For Masters Degree Students

Academic Year: 2009 – 2010

A graduate student should develop intellectual autonomy within a chosen field and demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate relevant knowledge. The graduate student, furthermore, assumes some responsibility for increasing knowledge within the chosen field.

Graduate education assumes the acquisition of specific content knowledge, including recognition of the significant terminology, facts, theories, issues, findings, and generalizations within the field of study. Graduate study also encompasses comprehension of the intellectual history, methods of inquiry, and standards of judgment used in a given field.

Students should also grasp the ethical meanings of research in a discipline or a profession. A student receiving a master’s degree will be able to:

1. Analyze ideas in a logical manner by breaking down material into constituent parts, organizing ideas and relationships between ideas, expressing these relationships, recognizing unstated assumptions, distinguishing facts from hypotheses, and distinguishing statements of cause from statements of effect;

2. Synthesize diverse ideas to form an integrated whole relevant to a field of study by arranging and combining elements and parts into patterns or structures. The parts to be integrated may, to the extent necessary, come from a variety of disciplines;

3. Make judgments about the value of relevant material, including the appropriateness and adequacy of any qualitative and quantitative methods used in its compilation, by employing a standard of internal or external appraisal. In evaluating the accuracy of a communication, a student will use an integration of theories, works of recognized excellence, facts and generalizations germane to a field; and

4. Convey ideas, feelings, and experiences through scholarly writing and discussion with others. The student will be able to develop a proposal or plan of work that includes ways of testing hypotheses, analyzing the factors involved, modifying the hypotheses based on new factors or considerations, and then making generalizations based on findings. The student will then have the ability to communicate both this process and subsequent findings to others.

Admission to Graduate Study

Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university are eligible to apply for admission to master’s-level study at UIS. Full admission to master’s studies may be granted to those who earned a baccalaureate degree with an undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must also have met all entrance requirements specific to the chosen UIS program; some programs require higher grade-point averages and/or prerequisites. Refer to the individual programs for information on specific requirements.

Conditional admission may be granted to students with lesser GPAs. Conditionally admitted students must complete a certain number of semester hours at UIS (exclusive of prerequisites) with a grade-point average of no less than 3.00. The program will specify which courses must be completed.

All college/university transcripts, including verification of the bachelor’s degree and transcripts of all graduate work taken beyond the bachelor’s degree must be submitted to the Office of Admissions.

To receive maximum consideration for graduate admission, applications should arrive at least three months before the beginning of the term in which the student plans to start course work. Some academic programs have earlier deadlines.

Write to the Office of Admissions, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS UHB 1080, Springfield, IL 62703-5407 to request an application form, or apply online at Call (217) 206-4847 or the toll free number (888) 977-4847.

Admission to a Specific Master’s Program

Admission to graduate study is granted by the academic program. Each program has established admission requirements that comply with campus policy; these requirements may exceed the general minimum requirements for admission. Some graduate programs require scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Applications are processed by both the degree program and the Office of Admissions. Students are encouraged to check graduate program application requirements at

Admission for International Students seeking Master’s Degrees

To be admitted to graduate study, international students must have completed the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree earned in the United States; bachelor’s degrees earned abroad may or may not meet this requirement. Full admission to graduate study requires a minimum undergraduate grade-point average equivalent to a U.S. GPA of 2.50 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must also have met all entrance requirements specified by their chosen UIS degree program. An I-20 AB or DS 2019 (formerly called IAP 66) certificate of eligibility cannot be issued until the student has been accepted by a degree program and all required documents have been received.

International students seeking admission to the University of Illinois at Springfield are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The deadline for application to the Graduate Assistantship (GA) and Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) programs is March 15. In order to be considered for a GA or GPSI position, students must already be admitted to a UIS graduate program. Therefore, international students who want to be considered for a GA or GPSI position are encouraged to apply for admission into a UIS graduate program at least nine months prior to the March 15 deadline.

Non-degree Admission

Students who hold a bachelor’s degree may enroll for courses at UIS as a non-degree seeking graduate student. These students will be asked to define their educational goals before exceeding 12 semester hours. Non-degree students who choose to become degree candidates must complete regular admissions procedures, including acceptance into the chosen degree program.

When formal admission is granted, the course work completed as a non-degree seeking student is evaluated by the intended academic program and may or may not apply toward that program’s graduation requirements. UIS accepts a maximum of 12 semester hours of such credit toward a graduate degree. A non-degree declaration form must be on file for continued enrollment as a non-degree student beyond 12 hours. Non-degree students typically are not eligible for financial assistance.


Financial Assistance for Master’s Degree Students

The UIS Office of Financial Assistance coordinates federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs for all students. Assistance is available in the form of grants, tuition waivers, assistantships, scholarships, loans, part-time employment, and veterans’ benefits. For detailed information, see the “Financial Assistance for ALL Students” section of the current catalog.

Programs specifically available for master’s degree students include Graduate Assistantships, the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program, the Graduate Public Service Internship Program, the Whitney M. Young Fellowship Program, and Public Affairs Reporting Scholarships (for PAR students only).

Graduate Education – Master’s and Related Information

UIS offers the following master’s degree programs:

Accountancy (M.A.)

Biology (M.S.)

Business Administration (M.B.A.)

Communication (M.A.)

Computer Science (M.S.)

Educational Leadership (M.A.)

English (M.A.)

Environmental Sciences (M.S.)

Environmental Studies (M.A.)

History (M.A.)

Human Development Counseling (M.A.)

Human Services (M.A.)

Legal Studies (M.A.)

Liberal and Integrative Studies (M.A.)

Management Information Systems (M.S.)

Political Science (M.A.)

Public Administration (M.P.A.)

Public Affairs Reporting (M.A.)

Public Health (M.P.H.)

Teacher Leadership (M.A.)

Graduate Certificates, Professional Development Sequences, and Post-Master’s Certificates represent courses of study that constitute less than a full graduate degree and provide specialized knowledge and skills for the professional.

Students admitted to certificate and professional sequence study must have a bachelor’s degree (in any major) and complete an application process through the Office of Admissions. It is also possible to pursue a certificate as a post-master’s option. Admission decisions, advising, and certification of completion are provided by the department that supervises these options. Course prerequisites may be waived if the student can present evidence of advanced career experience. Proficiency examination, transfer, and credit for prior learning experience may not be used because of the limited number of courses required and the need for course content to logically integrate.

UIS currently offers graduate certificates in:

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Business Process Management

Community Health Education

Digital Organizations

Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security


Environmental Health

Environmental Risk Assessment

IT Project Management

Law for Human Services and Social Work

Legal Aspects of Education

Information Assurance

Management of Nonprofit Organizations

Systems Security

Public Sector Labor Relations

Women and Gender Studies

UIS currently offers a professional development sequence in:


UIS currently offers post-master’s certificates of advanced study in:

Educational Leadership: Chief School Business Official

Educational Leadership: Pathway to Principalship for National Board Certified Teachers

Educational Leadership: Superintendent Certificate

General Requirements

To earn a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, students must:

  • Earn the amount of graduate credit required by the chosen academic program, all but 12 semester hours of which must be earned at UIS.
  • Complete course work with a UIS institutional grade point average of at least 3.00 as well as an overall grade point average (including both institutional and transfer credit) of at least 3.00.
  • Complete the program closure requirements.
  • Complete a graduation contract and pay graduation fees.

Grades Acceptable toward Master’s Degrees

Master’s degree students may apply a maximum of eight hours of C grades toward a degree, provided that each hour of C is balanced by an hour of A and an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration. Individual academic programs may determine whether Cs are acceptable toward their degrees. Credit for courses in which grades below C were earned will not count toward the master’s degree requirements.

For more specific information related to acceptable grades, see the “Grades Acceptable Toward Graduate Degrees” section under the heading “Academic Standards for ALL Students.”

Closure Exercises and Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Master’s degree candidates are required to complete a closure exercise demonstrating mastery of some area within their major field of study. The exact nature and format of these exercises – including theses, projects, and capstone courses – are determined by individual programs, but all of them must have an identifiable academic focus and must include a written component.

UIS has a continuous enrollment policy which states that once the student begins a closure exercise, he or she must continue to enroll in the closure exercise each fall and spring semester until the exercise is complete, including semesters in which the student “stops out” of other courses. Enrollment in the summer semester is not required unless mandated by the student’s academic program. If a leave of absence is granted for a current or future semester, the student will be exempt from this requirement for that semester.

Graduate Internships and Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is an integral part of graduate education at UIS. Internships are offered through the Graduate Public Service Internship Program as well as many academic programs. Additional information may be obtained from program faculty. UIS also provides a variety of paid internship opportunities in Illinois government agencies and on campus, as well as graduate assistantships.

Research at the University of Illinois at Springfield

Conventional research opportunities are available to students in most academic programs. In addition, UIS offers unique opportunities for applied research that emphasize coordinated, interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving, training, and communication.

UIS cooperates with neighboring universities in meeting their students’ needs for research and residency in the Springfield area.

Time Limitation

All graduate credit earned at UIS to be applied toward the completion of a master’s degree must be taken within six consecutive years of the first graduate course taken at UIS in pursuit of that degree. This does not include transfer credit earned before the first term of graduate enrollment, credit granted for prior learning, and prerequisites; however, it does include closure requirements. Exceptions may be granted by degree programs on a case-by-case basis, and programs may also grant leaves of absence.

Transfer Credit at the Master’s Level

Residency Requirement: UIS may accept up to 12 semester hours of graduate-level work completed at other accredited institutions. However, only hours earned with a grade of B or better and accepted by the program will also be accepted by UIS. Request to transfer credit for courses bearing a grade such as P (pass) or CR (credit) must be supported by certification from the institution or instructor that the work was of at least B quality.

Time Limit on Transfer Credit: All transfer credit to be applied to a master’s degree must have been earned within five years of the first graduate course taken at UIS in pursuit of that degree. Exceptions may be granted by programs on a case-by-case basis.

Financial Assistance – Master’s Degree Students

UIS provides or coordinates many paid internship opportunities and scholarships for graduate students. Some of these are described below. For additional information on merit and need-based financial assistance for graduate and undergraduate students, see the section on “Financial Assistance for ALL Students.”

General Graduate Assistantships

Graduate-level assistantships provide relevant educational experiences in UIS’ academic or public affairs programs. These on-campus internships offer opportunities to develop and apply skills in research, curriculum development, data analysis, editing, program evaluation, and coordination of special events. Preference will be given to students who have not previously received a master’s degree. The graduate assistantship application deadline is March 15. In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be admitted into a UIS graduate degree program. To facilitate file completion and admission, applicants are strongly encouraged to initiate the application process at least two months prior to the graduate assistantship application deadline. Files completed after March 15 will be added to the pool of eligible applicants after the first round selection process is completed.

Assistants receive a monthly stipend (taxable income) and work 20 hours per week during the academic year. During each regular semester assistants receive a tuition waiver of 8 to 12 semester hours, for an academic-year total of 16 to 24. Assistants who served at least one full semester during the regular academic year are eligible for a tuition waiver for six semester hours in the subsequent summer term. The maximum tuition waiver for the academic year is 30 hours.

For complete information, contact the Graduate Assistantship Office in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program

The Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies administers the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern program, which provides outstanding students with firsthand experience in the operations of the Illinois General Assembly and opportunities for academic studies and research in legislative politics and policy analysis.

There are opportunities for 24 legislative staff interns to be assigned either to the Illinois Legislative Research Unit or to one of four leadership staffs of the General Assembly. The program lasts 10 1/2 months and requires full-time work in the assigned office. Interns are required to participate in an academic seminar during the fall semester specifically designed for this program.

Interns receive a total of eight graduate credit hours over the course of two semesters, tuition and fees, and student insurance coverage along with a monthly stipend of $2,026 while they are in the program.

To be eligible for the ILSIP, applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in any academic discipline, with a high-quality undergraduate academic record. Applications are due February 1 each year.

For materials and further information, contact the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program.

Graduate Public Service Internship Program

Located within the Center for State Policy and Leadership, the Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI) is ranked as one of Illinois’ premier governmental internship programs. For over 33 years this program has provided graduate students with the opportunity to simultaneously begin a professional career while earning a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield. The program is open to students with all academic backgrounds, including those who have already earned an advanced degree.

The program is comprised of a 21-month internship placement at a participating state or municipal agency for full-time UIS graduate students. During the academic year (August 16 – May 15), interns work 20 hours per week for a stipend of $950 per month, while working full-time during the intervening summer term (May 16 – August 15) for a stipend of $1,900 per month. Additional benefits include nine credit hours of tuition waiver for the fall and spring terms, an optional four-hour tuition waiver for the summer term, and $300 per fiscal year for professional development activities.

GPSI is a competitive placement program; completing the application process does not guarantee a placement. For first-round consideration, the deadline for file completion is March 15. “File completion” means that the application, resume, educational goal statement, three reference letters, transcripts, and notice of graduate admission are on file in the GPSI office. Placements begin August 16. Applicants are strongly encouraged to initiate the application process at least two months prior to the GPSI application deadline.

For additional information, contact the Office of Graduate Intern Programs.

Whitney M. Young Fellowship Program

This program is a memorial to the late Whitney M. Young, Jr., former executive director of the National Urban League, educator, and social activist. The program is aimed at helping the campus to achieve a rich and diverse educational environment by increasing the opportunities in graduate education for highly self-motivated students who are underrepresented in graduate study at UIS. This includes but is not limited to ethnic/racial minorities, first-generation college students, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Fellowship program is designed to complement graduate work with civic engagement in public affairs projects.

Fellows receive a monthly financial stipend of $950 for the nine-month contract period, and a tuition waiver (minimum of 12 graduate credit hours) during the fall and spring terms. Fellows are eligible for a tuition waiver up to six semester hours for one summer semester. Fellows must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00, as well as fulfill all other requirements of the Fellowship Program.

For complete information, contact the Whitney M. Young Fellowship Program/Graduate Program Office.

Public Affairs Reporting Scholarships

Several scholarship programs are earmarked for graduate students in the public affairs reporting program. The annual awards are based on academic achievement, financial need, and potential for a career in journalism. They are:

  • James E. Armstrong Scholarships, established in memory of the late publisher of the Illinois State Register and the Illinois State Journal, predecessors of The State Journal-Register in Springfield.
  • Milton D. Friedland Scholarships, established in memory of the late founder and general manager of WICS-TV, NewsChannel 20 in Springfield, and former community relations associate for the campus.
  • Steven B. Hahn Reporting Scholarships, established by his parents in his memory. Hahn was a legislative correspondent for The State Journal-Register and United Press International.
  • Robert P. Howard Scholarships, established by friends in memory of the late capital correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.
  • Doug Pokorski Scholarships, established by his family and friends in memory of Pokorski, a veteran reporter who covered higher education and cultural affairs for the State Journal-Register.
  • Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association Scholarships honor Burnell Heinecke, former Chicago Sun-Times Statehouse correspondent and former president of the ILCA; Bill Miller, former director of the public affairs reporting program and a founding member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association; and deceased ILCA members.

For more information, contact the Director of the Public Affairs Reporting program.