Curriculum

7.0 Overview

The Office of Graduate Academic Affairs is directed by the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs. The office provides various services to graduate students and consults with academic units on matters related to curricula and the implementation of academic policies. The office provides periodic reports and analyses of its activities to the Vice Provost for Research and Academic Affairs, academic units, and other interested units of the university as appropriate.

7.1 Plan of Study for Graduate Students

A graduate degree is awarded for the satisfactory completion of a coherent program of study. Students may view degree requirements and their progress toward meeting these requirements using the Graduate Degree Works Worksheet. A student must complete a Graduate Degree Works Plan of Study, approved by the academic adviser, academic unit, and Graduate Academic Affairs, before completion of nine credit hours of master's coursework and 18 credit hours (one year of full-time study) of doctoral coursework. 

Master's Degrees

A master's degree student must fulfill an approved degree program of at least 30 credit hours (see academic unit-specific requirements). Up to nine credit hours of acceptable graduate coursework may be transferred from other institutions (or other degree programs at Illinois Institute of Technology). These courses cannot include research or seminars or courses used in obtaining another degree. Students are allowed to earn up to nine credit hours by proficiency examination only when transfer credit is not applied. All research hours must be completed at Illinois Institute of Technology.

A Plan of Study must be approved within four months after matriculation for full-time students or before enrolling beyond nine credit hours for part-time students. After these deadlines, further registration may not be allowed until a Plan of Study is approved by the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs. The master's student must graduate within six years of initial matriculation. Nine quarter hours is equivalent to six semester hours. In addition:

  • At least 50% of the minimum coursework for a master’s degree must be in courses open only for graduate credit (500-level or above).
  • The minimum coursework required for a master of science degree with thesis is 32 credit hours, including no less than 24 credit hours of regular coursework and up to eight credit hours in thesis research.
  • At least 18 graduate credit hours of regular coursework must be in the major field.
  • A student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in degree program courses including completed plan of study courses.
  • For the non-thesis option (professional master’s degree) the minimum course requirement is 30 credit hours.
  • All coursework, including thesis hours, must be completed during the six years immediately preceding the date on which the degree is to be awarded. This includes transfer credits.

Ph.D. Degrees

A Ph.D. degree student must fulfill an approved program of at least 72 credit hours (beyond the B.S. degree) including at least 24 credit hours of 691 (Research and Thesis). At least 36 credit hours of Ph.D. coursework must be completed at Illinois Institute of Technology. Transfer of credits from other institutions and approval of non-U.S. master's degrees will be petitioned before the Plan of Study is filed and are subject to Illinois Institute of Technology transfer credit policy. Some doctoral programs require more than 72 credit hours.

Doctoral students without a prior master's degree must file a within 12 months after initial matriculation or before completing 18 credit hours in the Ph.D. program. Students with a prior master's degree must file the Ph.D. plan of study within four months after matriculation for full-time students or before enrolling beyond nine credit hours for part-time students. Ph.D. students must graduate within six years after approval of the Plan of Study.

For a Ph.D. degree, it is possible to transfer a master's degree by title, plus previously completed graduate post-master's work, up to 50% or 42 credit hours, whichever is lower, of the degree credit requirements, provided that:

  1. Courses with "S/U" grading cannot be transferred
  2. Courses are judged to be relevant to the doctoral program
  3. Courses are completed with grades of "B" or better
  4. Courses are acceptable for graduate credit at the institution where taken, and
  5. Credits were not used to fulfill requirements for another degree. If it is not evident on the transcript, then a special letter from the Office of the Registrar of the original institution must certify items (4) and (5).

In addition, a minimum total of 72 semester credit hours is required for the doctoral degree. At least 24 credit hours must be in courses 500-level or higher.

7.2 Change of Adviser After Initial Program Approval

A graduate student will be assigned to a preliminary adviser when admitted as a degree-seeking student. However, an academic adviser will be assigned officially before the student's Plan of Study is submitted. The student may subsequently change adviser by initiating a request in Graduate Degree Works using the eForms tab.

7.3 Change of Plan of Study After Initial Approval

Any changes in an approved Plan of Study must be filed by submitting and eForms for Degree Works request for Course Substitution and Exception. The Office of Graduate Academic Affairs may not approve changes in the program after the student has filed an application for graduation. Courses that fulfill the degree requirements as shown on the Graduate Degree Works Audit and completed courses listed on the approved Plan of Study will be counted toward the student's GPA for graduation; a minimum of a 3.00 GPA is required for graduation. A completed course may not be eliminated from the Plan of Study in order to raise the program GPA required for graduation.

7.4 Change of a Previously Recorded Letter Grade

At the end of the semester, the instructor will enter a list of class grades which is recorded with the Office of the Registrar. A change of grade for any cause must be done via the Change of Grade form, which is obtainable online from the Office of the Registrar. The instructor must clearly indicate the reason for the requested change of grade and submit the form with the academic unit head's approval to the Office of the Registrar for processing. No grade change is official until it is posted on the student's transcript.

7.5 Change of a Previously Recorded "I" Grade     

A student who is to receive an "I" grade in any course must arrange with the instructor to change the grade before the end of the sixth week of the semester following the term in which the "I" was assigned. An "I" grade will revert to "E" after the deadline and generally cannot be changed to a passing grade thereafter.

7.6 Grade Point Average Required to Stay Enrolled

Satisfactory graduate work is interpreted as a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.0/4.0 are no longer in good standing; these students are allowed to enroll provisionally in order to raise their GPAs (see Section 6.5).

7.7 Course Substitution

A graduate student who wishes to make changes in an approved Plan of Study may file an eForm in Graduate Degree Works for Course Substitution and Exception for minor course changes.

A new Plan of Study is required after a change of the degree, major and declaration or change of specialization, project, or thesis option. The plan is approved by the primary academic adviser, academic unit, and the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs. Notification to the student by email of the final approval decision is required before the student may initiate any additional eForm requests or Plan of Study changes may be submitted for consideration.

7.8 Change from Master's Thesis to Non-Thesis Option

In several majors, a master's degree may be earned without the preparation of a thesis. When changing from a thesis to non-thesis option, a student may transfer up to four hours of credit for satisfactorily completed Course 591 (Research and Thesis for the Master's Degree) to satisfy the requirement for Course 594 (Special Projects), provided that two conditions are met: first, the student's GPA must be at least 3.0/4.0; second, the student's academic unit must permit the change to a non-thesis option after consulting with the student's adviser and must approve the transfer on the grounds that the thesis-oriented work is equivalent to work on a project. Procedures for evaluating the transfer of credits from 591 and 691 to 594 (and for evaluating the student's performance on the Special Project) must be documented and monitored by each academic unit. The Graduate College will allow up to four credit hours of 591 or 691 to be converted to 594 credits. Form G701 Graduate Student Petition is used to request this conversion.

To initiate a request to change from thesis to a non-thesis option, the student will complete a change of thesis option using eForms for Graduate Degree Works, which is accessed from the MyIIT portal (my.iit.edu) under the Academics tab.

More information regarding the use of 591 and 691 credit is available in the Research Credit Use section of the Graduate Bulletin.

7.9 Change of Major

A degree-seeking student planning to transfer from one degree program to another should discuss the matter with academic advisers in both programs.

A student seeking to change majors within the same academic unit may submit an eForm for Graduate Degree Works request, which seeks approval by the academic adviser, academic unit head, and the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs.

A student seeking admission to a different academic unit's program is required to submit an application for admission to the desired degree program and academic unit/department online at the Graduate Admission website (admissions.iit.edu/graduate/apply). The student will be notified once the decision is made by the Office of Graduate Admission.

7.10 GPA Required for Graduation

Satisfactory performance for graduate study is defined as the maintenance of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0, as reported by the Office of the Registrar. However, only the grades for those courses which appear in the student's Graduate Degree Works Audit form that fulfill the degree program requirements and on the approved Plan of Study are used in the calculation of the GPA for graduation. There is no exception or waiver to this rule. If a student repeats a course, the last grade issued for the course will be used to compute the cumulative GPA and the Plan of Study GPA. Students should consult the section on Repeating a Course within the Graduate Bulletin for course repeat limitations.

7.11 Residence Requirements

Degree-seeking graduate students are required to register every fall and spring semester unless they are granted an official leave of absence from the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs (see the Leaves and Withdrawals section of the Graduate Bulletin for more information). In addition, doctoral students must spend a minimum of one year of full-time study at the university. (Students should consult the definitions of a full-time student and credit requirements listed within the Registration section of the Graduate Bulletin). That year must occur within six years prior to awarding the degree. Some academic units have academic residence requirements for master’s degrees as well.

Refer to Section 5.5 for policies regarding full-time and part-time registration.

7.12 Time Limit to Complete a Degree and Revalidation of Courses

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within the twelve semesters immediately preceding graduation. All requirements for a doctoral degree must be completed within twelve regular semesters after the approval of the plan of study. If the twelve-semester deadline is not met, then a Form G701 Graduate Student Petition for extension must be filed by the student and the outdated courses listed on the student’s plan of study in Graduate Degree Works must be revalidated. The petition must include a detailed plan for the completion of the degree and be endorsed by the academic adviser and the academic unit head. The student’s petition for extension must be presented before the time limit is reached. The Associate Dean of the Graduate College will notify the student of the decision and any additional requirements that must be met. In no case will an approved extension of time eliminate the need for revalidation of outdated courses for a graduate degree at the university. A statement from the academic unit head indicating the list of courses on the student’s plan of study that are to be revalidated (Form G504) and the expected date for the revalidation must accompany the extension approval. The M.S. or Ph.D. comprehensive or thesis examination may serve the purpose of revalidating the outdated plan of study.

7.13 Publishing Thesis Material Before Graduation

All students are highly encouraged to publish parts of their theses before graduation. The submitted manuscript must be co-authored by the faculty adviser. In the case that the related work is done outside the university and the manuscript is not co-authored by the adviser, the graduate student may need to be protected from criticism corresponding to the lack of originality of the dissertation materials. Such students must submit a petition, endorsed by the faculty adviser, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College stating the title, the publication, and the nature of the manuscript to be published. The Graduate Dean acknowledges the work in a letter to the student and a copy of the letter will remain in the student's file.

7.14 Request for a Second Degree

Refer to Section 3.4.6 for policies regarding admission for a second graduate degree, and Section 3.4.7 for policies regarding transferring from another graduate program.

7.15 Credit Requirements

The Master's and Master of Engineering degrees are fulfilled with a minimum of 30 credit hours earned beyond the bachelor's degree at Illinois Institute of Technology. The Master of Science degree is fulfilled with a minimum of 32 credit hours earned beyond the bachelor’s degree. With academic approval, a maximum of nine credit hours, earned prior to matriculation into an Illinois Institute of Technology graduate program, may be applied to a master's degree, subject to the graduate studies rules and restrictions published in the Transfer Credit section of the Graduate Bulletin.

The doctoral degree is fulfilled with a minimum of 72 credit hours (or more) earned beyond the bachelor's degree, of which at least 36 credit hours of academic coursework is required. Consult the Graduate Bulletin for the minimum doctoral degree credit requirements by program. Research requirements are fulfilled with a minimum of 24 research (691) credit hours earned, and a maximum of 50% or 48 research (691) credit hours, whichever is lower, of the doctoral program credit requirement. The equivalent of at least one year of full-time work devoted to research is required. In general, this requirement is fulfilled when the oral defense is passed. With academic approval, a master’s degree, up to 32 credit hours, may be transferred from an accredited institution or foreign institution meeting Illinois Institute of Technology requirements.

7.16 Completion of Degree

Master's Degree Candidates

The starting date for any course applied toward the degree must be no earlier than six years before the graduation date. If this condition cannot be met, the student may petition the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for an extension. Any courses that fall outside the six-year time limit must be revalidated. Form G504 Revalidation of Outdated Courses is used to initiate the petition and the subsequent revalidation process as published in the Graduate Bulletin. The M.S. Comprehensive (Thesis) Examination will serve the purpose of revalidating the outdated plan of study.

Ph.D. Degree Candidates

Doctoral study must be completed within six years of the date of approval of the plan of study. An extension will require an agreed upon schedule for the completion of remaining degree requirements. Any courses that fall outside the six-year limit must be revalidated. Form G504 Revalidation of Outdated Courses is used to initiate the petition and the subsequent revalidation process as published in the Graduate Bulletin. The Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination will serve the purpose of revalidating the outdated plan of study.

7.17 Interruption of Study (Leave of Absence)

Degree-seeking students who intend to leave the university for one semester or more must complete the online leave of absence form in the MyIIT portal (my.iit.edu) by selecting the Academics tab, followed by the Graduate Academic Affairs channel. A leave of absence will not be granted for more than one year, at which time, a request for an extension of leave may be submitted by filing a Form G701 Graduate Student Petition. A leave of absence will not extend the time limit required for the completion of a degree. A leave will not be approved after the sixth week of the current semester. A student who has not renewed his or her leave of absence must petition for reinstatement to the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs. Degree-seeking students who do not plan to return to the program should submit a Withdrawal From the University Request, also located as noted above. Non-degree students are not required to file a Leave of Absence Form, but will require reinstatement by petition on Form G701 after a lapse in registration. Students should consult the procedures for filing a petition under the section Right of Appeal by Petition in the Graduate Bulletin.

Note: International students must also receive a separate approval from the International Center. If an international student wishes not to enroll in a given term, the leave of absence must be approved by the International Center by the registration deadline of that term.

7.18 Withdrawal from the University

A student who wishes to withdraw should first consult his academic adviser. The adviser may be able to suggest resources or alternate solutions to the student's problems. An international student wishing to withdraw is required to consult the international student adviser in the International Center as well. For withdrawal, all graduate students must complete the electronic withdrawal form online in the MyIIT portal (my.iit.edu) by selecting the option from the Graduate Academic Affairs channel. Withdrawal from the university is not complete until an official email is received by the student confirming its completion. International students will receive two separate emails: 1) confirming the international status, and 2) the academic program withdrawal outcome. 

7.19 Change in Degree Requirements

Academic units wishing to introduce a new (or revise an existing) graduate course may do so by submitting the Course Change Request form to the Graduate College. Submission of a revised degree program proposal is required to modify the curriculum. Note: an eliminated course number cannot be used for a new course for a minimum of five years. In cases where the Graduate College, during a student's studies at Illinois Institute of Technology, changes the requirements for a degree, the student will have the option of obtaining the degree by fulfilling the requirements in effect on the day of first registration at Illinois Institute of Technology. The student has the option of choosing to fulfill the new requirements as given in the Illinois Institute of Technology Graduate Bulletin.

7.20 Numbering for Graduate Courses

Undergraduate courses (#100-399) may be used to fulfill deficiencies, however may not be used as a part of any graduate degree requirements. 400-499 undergraduate courses may be used for credit when taken as part of an approved graduate program. 500-699 graduate courses may be taken by graduate students. 700-799 are designated for graduate accelerated courses. Graduate courses may be available to upper-division undergraduates with the permission of instructor, faculty adviser, and the Graduate Dean (normally a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required).

7.21 Repeating Courses

Students may repeat up to two distinct courses during an academic career as a graduate student with each course being repeated only once. Both grades will be recorded onto the student's academic transcript, and the grade used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA will be the latest recorded, except when the last recorded grade is W (withdrawn) or AU (audit). 

To repeat a course, students must first register for the course and then submit the Graduate Course Repeat Request Form which requires the permission of the student’s adviser and the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. This form is accessible from the Office of the Registrar website: web.iit.edu/registrar/registration/course-repeat-policy.

Students who are on academic probation may request to repeat a course using the G702 Academic Probation Contract which requires the permission of the student's adviser and the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. This form is accessible from the Office of Graduate Academic Affairs website: web.iit.edu/gaa/students/student-forms.

7.22 Courses Taken as an Undergraduate

Graduate students with an Illinois Institute of Technology undergraduate degree may transfer a maximum of nine credit hours to the graduate program, provided:

  1. Courses are at the 400- or 500-level with a minimum of "B" grade (except internal co-terminal shared credit, which may be accepted with a grade of "C"),
  2. Courses are in excess of undergraduate degree requirements AND
  3. The student had a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time the courses were taken.

7.23 Class Attendance

All students are expected to attend their courses regularly. Excessive absences may cause a student to be withdrawn from the course at the discretion of the instructor, academic unit head, and the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. A withdrawn student receives a grade of “W” in the particular course. In the case of illness or other emergencies that require a student to be absent for more than two days of courses, the Dean of Student Affairs should be notified at the earliest possible date. In case of an emergency on campus, students should contact the Public Safety Department at 312.808.6300.

Religious Accommodations

Section 1.5 of The University Religious Observances Act (110 ILCS 110/1.5) provides: "Any student in an institution of higher learning, other than a religious or denominational institution of higher learning, who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination, study, or work requirement and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up the examination, study, or work requirement that he or she may have missed because of such absence on a particular day; provided that the student notifies the faculty member or instructor well in advance of any anticipated absence or a pending conflict between a scheduled class and the religious observance and provided that the make-up examination, study, or work does not create an unreasonable burden upon the institution. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the student such an opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this Section." Illinois Institute of Technology complies with the requirements of the foregoing statute.

7.24 Field Trips

The following policies and procedures will govern field trips, plant inspection trips, conferences, and athletic and musical events.

  1. All field trips, plant inspection trips, conferences, and athletic and musical events, which necessitate a student being absent from scheduled classes, must be cleared through the academic unit head.    
  2. Trips planned as a part of a regularly scheduled class or laboratory period and not requiring students to be absent from other classes need not be cleared through the academic unit head.
  3. A student participating in an approved trip or conference is responsible for the material and homework covered in the classes from which he or she is absent. If an examination is given during any of these class periods, the student is either to be excused from the examination or given a make-up examination.
  4. To keep absences within reason and not to detract from the scheduled instructional time, each group should plan trips in accordance with students' class schedule.
  5. Illinois Institute of Technology may require students to sign a release of liability in certain circumstances. For more information, review the General Counsel's website (web.iit.edu/general-counsel) on this topic.

7.25 Final Examination Schedule

It is required that a final examination be given in every regularly scheduled class, both day and evening, both undergraduate and graduate. For the day and evening division courses, the Office of the Registrar provides a final examination schedule. The final examination schedule is listed in the Schedule of Classes. A course instructor may not cancel this scheduled examination or reschedule it to another time or place or both, without the express written permission of his or her academic unit head and the dean of the college. The course instructor must also notify the Office of the Registrar of any rescheduling of a final exam. Most conflicts in a student's examination schedule are resolved by the following rules:

  • Internal academic unit conflicts: the academic unit will resolve the conflict.
  • Cross academic unit conflicts: the student's major academic unit's examination takes precedence.
  • Cross academic unit conflicts with neither course in student's major academic unit: the lower numbered course takes precedence.
  • If the course numbers are the same, the academic unit that is first in alphabetical order takes precedence.
  • The "losing" instructor will arrange to give the student a special examination at a time mutually agreed to by the student and the instructor.

7.26 Due Date for Final Grades

Final grading opens on the first day of final exams. Final grades are due within 72 hours of the final exam start time. In order for graduating students to have their degrees posted and diplomas produced, it is imperative that grades are submitted on time. Faculty should enter and submit any final grades as they become available. It is not necessary to wait to enter all the grades for a given course at one time. Faculty are encouraged to save/submit entered grades frequently throughout their grading sessions in the portal. The final deadline for grading is on Wednesday at noon in the week following the last day of final examinations.