Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Applicants

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The deadlines for our Graduate Programs are listed on our Information and Deadlines page.

International applicants are not eligible for an application fee waiver unless coming under a valid exchange agreement that has an approved application fee waiver. Domestic applicants may be eligible for one of the approved application fee waivers.

Competition for the available research assistant positions is often extremely steep. We consider many factors in evaluating candidates for admission and CEE funding, including academic record, research and employment experience, research interests, standardized test scores, and reference letters. For this reason, we cannot evaluate your chances of receiving admission and CEE funding until we receive your application.

Admission decisions are made and reported to the applicant during the following dates:

Spring semesters: between September 15 - November 1

Fall semesters: between February 15 - May 1

Submitting an application for admission places you in the candidate pool for consideration for all fellowships administered by the Graduate College, along with fellowships and assistantships offered within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The application includes basic information about you as a candidate, your personal statement, three letters of reference, and transcripts. No additional application is necessary. With regard to CEE funding, the number of applicants far exceeds the amount of funding that we have available. Only the most talented applicants who match the research needs of our professors receive funding from CEE. The selection process is difficult, and we are able to give funding to only a small number of applicants. For information about external fellowships, please see the Graduate College's External Fellowship information and Database.

Your statement of purpose should be 1-2 pages, single spaced, 12 pt. font. It should not exceed two pages. Your statement should identify personal, professional, and academic goals. You should also discuss your development and plans as they relate to graduate study. It is good to include any past work history, your interests, and reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in CEE. Your statement should offer insight into who you are as an individual.

No. CEE does not have a program specific question.

You must submit a new application and pay the application fee again. Do not use the previous PIN, but instead choose "Create Account" on the login page. You will need to upload transcripts, a statement of purpose, and a new resume. We may be able to use past reference letters that are dated no more than one year ago. Contact if you wish to use reference letters from a previous application. If your test scores are still valid, they will still be in our data system.

Checking Application Materials

Soon after you submit your application, an email will be sent to you to confirm that CEE has received your application. The message will include a link to a web page where you can check the status of your application; the Student Status Page. Here you will be able to see if we have received your letters, transcripts, and test scores. Due to the volume of applications received, our office will not be able to check for individual documents. Please allow at least 4 weeks for your test scores to be marked as received. It always takes longer than expected for the test scores to make it into the university database.

The CEE Department will not send individual reminders on missing materials. Please check on your Student Status Page to make sure all of your application materials have been submitted.


Official transcripts are not required for the initial application review process. Applicants will be required to submit official credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) only if they are recommended for admission to the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Applicants recommended for admission will be required to submit their official transcripts directly to the Graduate College.

If you are an admitted student, please send your official transcripts directly to the University of Illinois Graduate College.

Mailing address:

The Graduate College Admissions Office
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
507 E. Green Street, Suite 101
Champaign, IL 61820

Letters of Reference

Yes, you can edit a reference by going back into your Student Status Page.

Individuals writing letters of recommendation on your behalf should submit their letters through the online application system. Any recommendation letters that are not submitted through the online application system will impact timely processing of your application.

Yes, but it is not necessary. You should pick your three best recommenders. If possible, your letters should be from past instructors, professors or advisors. If you have been away from academics for a significant amount of time, you may use non-academic references (i.e., supervisor, colleagues, etc.).

All application materials must be submitted by the deadline. Late letters will be added to your application; however, we cannot guarantee that the admission committee will review late letters. You have the option of asking another recommender to write a letter by the deadline by going into your application portal and adding a recommender.

Test Scores

GRE test scores are currently optional for all CEE graduate school applicants. However, it is strongly recommended that the GRE test be submitted to help faculty with admission and funding decisions for all Ph.D. applicants. CEE also recommends the GRE test for M.S. applications, particularly for students applying from international universities, M.S. applicants looking for potential funding support, or M.S. applicants whose GPA falls below the average GPA of admitted students.

If GRE scores are submitted, CEE does not have minimum scores for admission. GRE scores are only valid for five years prior to the proposed term of entry.

Information about test dates and locations can be found on the GRE website. The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service.

Please plan ahead so that your official GRE scores will arrive to UIUC by your application deadline.

Yes, you may submit your application without the GRE scores. After you take the GRE, please upload your unofficial scores to your application and make sure you have ordered an official copy to be sent to the University of Illinois using institution code 1836. Please remember to allow approximately 4 weeks for ETS to report your scores.

The University of Illinois institution code to use for reporting official GRE and TOEFL scores is: 1836

Department codes are not necessary for our school. As long as the institution code is correct, any and all departments will be able to view your test scores.

You do not need to report official IELTS scores, only the unofficial copy is required with your application. We will verify your official IELTS scores for you.

It can take more than four weeks from the time you order the scores to be received at the university and matched up with your application. Due to the high volume of application material processed, we are unable to check on the status of scores being submitted. You may upload a scanned PDF copy of the full official score report to your application as "supplemental material" until official scores are received, however your application will not be considered complete until all official scores have been received.

International Students

Please see the Graduate College's English Proficiency Requirements for details. This page also provides information about two exemptions to the language proficiency requirements.

Please check the Graduate College’s admission requirements by country to see if your country is exempted for admission purposes. If your country is not exempted, then English proficiency requirements must be met for admission to the CEE graduate programs, irrespective of medium of instruction.

Please note: TOEFL and IELTS scores must be less than two years old from the first day of class at the proposed term of entry in order to be valid.

Admitted Students

Welcome to Illinois! Please check out all of the Graduate College’s Welcome Information. The GradMAP pages are designed to be a guide for information about campus resources, health and well-being, funding and employment, and how to have a successful graduate school experience.

We invite you to return to them whenever you need information and to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Please contact Joan Christian in our CEE Graduate Programs Office at for information.


Have questions?

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