candidate for an Artist's Diploma is expected to complete all degree requirements within five years of first registering as a degree-seeking student in the degree program, unless the student is enrolled in a program with a different time limit that has been approved by the Graduate College. Students may request an extension of this time limit through the Graduate College petition process up to one year prior to the degree conferral date. When supporting petitions for extensions of time to degree, it is the program's responsibility to determine whether old course work is still relevant to the current degree.

Chapter 6: Requirements and Policies for Doctoral Degrees

Students are bound by the program and degree requirements in effect at their term of admission and are expected to be aware of these requirements. Students are not obligated to follow any subsequent changes to degree requirements unless the student has been Absent without Leave from the program (see Leave of Absence policy for details). Doctoral students should also review chapter 4 for more information about degree requirements.

A. Credit Hour Requirements

Doctoral degrees require successful completion of a minimum of 96 semester hours of graduate credit (see section C of this chapter for doctoral degree stages), except for those programs approved otherwise. Doctoral degrees also require successful completion of the preliminary and final examinations.

Doctoral degree candidates, regardless of transfer credits or a master's degree completed elsewhere, must complete at least 64 hours of residence credit (4.A.4) out of the total of 96 hours required for the doctoral degree, and should also see chapter 3 for information about transfer credit. Thesis hours count toward residence credit.

B. Registration Requirements

The Graduate College does not require that students be registered at the time of deposit. However, individual departments may have other registration requirements, so students should check with their department for details. The Graduate College does require that all doctoral candidates be registered for the entire academic term during which they take the preliminary examination and the term during which they take the final examination, regardless of when the dissertation will be deposited or when the degree will be conferred. For this purpose only, "academic term" is defined as extending to and including the day before the first day of the following academic term. If enough thesis credits have been accumulated, registration for zero hours is acceptable. See chapter 2.B.4. for more information about enrollment in GC 599 for loan deferral. For students in approved joint degree programs and in the Medical Scholars Program, registration in either program during the academic term in which they defend meets the enrollment requirement.

 

C. Doctoral Degree Stages

The doctoral degree is commonly thought of in three phases or stages of progress, with each stage having unique components and milestones. Departments usually have specific tasks and requirements in each stage.

Stage I: A doctoral student is considered to be in Stage I from initial enrollment in the Graduate College to completion of a master’s degree or its equivalent. Transfer credit can only be applied to Stage I. Each department should have a procedure for evaluating a student's progress at this first stage of doctoral work. Elements of this evaluation will include GPA, along with other factors related to good academic standing and satisfactory progress. In some departments, this evaluation may take the form of a qualifying examination, or other examination or series of examinations, which a student must pass before entering Stage II of the doctoral degree program. Evaluation of progress in Stage I, whether by examination or other formal review, should take place no later than the end of the second year after a student enters the doctoral program. The evaluation results should be communicated in writing to the student. Students who apply to a doctoral program having already completed a master's degree equivalent to that awarded by the University of Illinois are generally considered to have completed Stage I of the doctoral program unless the department deems otherwise, in which case the department must notify the student of the stage in which they are entering the program.

Stage II: A doctoral student is considered to be in Stage II from completion of the master’s degree or equivalent to completion of all departmental requirements (except the defense and deposit of the dissertation), including passing the preliminary examination. In some programs, doctoral students entering with a master’s degree will take a qualifying examination early in Stage II. Stage II usually consists of one or more years devoted to course work and research in preparation for the preliminary examination. A student who passes the preliminary examination has completed Stage II and is often referred to as being "ABD" (all but dissertation). A student who has completed Stage II is formally a candidate for the doctoral degree.

Stage III: Stage III is the time from the completion of Stage II to passing of the final defense and deposit of an approved dissertation. See the Graduate College Deadlines for deadline dates for final examinations and deposits.

D. Doctoral Committees and Examinations

  1. Qualifying Examination and Qualifying Examination Committee
  2. Preliminary Examination and Preliminary Examination Committee
  3. Dissertation Committee
  4. Final Examination and Final Examination Committee
  5. Preliminary and Final Exam Result Forms (PER/FER)

Committees may be formed and examinations given at various stages of graduate study in order to monitor and ensure the quality of graduate work. This chart provides an overview of committee structure and rules. For complete information and further details, see the relevant sections below.

Overview

Overview of doctoral committee structures

 

  1. Qualifying Examination and Qualifying Examination Committee:
    The Graduate College does not require qualifying examinations, but departments may. Qualifying exams, usually given at the end of Stage I of the doctoral work (see chapter 6.C), evaluate the student's knowledge in the field and preparation for the doctoral program. The format of these examinations may be written, oral, or both, as determined by the program. The program must clearly communicate information about the format and rules (i.e. closed-book) to all students in advance. Departments may internally appoint committees to conduct these examinations.
     
  2. Preliminary Examination and Preliminary Examination Committee:
    The preliminary examination is one of the Graduate College requirements for completion of Stage II of graduate study.

    Format:

    • Preliminary examinations may be oral or written or both, depending on the unit's policy, and generally evaluate the student's overall and specific knowledge in the field.
      • Preliminary examinations also usually include an oral presentation to review the feasibility and appropriateness of a student's dissertation research proposal.
    • The doctoral degree program prescribes the scope, format and procedures associated with the examination, including the composition of the committee. The program must clearly communicate information about the format and rules (e.g., closed-book) to all students in advance.
    • The process for selection of committee chairs varies by unit, but the chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. At the department’s discretion a co-chair may be appointed. If appointed, a co-chair must meet all the requirements that apply to the chair. The role of the committee chair is described below.
    • The student, committee chair, and at least one additional voting member of the committee must be physically present for all oral components of the examination (i.e., presence by video or teleconference is not acceptable). If the committee has more than one chair, all chairs must be physically present; in these cases, no additional voting member is required to be physically present.
    • All voting members of the committee must be present in person or participate via teleconference or other electronic communication media during the examination, deliberation and results determination of all oral components of the examination.

    Registration: Students must be enrolled for the entire academic term in which the preliminary exam occurs. See chapter 6. B. for details.

    Committee Appointment Process: The preliminary examination is conducted by a committee appointed by the dean of the Graduate College upon recommendation of the executive officer of the unit. Persons authorized by the department to submit committee requests (as assigned in the Graduate College Roles & Access Manager) may make requests on behalf of the executive officer. The committee must be appointed before the exam takes place, and the Graduate College strongly recommends submission of the Request for Appointment of Doctoral Examination Committee form at least three weeks in advance of the exam date.

    Once a committee has been appointed it remains active for 180 days or until a Pass or Fail result is submitted to the Graduate College, except in the case of a Defer result, see below. Any revisions to the membership of an active committee must be approved by the Graduate College in advance of the examination.

    If the examination did not take place within 180 calendar days after the date on which the Graduate College appointed the committee, the committee is dissolved and a new committee must be appointed before the examination occurs. The newly appointed committee may, but is not required to, consist of the same members as the dissolved committee.

  3. Membership Requirements:
    • The preliminary examination committee must include at least four voting members, at least three of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and at least two of whom must also be tenured at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois.
      • Departments may request the inclusion of non-Graduate Faculty members who make a significant contribution as voting members of the committee. The dean of the Graduate College must approve, in advance, individuals who are not members of the Graduate Faculty who will serve as voting members of the committee. To request the approval of a non-Graduate Faculty member to vote, a curriculum vitae for the individual and a justification from the chair of the committee must accompany the request for appointment of the doctoral committee. Voting members, must have earned a terminal degree in their field of study and must have demonstrated expertise that qualifies them to judge the quality of the student’s research and its contribution to the field. Each voting member must be well-positioned to vote independently and must be free from conflicts of interest. Additional guidance for nominating external members is available at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/exams-committees.
      • The tenure requirement can be met by term members of the Graduate Faculty who retired or resigned with tenure for a period following their resignation or retirement, according to the Policy on Graduate Faculty Membership.
      • If there are more than four voting members on the committee, at least half of the voting members must be members of the Graduate Faculty.
    • Non-voting members may be appointed but are rare on preliminary examination committees.

    Role of the Committee Chair: The chair of the preliminary examination committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. The committee chair is responsible for convening the committee, conducting the examination, and submitting the Preliminary Exam Result form to the unit in which the student is enrolled and to the Graduate College. If appointed, a co-chair must meet all the requirements that apply to the chair.

    Results: Decisions of the preliminary examination committee must be unanimous and are recorded on the Preliminary Exam Result form. The committee may make one of three decisions:

    • Pass the candidate.
    • Fail the candidate. A program may, but is not required to, grant the student another opportunity to take the examination after completing additional course work, independent study, or research, as recommended by the committee. However, if a second attempt is given, a new committee must be appointed by the Graduate College. The new committee may, but does not have to, consist of the same members as the original committee.
    • Defer the decision. If this option is chosen:
      1. the same committee must re-examine the student,
      2. the second exam must occur within 180 calendar days of the date of first exam, and
      3. the outcome of the second exam must be pass or fail.

    Number of Attempts: After a fail result, a student will only be allowed to take the preliminary examination one additional time while working toward the completion of any one program of study. 

    Preliminary Exam Result Form: All results must be recorded with the Graduate College on the Preliminary Exam Result form. See Chapter 6.D.5 for additional details. 
     

  4. Dissertation Committee:
    The dissertation committee does not need to be formally appointed or approved. The purpose of this committee is to advise the student with dissertation research and effectively monitor the student's progress, often before the student is ready to form the final examination committee. The Graduate College encourages formation of a dissertation committee as early as possible after the successful completion of the preliminary examination. In units with preliminary examinations that include the presentation of a proposal for the doctoral research, the dissertation committee membership may be substantially the same as the preliminary examination committee. The dissertation committee membership may also be the same or essentially the same as the final examination committee. There is no time limit on the duration of service of the dissertation committee, other than the length of time that the student is allowed to complete the degree.
     
  5. Final Examination and Final Examination Committee:

    Format:

    • Students must adhere to departmental procedures or requirements. These procedures and requirements must be clearly communicated to all students in advance of the exam.
    • The process for selection of committee chairs varies by unit, but the chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty. At the department’s discretion a co-chair may be appointed. If appointed, a co-chair must meet all the requirements that apply to the chair. The role of the committee chair is described below.
    • Committee members should be chosen for their expertise in the student's research area, but may also be chosen to give diversity in viewpoint, methodology, or academic discipline. The faculty of a department may establish procedures or requirements for introducing diversity in the membership of the final examination committee (e.g., by including members from more than one sub-discipline within the department, from other departments, or from other institutions).
    • The committee chair, defending student, and at least one additional voting member of the committee must be physically present for the entire duration of the final examination. If the committee has more than one chair, all chairs must be physically present; in these cases, no additional voting member is required to be physically present.
    • All voting members of the committee must be present in person or participate via teleconference or other electronic communication media for the entire duration of the final examination, and the deliberation and determination of the result.
    • As a crucial milestone in a student’s doctoral experience at Illinois, as well as a significant event within the campus scholarly community, the final examination should take place on campus.
    • Final examinations are oral and open to the public.
       

    Registration: Students must be enrolled for the entire academic term in which the final exam occurs. See chapter 6.B. for details.

    Second Preliminary Exam: If more than five years elapse between a doctoral student's preliminary and final examinations, the student is required to demonstrate that his or her broad knowledge of the field is current by passing a second preliminary examination (see Time Limits in chapter 6.E. for details).

    Committee Appointment Process: The final examination committee is appointed by the dean of the Graduate College, upon recommendation of the unit executive officer. Persons authorized by the department to submit committee requests (as recorded on the Authorized Signatures Form filed with the Graduate College) may make requests on behalf of the executive officer. The committee must be appointed before the exam takes place, and the Graduate College strongly recommends submission of the Request for Appointment of Doctoral Examination Committee form at least three weeks in advance of the exam date. As a matter of professional courtesy, the Graduate College recommends that individuals who served on a student’s preliminary examination committee and who are not being appointed to the final exam committee be notified as part of the committee appointment process.

    Once a committee has been appointed, it remains active for 180 days or until a Pass or Fail result is submitted to the Graduate College. Any revisions to the committee membership must be approved by the Graduate College in advance of the examination. 

    If the examination did not take place within 180 calendar days after the date on which the Graduate College appointed the committee, the committee is dissolved and a new committee must be appointed before the examination occurs. The newly appointed committee may, but is not required to, consist of the same members as the dissolved committee.

    Membership Requirements:

    • The final examination committee must include at least four voting members, at least three of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and at least two of whom must also be tenured at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois.
      • Departments may request the inclusion of non-Graduate Faculty members who make a significant contribution as voting members of the committee. The dean of the Graduate College must approve, in advance, individuals who are not members of the Graduate Faculty who will serve as voting members of the committee. To request the approval of a non-Graduate Faculty member to vote, a curriculum vitae for the individual and a justification from the chair of the committee must accompany the request for appointment of the doctoral committee. Voting members, must have earned a terminal degree in their field of study and must have demonstrated expertise that qualifies them to judge the quality of the student’s research and its contribution to the field. Each voting member must be well-positioned to vote independently and must be free from conflicts of interest. Additional guidance for nominating external members is available at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/exams-committees.
      • The tenure requirement can be met by term members of the Graduate Faculty who retired or resigned with tenure for a period following their resignation or retirement, according to the Policy on Graduate Faculty Membership.
      • If there are more than four voting members on the committee, at least half of the voting members must be members of the Graduate Faculty.
    • Upon departmental request, the dean of the Graduate College may also appoint non-voting members to doctoral committees. Non-voting members do not need to be present at the final examination.
    • The student's dissertation adviser (i.e., director of research) need not be the chair of the committee. Co-directors of research are acceptable.

    Role of the Committee Chair: The chair, and co-chair if appointed, of the final examination committee must each be a member of the Graduate Faculty. The final examination committee chair is responsible for convening the committee, conducting the examination, communicating any required revisions to the student, and submitting the Final Exam Result form to the department in which the student is enrolled and to the Graduate College. The Committee Chair may designate another voting member of the Committee to communicate the required revisions.

    Results: Decisions of the Committee for the Final Examination are recorded on the Final Exam Result form.  The voting members of the committee must make one of two decisions:

    • Pass the candidate. The candidate passes the final exam if the Director(s) of Research vote Pass and no more than one of the remaining Committee members votes Fail. The Committee will indicate on the Final Exam Result form if revisions are required. The Committee will sign the Thesis/Dissertation Approval form after the completion of the examination and the completion of any required revisions.
    • Fail the candidate. The candidate fails the Final Exam if a Director of Research votes Fail or if two or more Committee members vote Fail. A program may, but is not required to, grant the student another opportunity to take the examination after completing additional research or writing, as recommended by the committee. However, a new committee must be appointed by the Graduate College. The new committee may, but does not have to, consist of the same members as the original committee.
       

    Number of Attempts: After a fail result a student will only be allowed to take the final examination one additional time while working toward the completion of any one program of study. 

    Final Exam Result Form: All committee member votes and the examination result must be recorded with the Graduate College on the same Final Exam Result form. See Chapter 6.D.5 for additional details.
     

  6. Preliminary and Final Exam Result Forms (PER/FER):
    The Preliminary Exam Result (PER) form and the Final Exam Result form (FER) verify that the student has completed the examination, regardless of the outcome. All voting members must record their vote. The department head (or authorized person) must affirm the accuracy of the result. The result of the examination is communicated to the student and to the Graduate College as soon as possible after the conclusion of the exam. The result must be received by the Graduate College no later than 180 days after the appointment of the committee.  Examination result decisions are maintained by the Graduate College. 

E. Time Limits

The time by which a doctoral candidate is expected to complete all degree requirements varies depending on whether or not the student was accepted with a master’s degree that will fulfill Stage I requirements (see chapter 6.C.) and whether or not the student takes a break (that consists at minimum of a fall or spring semester) from the program after the completion of the master’s degree. A doctoral candidate who must complete all three stages of the degree is expected to complete all degree requirements within seven years of first registering as a degree-seeking student in the graduate degree program, if no break is taken. If the doctoral candidate has completed a master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that will fulfill Stage I requirements (see chapter 6.C.) and took a break of less than 3 years before starting the doctoral program, the student is expected to complete the Stage II and III requirements within five years of first registering as a doctoral student in the graduate degree program. If a break of three or more years occurred between receipt of the master’s degree at Urbana-Champaign that will fulfill Stage I requirements and returning for the doctoral degree, the student is allowed six years to complete Stage II and III requirements after first registering as a doctoral student in the degree program. If the doctoral candidate has completed a master’s degree accepted from another university that will fulfill Stage I requirements (see chapter 6.C.), he or she is allowed six years to complete Stage II and III requirements after first registering as a doctoral student in the degree program, regardless of whether or not any break was taken.

When supporting petitions for extensions of time to degree, it is the program’s responsibility to determine whether old coursework is still relevant to the current degree.

  1. Exceptions: 
    Programs may formally propose different time limits for completion of a doctoral degree program that are different from those of the Graduate College. The exceptions which have been approved are listed in the following table.

    Approved Exceptions

    Program Level Effective Time to Degree
    All College of Education programs PhD and EdD Fall 2000 7 years from first enrollment in doctoral program, after completing the Master's degree*
    Anthropology PhD Fall 1999 10 years from enrollment in doctoral program, if no master's* was earned previously
    Medical Scholars MD/PhD Spring 1991 10 years from enrollment in doctoral program, if no master's* was earned previously; 9 years from enrollment in doctoral program, if master's* was earned previously

    * Master's degree that fulfills Stage I requirements (chapter 6.C.)
     

  2. Time to Degree Completion Chart:
  3. Second Preliminary Examination: 
    If more than five years elapse between a doctoral student's preliminary and final examinations, the student is required to demonstrate that his or her broad knowledge of the field is current by passing a second preliminary examination. It is not adequate that the student has sufficient current knowledge in the area of the dissertation. The form of the second preliminary examination need not be identical to that of the first. Scholarly publications and college-level teaching assignments may be used as partial evidence of the student's current knowledge of his or her field, but a preliminary examination committee must be appointed by the Graduate College, an examination given, and its result reported to the Graduate College.
     
  4. Dissertation Deposit: 
    Students are expected to deposit their dissertation promptly following their final exam to preserve the currency of the research and the integrity of the document approved by the committee. Students must deposit their dissertation within three semesters (including the current semester). The deposit must be made by the published deadline for that semester. After this time, a new final examination may need to be conducted.

    Revised August 2017

F. Doctoral Exit Surveys

Doctoral students at Illinois complete two exit surveys.

The AIDE Exit Survey allows Illinois to compare students’ experiences in its doctoral programs with those of students from peer institutions.  Data from this survey are utilized for the Assessment of the Illinois Doctoral Experience (AIDE), which helps improve doctoral programs on our campus.  De-identified data from this survey are forwarded to the Association of American Universities (AAU) Data Exchange.  Data compiled by AAU from member institutions facilitates the sharing of information nationally and provides a data pool that is used to shape graduate education at the national level.


The Survey of Earned Doctorates is conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other supporting institutions.  For more information about the Survey of Earned Doctorates, visit their website.


All doctoral students are required to complete both the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Doctoral Exit Survey at the time of final deposit. Students may decline to answer any or all of the questions.

 

Chapter 7: Tuition and Fees

A. Assessment

Tuition and fee assessments are based on the student’s Illinois residency status, the college and curriculum of enrollment, and the amount of credit for which the student registers. Credit is organized by “ranges” (e.g. Range I for fall and spring terms is 12 or more hours), and the amount of tuition and fee assessments may vary by range of enrollment. For example, if a student registers for fewer than 6 hours in fall or spring terms, or less than 3 hours in summer, certain fees would not be assessed. Without the fee assessment, the student would not have access to the services associated with that fee.

In addition to tuition, certain courses carry a fee to cover instructional costs. These fees may apply to computer equipment and usage, laboratory equipment and supplies, musical instruments for practice, and similar instructional costs. Instructional fees are noted in the Class Schedule and assessed along with tuition and other fees.

The Office of the Registrar’s Web site contains complete information about tuition and fees assessment, current fee structures, and which services are supported by specific fees.

B. Billing

Once a month, the University of Illinois emails students, reminding them to view their student account for recent activity and to pay any amount due by the due date. The student account is available online for students and Authorized Payers to view and print, and includes all student account transactions such as: payments received, and charges and credits for tuition, fees, and housing.

Students with questions about their student accounts should contact University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations at 333-2180. Complete information about billing can be found at http://paymybill.uillinois.edu/Billing.

C. Adjustments, Cancellation, Withdrawal and Refunds

A student’s assessment of tuition and fees may be adjusted for a number of reasons, including changing the number of hours of registration, cancelling registration, or withdrawing from the University. Because tuition and fee assessments are based on the hours of credit organized by “ranges,” adding or dropping classes could result in a student moving from one range to another, which would result in either an increase or decrease in the assessment.

Cancellation of registration is only permitted if a student has not attended classes and has not used any University services. If a student wishes to cancel registration and avoid payment of the tuition and fee charges, the student must complete a Withdrawal/Cancellation form (PDF) and submit it before 5:00 p.m. on the last business day before the first day of instruction of the term (including requests by mail). A student must obtain permission from their departmental office and International Student and Scholar Services (international students only) before submitting the Withdrawal/Cancellation form to the Graduate College. If cancellation is approved by the Graduate College, all tuition and fee charges are removed from the account for that term.

A student who wishes to drop all courses after the cancellation deadline must withdraw from the University for that term. This applies even if the students had been registered for only one course. Students withdrawing from the University are refunded on a pro-rata basis until a specified date in the semester after which no refund is available. No portion of the health insurance fee or health service fee is refundable. Students who have paid health insurance and health service fees will continue to be covered and eligible to receive services for the corresponding coverage period for that term.  The withdrawal refund policy contains more details.

Special refund policies apply to students who withdraw to enter active duty in the armed forces or other approved national defense service. See the complete policy, Rule 3-314 of the Student Code.

If a student reduces course registration to a lower assessment range (e.g., from Range I to Range II), the student may be eligible for a refund.  Refund policies vary depending on the action taken by the student and when the action is taken. Before any refund is made to the student, the University must make a refund to the appropriate financial aid programs providing assistance to the student. If the student is indebted to the University when due a refund, the amount owed is deducted from the amount of refund. See the University Refund Schedule for details and specific dates.

D. Tuition Waiver Policy

Tuition rates for graduate students are recommended by the Office of the Provost and approved by the Board of Trustees. Tuition remission rates charged to research grants are determined by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Full-time employee waiver policy is set by the Board of Trustees and administered by Academic Human Resources. The Graduate College reviews changes to the assistantship tuition waiver levels that are requested by disciplinary colleges, as dictated by the Tuition Waiver Policy.

Authority to waive tuition for graduate students with assistantships is vested in the Graduate College as a unit of the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Below is an explanation of the campus tuition waiver policy for graduate students, including information specific to graduate assistantships, information specific to fellowships and traineeships, and provisions that apply to all waiver-generating graduate appointments.  Questions can be directed to the Graduate College 333-0035 or by email at grad@illinois.edu.

  1. Graduate Assistantships
  2. Fellowships and Traineeships
  3. Other Provisions

  1. Graduate Assistantships:
    Waiver-generating assistantship appointments are defined as appointments ranging from 25 percent through 67 percent time (based on a forty-hour week) for at least three-quarters of the academic term. The academic term is the period starting on the first day of classes and ending on the last day of final examinations. For fall and spring terms, three quarters is defined as 91 days. For summer term, it is defined as 41 days. A teaching assistant appointment between 25 percent and 67 percent for at least 21 days in Summer I (four-week part of Summer term) will be considered a waiver-generating appointment.

    The tuition waiver policy for graduate assistantships is established by the campus, with certain provisions tied to the graduate program in which the student is enrolled (as identified by the graduate program code). Before units can elect to make any changes to their tuition waiver policy, they must seek and receive approval from the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost. Students are governed by the waiver policy in effect at the time of first enrollment in the program as long as they are in good academic standing and are making proper progress toward graduation in that program.

    1. College/School assistantship Tuition Waiver Policy
      A table of the tuition waiver designations for all graduate programs listed by college or school can be found at:

      The principal provisions of the policy specific to assistantship appointments include:
       

    2. Cost-recovery and self-supporting programs. Students in approved cost-recovery and self-supporting programs are not eligible to receive tuition and fee waivers except statutory waivers. For example, these students may not hold waiver-generating appointments, receive stand-alone waivers or receive employee waivers. However students are eligible to receive tuition scholarships.
       
    3. Full waivers. Waiver-generating assistantship appointments provide waivers of all assessed tuition for students in certain curricula. Depending on the student’s program and residency status, tuition assessment may include an in-state assessment, a non-resident assessment and a program-specific tuition assessment.
       
    4. Base-rate waivers. In certain curricula, students with waiver-generating assistantships receive base-rate waivers. A base-rate waiver covers only the resident portion of the Graduate Base Rate Tuition. The student is responsible for paying the remaining tuition, which may include a non-resident assessment and a program-specific assessment.

      Units may use their funds to pay any portion of the remaining tuition for assistants enrolled in base-rate waiver curricula. An appropriate source of funds must be used and appropriate account codes specified so the transactions can be properly tracked. Grant or contract funds may not be used for direct payments to students for tuition.
       

    5. Reimbursement. Under the current budget policy, each disciplinary college receives the tuition income from graduate students enrolled in its programs; that income forms part of the college's operating budget. Therefore, an assistantship, through its associated tuition waiver, represents a reduction in potential income for the student's disciplinary college. Some colleges have received approval to demand reimbursement from an appointing unit outside the college for the value of the tuition income lost through the outside assistantship.

      A unit considering appointing a student to an assistantship is strongly advised to check the student's curriculum for the possibility that a request for reimbursement of the value of the assistant's tuition waiver might be forthcoming. There is no mechanism for automatically charging the appointing unit. The student's disciplinary college has the responsibility for requesting reimbursement, and the policy requires the appointing unit to pay if requested. The reimbursement sought will be the value of what is waived, except when seeking reimbursement from units appointing assistants paid from research grants and contracts. (See provision #5 for more information about reimbursement from research grants and contracts.)
       

    6. Reimbursement from research grants and contracts. Currently, a provisional rate of 64% of a graduate assistant's stipend is charged to research grants and contracts as tuition indirect cost on all projects that have the full, negotiated indirect cost rate. The tuition indirect cost funds do not get processed into the campus tuition fund, but rather are processed as ICR funds. Therefore, the amount of reimbursement that can be sought due to an assistantship tuition waiver is limited. The amount of the reimbursement is limited to the amount of tuition ICR collected by the appointing unit and appointing disciplinary college. No tuition indirect cost is currently charged to projects that have an approved indirect cost rate lower than the full, negotiated rate.
       
    7. Reimbursement for assistants with multiple appointments. In the event of split appointments, units should agree in advance as to the responsibility for the value of tuition waivers for students in curricula that seek reimbursements. Where there are no advance agreements, the default arrangement is that the unit providing the percentage of the appointment that moves the assistantship into the eligible range of 25% through 67% (usually the unit last to add the appointment to the payroll) is responsible for the value of the resulting waiver. 
       
    8. Exceptions for early termination of appointment. A student who resigns a waiver-generating assistantship appointment or whose appointment is canceled before service is rendered for at least three-fourths of the academic term (91 days during a spring or fall semester, 41 days in summer term, or 21 days in summer 1 term for TA appointments) loses the accompanying tuition and fee waiver. This means that the student would be required to pay the full amount of appropriate tuition and fees for that term. There are two exceptions. The waiver remains in effect if the student withdraws from the University on or before the last day of the assistantship appointment, or resigns from the assistantship and completes all degree requirements for graduation within seven calendar days of the resignation. See chapter 8.A.8 for more information about resigning assistantships.
       
  2. Fellowships and Traineeships:  
    A fellowship is defined as an award providing a stipend for living expenses at the established minimum or higher and demanding no services in return.  Fellowship appointments are reviewed in the Graduate College, and the Graduate College decides whether an award is a fellowship.

    Traineeships are research fellowships that are awarded to provide educational training in particular disciplinary areas and provide a stipend for living expenses.

    The principal provisions of the policy specific to fellows and trainees include:

    1. Cost-recovery or self-supporting programs. Students in approved cost-recovery or self-supporting programs are not eligible to receive fellowship or traineeship waivers. This means the student may receive an award that provides:
      • stipend only, or
      • both a stipend and full payment of tuition, or
      • both a stipend and a tuition scholarship that covers some portion of tuition.
         
    2. Tuition coverage. Eligible fellows and trainees receiving the established minimum or higher stipend receive coverage of full tuition during the tenure of the award, regardless of whether the student’s program is base-rate or full for assistantship waivers. The coverage is provided through payment by the funding agency of all tuition assessed, or payment of a negotiated institutional allowance in lieu of full payment, or a full waiver provided by campus. The Graduate College negotiates the institutional payment with the sponsor. Any exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Graduate College. Tuition income lost due to fellowship or traineeship waiver is not reimbursable. This applies to awards originating on and off-campus.
      1. The minimum fellowship/traineeship stipend amount sufficient to generate a waiver is listed below by academic year. By November of each year, the Graduate College in consultation with the Fellowship Board and approval of the Provost establishes the minimum fellowship/traineeship stipend sufficient to provide a waiver for new awards for the following academic year. For students with multi-year awards, the minimum stipend amount sufficient to generate a waiver is established in the initial year of the award and remains constant for the duration of that award.   
         

        Academic Years Minimum Stipend per Year Minimum Stipend per Semester Minimum Stipend for 12-month Appointment Minimum Stipend for Summer
        2001-2010 $6,000 $3,000 $8,000 $667 for 2 months
        2010-Present $10,000 $5,000 $13,333 $1,111 for 2 months

         

    3. Campus fellowships and traineeships. Awards funded by campus units must be sufficient to generate a waiver or supplement a waiver-generating appointment.
       
    4. External agencies providing fellowship or traineeship support are required to pay the University for the fellow or trainee’s full tuition or pay a negotiated institutional allowance in lieu of full payment. The Graduate College negotiates the institutional payment with the sponsor. Any exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Graduate College. The Graduate College decides whether an award is a fellowship.
       
    5. Endowment based fellowships established Fall 2010 or later that provide a stipend sufficient to entitle the fellow to a tuition waiver will be required to fund the health service fee and the covered portion of the cost of the health insurance fee.
       
    6. Courtesy Fellowship Waivers. Departments may request waivers for individual students who receive a fellowship from outside the University only in cases where the stipend is paid directly to the student, the stipend meets or exceeds the campus established minimum, and the award has no funding for tuition and fees. The student must be in good academic standing. Requests for courtesy waivers must be submitted by the student’s graduate program (on a Rating Form) and must include specific information on the financial support the award provides. The Graduate College will review the information and determine the eligibility for a courtesy waiver. Courtesy fellowship waivers may include a waiver of all tuition assessed, as well as the service fee, the health service fee, the AFMFA fee, and the Library/Technology fee. They also provide vision insurance, dental insurance and partial payment of the health insurance fee.  Students receiving courtesy waivers are not required by the Graduate College to be enrolled full-time in the terms in which they receive a courtesy waiver.
       
    7. College of Medicine. Students in the College of Medicine, except those in the Medical Scholars Program, must obtain written approval from the College of Medicine before accepting a fellowship or traineeship, and subsequent tuition waiver, controlled by another campus or university unit. Should a student in the College of Medicine, not in the Medical Scholars Program, accept a fellowship or traineeship without the approval of the College, the College may request that the Graduate College remove the related waiver.
       
    8. College of Veterinary Medicine. Effective Fall 2007, students in the College of Veterinary Medicine, except those in the Veterinary Medical Scholars Program, must obtain written approval from the College of Veterinary Medicine before accepting a fellowship or traineeship, and subsequent tuition waiver, controlled by another campus or university unit. Should a student in the College of Veterinary Medicine, not in the Veterinary Medical Scholars Program, accept a fellowship or traineeship without the approval of the College, the College may request that the Graduate College remove the related waiver.
       
  3. Other Provisions:
    For all waiver-generating appointments (assistantships, fellowships and traineeships), other provisions include the following.
    1. Selection Documentation. The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (JCAR) requires tuition and fee waiver records to be maintained for a minimum of five years.  Therefore, awarding units should retain records pertaining to application, evaluation, and selection, including records for rejected applicants for tuition and fee waiver support (waiver-generating fellowships or assistantships, courtesy waivers or stand-alone waivers). The full JCAR document can be found at www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/023/023parts.html.
       
    2. Fee waivers. Most waiver-generating appointments include coverage of the service fee, health service fee, AFMFA fee and the Library/Technology fee, along with partial payment of the health insurance fee, and full payment by the University for the University vision insurance and dental insurance plans. Note: Some fellowship and traineeship appointments provide coverage of all mandatory fees. 
       
    3. Waiver priority. The campus has established a priority system to guide the work of the Office of Student Financial Aid in processing waivers in cases where students have more than one waiver-generating appointment or are eligible for waivers from multiple sources. If a student has a waiver-generating fellowship and a waiver-generating assistantship for the same term, the fellowship waiver (full waiver of tuition) will take priority. It is not possible to combine a base-rate graduate assistant tuition waiver with other partial tuition waivers (such as a waiver of non-resident tuition) to obtain a more complete waiver of tuition. Questions about the waiver priority system can be directed to the Office of Student Financial Aid.
       
    4. Summer Automatic Waivers. Students without summer waiver-generating appointments who held waiver-generating appointments for the previous spring semester are eligible to receive summer automatic tuition waivers if they choose to enroll in the summer semester. The summer automatic waiver provides the same tuition waiver as that granted during the previous spring. However, it does not provide a waiver of the same fees as a waiver-generating appointment. Only the service fee, AFMFA fee and the Library/Technology fee are included. The health service fee and health insurance fee are not covered. Students with dental and vision insurance coverage from a waiver-generating appointment in the spring term continue to have dental and vision coverage through August 31. Authorized disciplinary colleges may request reimbursement for summer automatic waivers from an appointing unit if that unit was billed for the waiver in the spring semester.
       
    5.  Stand-Alone Waivers. At their discretion, disciplinary colleges may elect to grant a stand-alone waiver to a student who has no waiver-generating appointment. The tuition waiver may be a base rate or full waiver depending on the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. Stand-alone waivers also include the service fee, AFMFA fee, and Library/Technology fee. No other fees are covered in this waiver nor does it include dental and vision insurance coverage. Colleges may limit the number of stand-alone waivers they will grant.   
       
    6.  Taxability of tuition waivers associated with assistantships and fellowships. All Graduate tuition and fee waivers are considered taxable income unless exempt under the Internal Revenue Code. Current tax law exempts the tuition and service fee waivers for teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs), and most fellowships. For graduate assistantship (GA) and pre-professional graduate assistantship (PGA) appointments, only $5,250 per calendar year is exempt. If the amount of the tuition and service fee waiver exceeds $5,250, the excess is deemed income under the IRC and additional withholding may be applied.

      Each semester, GAs and PGAs whose tuition and service fee waivers to date are valued at more than $5,250 will have withholding on the amount exceeding $5,250. The withholding tax is applied to the student’s earnings (stipend or hourly pay).

      For more information, students may contact the University Payroll Service Center at payinq@uillinois.edu or the Academic Human Resources Office at 217-333-6747 or the IRS Publication 970 www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf, chapters 12 and 13.

    Related Materials

E. Cost-of-Education Policy

The Council of Deans approved a formal cost-of-education allowance policy for graduate fellowships on June 6, 2001; Effective July 1, 2001

External agencies providing fellowship or traineeship support are required to pay the University for the fellow or trainee’s full tuition or pay a negotiated institutional allowance in lieu of full payment. The Graduate College negotiates the institutional payment with the sponsor.

Any cost-of-education allowance or institutional payment negotiated in lieu of full payment of tuition and fees provided to the University by an external sponsor shall accrue to the Graduate College. In exchange for the negotiated payment, the University provides the fellow or trainee with full coverage of tuition and all mandatory fees if there are no stipulations to the contrary.

Any exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Dean of the Graduate College. Questions about the policy may be directed to the Graduate College Fellowship Office at gradfellowships@illinois.edu or 333-0036.

Links
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Grants and Sponsored Projects

Chapter 8: Assistantships and Fellowships

There are many policies which govern assistantship and fellowship appointments, including those set by the Office of the Provost and other governing bodies on campus.  Because students are frequently also employees, they need to be aware of policies set by Academic Human Resources, and the University’s agreement with the Graduate Employee’s Organization (GEO). Students should consult and be familiar with campus policies set by the following units as they pertain to assistants and fellows.

Academic Human Resources – Administers University policies for employees, including graduate employees, hours of work, stipends and leaves.

Division of Research Safety – provides online training that is mandatory for all employees or students working in research labs that have or use biological, chemical, or radiological materials. This training should be completed within the first month of activity in such a lab.

Graduate Employee’s Organization (GEO/IFT/AFT/AFL-CIO) – recognized officially as the exclusive bargaining unit for all graduate assistants (GAs) and most teaching assistants (TAs). For assistants represented by GEO, wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment are included in their Agreement with the University of Illinois (PDF). Teaching assistants not represented in the bargaining unit include those whose assistantships are not waiver-generating, and teaching assistants who are teaching for the first time in one of the following units: Animal Biology, Biochemistry, Cell and Structural Biology, Chemistry, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Microbiology, Plant Biology, and Psychology.

Office of the Provost – requires that graduate teaching assistants attend training before beginning any teaching appointment. Before the start of classes, departments either conduct training programs for all new teaching assistants or require attendance at the Graduate Academy for College Teaching (which includes sessions about language and culture that meet the University's policy requirements for all non-native speakers of English before they teach in a University of Illinois classroom). For more information, see the Center for Teaching Excellence Web site.

University Ethics Office – administers an annual online ethics training program to all University of Illinois employees. The University of Illinois Ethics Office contacts students via their official University e-mail account during a pre-announced time period with individual login instructions for the training.

Vice President of Human Resources – administers an annual online Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) training program to all University of Illinois employees. The Vice President of Human Resources contacts all employees via their official University e-mail account during a pre-announced time period with individual login instructions for the training.

A. Assistantship Policies

1. Application, Evaluation and Selection Process 5. Stipends
2. Eligibility Requirements 6. Employment Leaves
3. Enrollment Requirements 7. Teaching of Graduate Level Courses
4. Appointment Level 8. Renewal, Resignation, Graduation, and Termination of Appointments

The various departments of the University appoint students as teaching (TA), research (RA), pre-professional graduate (PGA) or graduate assistants (GA). Academic Human Resources has defined the duties associated with each type of assistantship. Graduate student assistantships and their accompanying tuition waivers provide graduate students with financial resources that help defray the expenses associated with completing their graduate degrees. Students who hold assistantships experience educational and professional benefits. They gain further instruction in techniques in their fields, hone their research skills, acquire pedagogical experience necessary for an academic career, develop professional skills, and may have collegial collaboration with advisers that result in presentations or publications.   

  1. Application, Evaluation and Selection Process: Academic departments and administrative units of the campus appoint graduate students as assistants. Therefore, applicants to the Graduate College request consideration for an assistantship by checking the appropriate box on the application form, and continuing students apply directly to the appropriate department according to its procedures.

    The evaluation and selection process for an assistantship appointment is conducted by the department. The documentation related to this process must be retained. See section 3.a. of the Tuition Waiver Policy for details. The primary considerations are the appropriateness of the student's abilities to the duties to be performed, together with the relevance of those duties to the student's own graduate education . Each unit that makes assistantship appointments is responsible for ensuring that the graduate students are qualified for the appointment received.

    Assistants whose academic progress and service record have been satisfactory may be eligible to have their appointments renewed, subject to the availability of funds and the need for services. Departments have differing policies on the length of time they will fund students with assistantships and waivers.
     

  2. Eligibility Requirements: To receive and hold an assistantship, a student must:
    • be admitted as a degree-seeking student in good standing (Chapter 3.B.3),
      Or
    • be admitted to a non-degree program under an Exchange agreement that includes an assistantship as part of the terms of the agreement.

    Students admitted on Limited Status or on Probation may not hold assistantships until they are in Good Standing. Students on Probation, admitted on Limited Status, or admitted as non-degree students must petition each term to request to hold an assistantship.
     
    Assistantships cannot be offered to students who have graduated unless the student successfully requested to change curriculum and will continue in another program.   

    Assistantships cannot be offered to individuals prior to the admission term. If a unit has an interest in providing a summer assistantship to a person admitted for fall, the unit must recode the application to indicate summer as the term of admission. 

    To be eligible for a Teaching Assistantship appointment individuals must be orally proficient in English. Illinois law requires that all instructors at the University of Illinois be orally proficient in English. Campus has established a minimum acceptable score for approved English proficiency exams that is required of all non-native speakers of English serving in instructional roles. There are no exceptions. This means that students applying for teaching assistantships in foreign language programs are not eligible to seek an exemption from the requirement for demonstrated English proficiency. Some campus units may require higher scores. In addition, campus policy requires those who pass the proficiency exam to attend the Graduate Academy for College Teaching and have their classroom teaching monitored closely by their departments during the semesters in which they teach. Additional information may be obtained from the Center for Teaching Excellence.
     
     

  3. Enrollment Requirements.
    1. Fall and Spring All Students. In the fall and spring terms, students receiving assistantships must be registered for the semesters of appointment.
    2. Summer New Students. Students admitted for summer term who receive assistantships must register for the summer term.
    3. Summer Current Students. If a student receives a summer assistantship (the period between May 16 and August 15), and the student was registered for the immediately preceding spring semester or has registered for the following fall semester, the campus policy does not require the student to register for the summer term. However, the student’s department may require the student to register in summer.
       
  4. Appointment Level:
    All assistantship appointments must be processed to reflect the actual percentage and length of time the employee works. The appointment level is based on the appointing unit’s determination of the amount of time it should normally take to perform the assigned duties over the full appointment period including orientation and training. Hours of work are separate and distinct from the time required for an assistant’s own academic course work.

    International students may receive a maximum of a 50% assistantship per government regulations, and should check with ISSS for additional rules
     

  5. Stipends:
    The University establishes a campus minimum stipend for assistants and the terms of the University Agreement with the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) (PDF) stipulates the minimum for represented assistants. Units may pay above the minimum, and stipend amounts vary from unit to unit. Assistantship stipends are taxable, and state and federal taxes are withheld from stipends. Assistants whose enrollment is deemed to be less than half time will also have Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (i.e., the Social Security and Medicare deductions) withheld from their stipends. 

    In addition, the stipend of students holding Graduate Assistantships (GAs) or Pre-Professional Graduate Assistantships (PGAs) will be subject to withholding tax on the value of tuition and service fee waivers that exceed $5,250 per calendar year.  Each semester, GAs and PGAs whose tuition and fee waivers to date are valued at more than $5,250 will have withholding on the amount exceeding $5,250 applied to their stipend payments. See taxability of tuition waivers associated with assistantships and fellowships (chapter 7 section D.3.). 
     

  6. Employment Leaves:
    Assistants are eligible for holidays, sick leave, parental and bereavement leave. See graduate employee information regarding leaves posted on the AHR site for full information. Questions about leave policies should be directed to the Office of Academic Human Resources at 333-6747 or 807 South Wright Street, Room 420. 

     

  7. Teaching of Graduate Level Courses:
    Teaching assistants may not, either intentionally or by default, be given sole responsibility for instruction of courses or sections of courses at the 400- or 500- levels or for the assignment of final grades in such courses (except 400-level course sections in which enrollment is limited to undergraduates). Teaching assistants may only assist the responsible instructor in grading, laboratory supervision, and similar activities for courses at the 400- or 500-level. Infrequent lecturing is permissible. Departments requesting an exception must provide the dean of the Graduate College with a letter explaining the special circumstances that justify the exception, including the qualifications (expertise in subject, nearness of date on which the doctorate is expected, and so forth) of the student who is proposed as the teacher (see guidelines). Exceptions are rarely granted. A student is not allowed to enroll in a course in which he or she is a teaching assistant. 

     

  8. Renewal, Resignation, Graduation, and Termination of Appointments:
    Assistantships are ordinarily assigned on a semester-by-semester or academic year-by-year basis. An appointment remains in effect only if the student maintains good academic standing, makes satisfactory academic progress, and provides satisfactory service. Assistants are eligible for reappointment at the sole discretion of the unit based on past performance of the assistant, availability of funds and the determination of the need for services. Departments are encouraged to communicate with assistants concerning plans or prospects for new appointments. Departments have differing policies on the length of time students may hold assistantships and sometimes limit the total number of semesters an assistant may serve. Many departments require that teaching assistants obtain and maintain certain teaching standards in order for their assistantships to be renewed. It is essential for the student to be aware of the appointing unit's policy and to plan accordingly.

    A  student who resigns a waiver-generating assistantship appointment or whose appointment is canceled before service is rendered for at least three-fourths of the academic term (91 days during a spring or fall semester, 41 days in summer term, or 21 days in summer 1 term for TA appointments) loses the accompanying tuition and fee waiver. This means that the student would be required to pay the full amount of appropriate tuition and fees for that term. There are two exceptions detailed in Chapter 7.D.1.h.

    Students with assistantship appointments (RA, TA, GA PPGA) are eligible to hold their assistantships through the end of the semester in which they deposit if the end date of the appointment, when offered and accepted, was the same or later than the deposit date. For example, a student with a spring appointment processed to end May 15 may hold the assistantship through May 15, even if the student deposited the thesis anytime between January 1 and May 15.  This does not obligate the student to continue the assistantship, and the campus policy permits students to resign their assistantships and retain their waivers, if they complete all degree requirements for graduation within seven calendar days of the resignation, as detailed in Chapter 7.D.1.h.  For students with academic year assistantship appointments, their assistantship would end at the end of the semester in which they deposit and may not continue into the next semester.

    An assistantship appointment may be terminated during the term of the appointment. The assistant must be provided with written notice and an opportunity to respond to the department head prior to termination.  For more information about procedures for terminating an assistantship appointment, see the Office of Academic Human Resources. Assistants with questions about their appointments and benefits may also contact the Office of Academic Human Resources. Teaching assistants and graduate assistants may also consult the GEO Agreement with the University of Illinois (PDF).

 

B. Campus Fellowship and Traineeship Policies

1. Registration for Fellows and Trainees 5. Taxability of Stipend
2. Award Periods 6. Taxability of Tuition and Fee Waivers
3. Concurrent Awards 7. Thesis Deposit/Graduation for Fellows
4. Concurrent Appointments  

Fellowship appointments are reviewed in the Graduate College. Students admitted on limited status due to grade point average or a bachelor's degree not comparable to that at this university or current students on academic probation or dismissal status should not be appointed to fellowships or traineeships  unless there is some extraordinary justification for doing so.  In submitting the appointment documentation, the department must provide the justification and the Graduate College will determine whether the student is eligible.  Non-degree students are not eligible for fellowships or traineeships.

A fellowship is defined as an award providing a stipend for living expenses at the established minimum or higher and demanding no services in return. Fellowship awards count against student loan eligibility. In questionable cases, the Graduate College will decide whether an award is a fellowship.

Traineeships are research fellowships that are awarded to provide educational training in particular disciplinary areas and provide a stipend for living expenses. Traineeship awards count against student loan eligibility. In questionable cases the Graduate College will decide whether an award is a traineeship. 

The full tuition and fee policy for fellows and trainees can be found in chapter 7.D.
 
Fellows with questions about this policy should contact the Graduate College Fellowship Office at GradFellowships@illinois.edu.

  1. Registration for Fellows and Trainees:
    Fellows are required to register during each semester of the appointment. Students receiving courtesy waivers are not required by the Graduate College to be enrolled full-time in the terms in which they receive a courtesy waiver.
     
  2. Award Periods:
    The standard award period for an academic year fellowship is August 16 to May 15. The standard award period for a fall fellowship is August 16 to December 15; the standard award period for a spring fellowship is January 16 to May 15.
     
  3. Concurrent Awards:
    Fellows are prohibited from holding two major awards concurrently (fellowship, traineeship, grant, tuition payment award or comparable support from any government agency, state, federal or foreign, or from any foundation, corporation or similar organization). Any award offer should be reported immediately to the Graduate College Fellowship Office, where the determination will be made whether the two awards may be held concurrently.
     
  4. Concurrent Appointments:
    Unless otherwise restricted by campus policy or the granting agency or unit, fellows may, at the discretion of their department and with the prior approval of the Graduate College, carry an assistantship or graduate hourly appointment of up to 50 percent time. Any offer should be reported to the Graduate College Fellowship Office, where the determination will be made whether the appointment can be held concurrently with the fellowship. Please see www.grad.illinois.edu/faculty-staff/toolkits/nih_admin for information about guidelines for concurrent appointments for trainees.  
     
  5. Taxability of Stipend:
    Fellowship stipends may be subject to income taxes. For U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign national resident aliens for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that universities are not responsible for withholding or reporting income taxes on fellowship payments. Taxability of the fellowship payment is a matter between the fellow and the IRS. Therefore, no income taxes are withheld from fellowship payments. Fellows do not receive a Form W-2 for their fellowship income nor does the University report the fellowship payment to either the state or federal government. For more information on the taxation of fellowships, consult IRS Tax Topic 421 - Scholarship and Fellowship Grants.

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that universities withhold taxes from the fellowship payments to international students on temporary visas who are classified as non-resident aliens for tax purposes. International students may be able to claim a treaty benefit that exempts the fellowship payment from income tax withholding. All students on temporary visas must schedule a tax status review appointment with the University Payroll Service Center to determine their tax residency status and whether they qualify for tax treaty benefits. At this appointment, University Payroll determines residency and tax status classification. Fellowship stipend payments will be taxed at the highest possible rate until after the tax status review process is completed. For additional information and links to tax forms, see the Tax Information Web page. For more information on taxation for international Fellows, consult IRS Publication 519: Tax Guide for Aliens (PDF).
     

  6. Taxability of Tuition and Fee Waivers:
    For information about the taxability of tuition and fee waivers associated with fellowships, see the Tuition Waiver Policy.
     
  7. Thesis Deposit/Graduation for Fellows:
    Students with fellowship or traineeship appointments must notify the Graduate College Fellowship Office in advance of thesis deposit as it may result in a change in the terms of the fellowship award, including termination.

    For students who are depositing a thesis, the fellowship end date is determined considering multiple factors. These include:

    • degree conferral date
    • deposit deadline
    • deposit date
    • policies of the fellowship sponsor
    • original award period
    • payroll processing dates

    This may mean that the fellowship would end effective the date of deposit.

    For each degree conferral date there is a window of time within which a student may complete the deposit process and keep a fellowship or traineeship until the end of the standard award period for that semester, as described below.

    The deposit window of time begins on the doctoral degree final exam deadline date and ends on the deposit deadline date for the degree being conferred. Degrees are conferred in May, August and December. See the academic calendar at www.grad.illinois.edu/general/calendar/current for conferral dates.

    The applicable dates for 2017-2018 are:

    December 2017 degree conferral

    • For doctoral candidates, the fellowship would end effective December 15 if the thesis is deposited between November 17 and December 8.
    • For master’s candidates, the fellowship would end effective December 15 if the thesis is deposited between November 17 and December 15.

     May 2018 conferral

    • For doctoral candidates, the fellowship would end effective May 15 if the thesis is deposited between April 6 and April 20.
    • For master’s candidates, the fellowship would end effective May 15 if the thesis is deposited between April 6 and April 27.

     August 2018 conferral

    • For doctoral candidates, the fellowship would end effective August 15 if the thesis is deposited between June 29  and July 13.
    • For master’s candidates, the fellowship would end effective August 15 if the thesis is deposited between June 29  and July 20.

    An exception to the fellowship end date policy may occur when a student deposits a master’s thesis, but continues as a doctoral student with funding approval from the sponsor.

    In all cases, the Graduate College Fellowship Office determines the fellowship end date.

Chapter 9: Problem Solving

A. Standards of Conduct

The Graduate College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have established policies and standards for academic, professional, and personal conduct. Students are responsible for being familiar with these policies and standards (see the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Provost’s Office on Campus Conduct, and the Student Code). Conduct that violates these policies and standards may result in serious consequences including dismissal. In addition to the information in this chapter, also see the Graduate College Web site for resources on problem solving and conflict mediation. Students should also review the section on Academic Integrity, located in chapter 3 of this document.

B. Petitions

The policies, requirements, and deadlines of the Graduate College have been put in place to uphold high academic standards. Exceptions may be justified under extenuating circumstances. Students who wish to request an exception to Graduate College policies may submit a petition providing an explanation or justification for the action requested. The more unusual or major the request, the more detailed the explanation should be from the student and the adviser and/or other appropriate members of the Graduate Faculty or staff.  Requests for exceptions to the deadline to deposit a thesis for a certain conferral date and for exceptions to the requirement to be enrolled during the semester that a dissertation is defended are never granted.  Students with questions about exceptions to fellowship policies should contact the Fellowship Office instead of submitting a petition.

C. Conflict Resolution

The University has procedures to provide assistance to students experiencing conflict.  Policies and procedures for conflict resolution are overseen by several offices on campus, including the Graduate College, the Office of the Dean of Students, International Student and Scholar Services, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access, and, in some cases, individual departments.  The type of conflict will determine from which University office the student should seek assistance.

D. Academic Conflict

Academic conflict may be addressed through informal processes or through a formal grievance process. Some graduate programs have established grievance procedures and students should be aware of whether their program has such a procedure in place. The Graduate College has a grievance policy and procedure in place to assist students and graduate programs. It is recommended that students first explore the option of informally resolving an academic conflict.  A student who believes he or she has an academic grievance should first discuss it with his or her adviser.  If discussion with the adviser is inappropriate or unfruitful, discussion with a senior faculty member, director of graduate study, or a department or unit head is recommended.

A student may elect to file a formal grievance within the unit in which a problem has arisen if the department has a written grievance procedure approved by the Graduate College.  The student may also choose to file the grievance directly with the Graduate College.  Students should be aware of differences between the Graduate College and departmental grievance policies, as well as what types of grievances are appropriately addressed by these policies. 
 

Departmental Policies

All graduate students may use the Graduate College Grievance Policy to file a grievance. Students in the following programs may choose to file a grievance at the departmental level, following the procedures of that unit's grievance policy. (Please see III.2 below.)

Anthropology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Communication, French, Materials Science and Engineering, Political Science

Graduate College Policy and Procedures on Grievances by Graduate Students

I. OVERVIEW

  1. Purpose. All members of the University community are expected to observe high standards of professional conduct and ethical behavior in graduate education. In a large and heterogeneous scholarly community, problems may emerge among students, faculty and administrators. The purpose of this policy document is to outline the process through which graduate students can constructively address concerns about the decisions or behaviors of faculty or administrators that the students believes have adversely affected their status as a graduate student.
  2. Availability. The policy outlined in this document is available to all current graduate students of the Graduate College. It is also available to former graduate students provided they meet the timeliness requirements specified herein.
  3. Applicability. This policy applies when a graduate student believes that an incorrect or inappropriate decision or behavior of a faculty member or administrator has adversely affected the student’s status. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Failure to follow a departmental or Graduate College policy in a manner that results in significant prejudice against the student;
    • Failure to follow departmental or Graduate College procedures for assessing degree milestones such as qualifying examinations, comprehensive examinations, preliminary examinations, recitals, etc.;
    • Improper termination from a program;
    • Requiring personal services unrelated to academic duties;
    • Retaliation for exercising grievance rights.

    This policy does not apply in cases involving:

  4. Non-exclusivity. This policy does not override or supersede any other policies or procedures as established in the University Statutes and campus policies.
  5. Duty to Cooperate. Students availing themselves of the grievance process, and all faculty, staff, and administrators have a duty to cooperate and provide information and materials relevant to the investigation of a grievance. It shall at all times be the responsibility of the Parties to ensure that the Graduate College has accurate contact information to facilitate communications as described in these procedures.
     

II. DEFINITIONS

  1. Business Day - Means Monday through Friday, excluding University and campus holidays and reduced service days.
  2. Conflict of Interest - A conflict of interest is a significant professional or personal involvement with the facts or the Parties to a dispute. Any party or administrator who has a conflict of interest in a dispute under this policy or a concern about a conflict on the part of another shall promptly report it to the Intake Dean. The Intake Dean shall refer the matter to the Dean, who shall decide how to address any conflict of interest, unless the conflict lies with the Dean, in which case, the alleged conflict will be referred to the Office of the Provost for resolution.
  3. Consultant - A person intended to provide advice to a Grievant or the Subject of a grievance. The Consultant shall not directly participate in any proceedings, but may be consulted during the process. If any party’s consultant at any meeting is an attorney, all participants must be informed at least three (3) business days prior to such a meeting.
  4. Dean - The Dean of the Graduate College at Urbana-Champaign or his/her designee. The Dean has responsibility for graduate programs and related policies and procedures. The Dean is the final arbiter of disputes under this policy. In the event a grievance is filed against the Dean, these responsibilities shall be referred to the Office of the Provost for handling and any appeals will be to the Chancellor or his/her designee.
  5. Grievant - The student in the Graduate College who has filed a grievance pursuant to this policy.
  6. Intake Dean (ID) – A person who has been identified by the Dean to handle a particular dispute; usually an assistant or associate dean in the Graduate College. The Intake Dean will, as appropriate, facilitate informal discussions and/or mediation of disputes, receive information and facilitate discussions and/or mediation after a grievance has been filed at the administrative action stage, prepare a written report of the efforts to resolve the matter and provide this and other relevant background information as needed to the Review Dean, if different from the Intake Dean.
  7. Parties - Refers to the Grievant and all Subjects named in a grievance collectively.
  8. Review Dean (RD) – A person who the Dean may identify to oversee the formal review process – usually an assistant or associate dean in the Graduate College; may be the same person as the Intake Dean. The Review Dean is responsible for providing administrative support for the Review Panel, maintaining documentation, and keeping the Parties informed as to the status of a grievance.
  9. Subject(s) - The person or persons named in the grievance. If a grievance generally references a department or unit, the Subject shall be the Director or Head of the department or Unit.
     

III. ALTERNATIVE AVENUES FOR RESOLUTION

  1. General Campus Resources. University policy strongly encourages all students who believe they have a dispute or conflict to use all appropriate avenues for informal resolution before initiating the Graduate College grievance process described herein. Students may seek advice about how to address their situation informally from their faculty advisers, their director of graduate studies, their unit executive officer, the Graduate College (see IV.1. below), the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Office of International Student Affairs before pursuing a formal Graduate College grievance.
  2. Departmental Grievance. A student may elect to pursue a grievance with the student’s department/unit, if the department has a written grievance policy which has been approved by the Dean of the Graduate College.
    1. Appeal. A party dissatisfied with the outcome of a department/unit grievance finding may appeal the decision on procedural grounds to the Graduate College. An appeal must be filed in writing with an Intake Dean within ten (10) business days of the date of the departmental decision being appealed (see IV.2.1.2 below).
    2. Reporting. The department/unit shall annually report to the Graduate College Dean the number of grievances filed under the departmental procedures.
       

IV. PROCEDURES FOR PURSUING A GRADUATE COLLEGE GRIEVANCE

  1. Informal Resolution. A graduate student wishing to initiate the Graduate College grievance process must start with an Intake Dean. The student will meet with an Intake Dean who will review the matter and materials and attempt to assist the student in resolving the issue at the informal level through discussion or mediation. This process must be initiated within sixty (60) business days of the decision or behavior resulting in the grievance. The Intake Dean may attempt to mediate a resolution for matters that do not meet the deadline, but such matters will not be submitted for a formal review under IV.3.
  2. Administrative Action.
    1. Written Grievance. A student may file a written grievance:
      1. if an informal resolution is unsuccessful, provided the written grievance is filed within ten (10) business days of the date the Intake Dean advises the Grievant and the Subject that no further efforts will be made at the informal stage; or
      2. to appeal a departmental grievance decision, provided the written grievance is filed within ten (10) business days of the date of the departmental grievance decision being appealed.   
         
    2. Content and Submission of Grievance. The written grievance should include at least the following:
      1.  a statement by the student summarizing the concern(s)
      2.  the name(s) of the University faculty, staff or administrators involved
      3.  the date(s) of the alleged incident(s)
      4.  a statement concerning what outcome or action the student would like to see result from the grievance
         

      The grievance should be delivered to the Graduate College Dean.

    3. Handling. Once a written grievance has been submitted and reviewed, the Intake Dean will contact the student to arrange a meeting to discuss it. The Intake Dean will review the written grievance and supporting documentation provided by the Grievant and may conduct further inquiries and/or solicit additional information as warranted. The Intake Dean may also facilitate additional discussions between the Parties to try to resolve the matter at the administrative level.
    4. Outcomes.
      1. Agreed Disposition. If the Intake Dean is successful in resolving the matter by agreement, the Intake Dean shall prepare a report which includes: 1) the grievance(s), 2) the response(s), 3) the finding(s), and 4) the resolution.
      2. Unresolved Grievance. If the Intake Dean is unsuccessful in resolving the matter by agreement, the Intake Dean shall prepare a report which includes: 1) the grievance(s), 2) the response(s), 3) the findings, and 4) what efforts were taken or proposed to resolve the matter administratively.
      3. Report Distribution. The reports referenced under 1 & 2 will be submitted to the Dean with copies to the Grievant and the Subject(s) of the Grievance.
         
    5. Request for Formal Review. The Grievant or the Subject(s) may request a formal review of unresolved grievances by submitting the Request within ten (10) business days from the date of the Intake Dean’s Report to the Dean.
       
  3. Formal Review of Unresolved Grievances.
    1. Review of Request by Dean. Upon receipt of a request for formal review, the Dean will review the request along with the Intake Dean’s Report of Administrative Action and other relevant materials to consider whether any issues merit further investigation and review. If the grievance is declined, the Dean will notify the person seeking review in writing and explain the decision. The Dean’s decision is final.
    2. Appointment of Review Panel. If the Grievance is accepted, the Dean shall appoint a panel of five (5) people to investigate the matter and provide recommendations. The Panel shall consist of: 1) one member of the Graduate College Executive Committee; 2) one faculty member from the unit in which the matter originated; 3) one faculty member at large; and 4) two active graduate students at large. The faculty member at large will chair the Panel.
    3. Written Charge.
      1. In General. The Dean shall define the subject matter of the review in a written charge. The charge may, but need not address every allegation contained in the request for Formal Review. The charge may also include additional matters that, in the opinion of the Dean, warrant investigation. The charge shall be provided to the Panel, Review Dean (who may or may not be the same person as the Intake Dean), and the Parties to the Grievance.
      2. Content. The written charge shall also include:
        1. The identities of the Panel members and a statement that either party may challenge a Panel member on the grounds of a Conflict of Interest within five (5) business days of receipt of the Written Charge;
        2. A statement that both parties may submit any additional materials relevant to the Written Charge that they want considered by the Panel within ten (10) business days of receipt of the Written Charge; and
        3. A statement that a Party must make a written request for a meeting with the Panel within ten (10) business days of receipt of the Written Charge if such a meeting is desired, and that the Panel will decide if a meeting is warranted. 
           
      3. Conflict of Interest. If the Dean believes a legitimate Conflict of Interest exists, the Dean will replace the Panel member as appropriate.
         
    4. Preliminary Review Panel Session(s). After the time granted to the Parties to provide additional materials, the Review Dean shall convene the Panel Members to:
      1. Review the process, discuss the Written Charge and review the materials received during the Administrative Action and pursuant to IV.3.3;
      2. Review any requests for a meeting and decide if a meeting would be helpful in making findings and recommendations regarding the Written Charge;
      3. Provide direction on whether it wants the Review Dean to seek any additional information relevant to the Written Charge from any of the parties or other sources; and
      4. Confirm that the Review Dean has provided copies of written materials received by the Panel to all Parties to the Grievance.
         
    5. Meeting Notice. If the Panel concludes a meeting is necessary, the Review Dean shall send notice of a meeting no fewer than five (5) business days prior to the meeting. The notice must include the date, place and time of the meeting and a statement that each party may have a Consultant present at the meeting. Continuances may be granted by the Panel Chair with good cause shown.
    6. Meeting Attendance. Attendance is restricted to the Grievant, Subject(s) and their respective Consultants, Panel members, the Review Dean, and if necessary, a representative from the Office of University Legal Counsel. If oral statements from witnesses will be received, the witness may be present only while making the statement or responding to questions. Both Parties shall be permitted to be present throughout the meeting but are not required to attend. Any person, including a Party, who disrupts a meeting or who fails to adhere to the directives of the Chair may be removed from the meeting.
    7. Meeting Purpose and Structure. The purpose of a meeting under this policy is to allow the Panel to hear directly from the Grievant, Subject(s), and witnesses in order to better attempt to resolve the dispute. While there may be adversarial components, the meeting is not intended to be a trial. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. All Parties shall treat each other with dignity and respect. Parties may each make a brief opening statement, and then respond to questions from the Panel. The Parties may suggest questions to be asked of each other. The Chair shall decide whether or not to pose the questions.  If witnesses will be called, each Party may ask questions directly of his/her witness, but it will be in the Chair’s discretion whether or not questions to another’s party’s witnesses will be through the Chair or directly by the Party.  The confidentiality of all information shall be preserved.
    8. Deliberations. The deliberations of the Panel are confidential. All Parties shall be excluded during the Panel’s deliberations. The conclusions and recommendations of the Panel must be agreed to by a simple majority of the Panel hearing the matter. The conclusions and recommendations of the Panel must be based on a preponderance of the evidence (more probably true than not true).
    9. Panel Report. The Panel shall submit a written report to the Dean as soon as practical that includes at least the following:
      1. a copy of the Written Charge from the Dean;
      2. a statement of the relief sought by the Grievant;
      3. the response of the Subjects;
      4. general description of the investigative process;
      5. a citation of relevant policies;
      6. findings of fact that support the Panel’s conclusions;
      7. a recommendation of appropriate redress for the Grievant(s), if applicable; and
      8. any recommended changes in policies and procedures to minimize the probability of recurrence, if applicable
         
    10. Opportunity to Comment. Copies of the Report shall be provided to the Parties. A party may submit written comments to the Dean of the Graduate College concerning the Report to the Dean within five (5) business days of receipt of the Report.
    11. Action and Disposition of the Grievance; Disclosures. As soon as practical following the receipt of the Report and all written comments concerning the Report, the Dean shall determine what disposition to make of the case.
      1. If the Dean concludes that the grievance has not been proved, the grievance will be deemed not sustained and dismissed.
      2. If the Dean concludes that the grievance has been sustained, the Dean will proceed in accordance with the University Statutes and relevant University rules and regulations. The Dean may prescribe redress for the grievant, recommend modification of policies, or recommend changes in the procedures for implementation of such policies, as appropriate.
      3. If the Dean concludes that these procedures have not been followed, or the interests of fairness or thoroughness require further investigation, the Dean may direct the Panel to revisit any relevant issues and submit a revised Report within a certain time frame. The Dean shall identify the specific errors or concerns and provide direction to the Panel as to appropriate corrective measures. The Panel will only address the issues raised by the Dean and submit a supplemental report to the Dean for consideration.
         

      The Final Disposition shall be provided to the Parties in writing. The Dean’s disposition is final unless appealed as provided for herein. The Dean may authorize the release of a copy of the Disposition on a need to know basis with due regard for privacy rights of employees and students under federal and state law and University policy (see also, V.6).

    12. Appeal. A party may file an appeal to the Urbana-Champaign Provost within ten (10) business days from the date of the Dean’s Written Disposition. The sole grounds for appeal are material violations of these procedures that have resulted in significant prejudice against the Party appealing. The appeal must be in writing and must specify the nature of the procedural error. The Provost’s decision on appeal shall be final.
       

V. GENERAL PROVISIONS

  1. Record Keeping; Reporting. After completion of a grievance review and exhaustion of available appeals, the Review Dean shall return any original documents and materials to the persons who furnished them. The College grievance file is subject to destruction on a date six (6) years beyond the grievant's time limit for completion of the degree. Departments/units that handle department level grievances shall annually report to the Dean of the Graduate College the number of grievances filed under the departmental procedures.
  2. Interim Action. At any time after a grievance has been filed and before final disposition of the case, the Dean, with the approval of the Provost, may take interim administrative action determined to best serve the interest of the Grievant, other students in the same academic unit or the Subject, to protect the best interest of the University, to preserve evidence, or to protect resources.
  3. Consultation with Legal Counsel. The Graduate College may consult the Office University Legal Counsel at any time during the informal or formal processing of a grievance.
  4. Timeliness and Procedural Changes. All actions prescribed in this document should be conducted expeditiously.  Every effort should be made to resolve a grievance within one year of the beginning of Administrative Action. Extensions of time periods specified in this document may be granted by the Intake Dean, Panel Chair, or Dean as the case may be, with good cause shown. The Dean may make other reasonable alterations of the procedures set forth in this document, provided that the alteration does not impair the ability of a Grievant to pursue a grievance or the Subjects to respond. Any alterations of these procedures must be communicated to the Parties.
  5. Failure to Participate, Withdrawal, Termination. The grievance may proceed regardless of the failure of the Grievant or Subject(s) to participate, so long as all required notices have been given. The Grievant may submit a written request to withdraw the grievance at any time; however, the Dean shall have the sole discretion to decide whether to grant or deny the request. Withdrawal from the University by the Grievant or termination of employment by the Subject at the University shall not necessarily terminate the proceedings.
  6. Confidentiality. All persons involved in administering this policy shall exercise diligent efforts to keep information received or learned during the course of a grievance as confidential. Nothing in these provisions alters privacy rights of employees and students provided in federal and state laws and University policies and procedures. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event the Dean concludes that a student has knowingly filed a false grievance, the Dean may authorize the release and use of all materials submitted in this process for use in any disciplinary proceedings.

 

Approved March 28, 2011

E. Academic Integrity

Course work-based charges of academic integrity infractions against graduate students will be handled according to applicable procedures in the Student Code.

Charges of academic integrity infractions against graduate students that involve research and/or publication will follow procedures contained within the Bylaws of the Graduate College and the University of Illinois Policy and Procedures on Academic Integrity in Research and Publication.

F. Discrimination

The Student Code contains information for specific procedures for student grievances alleging discrimination, see the non-discrimination policies in Article 1, Part 1.

G. Capricious Grading

Information on capricious grading and the departmental procedures for investigating capricious grading complaints can be found in the Student Code, section 3-107.

H. University Discipline System

Jurisdiction of the University discipline system is outlined in section 1-301 of the Student Code. The Subcommittee on Graduate Student Conduct of the Senate Committee on Student Discipline has the right to impose sanctions including, but not limited to dismissal, suspension, conduct probation, censure, and reprimand. More detailed information concerning the operation of the procedures in the Student Code may be obtained from the Office for Student Conflict Resolution at 333-3680.

I. Employment Conflict

When a serious conflict between an assistant and a supervisor occurs, reasonable attempts should be made to resolve the conflict informally.  If there is a conflict between a supervisor and an assistant that cannot be resolved by informal means, the most practical solution may be to reassign the student to new responsibilities.  If reassignment is not feasible or does not appear to be warranted, the assistantship appointment may be terminated by following the procedures given below.  The assistant may also choose to resign the appointment by submitting a letter of resignation, (see chapter 8.A.8.)

Most conflicts between a supervisor and a student can be prevented if the student is given a clear description of responsibilities and expectation for performance and if the student receives regular supervision and evaluation.  If conflicts surface, however, the Graduate College encourages and supports concerted informal efforts toward resolution within the department, beginning at the supervisor-student level.  For procedures to provide guidelines for resolving and mediating conflicts informally, see Effective Problem Solving.

Additional resources for students experiencing employment related conflict include the following: