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Graduate International FAQ

Determining Who is an International Student

The university considers any student who currently holds a visa of any type or is seeking a visa to be international. Even if you do not require a student (F or J) visa to attend UIC, you are viewed as an international applicant. Most policies which apply to those seeking student visas will apply to holders of other types of visas.

Citizenship Types

U.S. Citizen:
The United States is the country in which the person is born (and has not renounced or lost citizenship) or naturalized and to which that person owes allegiance and by which he or she is entitled to be protected.
U.S. Permanent Resident:
Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. These persons may also be known as Permanent Resident Alien, Lawful Permanent Resident, Resident Alien Permit Holder, and Green Card Holder.

Green card holders should submit an Alien Registration Number and a copy of your PR card with the application.
International Student:
For the university's purposes, this is anyone who currently holds a visa of any type or who is in need of an I-20 (F1 Visa) or DS-2019 (J1 Visa).

If you are on a valid visa, you should submit a copy with your application. If you require an I-20 or DS-2019 to study, you will need to submit evidence of financial support.
Adjustment in Status:
Procedure allowing certain aliens already in the United States to apply for immigrant status. Aliens admitted to the United States in a nonimmigrant, refugee, or parolee category may have their status changed to that of lawful permanent resident if they are eligible to receive an immigrant visa and one is immediately available. In such cases, the alien is counted as an immigrant as of the date of adjustment, even though the alien may have been in the United States for an extended period of time.

This category is for applicants who are in the process of becoming a permanent resident. You should submit any documentation that can provide details of your status such as receipts or petitions from USCIS.
Asylee:
An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Refugee:
Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Humanitarian Parole:
A parolee is an alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only.
Non-citizen (Other):
This should only be used if none of the other categories apply to you. Once again, valid visa holders or those seeking a visa should not use this category.
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Where to Send Academic Credentials

All academic credentials should be sent to the following address:

Preferred:

Office of Graduate Admissions (MC 018)
University of Illinois at Chicago
Box 7994
Chicago, Illinois 60680-7994

For carriers requiring a street address:

Office of Admissions (MC 018)
University of Illinois at Chicago
1200 W Harrison St, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60607-3349

Departments may request that a 2nd set of credentials be sent to their specific office. Please consult the UIC Graduate Application for requirements and address information.

Materials such as letters of recommendation, resume/curriculum vitae, personal statements, writing samples, and test scores (excluding TOEFL) should always be sent directly to your departments.

TOEFL scores must be reported directly to UIC by ETS. Paper score reports will not be accepted as official scores unless they are sent to our office directly by ETS.

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Before Starting an Application

I was never informed of a deadline or of the necessary documentation. What can I do?

The Graduate Admissions office receives and reviews nearly 15,000 applications every year. Due to this high volume, we are not always able to maintain personal contact with individual students. All of the information necessary to successfully apply to UIC is included in our on-line and paper application. It is your responsibility to be aware of deadlines and the documentation necessary to complete your application. If you have questions about deadlines or required documents, please refer to Graduate College Deadlines.

How much is tuition?

Tuition and fees vary from year-to-year. For the most recent estimates, please visit Graduate and Professional Tuition and Fees.

What financial support is available to me?

Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships are awarded through your academic department. More information on financial support.

I am a prospective applicant. What do I need to submit in order to be considered for admission to a degree program?

India

China

Other countries

Is non-degree right for me? How do I go about applying?

Non-degree study may be a viable option for students who simply wish to attend a few classes at UIC without committing to a degree program. In general, non-degree graduate students may take any classes offered at the university as long as they have not been restricted by the department.

You are not eligible to study as a non-degree student if you require or currently hold a student (F1, F2, J1 or J2) visa.

Non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid.

In order to apply as a non-degree student, the Office of Admissions requires the following:

There are two types of non-degree programs.

Departmental—You will apply with the specific department's non-degree code and you will be affiliated with that department. Applying via this option means that your application will have to undergo review by the department. Some departments may require the submission of additional credentials for consideration. Not all departments accept non-degree applicants. Please contact your department regarding their policies.

General, unassigned—You will apply under 20FS1780NDEG. As long as you have met the above requirements, this is a quick admit process that requires little review by the Office of Admissions.

You may transfer up to 12 hours of credit taken as a non-degree student to a degree program at a later date.

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Glossary of Terms Related to Academic Credentials

Transcript
We understand that from the viewpoint of many countries, the word "transcript" is an American term. When the Office of Admissions asks you for transcripts, we are actually asking for a copy of your academic record which includes courses taken, course descriptions, credits earned or hours completed, and posted grades.

The following academic records are always acceptable as "transcripts":

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina—Index or Upsinica
  • Croatia—Indeks or Uvjerjenje
  • Germany—Scheinen or Student Reported Summary which has been certified by the university
  • Poland—Indeks
  • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka—Marksheets (*see below)
  • Countries following the Bologna Agreement—Diploma supplement.
Marksheet
Some institutions provide a separate sheet for each year or semester which details the classes taken and marks achieved by a student.

The following are some criteria which the Office of Admissions requires when evaluating marksheets:

  • They should be issued on a yearly or semesterly basis
  • Marks secured, minimum passing marks, and maximum marks should be shown
  • They should be unconsolidated. Consolidated marks will not be accepted under any circumstance.
  • Marksheets should be issued by the university, not college. While some colleges will issue transcripts bearing marks, the Office of Admissions prefers university issued marksheets. College transcripts may be accepted if they are unconsolidated, and show marks obtained, minimum marks, and maximum marks. College transcripts will be used at the discretion of the admissions counselor during review.
  • Marksheets should be attested by the university Registrar or Controller of Exams. See the sections on Official vs. Unofficial documents and Attestation for more details.
  • Marksheets should clearly list the course name. If all that is shown is Paper I, II, and III or Exams I, II, III for a certain subject, the Office of Admissions will ask for a syllabus or course descriptions.
  • Always provide the back of the marksheets if any information regarding courses or grading policies is listed on it.
Proof of Degree
The Office of Admissions requires proof of all degrees that a student has earned. This should be an attested copy of your diploma or degree certificate. It should state the type of degree you were awarded, the fact that it was granted to you, and the date of conferment.

Keep the following in mind when submitting proof of degree:

  • Exam and Pass Certificates are not acceptable. Certificates stating that you passed the final or degree examination will not be used in place of a degree. Certificates stating that you successfully passed a degree or a final semester will also not be used.
  • Provisional degrees will be accepted if the final degree has not yet been issued. The Office of Admissions will take a provisional degree certificate or provisional degree statement as long as it is explicitly stating that you have qualified for the degree and that it will be conferred at a future date or convocation. Provisional degrees should be submitted in the same format as other official documents. If a provisional degree is accepted and found to be official, the Office of Admissions will not require the submission of the final degree at a later date.
  • Proof of degree must always be issued by the university.
Diploma Supplement
The Diploma Supplement was developed by many European institutions to provide students with a document that will be attached to a higher education diploma and improve international recognition of academic and professional qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates etc).

The supplement provides a description of the nature, level, context, and status of the studies a student pursued and successfully completed.

Syllabus/Course Descriptions
Students may be required to submit a syllabus or course descriptions if the transcript does not provide enough detail. These items will usually provide a key for understanding the courses you have taken and will provide the highlights of that course’s curriculum. The Office of Admissions does not require all students seeking graduate admission to provide these items. However, they may be requested of you at a later date if necessary.
Attestation/Attested Documents
The Office of Admissions does not require you to submit your original documents to the university. We understand that many universities only issue one set of final, original documents to students. Students should plan to submit attested copies of all original documents to UIC. You will need to make copies of your transcripts, marksheets, or degrees and have each individual page stamped by the Registrar or Controller of Examinations at your university. They will need to seal the attested documents in envelopes and place the same attesting stamp over the flap. We consider all properly attested and sealed documents to be official.
Official vs. Unofficial
Official documents are those which have been issued by the university and bear an original attestation. In the United States, sealed transcripts issued directly from the Registrar’s office are considered as official. The university may issue transcripts directly to UIC or to the student. As long as the seal is not broken, the transcripts will be considered official. We will not accept transcripts printed off the web.

From foreign institutions, copies of original documents which have been attested by the Registrar or Controller of Examinations and sealed by the same individual will be considered as official. Each document should be individually attested. There is no guarantee that documents attested by another official will be accepted.

For institutions where there are several colleges affiliated to a larger university, the Office of Admissions prefers all documents to be both issued and attested by the university.

If you can only obtain college documents the following rules apply:

  • The college is only allowed to attest documents issued by the college.
  • We will not accept university issued documents that have been attested by the college.
  • The Registrar or Controller of Examinations of the college should perform the attestation, not the Principal or Dean.
  • We will never accept a degree or provisional degree that has been issued by the college. Similarly, we will not accept a degree that has been attested by the college.

Documents may be considered unofficial for the following reasons:

  1. Attestation is not consistent. If each document is stamped by a different individual, or if any page is not stamped, the Office of Admissions may not accept them as official.
  2. Attestation is not performed by the correct university official. Documents should be attested by the university Registrar (assistant, associate or deputy), Controller of Examinations, or attestation officer. Documents attested by other individuals or college officials may not be accepted.
  3. Documents were issued by the college. College issued documents may be taken for processing, but will not be guaranteed as official.
  4. Documents were submitted in plain or open envelopes. Envelopes must be sealed at the time they are presented to the Office of Admissions and must bear the stamp or signature of the attesting individual over the flap.
  5. Attestation has been done by Education USA or a similar third party organization.

    *Attestations done by the Universities Information Bureau at the University of Mumbai will also be accepted for marksheets and degrees issued by the University of Mumbai.

Certified translations
The Office of Admissions requires literal, certified translations for all documents issued in a language other than English. Translations should be on a translator’s letterhead and should be literal (not an interpretation). We accept translations from ATA certified translators, court-appointed translators, or from the consulate. You may find an ATA translator at their web site: www.atanet.org. Plain translations, notarized translations, and translations done by someone other than a certified translator are not acceptable. Evaluations performed by agencies such as WES and ECE will not be used in place of certified translations.
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Acceptable Formats for Academic Credentials

My documents are in a language other than English. What is an acceptable method for having them translated?

The Office of Admissions requires literal, certified translations for all documents issued in a language other than English. Translations should be on a translator's letterhead and should be literal (not an interpretation). We accept translations from ATA certified translators, court-appointed translators, or from the consulate. You may find an ATA translator at their web site: www.atanet.org. Plain translations, notarized translations, and translations done by someone other than a certified translator are not acceptable. Evaluations performed by agencies such as WES and ECE will not be used in place of certified translations.

My documents have been reviewed by the United States Educational Foundation (Education USA) or Fulbright. Are these acceptable? Are they considered official?

UIC does not consider academic credentials which have passed through the hands of a third party as official. We may take these documents for processing purposes if they fulfill our requirements. However, in order for documents to be considered official, they always need to be submitted from the issuing university directly.

Should I obtain an ECE or WES evaluation?

For students applying to graduate programs, the Office of Admissions does not require students to submit credential evaluations (ECE or WES reports). The Graduate Admissions office will perform its own review of your academic course work. We will not accept evaluations performed by another agency in place of your original transcripts, marksheets, or degrees. Evaluations will also not be used in place of certified, English translations.

My program only requires a Bachelor's degree for admission. Why am I being asked to submit my post-baccalaureate (Master's) transcripts?

It is university policy to ask for records pertaining to the 1st Bachelor's degree earned by a student and all subsequent work. You will be required to submit records for all work completed following your Bachelor's degree regardless of the admission requirements for your specific program. The university requires the Office of Admissions to keep a complete record of all your previous course work on file.

I was a UIC student. Do I need to obtain transcripts to submit with my application?

The Office of Admissions does not require students to submit transcripts for prior work done at UIC. We have access to your UIC transcripts through our student system. Some departments may require you to submit UIC transcripts to them for their records. You will need to contact your academic program regarding their policies.

Please note, while we are part of one university system, we cannot obtain transcripts from UIUC or UIS internally. You will need to have transcripts from those institutions sent.

What does "official" transcripts/degree mean?

Official documents are those which have been issued by the university and bear an original attestation. In the United States, sealed transcripts issued directly from the Registrar's office are considered official. The university may issue transcripts directly to UIC or to the student. As long as the seal is not broken, the transcripts will be considered official. We will not accept transcripts printed off the web.

From foreign institutions, copies of original documents which have been attested by the Registrar or Controller of Examinations and sealed by the same individual will be considered as official. Each document should be attested. There is no guarantee that documents attested by another official will be accepted.

I sent official documents from an international institution. Why am I being asked for them again?

Sometimes the Office of Admissions will use documents to process your application and make a decision, but these same documents will not be sufficient for completing your permanent record. Documents may be considered unofficial for the following reasons:

  1. Attestation is not consistent. If each document is stamped by a different individual, or if any page is not stamped, the Office of Admissions may not accept them as official.
  2. Attestation is not performed by the correct university official. Documents should be attested by the university Registrar (assistant, associate or deputy), Controller of Examinations, or attestation officer. Documents attested by other individuals or college officials may not be accepted.
  3. Documents were issued by the college. Ideally the university will issue all documents. College issued documents may be taken for processing, but will not be guaranteed as official.
  4. Documents were submitted in plain or open envelopes. Envelopes must be sealed at the time they are presented to the Office of Admissions and must bear the stamp or signature of the attesting individual over the flap.

My university only gives out one set of original transcripts/marksheets and degree. I cannot get "official" documents. What do I do?

The Office of Admissions does not require you to submit your original documents to the university. We understand that many universities only issue one set of final, original documents to students. Students should plan to submit attested copies of all original documents to UIC. You will need to make copies of your transcripts, marksheets, or degrees and have them stamped by the Registrar or Controller of Examinations at your university. They will need to seal the attested documents in envelopes and place the same attesting stamp over the flap.

My university is refusing to give me the documentation required by UIC. What can I do?

If your university refuses to issue the required documents, you will need to request a letter from the Registrar or Controller of Exams explaining their policy. This letter should be submitted to UIC in a sealed envelope bearing the stamp of the same individual who is issuing the statement over the flap. **This will only be accepted by the Office of Admissions in extreme circumstances. If you attended a university that the Office of Admissions commonly works with and knows that documents are available to students, you will be required to submit the academic credentials.

Students who have completed study at U.S. universities must provide transcripts for work completed. If students cannot obtain transcripts from a U.S. institution, no exception will be made so that the application can be reviewed for a decision.

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Re-applying for Admission

Am I considered a graduate readmit?

A graduate readmit is an applicant who was previously enrolled as either a graduate non-degree student or a graduate degree-seeking student at UIC. A graduate readmit must have at least one graded course. You are not considered a readmit student if you applied and did not take any courses at the university.

I am applying for readmission to the Graduate College. I submitted credentials when I was first admitted. Do I need to submit them again?

The Office of Admissions typically keeps the records of students who were admitted and registered for classes for several years. If you are applying for readmission, there is a chance that the documents you initially submitted are still on file. An admissions counselor will be able to verify if your old records are still here and if they can be used toward completing your new application. In some cases, you will be asked to re-submit credentials.

Files for students who have registered for classes are housed in the Records office. It is not always possible for an admissions counselor to immediately obtain your records. For this reason, processing times may be similar to those for students who have to submit new materials.

I applied for admission, but was denied or unable to attend. I want to apply for a future term. Will you keep the documents that I already submitted?

The Office of Admissions will keep the credentials for denied and cancelled students and for those who chose not to attend UIC for one calendar year. For example, documents submitted with a Fall 2006 application will not be purged until the beginning of the Fall 2007 term.

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Filling Out an Application

I have used different versions of my name. What should I do to ensure that all of my documents are matched with my application?

You should always use your full, legal name on all documents that you are submitting to UIC. Please include any alternate names in the space provided on the application. When possible, include your University Identification Number (UIN) on all documents. If you provided a different ordering or spelling of your name to ETS for GRE or TOEFL reporting, please provide this name to the Office of Admissions.

What is a United States Social Security Number (SSN) and when do I need to provide it?

A Social Security Number is a government issued identification number generally used for tracking working individuals for taxation purposes. UIC does not require students to provide an SSN at the time of application. Students seeking financial aid or employment at the university will be required to obtain an SSN and submit it to the appropriate office. International students who do not have an SSN should not provide other national ID numbers in attempt to fully complete the application. Please see the Social Security Administration web site for more complete details.

I am trying to apply online. Why isn't my program in the drop-down menu?

  1. Double check the deadline for your program. Some programs have earlier deadlines. If the deadline has passed, the program will no longer be available on the online application. Late applications are not accepted by the Office of Admissions. Please contact your program directly for information on how to apply for a future term.
  2. Be sure that your program accepts applications for the term you have selected. Many programs admit to only the Fall term. If you are applying for the Spring or Summer terms, please verify that your program considers students for admission to that term.
  3. Make sure you are in the correct application. After creating/entering your log-in ID and password, you are brought to a drop-down box that asks you to select an application type. Non-degree programs are not available under the general Graduate heading. Similarly, degree-seeking programs will not be found under the Graduate Non-degree selection.

If your program is not listed in the drop down box, please do not choose another program in order to complete the application. The Office of Admissions will not manually change your program code at a later time.

I am trying to apply online, but I cannot find my college or university in the drop-down. What should I do?

Most U.S. institutions and many international ones can be found by going through a series of drop-down menus. We encourage you to carefully search the drop-downs before manually entering the name of the school in the box provided. Using the drop-downs will ensure that your web application is processed correctly. Here are some hints for using the drop-downs effectively:

I applied for the wrong term/program. What should I do?

In the event that you apply for the wrong term or program, or would like to change the term or program of your application, you will have to submit a new application for the desired term or program. The incorrect application may be withdrawn at your request by contacting Graduate Admissions and the application fee from your incorrect application may be used toward the correct one.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Our application provides a place for students to report their GPA. If your department receives a copy of your application before it reaches the Office of Admissions, your self-reported calculation gives them an easy way to see your GPA at a glance. You can calculate your GPA by using the GPA Calculator. Regardless of what information you provide, the Office of Admissions is always going to perform a GPA calculation on your credentials. We also provide those GPAs to the departments. If you aren't sure how to calculate your GPA, don't worry about it. We'll do it for you.

What happens if my GPA or TOEFL score is below the minimum requirement?

A low GPA, TOEFL, or other test score does not automatically mean you will be denied admission. These are only a few factors when departments are considering your application for admission. If your department wishes to recommend you for admission, they may be able to do so with the approval of the Graduate College. All applications recommended for admission that do not automatically meet the minimum GPA and test score criteria will have to undergo a mandatory review by the Graduate College.

The Graduate College will decide whether to uphold the department's recommendation or to reject it. Oftentimes a recommendation to admit the student on limited standing will be made. If you are admitted on limited standing, you will need to complete specific requirements set forth by the department (usually during your 1st year of study). Full standing may be granted upon successful completion of the limited standing stipulations.

How do I qualify for a waiver or deferment of the application fee?

The following are acceptable reasons for fee waiver eligibility:

Students must provide proof of their qualification before the fee waiver will be granted. Fees will not be waived based on statements of financial hardship. Payment of the application fee cannot be deferred until the student's arrival on campus.

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Sending Documents to Graduate Admissions

How can I ensure that all of my documents are matched to my application?

The easiest way to ensure that all of your documents are correctly matched to your application is by sending them in one packet that contains all identifying information. We suggest that students request to have all transcripts sent to their home address. As long as you do not break the seal on the envelopes, your transcripts will be considered official. Collect all of the documents required and mail them to UIC in one packet. Send all academic credentials such as transcripts, marksheets, degree certificates, financial documents, and TOEFL scores directly to the Office of Admissions. Supplementary materials like letters of recommendation, personal statements, writing samples, and other test scores should be sent to your program office.

Include your UIN (if known) on all materials. Always include your full, legal name along with any other names that may be used on your documents in addition to your date of birth and current mailing address.

If you plan to have transcripts sent directly from another university, you may wish to provide them with a completed Graduate Transcript or Marksheet Cover Sheets which can be found at the end of the graduate paper application.

What to do when your documents and your application are under different names?

You should always use your full, legal name (to exactly match the name on your passport) on all documents that you are submitting to UIC. Please include any alternate names in the space provided on the application. When possible, include your University Identification Number (UIN) on all documents. If you provided a different ordering or spelling of your name to ETS for GRE or TOEFL reporting, please provide this name to the Office of Admissions.

I sent my documents. Why aren't they posted to my account?

There may be several reasons to explain why documents have yet to post to your UIC account. Please keep in mind that we receive thousands of credentials every day. During peak times (between the months of November and May), it may take up to 4 weeks for your documents to be received, coded, posted to the system, and matched with your file for review. Once an admissions counselor has received your file for review, it may be determined that further documentation is required.

The easiest way to track your application is by checking its status online. You may Log into Your Online Application using the ID and password you created during the online application process and choose Edit/View your Application. If you submitted a paper application, an ID and password will be sent to the address you provided. Any documents that we are currently requesting will be posted under the Requirements section. Updates made to your account will be reflected immediately. Once a decision has been made on your application, it will be recorded next to "Decisions".

If more than 4-6 weeks have passed since you believe your documents were sent to UIC and they are still not posted to your account, please double check the following:

  1. Be sure that the name on all documents matched the name on your application. If documents were submitted under a different name (or ordering or spelling of a name), you will need to report the problem to the Office of Admissions. You should always provide your full, legal name on all documents and include any variations as alternate names on your application.
  2. Verify the address to which your documents were sent. If credentials were directed to your department, processing time may increase. If you believe that your department has your documentation and is not forwarding it, you will need to request that they send it to the Office of Admissions. You may need to have a duplicate set sent. The Office of Admissions will not ask your department to release credentials.
  3. Make sure you have allowed enough time for processing. Even if you have submitted documents that provide tracking information and know that they have been signed for, it may still take several weeks for items to be processed and posted to your account. Please be patient!

How can I get my documents (or copies of them) back?

All documents submitted to UIC become the property of the University. Once you submit documents to UIC, the University will not return the documents or copies of them. Documents will not be released to the applicant or forwarded to other institutions or agencies. Please do not submit your original or only set of academic credentials.

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Evidence of English Competency

TOEFL Exemptions

TOEFL exemptions are not determined by the prevalence of spoken English in your country or the medium of instruction at your university. You may qualify for a TOEFL waiver if you can provide the following:

  1. Evidence that you have been attending a U.S. institution for at least 2 years of full-time study.
  2. A letter from an employer in the U.S., UK, Australia, or Canada (excluding Quebec) stating that you are proficient in the use of English and that you have been employed at the establishment for at least 1 year. The letter must be typed on the company's letterhead. The Office of Admissions will evaluate all letters on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Education or employment for the duration of time listed above in a country where English is the only, official language, i.e. UK, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec).

Minimums

The Graduate College minimum requirements for TOEFL scores are as follows:

TOEFL scores must be reported directly to UIC by ETS. Paper score reports will not be accepted as official scores unless they are sent to our office directly by ETS.

Other English Competency tests

Other English competency exams may be available to students and may be accepted by other institutions. UIC accepts scores for TOEFL only. We do not accept TSE, TWE, Cambridge examinations, TOEIC, IELTS, or other similar tests in place of TOEFL. Some departments may give consideration to students who have completed these exams (specifically TSE and TWE) in addition to the TOEFL. Please contact your department on details regarding their policies.

English is commonly spoken in my country. Do I need to take TOEFL?

Yes. TOEFL exemptions are not determined by the prevalence of spoken English in your country. If a TOEFL score is being requested of you then students from your country do not qualify for an automatic waiver.

All classes at my university were taught in English. Do I need to take TOEFL?

Yes. TOEFL exemptions are not determined by the medium of instruction.

How can I receive a TOEFL waiver?

You may qualify for a TOEFL waiver if you can provide the following:

  1. Evidence that you have been attending a U.S. institution for at least 2 years of full-time study.
  2. A letter from a U.S. employer stating that you are proficient in the use of English and that you have been employed at the establishment for at least 1 year.
  3. Education or employment for the duration of time listed above in a country where English is the only, official language. i.e. UK, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec).
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Obtaining a Visa Stamp

Once you have been recommended for admission by your department, the next step is being approved for official admission by the Graduate College and getting an I-20 (F1 Visa) issued. (Remember: Your department does not have the authority to grant you admission. Only the the Office of Admissions (OAR) and the Graduate College can officially admit you.) The Graduate College cannot offer official admission to international students until sufficient evidence of financial support has been received. The next several sections help to explain what is meant by "evidence of financial support" and attempt to clarify some of the questions you may have.

Once the Graduate College has approved your department's recommendation of admission and your financial documents have been received, the Office of Admissions will process your official admission. An admission letter will be issued for you and your file will be forwarded to OIS.

The Office of Admissions is not the office responsible for the actual issuance of your I-20 (F1 Visa). Instead, your file must be sent to the Office of International Services. OIS will make a final review of all financial documents. If no additional information is required, OIS will begin the I-20 process. Once your file has gone to OIS, the Office of Admissions can no longer give you information about its status.

Neither the Office of Admissions nor OIS will express or overnight any documents to you. All correspondence will be sent via regular mail (by post).

Once you have received your official, Graduate College letter of admission and your I-20 or DS-2019 form, you may make an appointment at a U.S. embassy for a visa interview. From there, the process of issuing your actual visa is in the hands of the consulate officials. OIS will provide information with your immigration documents.

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Evidence of Financial Support

Evidence of financial support for the first year of study must be submitted before an I-20 (F1 Visa) or DS-2019 (J1 Visa) will be processed.

Applicants MUST submit the following:

NOTE: The UIC Declaration and Certification of Finances form must ALWAYS be submitted for students who are seeking an I-20 (F1 Visa) or DS-2019 (J1 Visa). Other affidavits of support may be submitted in addition to the UIC Declaration, but will not be accepted in its place.

When should evidence of financial support be submitted?

UIC does not require students to submit evidence of financial support at the time of application. If you have received a letter recommending you for admission from your department or an official notification asking for financial documents from the Office of Admissions, you will need to provide a bank statement and a signed UIC Declaration and Certification of Finances form. If you have received a departmental award that covers the full amount of tuition, fees, and living expenses then you may be exempt from submitting separate evidence. Evidence from personal funds will be required of all students who have not received departmental support or whose award is insufficient.

You may wish to submit your financial documentation with your application and other materials. If you do so, your documents will be reviewed at the time of receipt. If you are recommended for admission, your financial documents will have to undergo a 2nd review at that time as well. Your documents may no longer be valid at the time of this 2nd review. Financial papers are time sensitive items. The Office of Admissions will not be able to use them if they are more than 6 months old from the start of the term.

Qualities of a correct bank statement

You may use the Currency Converter to perform foreign exchange rate calculations.

Do I have to use the UIC Declaration and Certification of Finances or can I submit a different affidavit of support?

The UIC Declaration and Certification of Finances (pdf) form must ALWAYS be submitted for students who are seeking an I-20 or DS-2019. Other affidavits of support may be submitted in addition to the UIC Declaration, but will not be accepted in its place.

Department Awards and Financial Assistance

Individual programs are responsible for awarding teaching assistantships and fellowships each semester. Please contact your department for instructions on how to apply.

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After Submitting an Application

Will you contact me when my documents arrive at UIC? When will I know that my file is complete and if a decision has been made?

Due to high volume of applications and credentials, the Office of Admissions cannot contact you when documents arrive. During peak times (between the months of November and May), it may take up to 4 weeks for your documents to be received, coded, posted to the system, and matched with your file for review. Once an admissions counselor has received your file for review, it may be determined that further documentation is required.

The easiest way to track your application is by checking its status online.You may Log into Your Online Application using the ID and password you created during the online application process and choose Edit/View your Application. If you submitted a paper application, an ID and password will be sent to the address you provided. Any documents that we are currently requesting will be posted under the Requirements section. Updates made to your account will be reflected immediately.

Once a decision has been made on your application, it will be viewable online next to "Decisions" and an official letter of admission will be mailed to you.

How long will it take to get a decision?

The time it will take to receive an admission decision will vary by department. Once your application is complete (all of your academic materials have been received and reviewed by the Office of Admissions) it will be forwarded to your graduate program for review. Some departments review applications as they arrive and make decisions on a daily basis. Others will have review committees which meet a few times during the admissions season and return all recommendations to the Office of Admissions in a batch.

Once your department has made its recommendation, your application will still have to be approved by the Office of Admissions and the Graduate College before official acceptance can be issued.

As always, you will receive an early decision if you apply well before the deadline and submit a complete set of required materials in one packet to the correct office.

How can I change my mailing address?

If you are a newly admitted or currently enrolled student, your mailing address may be changed through Student Self-Service.

If you are a current applicant, please submit address changes to us using the UIC Prospective Student Contact form(no attachments).

Can I get a refund of my application fee?

As stated in the application, the fee is nonrefundable. By submitting it, you agree that you understand the terms presented within the application. Many times students feel that since their application was cancelled, they should have their fee refunded. A cancellation or deny decision does not mean that no review was done. In fact, the instant you submit an application to us, a review is done. And before any decision is made (admit, cancel, or deny), a final review is made. In reality, no application goes un-reviewed! (no attachments).

If for some reason you submitted two payments for the application fee, you may request a refund by contacting us using the UIC Prospective Student Contact form. You will be asked to provide proof that two payments were made (e.g. copies of 2 cancelled checks, 2 payments made to UIC on a bank or credit card statement). Once your rebate request has been reviewed, it may take up to 6 weeks for your refund to be issued.

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Checking the Application Status

How can I check the status of my application?

The easiest way to track your application is by checking its status on-line. You may Log into Your Online Application using the ID and password you created during the on-line application process and choose Edit/View your Application. If you submitted a paper application, an ID and password will be sent to the address you provided. Any documents that we are currently requesting will be posted under the Requirements section. Updates made to your account will be reflected immediately.

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Cancelled Applications

Why was my application cancelled?

Cancellations may be made by the Office of Admissions or by your academic program. Your application may have been cancelled for the following reasons:

I received admission from my department. Why was my application cancelled?

Receiving a recommendation for admission from your department is only one step in the admission process and does not guarantee that official admission will be granted. Your program does not have the authority to grant official admission. Their recommendation must be reviewed by the Office of Admissions and approved by the Graduate College.

If you have failed to submit all required materials to the Office of Admissions, your application may be cancelled regardless of departmental review procedures.

If you are an international student, the Office of Admissions will not be able to officially grant admission until sufficient evidence of financial support has been submitted. In order to comply with policies set forth by the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Admissions requires financial evidence to be submitted no less than 90 days before the start of the term. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your application.

Keep in mind, your department is able to cancel your application too. If you fail to submit the required supplementary materials, your file may be complete in the Office of Admissions, but lacking the necessary credentials for making a decision.

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Deny Decisions

I received an admission letter from my department. Why haven't I been admitted?

Your academic department does not have the authority to officially admit you to the university. The letter you have received from them states their intention to recommend you for admission to the program. This recommendation must then be reviewed by the Office of Admissions and approved by the Graduate College. Generally, departmental recommendations carry heavy weight and are rarely overridden. However, your admission will not be official until you have received a letter from the Graduate College. Typically, applicants can expect an admission letter from the Graduate College or a follow-up letter from the department (in case the recommendation is not approved) in a few weeks following the initial departmental letter.

Why was I denied? What can I do now?

If you have received a deny decision based on review, you will need to contact your program for details regarding why your application was rejected. The Office of Admissions cannot give you specific reasons for the decision. Your department may also be able to advise you on how to successfully seek admission for a future term.

Admit Decisions

What is a TCN and how do I obtain it?

A TCN is a 9-digit Temporary Control Number that is issued to students who do not have or did not report a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN). Your TCN can be found at the top of your admit letter. If you provided an SSN, no TCN will be issued to you.

How do I register for classes?

Your official letter of admission will contain both your University ID Number (UIN) and Temporary Control Number (TCN, if applicable). Your ID number (along with your SSN or university provided TCN) should allow you to Establish an Enterprise ID and password which will then allow you to Register Online. You will not be allowed to register until a time ticket has been issued to you. Most new students are able to register during Open Registration times.

I am currently enrolled at UIC. How can I change my program? How can I add a 2nd program to my current course of study?

Currently enrolled students do not need to submit a formal application in order to change or add a program. Instead, a Request for Change of Graduate Program (pdf) form should be completed. Students wishing to change or add a program should contact their current department for further information.

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Registration Holds

I have a registration hold. When does this take effect? What do I need to do to have my hold lifted?

Holds may be placed on your account for many reasons. Graduate Admissions is only responsible for placing holds for 2 reasons.

  1. You are currently a UIC student and you are requesting a level change. This will affect you if you are a non-degree student applying for a degree program or an undergraduate student applying for graduate admission. This hold is placed on your account to prevent you from registering at the wrong level. Level change holds can be lifted at your request or will be lifted automatically when a decision is returned on your graduate application. If you register on the undergrad/non-degree level for a term in which you are expecting to begin graduate study, your registration will remain at the current level.
  2. You were admitted pending the submission of final, official documents. The Office of Admissions will place a hold on your registration after the 10th day of your 1st term at UIC. You will be allowed to enroll and study during your 1st semester with outstanding documentation. We recommend that all students clear their pending conditions by submitting the required transcripts/degrees when they arrive on campus. If you fail to do so, you will not be able to register for your 2nd semester of study. Transcript holds will not be released until the required documentation is presented to the Office of Admissions.
  3. Students may also encounter advising holds. These are placed by your academic program to ensure that you meet with an advisor prior to registering for classes. You will need to consult with your academic department for an advisor assignment. They will be able to guide you through the necessary steps for having any advising holds released.
  4. The Immunizations Office will also create holds for students who have failed to submit proper proof of immunizations. For more information on this topic view Medical Immunization Records.

If you have any other holds (Immunizations, OIS-SEVIS, Advising), you will need to contact the corresponding office for information on how that hold may be lifted.

When holds take effect

Transcript holds placed by the Office of Admissions will begin after the 10th day of your 1st semester at UIC. Registration for your 2nd term of study (and every subsequent term) will be blocked until the required credentials have been submitted.

Immunization holds will begin during your 1st term at UIC.

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Deferring Admission to a Future Semester

Students who have been recommended for admission, but cannot attend for valid reasons, may request to defer their admission. An admitted application can only be deferred once. Admission can be deferred for up to 1 academic year. (Applicants for the Fall term may defer to the following Spring, Summer, or Fall terms, but no further.) Admission to the term is contingent upon departmental admissions practices for that term. Students do not need to submit a new application, fee, or set of academic credentials in order for a deferral to be granted.

Who qualifies for a deferral?

Only students who have been recommended admission by the department or officially admitted by the Graduate College are eligible to defer admission.

Students who were recommended for admission by the department, but were unable to provide the required evidence of financial support and were subsequently cancelled may qualify for a deferral.

Denied applications and those cancelled due to missing academic credentials cannot be deferred.

How to go about seeking a deferral?

If you are eligible to defer your admission, you will need to contact your academic program and request a deferral. Your department has the authority to grant your request or to deny it. Departmental awards may not be guaranteed for a new term.

If your department grants your deferral request, you will need to obtain new/correct evidence of financial support for the new term. Please keep in mind that financial documents are time sensitive and may not be honored if they are more than 6 months old from the start of the new term. For this reason, you may need to wait before requesting a deferral. The Office of Admissions will not process a deferral without correct evidence of financial support.

If your deferral is approved by the Office of Admissions, you will receive a letter of admission for the new term and a new I-20 (F1 Visa).

Please return any unused I-20 (F1 Visa) to the Office of International Services.

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Contact Us

You may direct any inquiries to us using the UIC Prospective Student Contact form. Questions sent to this address will be reviewed by an admissions counselor. Most basic questions can be answered by THOROUGHLY READING the graduate application, the instructions on the web site for your academic program, and our FAQ.

If you have a question or problem that is not addressed in our published material, admissions counselors are available for walk-in visits and via the phone on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm. Each counselor works with a different set of academic programs, but any counselor will be able to help you. Contact persons in your department of interest will also be able to answer most questions.