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Graduate School Lingo

You may have noticed that graduate school seems to have a language all of its own! Below are some commonly-used terms and their definitions to be aware of. Have questions or see a word that is not on the list? Reach out to the Graduate College or your Support Network for guidance!

Registration Terms

Academic Calendar: The Graduate College calendar contains important dates and deadlines for course registration and graduation as they apply to graduate students.

Add: This refers to adding a course to your schedule. Courses can be added during the Add period of each term without additional approvals.

Cancellation: Cancellation of registration occurs when a student who has registered for a future term decides not to attend and completes the cancellation process before the term begins.

Drop: Drop refers to removing or “dropping” a course from your schedule. When you drop a course by the drop deadline for the term, it will not show up on your transcript. If you drop by the deadline to drop with a W, the course will appear with a W recorded which does not impact GPA calculations.

Part of Term (POT): The university offers courses that are shorter than the full-length term. POT A courses run the first 8 weeks and POT B courses run the second 8 weeks. These courses have different deadlines than the full-term courses, so be sure to check the Graduate College calendar for the specific dates and deadlines.

10th day: During the first 10 instructional days of the fall and spring semesters, students can add or drop full semester courses without additional signatures, although some courses may have special requirements. The 10th day is also the last day in which students can receive a refund if dropping to a lower tuition range. See the refund schedule on the Registrar's website.

Withdrawing: Withdrawing from the term means withdrawing from all courses during the term.

Your Identification

2FA: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) helps make campus systems more secure from the threat of stolen passwords. Duo Security is the campus provider of 2FA. Once you login with a NetID and password, Duo sends a request to confirm your identity via mobile phone notification, phone call, or by another method such as a token. Clicking a button or entering a code informs Duo that you are a legitimate user of campus services.

i-card: Your university photo identification card. You’ll need your i-card to use the library, enter Campus Recreation facilities, check-in for appointments at McKinley Health Center or other campus units, to ride on the CUMTD busses, and more.

NESSIE: For graduate students who are employed at the university, NESSIE is a portal that contains information including your earning’s statement and your tax forms.

NETID: Your NetID is a name assigned to you that is unique across all University of Illinois campuses. Your NetID is a combination of letters (some element of your name) and numbers.

Self-Service: This portal allows you to update your personal information, add/drop classes, view and pay your bill, and order transcripts.

UIN: The University Identification Number (UIN) is a unique 9-digit number that identifies you permanently in University records. Your UIN can be found on your i-card.

Your Community

Director of Graduate Study (DGS): Oversees the graduate program and is usually a faculty member. This person can help advise you on navigating the program and academic field.

Executive Officer (EO): The Executive Officer is the chair of head of the department or unit.

Graduate Advisers: The Graduate Advisor is the person responsible for providing you with advising on curriculum choices and research directions

Graduate Contact: Is often the first person a student contacts with a question. This person works closely with the program director, faculty, and Graduate College and has an in-depth understanding of the department and policies.

Graduate Faculty: A group of University of Illinois faculty members who are dedicated to working with and supporting graduate students.

ISSS (International Student & Scholar Services): A campus unit dedicating to serving our international population and campus units through advising, immigration services, programming, advocacy, and outreach.

RSOs (Registered Student Organizations): Student clubs and organizations registered with the university. You can search the RSO database by category, including graduate students, groups with an academic or professional focus, cultural or ethnic groups, social interest groups and many other categories.

OIIR (The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations): Works to make the Illinois campus welcoming and inclusive for diversity and cross-cultural engagement. OIIR offers programs, workshops and classes through the Cultural and Resource Centers on campus.

Connecting with the Graduate College

GradLINKS: A weekly newsletter with announcements and notices about campus resources, opportunities, deadlines, and events.

GradMAP: A monthly newsletter for all new graduate students. This is also a suite of pages on the Graduate College website that connects graduate students with resources to navigate their first year at Illinois.

GradLIFE: A blog with posts about different aspects of the student experience at Illinois. Sign up for the GradLIFE monthly newsletter to keep up with our latest posts.

GradCAREERS: A newsletter that connects graduate students with career resources and opportunities.

GradFELLOWSHIPS: A newsletter that connects graduate students with fellowship resources and opportunities.