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For information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit:

COVID-19 Information for Graduate Programs

Although the Graduate College is currently closed to walk-in traffice, we are continuing all of our standard business processes and remain available by email and by phone. However, we know there are some processes that cannot be done fully remotely and provide answers to questions surrounding those processes and other general logistics below:

General Questions

How do I contact the Graduate College with questions?

All main phone lines will remain open and email inboxes are being reviewed and answered as normal. You can email or call 217-333-0035 with any questions. We will either respond within 1-2 working days or put you in contact with the unit that can best advise you. We are also posting updates regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on our applicants and current graduate students on this website.

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 get official transcripts or other application materials for an applicant (still under review) to the Graduate College?

Please hold onto physical documents but upload scanned versions to Slate to allow for admissions processing. Official transcripts can be brought to us when we re-open to be reviewed and marked as official.

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

For Admission-related needs: Please hold onto these documents. We will email all currently enrolled students with a transcript hold to let them know we will temporarily lift the hold but that the hold will go into effect beginning October 1, 2020. This will allow them to submit these documents after we re-open with no impacts on their ability to register for Summer or Fall classes. That email will go out within the next few days after we’ve been able to extend all holds in Banner.

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 and we will do our best to address the requests, but please expect some delays in processing.

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

We will mail out all I-20s and DS-2019s directly to applicants on a weekly basis (on Fridays). The Graduate College will absorb the cost of mailing these documents during this time. We will require admitted students to accept their admission offer and verify their mailing address on their status page before shipping I-20s. These steps will now be included in the communication sent to admitted students when I-20s are issued.

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?

The extended closure of US consulates and disruption to international travel has raised concerns that newly admitted international students may not be able to arrive on campus in time for the start of the fall term. Please see the Guiding Principles and Timeline for Temporary International Graduate Students Funding.

Registration Questions

What is the deadline to drop a Fall 2020 course without receiving a W?

The last day to drop a course from the current term without a grade of W has been extended to December 18. This deadline applies to full-semester courses, POT B courses, and non-standard courses with an end date after December 1, 2020. Most course drops can be made using Student-Self Service.

Students who want to drop a course without a W for a Fall 2020 course that has an end date before December 1, 2020, may make a request through the Graduate College petition process.

Can a student change a current Fall 2020 course to Credit/No-Credit?

The last day to elect Credit/No-Credit for a course is now January 5, 2021. We encourage students to have a discussion with their academic advisor to understand what grading options are in their best interest. Please also see additional information about grading options.

When can students register for Spring 2021?

Spring 2021 registration will open on November 30. Most graduate students will be able to register starting on December 2. More information about fall registration is available on the Office of the Registrar's webpage

Can students studying away from campus register in absentia?

Continuing students who are studying at least 50 miles away from campus, may choose to register in absentia. In absentia registration assesses only the General Fee. Students who are registered in absentia will not have access to student health insurance or McKinley services. An in absentia registration request form must be submitted online prior to Febrary 5, 2021.

For newly admitted international students who will be remaining in their home country and enrolling online for the Spring 2021 semester, the Graduate College will update their registration status to in absentia. The regular in absentia forms and approval process will not be required. However, if there is an international student who wishes to have health insurance, we will cancel the in absentia designation. We will be emailing all incoming international students designated as enrolling online from abroad with this information and with instructions on how to opt-in for health insurance if they wish.

I normally send students with registration forms to Coble Hall, how do we submit these forms?

All registration forms should be scanned and uploaded directly to the Secure Form Drop-Off at If students do not have access to a scanner, they can take a picture of the form with their phones and upload it.

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 11/28/20)