FAQ's and Terms

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Below are a categories for frequently asked questions.


The following list contains terms and acronyms used by the Graduate School staff.  These terms pertain to the different aspects of your graduate studies.


Acronym for "All But Dissertation," is a term for doctoral students who have completed Ph.D. coursework in Graduate School, but have not finished dissertation.

Admission to Candidacy

Doctoral students who have fulfilled the residency requirement, passed their prelims, met the research tool requirement, are admitted to candidacy upon recommendation of the faculty and approval granted by the Dean of the Graduate School.  A student is admitted to candidacy upon receipt of the letter from the department to the Graduate School.


Assistantships are offered through most graduate programs.  It can be teaching (TA), research (RA), or graduate assistant (GA).  In exchange for completing some work or research for the graduate program, students receive a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a monthly stipend.


Many departments offer certificate programs at the master’s degree level.

Committee Members

Faculty members advising students with research.  Master’s degree requires at least three committee members and PhD requires at least five committee members.


Written and/or oral exams administered at the end of course work for graduate programs. Oral exams are administered by a committee of faculty members from the department.  

Concurrent Degree Program

A concurrent master’s degree program permit students to be enrolled at the same time in two academic departments which have an approved concurrent degrees arrangement with each other, and earn two master’s degrees.

Conditional Admission

With the approval of the Dean of Graduate School, a program may admit a student who does not meet the Graduate School's minimum standards for admission. A conditional admission may require the student to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) or take a certain number of semester hours of coursework or meet other academic criteria in order to continue on in the program.  For an international student, it often means that they have not yet met the English language requirement, and must enroll in CESL classes before beginning their graduate degree program

Continuing Enrollment

All graduate students are required to maintain continuing enrollment status in the Graduate School.  Students must be registered at least in 601 (Continuing Enrollment course) every semester except Summer. 


Dissertation is a culminating doctoral research submitted to the Graduate School.  It is electronically submitted to PROQUEST.  

Double Major

A student may earn a double major for a master’s degree if such a program of graduate study is commensurate with the student’s vocational and professional goals, and approved by both programs.


Electronic Thesis and Dissertation.  A pdf of  Thesis or Dissertation is submitted electronically via ProQuest to the Graduate School.


Fellowships are essentially scholarships or grants that are awarded to doctoral students in grad schools. Awards vary but could include enough money to cover the cost of living, including tuition.  Students may be required to work on a specific type of research, or publishing a set amount of articles in a specific field.


Doctoral candidates are hooded by their major professor at the graduation ceremony.  

Leave of Absence

Graduate students may request a leave of absence from their degree program for up to two semesters, at a time. Requests for leave of absence require the approval of the graduate adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies of the department. LOA must be requested by the 8th week of the semester.

Major Professor or Advisor

A faculty member advising the student with research, known as the Chair of the Thesis or Dissertation.  

Non-Paper Option  ( No paper)

Taking additional hours as a substitute for the thesis or research paper and not submitting either a thesis or a research paper or thesis to the Graduate School.   Not all programs have this option.

Oral Defense

Generally an oral presentation to a committee of people where students provide a summary of their research and the results obtained. Committee members pose questions and students must respond and defend their work. These are essentially final exams for graduate school.

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

This is an advanced degree, beyond the master's level, which requires further courses as well as several years of original research culminating in a dissertation.


The preliminary examination is required by the Graduate School for doctoral students.  It may be oral or written or both, depending on the unit's policy. Preliminary examinations generally evaluate the student's overall and specific knowledge in the field.  Practices vary by department.


A work experience or hands-on portion of a class offered in graduate schools. For instance, clinical psychology students may spend 8 hours a week seeing clients to fulfill requirements for some classes. A practicum is smaller in scope than an internship and usually only lasts as long as the length of the course which requires it.

Research Paper

Research document completed and submitted to the Graduate School to partially fulfill Master’s degree requirements.  It is a mini version of a thesis.  It is electronically submitted to OpenSIUC.

Research Tool Requirement

The doctorate at SIUC is a research-oriented degree.  The research tool requirement is intended to be an integral part of the student’s program, which is determined by the faculty of each program.

Residency Hours

These are required institutional credit hours: 24 credit hours of on-campus, graduate-level courses taken within a 4-year period, are required for doctoral students to establish residency. For more information, read Degree Requirements in the Graduate Catalog.  

RUN Numbers

Registration User Number is a six-digit number that allows students access to the registration function in Salukinet so they can add or drop classes. RUN numbers are unique for each student each semester, and they are given to students by the departments after advisement. Some graduate programs do not require RUN numbers for their students.

Satisfactory Progress

SIUC requires that a classified graduate student be making satisfactory progress toward a degree if that student wishes to receive financial aid funds.


Research completed to partially fulfill requirements toward completing a Master’s degree and submitted to the Graduate School.   It is electronically submitted to PROQUEST. 

Withdrawal from the Program

Students who do not wish to continue in a program should send an email to their advisor or other department representative.

Withdrawal from the University (Withdrawal from the Semester)

Dropping an entire course load or dropping to zero hours constitutes a withdrawal from the university for that semester. Graduate students may withdraw through week 8 for a current semester. Students should contact their department representative if they want to request a leave of absence instead of a permanent withdrawal.