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The Graduate College Handbook

for students, faculty and staff – August 2019

Chapter 4: Terms and Definitions


Definitions A-I
Definitions J-Z

  1. Terminology Used Throughout this Handbook:
  • "department" or "unit" may refer to a program, school, institute, or similar type of academic unit,
  • “fellowships” and “fellows” include traineeships and trainees except where specified,
  • “students” refers to graduate students, 
  • “term” and “semester” are used interchangeably, and
  • “thesis” may refer to a thesis or a dissertation.
  1. Definitions: More information related to each of these terms can be found by searching the Graduate Handbook.
  • academic standing – full, probation and dismissal status
  • academic term – an academic term begins the first day of classes and ends on the last day of final exams.
  • adviser – a member of the graduate faculty who is formally charged with assisting a student in planning the course of study; this person may or may not also be the student’s director of research 
  • cancellation – a student cancels registration and avoids payment of tuition and fee charges by completing a Withdrawal/Cancellation form (PDF) and submitting it before 5:00 p.m. on the last business day before the first day of instruction of the term. For more information see chapter 7.
  • chair of committee – faculty member who is responsible for convening an examination committee, conducting the examination, and submitting the result of the examination to the necessary offices. This person may or may not be the student’s adviser or director of research
  • concentration – a transcripted credential earned from a program of at least 12 graduate hours of courses defined by a student’s enrolling degree program. It refers either to a specialized program of study within a major or an interdisciplinary program designed to complement the major.
  • conferral – the date on which the University officially records and grants degrees; there are three conferral dates in each academic year
  • degree audit – a review to certify that a student has met all the requirements for graduation and the degree can be conferred
  • degree-seeking or degree candidate – a student status in which the student is in the process of obtaining a degree
  • deposit – the process of submitting to the Graduate College the thesis and other forms necessary to graduate
  • director of research – person who oversees a graduate student’s research project or thesis. This person may be different from the student's adviser.
  • dissertation – document deposited in the Graduate College as a requirement for the doctoral degree; can also be called a thesis
  • drop – the act of dropping one or more courses from the student schedule. May result in the grade of W (withdraw) appearing on the transcript. 
  • dual degree – pursuit of two separate degrees at the same time
  • joint degree – a campus approved program in which a student concurrently pursues two specifically identified degrees, and those degrees are conferred simultaneously. For graduate students this is a combination of a graduate degree with one of the following: another graduate degree, an undergraduate degree or a professional degree.  
  • major – the approved area of study in which a student receives the degree, for example, Physics, Music, English, Special Education, Finance, etc.; for a complete list, see the Academic Catalog
  • minor – is a transcripted credential earned from a program consisting of at least 12 graduate hours of courses defined by one or more units outside the student’s enrolling major degree program. It encourages and recognizes expertise gained in a particular area beyond a graduate major.
  • non-degree – a student status in which the student is not seeking a degree or applying credit toward a future degree
  • petition – the process a student uses to request an exception to a Graduate College academic policy or deadline
  • off-campus – refers to courses offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Online & Continuing Education unit at locations other than the main campus
  • online – refers to courses offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Online & Continuing Education unit using instructional technologies
  • Reading Day – the designated period between the last day of classes and the first day of final examinations
  • residence credit – credit hours earned at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus or at other designated locations; a certain number of residence credit hours are required for each degree
  • residency – home location used to determine application status and tuition assessment rate
  • Registrar, Office of the – the unit that oversees campus registration processes, assesses tuition and fees, certifies degrees, and issues transcripts
  • SEVISStudent and Exchange Visitor Information System, the Internet-based program operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to track all students and scholars who are in F-1 and J-1 status, along with their spouses and dependents 
  • term – see “academic term
  • thesis – document deposited in the Graduate College as a requirement for a graduate degree; for doctoral students, can also be called a dissertation
  • traineeship – a type of fellowship that is awarded to provide educational training in particular disciplinary areas (see chapter 8 for more information).
  • UI-Integrate Self Service – the interface that students use for registration and records, financial aid, billing, personal information, and to apply for graduation; faculty use this interface for course management and advising services
  • withdrawal – a student who wishes to drop all courses after the cancellation deadline whether enrolled for one or more courses, must withdraw from the University for that semester, (see chapter 7 for more information)
  • withdraw – W, a permanent transcript notation signifying an approved withdraw without credit from a course, (see chapter 3 for more information)