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The Graduate College Handbook

for students, faculty and staff – August 2019

B. Graduation Requirements

  1. Degree Conferral (Graduation Date)
  2. Applying for Graduation (Adding Your Name to the Degree List)
  3. Theses and Dissertations
  4. Request for Certification of Degree Letter
  5. Commencement

  1. Degree Conferral (Graduation Date):
    Graduate degrees are conferred in May, August, and December.
  2. Applying for Graduation (Adding Your Name to the Degree List):
    In order to receive a degree, a student must apply to be on the degree list for the appropriate graduation date. Students should apply for graduation using the UI-Integrate Self-Service system. Deadlines for applying to be on the list for each graduation date are noted on the Graduate College Academic Calendar. Applying for graduation is not the same as applying to participate in departmental or campus commencement ceremonies.

    A student may not receive a degree with a grade of I, NR, or DFR in any course except thesis research, on their graduate record. 
  3. Theses and Dissertations:
    A thesis or dissertation is an original, significant contribution to the scholarly literature of an academic discipline.  In this section, “thesis” refers to both master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

    All University of Illinois graduate students whose programs require the completion of a thesis must deposit their manuscript electronically in the Graduate College.
    1. Faculty and Departmental Approval. The adviser (for master’s students) and final exam committee (for doctoral students) must approve the thesis. Departmental review and approval is also required before the thesis can be deposited with the Graduate College. (In the case of a doctoral student who passed the final exam with one dissenting vote, the dissenting member may, but is not required to, approve the thesis.)
    2. Deposit. The Graduate College does not require students to be registered at the time of deposit, but some departments may, so students should consult with their department before depositing. A thesis will not be accepted for deposit until all required materials have been submitted and all corrections requested by the Graduate College Thesis Office have been made.  Deposit must be completed by the appropriate master’s or doctoral deposit deadlines set for each term.  Upon deposit, the thesis becomes part of the student’s academic record.  No changes may be made to a thesis after it has been deposited at the Graduate College.
    3. Format. The Graduate College will only accept theses that meet the formatting requirements set forth in the Thesis Requirements.  Many departments have additional, discipline specific format requirements, and the Graduate College requires that all students secure format approval from their department prior to format review in the Graduate College Thesis Office. 
    4. Dissemination. Theses that are deposited as a requirement for the awarding of a degree are considered to be publications. Copyrightable works prepared by students as part of the requirements for a University degree program are deemed to be the property of the student.

      As a condition of degree award, the University has the royalty-free right to retain, use and distribute a limited number of copies of the thesis, together with the right to require its publication for archival use (see Article III Section 4, University of Illinois Board of Trustees’ General Rules).

      In order to best disseminate and archive the significant work of University of Illinois graduates, the Graduate College requires that every thesis and the abstract be published. The Graduate College will determine the method of publication that most effectively secures the existence of the thesis in perpetuity. The theses will be available to the public through the University Library.
    5. Permissions for previously published work included in the thesis. Prior publication of parts of the thesis is increasingly common.  If the copyright to the published work has been transferred to the publisher (or to any other party), the student should secure written permission from the current owner of the copyright to include the previously published material in the thesis to be submitted for deposit. Two copies of these copyright permissions should be included with the student’s deposit materials. 
    6. Patent review. If a student’s thesis contains potentially patentable information, a student may wish to have the thesis held by the Thesis Office while patentability is assessed.  Holding a thesis does not postpone degree conferral or graduation. A student wishing to have a thesis held during the patent review process must contact the Office of Technology Management (OTM) prior to deposit. OTM will review the student’s request and notify the Graduate College if a thesis is to be held. Intellectual property is an important aspect of thesis research. See chapter I.C for more information.
  4. Request for Degree Certification Letter:
    A student who has fulfilled all of the degree requirements before the next conferral date may need certification for employment or to meet visa requirements. To request a degree certification letter, the student should use the Degree Certification Letter Request form. A student who has not deposited the thesis with the Graduate College (when deposit is required), who owes money to the University, or who is enrolled in any course other than research credit is not eligible to receive a degree certification letter. 
  5. Commencement:
    Commencement is a celebratory event, not a degree requirement. For details about participation, see the Commencement Office website.