Skip to main content

The Graduate College Handbook

for students, faculty and staff – August 2018

A. Student Status

A student may be admitted to the Graduate College with either full graduate standing or with limited status, as a degree-seeking student or as a non-degree student. The admission status is stated in the Notice of Admission letter. Students must have full graduate standing and be degree-seeking in order to be awarded a graduate degree.

  1. Limited Status
  2. Non-degree Status
  3. Leave of Absence
  4. Re-Entry

  1. Limited Status:
    A student who does not meet one or more of the admission requirements may be approved for admission with limited status. Students must be in full standing by addressing all requirements in order to be awarded a graduate degree.
    Limited Status due to a lack of demonstrated English language proficiency. Students admitted with limited status due to lack of demonstrated English language proficiency will be required to take the English Placement Test (EPT) prior to registering for classes. The results of this test may satisfy this requirement, or the results of this test may require that the student complete additional English as a Second Language courses. The student must complete those required courses during their first year following enrollment at the University.
    Limited Status due to low GPA or no comparable bachelor's degree. Students are admitted on probation. See Chapter 3.B.3.
    Limited Status due to departmental deficiencies. This admission type is used when a student may come in with identified course deficiencies as determinded by the department. This requirement is satisfied upon satisfactory completion of those course deficiencies.
  2. Non-degree Status:
    There are a number of restrictions and conditions that apply to non-degree status. A non-degree student:
    • may only receive an assistantship appointment if the non-degree status is a result of an Exchange agreement that includes an appointment in the terms of the agreement, or a petition to hold the assistantship is approved (one semester appointments only),
    • is not eligible for financial aid administered by the Graduate College, such as fellowships and conference travel awards,
    • must reapply for admission and pay the application fee if they wish to become a degree-seeking student,
    • is limited to taking fewer than 12 hours per fall or spring semester (fewer than 6 hours in the summer), which means they are not considered to be full-time for most purposes; (see chapter 2. C.); exceptions are BGAA Traveling Scholars and international students participating in special exchange programs for which full-time approval has been obtained from the Graduate College prior to admission, and international students who do not hold student visas,
    • may have limits on transferring credit if subsequently admitted to and enrolled in a degree program, (see chapter 3.C) and
    • cannot register in on-campus course sections until the fourth day of instruction for the fall or spring semester, and can only register if space is available.  The late registration fee will not be assessed if the student completes his or her registration on or before the tenth day of instruction in a semester.
  3. Academic Leaves of Absence:
    ​Note: Graduate Students who leave the University at any time should also refer to the Student Code Sections 3-308, 3-313, and 3-314b for additional information. 
    Academic Leave of Absence Policy. Graduate Students in degree-seeking programs are entitled to a total of two terms (fall and/or spring semesters) of academic leave of the types described below, in the course of a single degree program. However, students must document their request for a leave and meet the eligibility requirements. Students who anticipate not being enrolled for one or more terms, (fall or spring semesters, not summer), for whatever reason must meet with their program adviser before the first day of classes of their period of non-enrollment to apply for and receive approval for an Academic Leave of Absence. Students who are enrolled in summer only programs must apply for a Leave of Absence before taking a summer term off. ​

​There are two categories of Academic Leaves of Absence: 

  • Personal Academic Leave​ of Absence may be requested for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to leave for health reasons, for personal reasons, for active military service, or to take care of dependents or family members. Students who are on an approved Personal Academic Leave of Absence use the leave for personal reasons and not to make progress on the degree. In addition, students on Personal Academic Leaves of Absence should not expect that faculty will provide feedback on academic work, including proposals or drafts of theses. 
  • Academic Progress Leaves of Absence may be requested for instances of academic activity such as Study Abroad when the student registers at another insitution, or fieldwork when the student is not using UIUC resources including faculty time, nor receiving financial support paid through the University. Students who are on an approved Academic Progress Leave of Absence do use the Leave to make progress toward completion of the degree, but must not use campus resources. Expectations of progress to be made during the Leave should be documented in the student's academic file. 

Student Status
Student status does not change during the period of an approved Leave of Absence. Standing that was in place at the time of the leave is not changed at the time of return as long as the conditions of the approved leave are met. 

Timing and Limits

​All Academic Leaves must be requested before the term begins. An Academic Leave of Absence cannot be requested retroactively, cannot be used to return to good standing, and cannot be used to extend the time to degree. Note: the maximum allowed Academic Leaves of Absence is two terms (spring or fall or two summer terms for summer only programs) during a student's degree program. These terms may be consecutive terms or terms approved individually. In cases where an enrolled student must leave the University after the first day of classes, the student must withdraw from the current term. In these cases it may or may not be appropriate to request an Academic Leave of Absence for the following semester.

The Graduate College policy on time to degree applies and must be addressed in the record of the approved leave. If by requesting a Leave, the student is going to go beyond the degree program's approved time to degree during the Leave, then the student also needs to request a time extension for the degree through the Graduate College petition process at the time of the request for Academic Leave. 

         Procedures to request a Leave of Absence

         Requests must be approved by the student's academic department prior to the first day of classes. To request a formal academic leave the student must complete the following before the first day of classes of the term of non-enrollment: 

  • Complete and follow instructions on the Request for Academic Leave of Absence form
  • If necessary, complete a petition to request an extension of time to degree

Absent without Leave Policy. Degree seeking graduate students are required to request a formal Academic Leave of Absence before not being enrolled for one or more terms, (fall/spring, not summer). Students in summer only programs are required to request a formal Academic Leave of Absence before taking a summer term off from their enrollment. There are potentially negative consequences for failing to request an Academic Leave of Absence. Students who do not enroll and do not meet with the program and document their  status with an approved Academic Leave of Absence before a period of non-enrollment are considered Absent without Leave. A program may put an advising hold on a student who is Absent without Leave. A student who is Absent without Leave may be prevented from reenrolling, may have additional degree requriements to complete if allowed to return, or may be subject to new degree requirements. 

   4. Re-Entry. Students who do not enroll for a calendar year must apply for Re-Entry