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Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Students

How many hours is "full-time"?

The Graduate College's policies on course loads define these rules. International students must also check the rules through the International Student and Scholar Services Office. NRES has no departmental requirements about summer registration, so follow the standard guidelines provided by the Graduate College and ISSS.

What courses are required to earn my degree?

The NRES graduate programs are extremely flexible. You can find the current requirements here. To find the specific requirements for your degree, you can either go to the NRES graduate student handbook for the year you entered the program or go to the Course Information Suite (On the left hand side under Programs of Study, choose the year you began your program. You can then navigate to Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and find your program).

How do I apply for financial aid?

You can apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Additional instructions can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid.

How do I find other assistantship and fellowship opportunities?

You should explore the Assistantship Clearinghouse and the Fellowship Opportunities Database provided by the Graduate College. You can also find other local employment opportunities on the Virtual Job Board maintained by the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Where do I find money to support my research?

Some advisors are able to provide financial support for their students' research projects, but there are also many other sources available. It is never too early to begin developing your grant writing skills by applying for financial awards that will pay for research expenses. Illinois offers free access to the Illinois Research Information Service (IRIS) for all members of the University of Illinois community. You can search for funding opportunities by field or by upcoming deadlines within disciplines. You should not forget the smaller professional organizations relevant to your research. They often provide funding opportunities that are not widely advertised, so be sure to watch for them.

How do I enroll for NRES 599 Thesis Research?

You must contact your adviser and ask for his/her CRN. This is the 5 digit course reference number that allows you to enroll in NRES 599 with your own adviser as the instructor. If your adviser does not know it, e-mail nres-ssc@illinois.edu to request it. Once you have the CRN, log into Self-Service and navigate to the add/drop courses page. Type the CRN into one of the boxes along the bottom of the page and submit the change. On the next page, you will need to enter the number of hours for which you wish to enroll.

What do I have to do to schedule my doctoral preliminary examination?

Three-four months before the preliminary exam, download the Pre-Preliminary Exam Form and solicit input about the exam from your adviser and committee members.  Work with your adviser to develop the exam plan and determine the timing and setps for exam administration. See the NRES Graduate Student Handbook for more information.

How do I cancel or extend the University health insurance policy?

During specified periods, you can change your enrollment in the University health insurance policy. If you have your own insurance, you can file for an exemption. If you need to extend the policy (for example, over the summer if you are not enrolling), you can purchase coverage. The forms for these changes are available on the Student Insurance site.

What do I do when I'm ready to graduate?

Complete the 20 Steps to Deposit (for Ph.D. and M.S. thesis students). If you are a non-thesis M.S. student, you will follow the Final Steps toward Graduate document appropriate for your capstone option. You will find the process much less stressful if you start reviewing these documents early, at least six months before you intend to graduate.

You can learn more about the electronic thesis deposit process at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/video. There are  M.S. and Ph.D. versions.