Registration and Programs of Study

Registration. Important dates and deadlines are announced in the Graduate College Calendar ( Registration is carried out using the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Enterprise Applications - Student Self-Service registration system ( Fall semester instruction begins in late August and the semester terminates in mid-December. Spring semester instruction begins in the third week of January, and the semester terminates in early May. Summer sessions generally extend from approximately May 15th through August 5. CEE classroom instruction normally occurs during the 8- week summer session which begins around mid-June.

Advisors. All graduate students are assigned an academic advisor who assists in planning and carrying through a program of graduate coursework which fits their needs and satisfies departmental and Graduate College requirements.

Course Credit. Graduate credit is measured in terms of hours. The normal program for a full-time graduate student is 12 hours each fall and spring semester. The normal program for an eight- week summer session is 4 hours, with 10 hours being the maximum permitted. The amount of credit which may be earned in individual courses is indicated in the course listing provided later in this document. Please refer to the course information for details. For more information about course loads, please see the Graduate College Handbook for Students, Faculty, and Staff, Chapter 2.2: page 15   

Students must take a minimum of 6 courses (24 credits) to receive an M.S. degree in CEE. Exceptions to this policy may be petitioned by the student and academic advisor to the director of graduate studies.

Transferring Enrollment and/or Course Credit to Other Departments. Students wishing to enroll/transfer to another department (within or outside of the College of Engineering) will need to petition that department/college for entry (see Petitions section above). Enrollment requirements are set by the individual departments/colleges. Students should be aware that CEE course credit may not be accepted by other departments toward the completion of a graduate degree. While CEE students commonly enroll in relevant courses outside of CEE, students must meet the credit and course requirements described in later sections to earn a MSCE, MSEE, or PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering. In general, CEE will not approve petitions to transfer enrollment or CEE course credit to other departments if the majority of the student’s credits have been earned outside of CEE.

CEE 597 Independent Study. To help minimize problems associated with execution of an independent study, each student must submit an Independent Study Application/Approval form. This form includes a description of the independent study and requires the signature of the instructor, the student’s advisor, and a department officer (generally the associate head of the department). The form can be obtained at 1108 NCEL or Forms and Resources | Civil & Environmental Engineering | UIUC (  . No more than 8 hours of CEE 597 credit can be counted towards either the MS or the Ph.D. program.

Work Completed Elsewhere. A student who has completed graduate work at an accredited institution within the past five years with a grade of A or B may petition that the credits be applied toward the M.S. degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Supporting information must be supplied, including transcripts of the work in question and validation by faculty in the specialization area of the course stating the course work is both applicable and of an appropriate level of difficulty. Generally, a maximum of 12 semester hours of transfer credit may be counted toward the M.S. degree. Upon recommendation of the Department, the Graduate College may permit a student to register in absentia for work at a laboratory elsewhere that offers facilities not available in the Urbana-Champaign area. Such work is accepted for graduate credit if it is completed satisfactorily. Credit from outside the Graduate College may not be transferred to count toward Stage II or Stage III of a doctoral program. Chapter 3.3: page 28

Minors. Students who wish to add a minor degree to their major degree program may apply up to 12 hours of credits taken for the minor to the major degree program. The courses will need to be approved by the student’s CEE advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies beforehand. Students will have to complete a graduate student petition to transfer the credit to the major degree program.  

Miscellaneous Courses. A student carrying a normal graduate program may elect one additional miscellaneous course (a course which does not give credit toward an advanced degree). If a graduate student enrolls for more than one miscellaneous course, he or she may not register for a full graduate program. Courses intended to teach graduate students a reading knowledge of French, German, or Russian are regarded as miscellaneous courses. A student who elects a miscellaneous course is required to register for that course and complete the assigned work. Any undergraduate course taken for credit (A-F) will count toward the GPA, but not toward the graduate credit requirements.

Auditing Privileges.   A graduate student may, with the instructor’s permission, attend as an auditor, provided a Visitor’s Permit bearing the approval of the instructor and the dean of the college offering the course is filed with the Records Section of the Office of Admissions and Records by the 10th day of class; a $15 fee is required. The Visitor’s (Auditing) Permit can be found at . Auditing is not permitted for laboratory courses. The student may not take the same course later for credit. A student may “sit in” rather than officially audit a class if the instructor approves such an arrangement. Having audited a course will appear on the student’s transcript, but simply “sitting in” will not. A student auditing a course is expected to attend the lectures. If the student is not able or willing to attend lectures the instructor can request the student remove the course audit with a petition. The student should file the petition to remove the course audit by the end of the semester.

Full-Time Course of Study for Graduate Students. Graduate students may be required to maintain full-time enrollment for several reasons. Many academic programs require registered students to maintain a full-time load. Full-time status may be required for certification related to student loans, fellowship and traineeship appointments, and certain types of non-university medical insurance policies. International students may be required to maintain full-time status for purposes of Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) reporting.

As of Fall 2021, all students in The Grainger College of Engineering must register for at least 9 credit hours (including CEE599), or the minimum number of hours required by University policy* if this is greater than 9 hours, during each fall and spring semester of enrollment be considered as full-time students in CEE. Students wishing to register for fewer credit hours in an individual semester than this required minimum must meet one of the requirements below and receive permission for this from the CEE Graduate Program office.**

*Per the Student Code (§3-301), registration in at least 12 credit hours in a semester is required for certification as a full-time graduate student, unless the student holds a 25-67% assistantship appointment. This also applies for purposes of maintaining an international student’s visa status.

**Permission to register for fewer than 9 credit hours in an individual semester may be granted in the following circumstances:

·         Students enrolled in an online degree program;

·         Students holding significant employment outside the University, including an internship;

·         Students in coursework-only master’s programs in their last semester of study who have fewer than 9 credit hours left to complete their degree requirements; or

·         Students experiencing a documented medical reason.

For graduate students with 25%-67% research assistantships, teaching assistantships or fellowships:

  • Fall and spring terms: a minimum of 9 graduate hours; individual programs may set higher requirements.
  • Summer term: a minimum of 4 graduate hours in thesis credit or a course that meets for at least eight weeks (enrollment in a four-week course in the summer term will not fulfill the requirement for full-time registration)

For graduate students with 1%-24% assistantships and graduate students without assistantships

  • Fall and spring terms: a minimum of 12 graduate hours
  • Summer term: a minimum of 6 graduate hours in thesis credit or a course that meets for at least eight weeks (enrollment in a four-week course in the summer term will not fulfill the requirement for full-time registration)

For more information about credit loads, please see the Graduate College Policies and Procedures webpage at Chapter 2.2: page 15 

Programs of Study. Students’ courses and research are planned with their advisors. Consideration is given to previous academic training, career objectives, and the general requirements of the Graduate College and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The student should become familiar with these requirements and satisfy them as soon as possible.

Graduate Study in the Summer. A limited number of Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate courses are offered during Summer session II. The graduate courses offered vary from summer to summer. It is not possible to obtain a M.S. or doctoral degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering by attending only summer sessions.

The number of hours of M.S. and Ph.D. thesis enrollment is one of the major sources of information used to assess the contribution of faculty and departments to the graduate research mission of the campus. Therefore, if a faculty member and a graduate student are engaged in thesis-related research in the summer, it is expected that the faculty member and the department receive credit for this activity. For this reason, the department will strongly recommends that students who are working on their M.S. or Ph.D. research and are supported by research assistantships register for a minimum of 4 hours in the summer. 

This policy only applies to students with a summer research assistantship appointment of at least 25%. There may be valid circumstances when this policy can be waived. Students should contact the Director of Graduate Studies with exception requests.

Grades.  A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.75 is required for a student to be certified by the Department and the Graduate College as eligible to receive an advanced degree. GPA is based on a system where A=4, B=3, etc. Included in the GPA computation are all hours with grades of A through F. Excluded from the computation are all semester hours with grades of Excused, Deferred, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Pass, Fail, Credit-No-Credit, Withdrawn, and work not completed on the Urbana-Champaign Campus. A student with a GPA of less than 2.75 will be sent a warning letter by the Graduate College with a copy to the Department. A student who has received a warning letter and who has not raised his GPA to 2.75 by the end of the next semester will not be permitted to register without the permission of the Department and the Graduate College. Students with a GPA below 2.75 are not eligible for a degree. The current Illinois grading system is available online at , Chapter 3.1, page 23.

Performance. After documented feedback and communication from their advisor, students who are still not performing satisfactorily toward their M.S. or Ph.D. degree may be placed on departmental probation. The student will receive notification they are being put on departmental probation and will be given a semester to address the issue, which may include finding another advisor.

Credit-No Credit Grading Option. With the approval of the student’s advisor and the completion of a Credit-No Credit Option form, courses may be taken on a credit-no credit basis. In general, advanced-level courses in the student’s major field must be taken for a letter grade. In any one semester, a student may take no more than 4 semester hours on a credit-no credit basis. Over the entire degree program, a student must earn at least 2 hours of graded (A-D) course work for each hour of credit-no credit course work. Students are permitted to elect this non-grade option through the last day allowed for dropping a course without academic penalty. Forms must be initiated by the student on the Graduate College Student portal at A student may cancel this option by filing an amended request by the deadline date for dropping a course without academic penalty, as indicated in the Graduate College calendar. All students and advisor are cautioned, with respect to the credit-no credit option, that until other universities throughout the country adopt a similar basis, students having a large number of non-graded courses may not receive adequate consideration for national awards or fellowships or postdoctoral position at other institutions.

Petitions. A student may petition for exceptions to various academic and administrative requirements to the Dean of the Graduate College, but should do so only after consulting with his or her advisor and with the recommendation of the Department. Graduate Student Petitions must be initiated by the student on the Graduate College Grad Student portal at

Grievances. Any graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering may informally pursue or formally file a grievance when he or she believes that a decision or behavior adversely affects his or her status as a graduate student. The grievance policy and procedures of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are stated in Appendix 1. The purpose of this policy is to protect the interests of graduate students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering by providing informal and formal means of seeking resolution in case of an inappropriate action of a member of the faculty or administrative staff or an inappropriate application of departmental procedures. In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the student grievance is adjudicated by the Graduate Affairs Committee, which oversees all matters relating to the graduate programs.

CEE Grad Blog. Important notices to graduate students regarding events, jobs, fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistants, etc. are posted on the CEE Grad Student Blog. In general, we do not send individual notices by email.  Check the CEE Grad Blog daily.

Annual Review of Progress. Graduate College policy requires the CEE program to conduct annual academic progress reviews of all graduate students enrolled in degree-seeking programs, including degree-seeking students in online programs. All Ph.D. and M.S. thesis graduate students must complete an online Self-Evaluation form, and their advisor must complete an online faculty evaluation. The faculty evaluation requires that students meet face-to-face with their advisors for a formal annual review. All M.S. non-thesis graduate students are required to do an online self-evaluation. A copy of the form may be found by going to .  Log-in with your net ID and password. Click on the ‘Grad Student Toolbox’, then click on the “MS/PhD Self Evaluation.”