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For information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: grad.illinois.edu/covid-19-updates.

Covid-19 (novel coronavirus)

During this time, we want to do what we can to relieve stress for those impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Our thoughts are with everyone affected, and we hope that you stay safe. Please continue to monitor this page for additional updates for graduate applicants, current graduate students and postdoctoral scholars as they become available. Please also see the university's COVID-19 webpage for the lastest campus updates. 

While you won't find us in Coble Hall, rest assured the Graduate College is committed to supporting your learning, career exploration, and professional growth. We are still here...just in a virtual sense.

Online Workshops

We continue to offer opportunities for you to interact and learn with your fellow grad students. Our career, thesis, and fellowship workshops have moved to new, virtual spaces. In the coming weeks, join us—and colleagues around CU and the world—to learn about applying for fellowships, depositing your thesis, writing resumes, and more.

Individual Advising Appointments

If you are ready to take the next steps, we are happy to provide individual support through fellowship advising and career advising. Schedule an appointment for video a chat to meet face-to-face with advisors who are ready to help. 

Reach out to Us

These are unprecedented times and we are doing our best to provide information as we have it on our website and through emails, but please feel to reach out to us at grad@illinois.edu or 217-333-0035 if you have any questions or visit our Need Help page.

 

Impact on you as an applicant or recently admitted graduate student:

 

Academic Credential Admission Requirements

Applicant Information: We recognize that some universities in areas impacted by COVID-19 are currently closed and students may be unable to obtain transcripts and other academic credentials at this time. For admissions review purposes, we can review and make admissions decisions with unofficial copies of transcripts. If you have concerns regarding the credentials you can provide at this time, please contact your proposed program of study.

Admitted Student Information: For Summer and Fall 2020 admitted students, while official copies of your transcripts and certificates of degree are required to be submitted during your first term, we will work with students who have degrees conferred late and/or are unable to obtain official credentials due to the COVID-19 epidemic. These credentials will not be required until October of 2020 and we will post updates regarding this situation closer to this time.

Currently Enrolled Student Information: For currently enrolled students who still need to provide official copies of transcripts and certificates of degree and are unable to do so due to the temporary closings of universities, please contact your graduate program and we will work with them to extend student holds as needed.

English Proficiency Admission Requirements

TOEFL launched the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test on March 23rd to selected areas. This will be a proctered online version of the test that can be taken in test users' homes. Additional information about this new test option and updates on testing center closures, postponements, and rescheduling can be found at www.ets.org/toefl/cv-update

IELTS is providing updates regarding testing centers at: www.ielts.org/en-us/news/2020/changes-to-ielts-test-arrangements-in-some-locations-due-to-novel-coronavirus

In response to the temporary closings of testing centers in countries impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, the Graduate College will now temporarily accept Duolingo English Test examination results for tests taken between February 1 and August 1, 2020. The Duolingo English Test will be accepted as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS for proof of English proficiency for impacted applicants.

If submitting the Duolingo English Test, a minimum score of 105 will be required for admission. Students with scores between 105 and 124 will be required to take the English as a Second Language (ESL) English Placement Test (EPT)* upon arrival to campus. In addition to providing a score above these minimums, graduate programs may choose to require students to participate in a zoom or skype interview prior to making an admission decision.

The Duolingo English Test does not provide sub-score breakouts and 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.

Duolingo English Test Information:

GRE and GMAT Score Admission Requirements

ETS launched the GRE General Test at home test on March 23rd to selected areas. This will be a proctered online version of the test that can be taken in test users' homes. Additional information about this new test option and updates on testing center closures, postponements, and rescheduling can be found at www.ets.org/gre/cv-update.

GMAC will be launching an online proctored alternative to the GMAT exam in mid-April in selected areas. This will be an online version of the test that can be taken in test users' homes. Additional information about this new test option and updates on testing center closures, postponements, and rescheduling can be found at https://www.gmac.com/why-gmac/gmac-news/update-on-coronavirus.

The Graduate College does not require the GRE or GMAT scores for official admission to the University; however, many of our graduate programs do have this requirement. If you are unable to take these exams due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the temporary closing of testing centers, please contact your proposed program of study. Some graduate programs are able to grant extensions to the submission of these scores and others have made these exam submissions optional.

Issuance of I-20s and DS-2019s for Admitted Students

We are aware that the U.S. Consulates have temporarily suspended F-1 and J-1 Student Visa interview scheduling in some areas impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. However, as international applicants are approved for admission, we will continue to issue I-20 and DS-2019 visa eligibility documents for the upcoming Summer and Fall 2020 semesters to allow applicants to schedule visa interviews as soon as possible after the U.S. Consulates re-open.

If you are unable to obtain a student visa and arrive in time to begin your studies in Summer or Fall 2020, please contact your graduate program for information on enrollment options.

 

Impact on you as a graduate student:

We recognize that, as graduate students, in addition to taking traditional classes, many of you also participate in research, teaching, and scholarship as part of your responsibilities, and we are taking measures to support you in each of those areas. We know the uncertainty of this situation is challenging for everyone in different ways. 

Extensions of Academic Deadlines

The following academic deadlines for Spring 2020 have been extended to April 30: 

  • Last day for students to add themselves to the May 2020 degree list
  • Last day to submit a change of curriculum request for the current term. This includes changing your degree program or adding/dropping a minor or concentration
  • Last day to withdraw or to drop a semester course from current term without a grade of W
  • Last day to elect credit/no-credit option for a semester course or to change from credit/no-credit option to a regular grade  

In addition to the above deadlines, we are also extending doctoral final exam and deposit deadlines as follows: 

  • Last day to take Final Exam for May 2020 degree conferral will now be April 24
  • Last day to complete deposit of May doctoral dissertation will now be 5:00 p.m., May 8
  • Last day to complete deposit of May master’s theses will now be 5:00 p.m., May 15

Traditional classroom-based courses

Many of you are currently enrolled in traditional classroom-based courses. In compliance with stay-in-place mandate, all courses are now taught via alternative delivery approaches. Students who need disability accommodations or assistance with this transition should contact Disability Resources and Educational Services at +1-217-333-4603. For information about pass/no-pass and credit/no-credit grading options, see the email with additional information regarding Spring 2020 deadlines and academic policy.

Dissertation and thesis research and related independent study courses

Many of you are working closely with faculty on a variety of research-based experiences such as Independent Study, Thesis, and Dissertation Research. You are encouraged to contact your advisor or your department for additional advice regarding how to best continue to make progress in these educational experiences.

Internships and Clinical Rotations

Students who are in the process of completing assigned internships or clinical rotations should contact their advisor or supervisor to discuss how to best continue to make progress in these educational experiences.

Administration of qualifying exams, thesis defenses, and doctoral preliminary and final examinations

We understand that many of you are currently preparing to take qualifying, preliminary or final dissertation or thesis examinations. The Graduate College has temporarily waived the current policy requirement for preliminary and final exams to allow all committee members to participate online. All exams should be conducted online for now, and students should consult with their departments about the logistics. If at all possible, the final defense should be open to members of the campus community but the deliberations should be restricted to the committee.

Impact on you as a graduate assistant, fellow, or hourly employee:

Graduate students are extremely valued members of our community. Our university would not be able to function without your hard work and contributions. It is our intention to continue to rely on your services as a valued employee during the current situation. Graduate students with appointments will continue to be paid and will remain eligible for any tuition waiver associated with their appointment. Below we provide some additional information pertaining to teaching assistants, research assistants, other graduate assistants, fellows, and hourly employees. Read the COVID-19 Pay Continuation Protocol that ensures employees have pay and benefits.

Teaching Assistants

The university has transformed to online and alternative course delivery for traditional classroom-based courses. If you are assigned to assist a faculty member as a TA or grader, you will be expected to continue to assist with the course or courses to which you have been assigned. You should contact the faculty member responsible for your course or your department for specific instructions for your assignment. If you are assigned as the instructor of record for a course, you will be contacted by your department or college with respect to how best to ensure appropriate continuity for your course or courses.

Research Assistants

We recognize that due to the fluid and changing nature of the crisis, specific duties and responsibilities may change. Research assistants are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor for additional instructions pertaining to their assignment.

Other Graduate Assistants

Many graduate students are assigned graduate assistantship responsibilities to support departmental, college, or central campus units in an administrative or service capacity. We recognize that due to the fluid and changing nature of the crisis, specific duties and responsibilities may change. Graduate assistants are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor for additional instructions pertaining to their assignment.

Fellows

Fellows will continue to receive monthly stipends in accordance with the terms of their fellowship.

Hourly Employees

Hourly employees are encouraged to check with their employing unit about any new arrangements moving forward.

Impact on you as a valued member of our community:

We know that the uncertainty of this situation is challenging for everyone in different ways. Our goal is that you will be able to focus on your studies, your work, your wellness and your life, and we will provide the support and resources to protect you and our entire community. We are confident that together we can continue to find innovative ways to address this and any other challenges we face, and we remind you to take care of yourself and to support each other in the coming weeks.

Health and Wellness

The health and safety of you and your family members is of paramount importance. We recognize that in the coming weeks and months members of our community may become unwell and will not be able to come to the university. The university has posted detailed guidance about how to respond to health challenges and how to seek assistance. Graduate Students are encouraged to reach out to their department or the Graduate College if they are in need of support or if they are unsure of what to do. Additional information is available online at the Graduate College Need Help webpage and on the campus COVID-19 webpage.

Coping with Anxiety and Stress

The Counseling Center provides services to help students address many academic, relational, social, and emotional concerns. Students in need of services should be encouraged to contact the Counseling Center to make an appointment. The Mental Health Clinic at McKinley Health Center offers a variety of services to students seeking assistance with stress, including educational resources for strategies and relaxation techniques.

University-Sponsored Travel

The university is prohibiting all international travel on university-sponsored business including conferences for faculty, staff and students from March 16 until further notice. The university is limiting domestic travel for faculty, staff and students to pre-approved travel for essential university business including conferences. The university will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues and other challenges that might arise from this decision. Those who believe they have an essential business reason to travel can request a waiver through their unit leader (dean, vice provost, vice chancellor, etc.), but the expectation is such waivers will be rare.

Research or Study Abroad

The university has cancelled all international Study Abroad for all students from March 14 to at least August 15. Students are encouraged to return to the United States or to their home country. The university will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues and other challenges that might arise from this decision. Study abroad educational experiences are life-long and life-changing; however, our top priority at this time is to ensure our students’ personal health and safety while ensuring they can continue to make academic progress.

Graduate students who are conducting research abroad are encouraged to return to the United States or to their home country. The university will offer assistance to address academic and financial issues and other challenges that might arise from this decision. Graduate students are encouraged to reach out to their faculty advisors.  Those who believe they have an essential reason to remain abroad can request a waiver through their unit leader (dean, vice provost, vice chancellor, etc.), but the expectation is such waivers will be rare.

Effective Saturday, March 21, per the Governor’s order and in compliance with campus guidance from the Chancellor and Provost, all research activities on campus, in the field, and at auxiliary sites must now ramp down to conduct only essential activities. This means that most campus research labs, facilities, and field sites should cease in-person operations—safely— with consideration during ramp-down of requirements to effectively ramp back up to resume activities when allowed. See details posted the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation website.

Personal Travel

The university is strongly advising against all international and domestic air travel on personal business for faculty, staff and students, especially those with underlying health conditions. Anyone who travels to a CDC Level 2 or 3 region, whether for professional or personal reasons, will be required to self-quarantine off-campus for 14 days BEFORE returning to campus. More information about the Self-Quarantine Protocol can be found online.

University Sponsored Events and Meetings

The university is suspending all university-sponsored, in-person events and meetings in campus facilities, effective March 13. If possible and as appropriate, organizers should explore alternative ways of conducting the event, e.g., livestreaming and conference calling. The university recommends that all in-person meetings be moved to an alternative solution unless meeting in-person is essential to do so. If so, please observe CDC guidelines on social distancing and other preventative measures.

Impact on you as an international student:

We recognize that this is a stressful time for our international students and that there is much uncertainty regarding travel at this point in time. We want to provide you with as much support as we can. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services is able to provide additional information and updates which are  posted on the International Student and Scholar Services website and the university’s COVID-19 webpage.

 

Last updated March 26, 2020