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

COVID-19 Information for Graduate Programs

General Questions

How do I contact the Graduate College with questions?

We are open at our new location, 507 E Green Street, Suite 101 in Champaign. Our business hours are from 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:30pm. You can email grad@illinois.edu or call 217-333-0035 with any questions.

How will I be updated about any further changes?

The Graduate College will continue to send out regular email communications to graduate students and graduate programs. Please also visit our COVID-19 updates webpages and do not hesitate to reach out to the us with any questions.

What about forms that require signatures?

We accept Adobe digital signatures (with date/time stamp) on all Graduate College forms (registration forms, petitions, DCL requests, TDAs, FERs/PERs).

Adobe Digital Signature Help

Here is a quick easy way to set up your signature in Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Sign a piece of paper
  2. Take a picture with your phone and email it to yourself
  3. Save the picture as a jpeg on your computer
  4. Open the form in Adobe, click the fill and sign tool
  5. Click the signature button and choose to upload a signature image
  6. This will then save that image forever and you can use it on all PDFs

When you receive a pdf from a student or department, click on the ‘Fill and Sign’ symbol, find the location where signature needs to be, then you will click ‘sign.’ Drag the signature to the preferred place. This video shows you how to insert an electronic signature. Please note, you also have the option of attaching an email approval to the form and submitting it to us as one pdf file through our Secure Forms Drop-off.

Preliminary Exam Result Forms, Final Exam Result Forms, and Thesis/Dissertation Approval Forms
The Graduate College accepts wet signatures, Adobe signatures with a time/date stamp, and scanned signatures on these forms. However, due to the difficulty departments may encounter when collecting signatures, we will temporarily accept exam results and thesis approval an alternative way. The chair of the committee may submit an email to the department, cc’d to the committee members, that includes the following information:

  • For Preliminary Exams: 1) Date of the exam, 2) Result of the exam, 3) Names of committee members
  • For Final Exams: 1) Date of the exam, 2) Result of the exam, 3) Names of committee members, 4) How each committee member voted
  • For Thesis/Dissertation Approval Forms: 1) Approval of the document, 2) Names of committee members

The email should be sent to the department who will attach it to the original form, which should include the signature of the EO or DGS at the bottom. This departmental signature confirms the accuracy of the result, which aligns with our standard practice.

Admissions Questions:

How do I submit official transcripts for an admitted or enrolled student to the Graduate College?

For Admission-related needs: Please visit our Final Credential Requirements page for information about submitting final transripts, diplomas, and other academic credentials. 

For Transfer Credit requests: If at all possible, we encourage students to utilize e-Transcript delivery services when requesting to transfer credit from another accredited institution. If only hard copy transcripts are available, please continue to mail those as usual.

What will be the process for sending out I-20s?

U.S. consulates and embassies are accepting emailed/scanned versions of I-20s with electronic signatures from Designated School Officials for F-1 visa interviews. Electronic I-20s will be made 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. We are recommending students bring a copy of the SEVP policy guidance, along with the printed copy of their electronic I-20, to their visa appointment.

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

What guidance is there about options for newly admitted international students who may not be able to travel to campus for the start of the fall term?

If a student needs to arrive late or to study remotely for their admission term, please contact our office at grad@illinois.edu. Please see the Guiding Principles and Timeline for Temporary International Graduate Students Funding for students who may need to study remotely while on appointment.

Waiver Questions

How can a department request a stand-alone waiver? 

Stand-alone waivers may be granted by a disciplinary college at their discretion to students who do not have waiver-generating appointment. If your program is requesting stand-alone waivers, they can be submitted using this spreadsheet. The spreadsheet must be accompanied by the signature or approval of the dean or dean-designate in the disciplinary college. 

Degree-completion Questions

How should preliminary and final exams take place ?

For the spring semester, doctoral examinations can be conducted remotely with no petitions required. We anticipate that most exams will continue to be conducted remotely. However, if an examination will take place in-person, it must comply with all campus guidance on in-person meetings.

What is the minimun number of days needed to generate at tuition waiver in Spring 2021?

Because the revisions to the academic calendar for Spring 2021 reduce the number of days in the term, the minimum days needed for a graduate student appointment to generate a tuition waiver will be reduced from 91 days to 83 days. This change aligns the policy with the shortened Spring term and applies only to the Spring 2021 semester.

What if a student will not finish by their Expected Graduation Date (EGD)?

For students whose time to degree is expiring, a petition will need to be submitted requesting an extension. the impacts of the pandemic will be considered in the reiew. Students should include information in the petition request if the pandemic has affected their progress. 

Students who have deposited their thesis or dissertation but whose degrees will be conferred at a later time may request a Degree Certification Letter. This letter, which is often used for employment or visa reasons, verifies that the student has completed all requirements for the degree.

(Updated 11/5/2021)