The Chemistry Graduate Manual is the best resource for a more in-depth look at many graduate program processes.
There is also a Graduate Manual created by the Graduate College that covers more general policies for graduate students, and outlines the many procedures that involve the Graduate College.
Since many process may include aspects relevant to multiple departments/offices, some topics are discussed below, to help navigate through those processes:
The Department of Chemistry schedules orientation for all new graduate students during the two weeks prior to the beginning of classes, each Fall. Orientation will encompass several topics such as an introduction to the Department Head, Director of Graduate Studies and a few other helpful resources/personnel. You will also receive some registration guidance, guidance on selecting a research advisor, and other information about the department and the university. Orientation is also when we take care of some required training and paperwork. Our students fill out new-hire paperwork for their appointment to our department, and they will also receive teaching and lab safety training. Orientation is required, and generally begins about two weeks from the first day of class for the Fall semester.
Graduate students register for courses through Self-Service . The Office of the Registrar manages Academic Calendars for each semester, which indicate when each registration period will open, and the registration deadlines.
Students are allowed to change their registration through the 10 day of class, each semester (also known as the census day). Add/Drop Deadlines are posted in the Academic Calendar.
After the 10th day of class, students must submit a Late Registration/Change Form. Late Registration Forms can only be submitted until grades begin to post, and grades research credits (CHEM 599/590) post earlier than normal course grades. After grades post, it becomes a much more complex process, so please submit any late registration forms as early as possible. This form should be filled out and signed by the student, signed by the instructor of the courses being added, and returned to the Graduate Program Coordinator for completion and submission.
Department of Chemistry Enrollment Requirements
Fall or Spring Semesters: 14 credit hours
Summer Semester: 6 credit hours
*Exceptions may be granted if there is a valid reason, (ex: an off-campus internship)
Each Research Area has specific courses that are for their Areas, and those are listed in the Chemistry Graduate Manual, section 5.7.2
Academic Calendar - Office of the Registrar: Academic Calendars
Student Self-Service App: Self-Service
Chemistry Course Listing: Chemistry Courses
Chemistry Graduate Research (CHEM 599) CRN List: CHEM 599 Course List
Academic Catalog: Academic Catalog
English as a Second Language (ESL) Enrollment: ESL Enrollment
Registration Procedures - Office of the Registrar: How to Register
How to Adjust Credits for CHEM 599 and CHEM 590: Variable Credit Courses
Tips & Tricks (PDF)
Graduate Students with current appointments have health, dental and vision insurance provided by the University. All new students must enroll to receive insurance coverage. Any student who needs to enroll or has any questions about their insurance coverage, should contact the Student Insurance Office, directly.
Graduate Students receive full tuition waivers and several fee waivers, which cover most of their students fees, excluding a portion of their healthcare fees.
Waivers are tied directly to your appointment with the department, so waivers are not applied until your waiver generating appointment has been completely approved and established.
Graduate Students receive stipends from several different sources: Fellowships, Grants, Assistantships, etc. Those funding sources are often combined, so one student could potential receive funding from any combination of those sources.
The Graduate Program Coordinator tracks the sources of funding for each student.
- Fellowships & Grants: These may come from external awards to a student, awards to a professor, training grants, or donations to the department. All of these, regardless of source are paid through the Fellowships Office at the Graduate College.
- Assistantships: Any student not supported completely by a fellowship or grant will be supported by an assistantship. There are two types of assistantships: Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA).
If you are experiencing pay issues, there could be several causes, and who you need to speak to will depend on how you are paid and at what stage of processing your appointment happens to be in.
If you are paid via fellowship or grant, then your initial paperwork is submitted by the Graduate Program Coordinator, and your appointment is set up by the Fellowships Office at the Graduate College.
If you are paid via assistantship, then your new hire paperwork and setting up your appointment are both handled by SCS HR.
If your appointment has been full set up, but there is an issue with the amount of your pay, then you will need to contact the Payroll Office.
Leaves of Absence
Leaves of Absence occur in many varieties, but we can divide them into two moderately simply types:
- Planned Leave of Absence
- Emergency or Sudden Leave of Absence
Planned Leave of Absence
A planned leave of absence must be requested prior to the start of classes during the semester in which the LOA will occur. In these instances, do not enroll in courses during that semester, and complete the necessary Leave of Absence Requests.
There are two requests that must be submitted, depending on the semester. The departmental LOA request, must be submitted to the department, regardless of which semester the LOA occurs. The Graduate College LOA, must be filled out when the LOA occurs during a Fall or Spring semester.
LOA Dept Form (PDF)
Graduate College LOA Request Portal: Request for Academic Leave of Absence (uillinois.edu)
Summer internships fall into this category, and require the departmental LOA request, but if limited to the Summer will not require the Graduate College LOA request.
Emergency or Sudden Leave of Absence
An emergency or sudden leave of absence applies to any leave of absence that occurs after classes begin, and would require the student to fully withdraw from the university for a semester or more. This will require the Late Withdrawal/Cancellation Form (withdrawal from all classes).
Petitions are an involved process with several layers of approval. However, petitions are required for most, if not all, policy exceptions. The most common petitions are submitted to request an exception to a specified time limit or deadline.
Subsequently, there are two separate petitioning processes:
- Internal petitions, to request an exception for a departmental requirement.
- Graduate College petitions, to request an exception to a Graduate College requirement.
Internal Chemistry Petitions
Internal petitions are commonly used to request to take a non-Chemistry course, or to request to delay a degree requirement (prelim, ORP, or final defense). Note: When delaying a prelim or final defense, it may be required for the student to petition the Graduate College, if this delay will push the student beyond the Graduate College time limit. ORP delays only require an internal petition.
Graduate College Petitions
Graduate College petitions are generally used for exceptions to time limits or deadlines, and several other rules enforced by the Graduate College. Additionally, a petition is required for any change of program (switching between departments or degree programs).
Change of Program (switch to MS or PhD)
If you wish to switch between the MS and PhD programs, then you must submit a Graduate College petition. It is also required that you meet with the Director of Graduate Studies before your petition can be approved. As a courtesy, you should also discuss this with your advisor; but it can be discussed with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Graduate Program Coordinator in confidence, especially if you are just weighing your options.
The requirements for each degree program are outlined in the Chemistry Graduate Manual:
- PhD – section 5.2.6
- Coursework MS – section 4.3.1
- Thesis MS – section 4.3.2
- MSTC – section 4.3.3
Links to Petitions
Internal Petition Form (PDF)
Petition Portal: Graduate College Petition
Preliminary Examinations are taken at the end of Stage II of Doctoral programs; Usually before the fifth full semester of residence. 1st year students (rising 2nd year students) are asked to provide a list of their prelim committee members to their Area Offices in mid-July.
Prelim committees must meet the thesis committee composition requirements of both the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate College (see Thesis Committee Composition section below)
Individual Research Areas may have more specific instructions in regard to prelims, which will be provided to their students closer to time to submit committee selections.
Prelim Committees must also be requested through the Graduate College at least three weeks prior to the Prelim, using the Graduate College Student Request Portal, which can be found at this link: Submitting Preliminary and Final Exam Appointment Requests
Original Research Proposals are part of Stage III of Doctoral programs and are normally completed during a student's fourth year in the program.
ORP committees must meet the thesis committee composition requirements of both the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate College (see Thesis Committee Composition section below)
ORPs are handled almost entirely by the individual Research Areas, so any ORP questions would be best directed to your faculty advisor or Area Office.
ORPs are required by the Department of Chemistry, but not the Graduate College, so you do not have to submit a request to the Graduate College. However, you will need to make sure your Area Office is aware of any committee changes.
Final Examinations, also referred to as the Final Defense, are held during the last year of residence in our Doctoral program, and students must be enrolled in CHEM 599 during the semester in which the Final Defense occurs.
Final Defense committees must meet the thesis committee composition requirements of both the Department of Chemistry and the Graduate College (see Thesis Committee Composition section below)
An advanced draft of your entire thesis must be provided to your Final Exam Committee, no less than one week prior to your Final Defense.
Final Exam Committees must also be requested through the Graduate College at least three weeks prior to the Final Defense, using the Graduate College Student Request Portal, which can be found at this link: Submitting Preliminary and Final Exam Appointment Requests
Thesis Committee Composition
Thesis Committees must meet the following composition requirements:
- At least four faculty members
- At least three members must be current members of the UIUC Graduate Faculty
- At least two members must hold at least 50% appointments in the Department of Chemistry
- At least two members must be tenured at UIUC
- The student's advisor must be a committee member
- Other committee members must be chosen in consultation with your advisor
- If the committee includes more than 4 voting members, at least half of the members must be UIUC Graduate Faculty
To check to see if a faculty member is a tenured UIUC Graduate Faculty Member, students can check the Graduate Faculty Database.
All Prelim and Final Defense thesis committee member appointments must be submitted to the Graduate College, at least three weeks prior to the exam, using the Graduate College Student Request Portal, which can be found at this link: Submitting Preliminary and Final Exam Appointment Requests
Graduate Students who are preparing to finish their graduate work and leave the program have a few big steps that they will have to complete during their last few months with the department.