GRADUATE SCHOOL: Frequently Asked questions

Other information about graduate school at northeastern

I have been admitted to a Northeastern Illinois University graduate program. Now what?

  • Meet with your graduate advisor/program coordinator. Graduate advisors and program coordinators handle your admission to the program and graduation applications, advise you on your program of study, inform you of departmental regulations and procedures, monitor your academic progress, provide guidance regarding Graduate Studies policies and procedures, and can nominate you for merit tuition scholarships.
  • Investigate financial support options. Financial aid, Graduate Assistantships, and Graduate Merit Tuition Award Scholarship are all options. If you are an underrepresented minority from Illinois, and you are interested in someday working in higher education, you may be eligible for the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois (DFI) Program. 
  • Register for classes. Be sure to note all registration guidelines and deadlines.

What should I do if I can't start school right now?

A student who is admitted to a program but cannot enroll in the semester for which admission was given may request to defer enrollment. Generally, students are allowed to defer enrollment for up to one academic year. In order to defer your application, you must send a written request to Students are required to comply with any changes to admission or program requirements that occur during their deferral.

I'm in a program that isn't right for me. What are my options for changing to another program?

A student who wants to change from a current degree program to another degree program should submit a Request for Change of Study Program form, along with all required documentation, to Graduate Records (Room D 101D). This will initiate the process of being admitted into a new program. Admission to a different program at Northeastern is solely at the discretion of the admitting program.

I can't finish my program in six years. What should I do?

College of Graduate Studies and Research policy states that all credits applicable to the degree must have been completed within a maximum of six years prior to the granting of the master's degree. This includes transfer credits, submission of thesis, defense of thesis, submission of research projects, completion of practicum or internship and the course credits required for the degree. If a student fails to complete his or her program in six years, coursework that is more than six years old will be considered outdated and must be retaken. Extensions of currency, in which an outdated course can be considered current by the program and the College of Graduate Studies and Research, are not routine, but may be granted under special circumstances. The student must submit a formal petition in order to apply for an exception to this six-year rule. The form for that petition is called a Time Extension Request Form.

I have been away from Northeastern for longer than a year. I tried to register for courses, but I got a screen that says, "Student status prevents registration." What do I do? 

Your records have been moved to Inactive status. This is not a dismissal or meant to be punitive. Northeastern simply needs to keep an accurate record of who is in our graduate programs. If a student has been absent from their graduate program for three consecutive terms (including summer), without submitting a request for a Leave of Absence, then we consider that student to have dropped out of the program and left the University. An inactive student who wants to come back to complete their program needs to apply for readmission. Besides filling out a new application and paying the application fee, a student needs to provide transcripts from schools they’ve attended since they left NEIU. (Recommendation letters, test scores, and other documents will already be on file in Graduate Admissions.) The admissions packet will be sent to the program for their review. It is the decision of the program whether the inactive student can return. A student would be admitted for an upcoming semester, and would be under the new catalog year. Coursework from their previous time in the program can still count towards their degree, if the courses (1) meet the program requirements of the new catalog year and (2) were taken within six years of the planned graduation date. For more information, visit the Graduate Admissions page, which discusses readmission to a master's program. 

Can I take a leave of absence?

A student in good academic standing may be given a leave of absence upon the student's request and subsequent approval by the dean. Such leaves are still counted within the six-year time limitation for degree credits. A student must submit a Leave of Absence Form, accompanied by a program of study developed in collaboration with the program advisor that outlines how the student will successfully complete the program upon their return. For more details about the Leave of Absence, please see the Leave of Absence Policy

How do I show that I’ve successfully completed my program?

If a graduate student has completed all academic requirements and is awaiting the formal awarding of a degree, the University Registrar, upon that student's submission of a Degree Verification request form, will issue a letter certifying his or her status. Such letters are normally accepted by employers or boards of education for salary increment purposes and by other universities as certification that the degree has been earned.

I don’t think my course grade was fair. What can I do?

All students have a legitimate right to seek redress when they consider their final grade in a course to be unreasonable, unjust or capricious. However, a grade appeal must be initiated within two terms of the receipt of the grade in question. For more information concerning the grade appeal process, see the Graduate Grade Appeal information.

Applying for a job: Can NEIU help?

Some students seek to complete a graduate degree in order to change career fields. Located in Room B 119, Career Development assists students with exploring and developing career choices and preparing for the job search. The Career Development Center offers assistance with resume preparation as well as a computerized Resume Expert system. Other services include employer outreach and contacts, individual job search counseling and a career resources library.

Graduate School: What You Should Know

Student Conduct

Graduate students are expected to comply with the rules, regulations and policies of Northeastern Illinois University and the College of Graduate Studies and Research, and to exhibit the highest standard of academic integrity. Any student formally charged with committing an act of misconduct or falsification of information provided to the University will be subject to disciplinary procedures as outlined in the University Student Conduct Code.

Degree Transcripts and Diplomas

All Northeastern Illinois University transcripts are issued by Enrollment Services upon a student’s written request. Enrollment Services will send written notification to each graduating student when diplomas are available. A student may elect to pick up his or her diploma at a specified time and place, or ask to have it mailed.


Commencement ceremonies are held twice yearly for all Northeastern graduates, including master's degree recipients. The December ceremony includes graduates for the summer and fall terms of that academic year. The May ceremony includes the spring term graduates. Student Union, Event and Conference Services sends information to eligible graduates during March and October for the May and December ceremonies, respectively.

Being a Northeastern Alumnus

The Alumni Association enhances the mutual relationship that exists between graduates and the University. When you graduate from Northeastern you will become a member of the Alumni Association. Active membership status is conferred on graduates who support the Annual Fund. Membership allows graduates to participate in many cultural, social and educational events and activities after leaving the University. Graduates are encouraged to maintain their ties with and to participate in the many activities sponsored by the University.

University Services

Student Computing Services

Student Computing Services provides service to students to support instruction and research. Computer terminals are available for student use in the B Building [Room B 103, (773) 442-4359], College of Business and Technology [Room CBT 119, (773) 442-6446], and Lech Walesa Hall [Room LWH 2109, (773) 442-4645].

Child Care

Northeastern's Child Care Center is located on the Main Campus just north of the Foster Avenue entrance and provides for the care of children age 15 months through kindergarten. It operates from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Half- and full-day sessions are available. The Center is licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Contact the Center at (773) 442-4540.


Student Counseling Services provides counseling services and counseling-related programs to any student of the University. Services include personal counseling, addictions counseling, conflict resolution, and crisis and emergency intervention during regular office hours. All services are free of charge and confidential, as required by state law and professional ethics. The Student Counseling Services office is located in Room B 119, and may be reached by phone at (773) 442-4650.

Student Disability Services

Student Disability Services provides various types of academic assistance based on diagnosed needs to students with documented physical and/or learning disabilities. Contact the Accessibility Center in Room D 104 or at (773) 442-4595 for information about the services provided.


The resources of NEIU Libraries are available to help Northeastern students cultivate their intellectual capabilities and research skills. Special features include numerous study areas, facilities for the disabled, private study areas for faculty and graduate students, and a classroom for library instruction. Contact the NEIU Libraries at (773) 442-4400.

Veterans Services

Veterans Services assists with benefits and educational planning while also offering workshops and programs to meet the special needs of veterans. The office is located in Room D 130. Call (773) 442-4028 for information about the services provided.