Graduate Student Resources
- Academic calendar
- Class schedule: access via my.uic.edu
- CME graduate course descriptions
- CME graduate student handbook (updated edition coming soon)
- Disability Resource Center
- Engineering Career Center
- Financial aid and funding
- Graduate College degree requirements (general)
- Graduate College forms page
- Graduate College main page
- Guide to moving to Chicago as a student
- IEEE code of ethics
- Room reservation form
- TA allocation policy
The expandable panels below offer answers to the questions we most often receive from current graduate students. Questions and answers related to the application process for graduate study are on our Graduate Admissions FAQ.
When you are recommended for admission at UIC, a temporary advisor will be appointed for you to assist you in choosing your first semester classes.
As you become better acquainted with the department and its faculty, you may change to a different advisor if your area of concentration changes.
If you are enrolled in a thesis program, you thesis advisor may also serve as your academic advisor.
Should you wish to change advisors at any time during your studies, please notify the graduate program coordinator.
Your advisor will provide many types of support, including recommending courses, approving schedules, and providing contacts with other areas of the university. As you choose an academic area of concentration, it may be useful to choose an advisor closely associated with this area. This advisor must be a member of the CME faculty.
Full-time students usually enroll for 12 to 16 credit hours each semester. In exceptional cases, the advisor and the director of graduate studies may permit a student to enroll for up to 20 hours.
Registration for more than 20 hours is not recommended. A full-time load is defined by the university as 9 hours.
Tuition and fee waiver holders must register for at least 12 hours of credit per fall and spring semester and 6 hours of credit per summer semester as long as they hold the award.
Assistantship holders with a 50% appointment must register for at least 8 hours of credit each semester, excluding summer. There are no tuition and fee waiver benefits for students employed with less than 25% or more than 67% appointment. Assistants who qualify for a spring tuition and fee waiver automatically receive a summer waiver if registered in at least 3 hours in summer unless they hold a summer appointment above 67%. Note that 8 hours of registration (fall and spring) with an assistantship will satisfy the requirements of the assistantship and waiver, but will not qualify as being full-time. 9 or more hours of registration is considered full time, with or without an assistantship.
If on a student visa (F-1 or J-1), a full-time load for graduate students is defined as registration for 9 hours in the fall and spring semesters and for 5 hours in summer, although registration for summer is optional in most situations. International students may be required to register for more than 9 hours (or more than 5 in the summer) for a number of reasons, such as, but not limited to:
- You hold a fellowship from the Graduate College (12 hours, 6 in summer)
- You hold a Graduate College tuition and service fee waiver without an assistantship (12 hours, 6 in summer)
International students with a 50% assistantship are required to register for a minimum of 8 credit hours, and international students with any assistantship of less than 50% are required to register for a minimum of 9 hours.
Students on an F-1 visa may be eligible to register for zero hours if all requirements are complete except for the project or thesis and if a petition is submitted to the Graduate College and approved. The petition must be endorsed by the advisor and the director of graduate studies as well as by the Office of International Services.
Note for student visa holders: Current SEVIS (federal immigration) regulations do not allow an international student on a student visa to register for more than zero (0) hours in a subsequent term if the student was registered for zero (0) hours previously, unless the student is admitted into a different program. This precludes accepting an assistantship or tuition waiver for future terms after a zero-hour registration occurs. The rationale for the regulation is that zero-hour registration is allowed for students on a visa only if all requirements other than the thesis or master’s project are completed, and registration for more than zero hours indicates that they did not originally qualify and are thus out of status. Unfortunately, flexibility to take a course for intellectual development or to register for hours to qualify for an assistantship or tuition waiver after zero-hour registration does not exist. Consult with the Office of International Services (OIS) if there is a question on this issue.
Select your courses by referring to the required course list and consulting with your advisor. It is generally advisable to finish most of your coursework as soon as possible. In addition, because most courses are not offered every semester and may not be offered every year, careful planning is required to ensure progress toward your degree.
Courses may be added to your schedule through the last day of the second week of the fall or spring semesters, or the last day of the first week of the summer session. Courses may be dropped without academic penalty by this same deadline. To initiate an add or drop after this date, visit the department office for the course in question and obtain a Registration Revision Form. Adding a course during this time requires the signature of the instructor or other suitable authorization as determined by that department. Please note that dropping a course after the registration deadline will not pro-rate your tuition bill unless you withdraw from the university. Please refer to the UIC registrar’s refund policies for more information.
If you hold a fellowship, assistantship, tuition and service fee waiver, or student visa, you must maintain the required minimum number of credit hours throughout the semester, or you risk losing your assistance and/or visa.
Graduate students, as well as people not registered at the University of Illinois Chicago, may audit courses with the permission of the instructor and the dean of the college offering the course (not the Graduate College).
The privilege of attending class as an auditor (visitor) is granted on or after the first day of instruction and only by the instructor of the class with the approval of the dean of the college concerned.
Visitor permit forms may be obtained from the Office of Registration and Records no later than the 10th day of the semester (or the fifth day of the summer session).
Visitors are not permitted in laboratory, military science, or physical education classes, nor are visitors allowed to write an examination (including a proficiency examination) for course credit or to participate in class activities.
A $15 fee is charged for the privilege of visiting/auditing a class. A full-time registered student or a person who is a permanent support staff employee of the university does not pay the visitor fee.
In general, prerequisites should be taken for every course. However, because many graduate students come from different schools, provisions are made for substituting equivalent courses. Ask your advisor or the course instructor about registering for courses without the UIC prerequisites. If you are not sure whether your background has prepared you sufficiently for a particular course, the best thing to do is to ask the opinion of the instructor. In some cases, the instructor may be able to recommend materials to help you overcome deficiencies before the semester begins.
Zero-hour registration is a special circumstance that allows doctoral students to remain enrolled at UIC with the most minimal tuition. It applies only to students who have fulfilled all of their requirements except defending the dissertation, and it is contingent upon continued satisfactory progress.
MS students who have finished all coursework but are still completing the thesis do not have to maintain registration unless registration is required by immigration regulations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they have completed all requirements prior to attempting to register for zero hours.
Consideration is given to the transfer of credit in three categories:
- Previous graduate work for which a degree was not awarded.
- Graduate work completed elsewhere after admission to UIC and for which a degree was not awarded. Students considering taking graduate work elsewhere during a leave of absence should consult their advisor and the director of graduate studies about such plans and the courses that may be considered for transfer.
- For students who completed their undergraduate education at UIC only, graduate work completed in the senior year at UIC that was not applied to the baccalaureate.
To be considered for transfer, graduate work must have been completed in an accredited institution approved by one of the regional accreditation associations or by the agencies recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Education, and it must meet the quality and content standards of courses offered at UIC.
For probation and graduation purposes, transfer credit is not computed in the cumulative grade point average or graduate degree GPA unless such credit was earned in courses taken at UIC.
A Graduate Petition for Transfer Credit Toward an Advanced Degree is required for all transfers of credit except the 32 hours of credit for a prior master’s degree. The graduate program evaluates the student’s petition and makes a recommendation to the Graduate College. The petition should show the courses recommended for transfer by the graduate program and the number of semester hours of credit received. Students must attach to the petition an original transcript showing grades if courses were not taken at UIC, and a certification from the registrar or college dean of the applicable institution stating that the courses are graduate-level and were not used toward fulfillment of the requirements for a degree if not self-evident from the transcript itself.
Credit for Prior Master’s Degree
Doctoral candidates who have previously earned a master’s degree or its equivalent approved by one of the regional accreditation associations or by the agencies recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Education may be granted 32 semester hours of credit toward the doctoral degree if approved by the program and the Graduate College. The 32 hours are subtracted from the total hours required for the PhD. The 32 hours are not counted toward the maximum allowed transfer credit limit or computed in the cumulative GPA or degree GPA. A General Graduate Petition is required, along with a copy of the student’s MS transcript with specification on the transcript that the MS was awarded.
A petition is a formal request—made via a special form—to the Graduate College for an exception to certain regulations.
Students may submit a petition to the Graduate College only after consulting with their faculty advisor and/or the department’s director of graduate studies, whose recommendations must appear on the petition.
Petition forms may be obtained from the Graduate College and from the CME graduate program office. They must be accompanied by a full explanation of the circumstances and any appropriate forms and supporting documents required for processing a requested change.
Petitions should be filed within 30 days from the time an individual knows, or reasonably should have known, of the need for an exception.
The CME department strictly regulates student petitions. Unless the need for an exception is clearly explained by both the student and the faculty advisor, the department does not routinely provide its recommendation for petitions. There are some more routine and “acceptable” petitions, such as one-time zero-hour registration, but other petitions, including degree transfer and extension of academic probation, are not automatically granted.
Academic probation is the Graduate College’s mechanism for warning students that their GPA has fallen below the minimum standard of 3.0. If you are placed on probation, you have two terms of enrollment after the term in which your GPA falls below 3.0 to remove yourself from probation. If you fail to raise your average to 3.0 or to otherwise fulfill the terms of your probation within the deadlines, you will be dismissed from the university.
Students may not hold graduate appointments such as graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships, or receive tuition and service fee waivers, if they are on academic probation. Because losing this option for financial support may cause a great deal of hardship or result in the need for loans, it is very advisable to maintain your GPA well above 3.0 on a scale of 4.0.
Except for international students whose visas require continuous registration and doctoral students who have passed their preliminary exams, graduate degree-seeking students may take one semester (fall or spring) plus the summer session off without formal leave approval from the Graduate College.
Degree students who desire to take an additional consecutive semester off, for a total maximum of three consecutive terms, must file a Graduate Petition for Leave of Absence by the 10th day of the semester for which leave is requested.
International students who hold an F-1, J-1, A-1, A-2, or H-1 visa must register each fall and spring semester due to visa requirements. Students in this situation must file a Graduate Petition for Leave of Absence for any fall or spring semester they wish to take off, obtaining written authorization on the petition from the Office of International Services. If remaining in the country, such leaves are rarely granted by that office.
Upon receipt of a leave of absence petition from the department or program, the Graduate College will automatically approve the first leave, up to one year maximum. At least one term as a graduate degree student must be completed before being eligible for a leave. After returning to the program from an approved leave, students will not automatically receive a second leave, which will only be granted by the Graduate College for medical or other extraordinary reasons.
Leave will not be granted to doctoral candidates who have passed the preliminary exam, except for students whose programs require a formal off-campus activity (e.g., an internship) or for documented medical or other extraordinary reasons. If this situation occurs, a Graduate Petition for Leave of Absence must be submitted to the Graduate College, and its approval is not automatic.
Non-degree students are not eligible for a leave of absence.
Time spent on leave approved by the department and the Graduate College does not count toward the time to complete the degree.
Students who have already registered for the term for which leave is requested must complete either a Cancellation of Registration before the first day of the term, or a University Withdrawal by the 10th day of the semester (the fifth day in summer). Students are responsible for filing the appropriate forms and resultant charges; the leave of absence petition itself does not alter existing registration.
Students who are on an approved leave of absence will not be covered by the health and personal accident insurance plan until they return to active registration.
Petition forms may be obtained from the Graduate College, 606 University Hall, or from the CME graduate program office.
In order to graduate, you must file your intent to graduate in the my.uic.edu portal within the first two weeks of the semester you wish to graduate (or in the first week in summer). In addition, please refer to the Graduate College website for graduation information.
Students completing a thesis or dissertation: You also must submit a copy of your dissertation to the Graduate College through the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) submission system. One additional bounded copy of the thesis or dissertation must be delivered to the Civil and Materials Engineering Department. For further information regarding the submission of your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate College, please visit this page.
UIC is committed to full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of university life. Students who face or anticipate disability-related barriers while at UIC should connect with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) on the web at drc.uic.edu, by email at email@example.com, or by phone at (312) 413-2183 to create a plan for reasonable accommodations.
In order to receive accommodations, students must disclose disability to the DRC, complete an interactive registration process with the DRC, and provide their course instructor with a Letter of Accommodation. Course instructors in receipt of a Letter of Accommodation will work with the student and the DRC to implement approved accommodations.