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.