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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. 

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:

PASS/NO-PASS AND CREDIT/NO-CREDIT GRADES

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign evaluates applicants for admission to its graduate and professional colleges and schools holistically, meaning that we consider an applicant’s combination of personal accomplishments, letters of recommendation, personal statements, academic record, and test scores in making our admissions decisions. Such a review will consider the significant disruptions of COVID-19 when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials from Spring 2020. We understand that many institutions across the country instituted P/NP or CR/NCR grading policies during that semester. Thus, we will not penalize students for the adoption of P/NP, CR/NCR and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether the choices were made by institutions or by individual students. Our admissions evaluation will focus primarily on a student’s academic performance prior to this period, and if applicable, following this period. What is most important is that applicants demonstrate that they pursued a challenging curriculum that was relevant to their plan for graduate and professional education.

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 IBT SPECIAL HOME EDITION TEST: TOEFL launched the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test on March 23rd and this test is now available in all countries except Mainland China and Iran. This will be a proctered online version of the TOEFL iBT 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. We will accept this test in lieu of the traditional TOEFL iBT with the same score and test date requirements posted in our application instructions.

TOEFL ITP PLUS FOR CHINA TEST: TOEFL has also now launched the TOEFL ITP Plus test for students in China. This is a paper-based test that can be taken in ATA-operated test centers in China while the iBT is temporarily unavailable. If submitting this test, a minimum score of 550 will be required for admission. Students who submit this test will not be eligible for full status admission and will be required to take the English as a Second Language English Placement Test (EPT)* prior to erolling at Illinois. Additional information about this test can be found on the ITP Plus for China website. Note that the TOEFL ITP Plus test does not provide a scored speaking component and cannot be used to satisfy the English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants. Students who submit a TOEFL ITP Plus 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: In addition and 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 English Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois. 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. Please visit the Duolingo peparing for the exam, scheduling the exam, and FAQs sites for more information.

IELTS: 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.

    GRE and GMAT Score Admission Requirements

    ETS launched the GRE General Test at home test on March 23rd and this test is now available in all countries except Mainland China and Iran. 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 launched an online proctored alternative to the GMAT exam on April 15 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. 

    The U.S. Department of State has announced that all U.S. consulates and embassies will accept emailed/scanned versions of I-20s with electronic signatures from Designated School Officials for F-1 visa interviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this announcement, we will be emailing I-20s to admitted students and/or making them available to view and print on their application status page. Applicants will be able to use this I-20 to both apply for the F-1 visa and to enter the U.S. Note that this approval to use scanned I-20s to obtain visas and entry to the U.S. is temporary, and you should always consult with the embassy or consulate on their current policies and requirements. If this approval changes, we will work with you to ship you a physical I-20 at that time.

    DS-2019s must continue to be physically printed, signed, and shipped to students at this time. 

    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

    See the Dates & Deadlines Calendar.

    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.

    Time-to-degree Extensions

    A student’s Expected Graduation Date (EGD) is their time limit for degree completion (based on academic policy). Due to COVID-19 related impacts this Spring 2020 semester, the Graduate College is implementing the following policy exceptions:

    • We are granting a one-semester time extension for students with a May 2020 or August 2020 EGD who are not graduating at the time of their EGD. This means that those with a May 2020 EGD who will not graduate in May will be automatically granted an extension to August 2020.
    • We are delaying the implementation of the policy for academic probation due to exceeded time limits for degree completion. We plan to implement this policy with the start of AY21-22.
    • Attention International Students: you must apply to extend your I-20 before the program end date and then make sure you are registered for Summer 2020 in order to maintain your status. For questions, please contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at isss@illinois.edu.

    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.

    Online Preliminary and Final 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 through the Summer 2020 term. 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.

    Registration Requirement for Summer Doctoral Examinations: Normally, students are required to be registered for the semester in which they take their preliminary or final examinations. Because the changes in the teaching and learning environment may have led to delays in the scheduling of spring examinations, the Graduate College will allow students who were registered during spring 2020 to take their examinations any time during summer 2020 without requiring registration for summer. This will allow students to take examinations until August 23, 2020, which is the last day before the start of the fall semester. Students should consult with their departments and ISSS regarding other reasons for summer registration. Students who were not registered for spring 2020 will need to register for summer 2020 if they will take a preliminary or final examination this summer.
     

    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.

    TELEHEALTH SERVICES

    If you feel you need to reach out to a counselor or health care provider, here are some ways to do so: 

    See the Student Affairs COVID-19 Support Resources webpage for additional resources and the Graduate College Need Help page.

    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.

    Impact on graduating students:

    We understand that some of our graduating students may be unable to return home due to COVID-19 and may be looking to extend their studies at Illinois by earning another master’s degree. To assist those who are interested, we have put together a list of 1-year and 18-month master’s programs that are accepting applications for admission for Fall 2020. Please reach out to the individual programs of study with any questions you may have.

    Last updated May 8, 2020