I. Before You Begin

Minimum Academic Requirements for Graduate Admission

The Graduate College sets minimum requirements for full status graduate admission to the University of Illinois. Your proposed program of study may have additional or higher minimum requirements for admission into their academic programs. It is important to review their website for program admission requirement information.

The Graduate College minimum requirements for full status admission are below:

  • 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.
  • An admission grade point average (GPA)* of 3.0 (A=4.0), or a comparable GPA for an international applicant, is a minimum requirement for admission.
  • 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.

*The admission GPA is calculated based on the last two years of undergraduate study. If your undergraduate study is longer than 4 years, additional semesters may be used to calculate the admission GPA.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENT EXCEPTIONS

A student who does not meet one or more of the admission requirements:

  • may qualify for limited status admission with support from the academic program and approval from the Graduate College.
  • may qualify for full status admission based on a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college in the United States or a comparable graduate degree from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad with a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant.
  • may qualify for full status admission after completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours as a non-degree student at the graduate level within the proposed academic major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received a cumulative GPA that meets the department minimum for good standing.
  • may qualify for full status admission with support from the academic program and approval from the Graduate College if they have completed 10+ years of professional work experience in the field corresponding to the proposed academic major.

English Proficiency Requirements for Graduate Admission

domestic APPLICANTS

Proof of English proficiency is not required for admission for domestic applicants. Some domestic applicants may be required to demonstrate proof of spoken English if applying for a teaching assistantship. Please review the English proficiency requirements for teaching assistants.

international APPLICANTS

All international degree-seeking applicants are required to submit the results of an accepted test as evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption. Official scores are required to be submitted directly from the testing agency. All scores must be dated within two years of the beginning of the proposed admission term. Acceptable tests and corresponding minimum scores are available below. A student who does not meet the English proficiency requirement for admission may be admitted on limited status and be required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois.

Accepted Tests
Limited Status Admission Minimum
Full Status Admission Minimum

TOEFL iBT
TOEFL iBT Home Edition
TOEFL iBT Paper Edition

79 103
IELTS Academic Exam 6.5 7.5

Duolingo
(Accepting temporarily)

115 135

Additional Score Information

  • The English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) will be required prior to enrolling at Illinois for all students who score below the full status minimums listed in the chart above. On the basis of the EPT results, applicants are generally required to enroll in non-credit "English as a Second Language" courses and take a reduced academic load beginning the first semester at the University. 
  • Students applying to online programs must satisfy the full status admissions requirement.
  • Individual academic programs may require a higher score, or additional evidence of spoken English language proficiency; please review your proposed program of study's website for program requirements for admission.
  • Accepted scores and minimums listed above are for admission purposes only. If applying to hold a Teaching Assistantship, please review the English proficiency requirements for teaching assistants.

Test Information and Instructions for Requesting Official Scores

  • TOEFL iBT: The traditional TOEFL iBT, the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, and the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition tests are accepted for admission. Please review the TOEFL iBT Test Information page for more information about these tests. Applicants should send their official scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using our institution code number 1836.
  • IELTS: The IELTS Academic Test (in person and online) is accepted for admission. Please review the IELTS Test Information page for more information about this test. Scores should be sent electronically via your testing center to the following account name: University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Graduate.
  • DUOLINGO ENGLISH TEST: We are temporarily accepting the Duolingo English Test for admission. Please review the Duolingo Applicants page for more information about this test. Examination results for tests taken between February 1, 2020 and August 1, 2024 will be accepted. Scores should be sent electronically to the following account name: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Graduate Admissions. The Duolingo English Test cannot be used to satisfy the English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants. Students who submit a Duolingo score for admission will need to either take the TOEFL/IELTS at a later date or take the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) upon arrival to campus if planning to hold a teaching assistantship.
  • TOEFL SCORES FORMERLY ACCEPTED: We formerly accepted the TOEFL revised paper-delivered test (rPDT) and the TOEFL ITP Plus for China test for admission. TOEFL has discontinued these two tests and they are no longer available. However, scores may be accepted for admission for up to 2 years from the test date. Since both tests do not include a speaking portion, students using these tests for admissions purposes are not eligible for full status admission and will be required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois (and any subsequent ESL coursework). The minimum score for admission with the TOEFL rPDT is 60, and the minimum TOEFL ITP Plus is 550. In addition, these scores cannot be used to satisfy the English profiency requirement for teaching assistants. Students who submit these scores for admission will need to either take the TOEFL iBT or IELTS at a later date, or take the English Proficiency Interview (EPI), upon arrival to campus if planning to hold a teaching assistantship.
     
  • TOEFL SCORES NOT ACCEPTED: We do not accept the TOEFL Essentials test, nor TOEFL myBest scores. 
     

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENT EXEMPTIONS

Applicants who meet one of the following criteria are exempt from the English proficiency requirement for admission:

  • Received a post-secondary degree from a U.S. institution (or an institution within an approved country) within five years of the proposed admission term.
  • Completion of at least two years of post-secondary study in the U.S. (or an approved country) within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.
  • Completion of at least two years of professional work experience in the U.S. (or an approved country) within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.
     

APPROVED COUNTRIES WITH ENGLISH AS THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE

Illinois Graduate Admissions recognizes the following countries as having English as the primary language: Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe.

 

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY FOR TEACHING ASSISTANTS

Please note that all English proficiency requirements and exemptions listed above are for admission purposes only. Admissions minimums are not equivalent to minimums required for holding a teaching assistantship; and not all exemptions apply for those holding a teaching assistantship. For more information, please see the English Proficiency Requirement for Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Proposed Programs of Study

Selecting your Program of Study

A complete list of our graduate programs is available in the Illinois Graduate Programs of Study. Each program listing will provide an overview of the program, along with admissions and degree completion requirements.

The Directory of Graduate Programs provides website and contact information for each available program. Your proposed program of study is best able to advise you throughout your application process.

Application deadlines vary by degree program and not all programs admit to all terms. Visit your proposed program of study's web site to determine the application deadline. If you apply after the posted deadline, full consideration is not guaranteed, and no application fee refunds will be granted.

Individual graduate programs may ask customized questions on the application, including your proposed field of specialization or any potential faculty members you would want to work with. We encourage you to review faculty profiles and information about fields of specialization on your proposed program's web site. We also encourage you to reach out to programs directly to learn more about the program overall and its faculty.

If you have already been awarded a graduate degree, please review our duplicate degree policy.

Online and Site-Based Programs

Many graduate programs are offered completely online or in a format of online with some campus visits required. Some programs are offered at site-based locations throughout Illinois. Click here for a list of online and site-based programs.

Note: I-20s will not be issued to international students admitted to online programs. International students may only enroll in online programs at the University of Illinois if they maintain a non-student visa status that allows for study, or if the student plans to remain in his/her home country for the duration of the online program.

APPLYING TO MULTIPLE PROGRAMS

Applicants who wish to be considered for admission to multiple programs of study should submit multiple applications, application fees, and appropriate supporting materials to each program of study office. You will only need to create one online application account and can add multiple applications to this account. Students may be enrolled in only one program of study at a time, unless enrolled in an approved joint program of study.

Please note that your application may be considered for multiple programs if your application is not selected for admission by your original proposed program. However, many departments require an additional application to be submitted before reviewing for additional programs.

JOINT PROGRAMS OF STUDY

If applying to a joint degree program for admission, you will be required to submit two online graduate applications. Each application has program-specific application questions and upload requirements, so an individual application is required. In the online application, you will be able to select a Primary Program and a Secondary Program. You'll need to submit one application with Program A as your Primary Program, and another application Program B as your Primary Program.

You application will be viewed by both academic programs, and you only need to pay one application fee. When submitting your second application, please indicate "Joint Program 2nd Application" in the Allied Agency field in the Application Fee Waiver section on the Program page.

For a complete list of joint programs available to applicants, please visit our Academic Catalog.

If applying to a joint degree program with the College of Law's JD program for admission, you will be required to submit one graduate online application and another separate application for the College of Law through www.law.illinois.edu or www.lsac.org. For instructions regarding College of Law acceptance for this joint program, please visit the College of Law website for more information.

Financial Assistance

Check with your proposed program of study office for any specific application deadlines to be considered for financial assistance in addition to admission. Your proposed program of study web site can also provide you with additional information about how to indicate your request for financial assistance in your online application.

Below are the primary types of financial assistance available to graduate students at Illinois:

  • Fellowships: Information on fellowships is available from the Fellowship Office at the Graduate College.
     
  • Assistantships: Assistants enrolled in most graduate programs receive a waiver of full tuition and the service fee, provided the appointment is for not less than one-quarter time and not more than two-thirds time, and if the assistant is on appointment for at least three-quarters (91 days) of the term. Details about tuition waivers are available from the Guide to the Tuition Waiver Policy. Note that non-native speakers of English applying for a teaching assistantship should review the specific English Proficiency requirements for teaching assistants.
     
  • Tuition and Service Fee Waivers: These awards waive payment of tuition and partial fees. For deadlines and applications, please contact your program of study office. For University-funded fellowships, assistantships, and tuition waivers, there are no restrictions on citizenship, age, sex, ethnic or national origin, marital status, or disability. Certain non-University-funded fellowships and assistantships may have restrictions. Before you apply for such an award, consult the office of your proposed program of study for both the types of financial aid available and the financial aid deadline.
     
  • Loans (for Domestic Applicants only): For information about loans, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Note that self-supporting and cost recovery programs may not offer these financial aid options. See a list of these programs. This list may not be complete; it is important to check with your department to find out which financial aid options are available.

Defining Applicants as International or Domestic

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 the domestic 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.

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 the international 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 the international application fee, but are not required to provide financial documentation. 

Visa Information

International applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application for admission ten months prior to their intended semester of entry.

The Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20 will be issued to admitted applicants who request and are eligible for an F-1 visa. As part of the eligibility requirement, a student must provide evidence of financial resources and a copy of their passport.

F-1 students may not hold appointments that total more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, and full-time during vacation period provided the student intends to register in the following semester. Twelve months of optional practical training in a study program may be authorized. Dependents of F-1 students cannot be employed.

A DS-2019 Form will be issued to admitted applicants who request and are eligible for a J-1 visa. As part of the eligibility requirement, a student must provide evidence of financial resources and a copy of their passport.

Applicants sponsored by their governments, international foundations, or agencies, who receive at least 50 percent of their funding from any source other than personal or family funds, or who are part of a university exchange are eligible to receive this form. Entry into the U.S. is only for the total period of the study program as specified on the DS-2019. J-1 students may work on or off-campus only with written approval from their sponsor. Students may participate in up to 18 months of academic training and up to 36 months of post-doctoral training. Changing visa category is very difficult and may not be allowed. J-1 visa holders may be subject to a 2-year home country residence requirement. Dependents on J-2 visas may seek employment.

A student may not enroll or pursue studies while on a B1/B2 or F-2 visa.

A student may choose to enroll and pursue studies while on an H-1 visa or they may choose to change status to a student visa. However, please note that an H-1 visa holder cannot hold a graduate assistantship appointment. If you choose to remain on a non-student visa during your studies at Illinois, you will need to upload a copy of your U.S. visa in your online application.

Information regarding the SEVIS I-901 Fee may be obtained from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website.

Evidence of Financial Resources

funding requirements:

All international applicants requesting visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) are required to demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of their education while in the United States. Financial documentation is required as part of the application process in order for visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) to the U.S. to be issued. International applicants should upload the following documentation directly to the online application. Note that this documentation may be submitted after you submit your graduate application. 

funding sources:

If the student will provide funding from personal funds, a Bank Statement with sufficient funding for at least one year’s total cost* is required. Please refer to the PDF of the Declaration and Certification of Finances form for specific expense amounts.

If a family or other personal sponsor will provide funding, a Bank Statement with sufficient funding for at least one year’s total cost* is required. One of the following additional documents is also required: Declaration and Certification of Finances form verifying sponsorship for full length and cost of the program OR signed Letter of Sponsorship detailing amounts and length of sponsorship.

If an employer, government or organization will provide funding, a signed Letter of Sponsorship detailing amounts and length of sponsorship is required.

FUNDING documentation - bank statements:

You must obtain a bank statement from your bank (web printouts are acceptable for online banking) showing the bank's letterhead or logo, and bank stamp or bank signature.

The statement must show sufficient funding for one year’s costs* (or amount of sponsorship for one year), must be dated within one year of submission, and must show funding in liquid accounts, such as savings, checking, money market accounts, or CDs.

Non-liquid funding such as stocks, bonds, auto/land deeds are not acceptable forms of financial support.

Solvency and opinion statements are not acceptable forms of financial support.

FUNDING DOCUMENTATION - declaration and certification of finance forms:

The sponsor must sign and print his/her name and relationship to the student, and the form must be dated within one year of submission. Signing this document verifies sponsorship for the full length and cost of the program.

The form is available in PDF format here.

FUNDING DOCUMENTATION - letters of sponsorship:

You must obtain an official letter of sponsorship from the sponsor that includes a signature or stamp showing the authenticity of the letter. The letter must detail amounts and length of sponsorship and be dated within one year of submission.

uploading funding documentation:

  • You are required to upload a copy of your all proof of funding documentation if requesting an I-20 or DS-2019. English translations should be included if the documentation is not in English.
  • Non-legible scans will not be accepted.
  • Please do not mail or fax in a copy of this documentation which you have uploaded to your online application. Instead, use only the upload feature of our online application at this point. This saves you the time, effort, and expense of mailing financial documents to us during the initial processing and review of your application. It also avoids any delays resulting from the non-receipt of financial documents and assures you that your documents have been successfully submitted, since you can view them yourself online.
  • Please obtain an electronic version of your proof of financial documentation (bank statements, declaration forms, letters of sponsorship) or scan a copy of the document you may already have and that is current, at the lowest resolution that results in a legible document (we recommend using under 200 dpi whenever possible.
  • You may upload an institutional web-based bank statement if the financial institution has put your name on the statement.
  • You must ensure that your name, the financial institution name, and other identifying marks are not missed during the scanning process and that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter size paper - 8.5 by 11 in (21.5 by 30 cm).
  • Please be certain that your document is saved as a PDF file or Word document. Scanning in “gray scale” or black and white may produce the best results.
  • If the scanned file is too large you may want to make a photocopy first (experiment with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size) then scan the photocopy. 

The University of Illinois reserves the right to require official proof of funding documentation at any time during the SEVIS review process.

*Note that J-1 students will be required to show proof of funding (via bank statement) for the entire cost of the program (or the portion for which funds are being covered by personal or other individual sponsor funding).