Policies & Procedures

Academic policies and regulations guide the university's expectations of students and inform students of their rights. DGS students should be aware of the following key academic policies and regulations. 


Students who are Undeclared are assigned to the DGS Undeclared Advisors.  Students are not assigned to a specific advisor, unless they are on academic warning, formerly called academic probation, and may choose which advisor in DGS to meet with regularly. 

Students who earn a semester GPA below a 2.00 will be placed on academic warning, formerly called academic probation, and be required to fully participate in the DGS Program for Academic Support and Success (PASS).  In order to be removed from warning, students must earn both a semester and cumulative GPA above a 2.00. 

Students may add a course during the first ten instructional days and may drop a course during the first eight weeks of instruction for a full semester course.  Students may add a course that meets only during the first or second 8 weeks of a semester during the first five instructional days and may drop such a course during the first four weeks of instruction. 

Check your time ticket—available online through your UI-Integrate Self-Service account—for the exact day and hour that you may begin adding courses to your schedule. You can continue to add full-term courses through the second week (tenth day) of the fall and spring semesters. Part-term courses may be added through the first week (fifth day) of the class. Summer deadlines vary by session. (See the Office of the Registrar's academic deadlines for specific dates.)

If you add a course after the first day it meets, it’s wise to contact the instructor to introduce yourself, receive a copy of the syllabus, check on assignments, figure out which books you need, and determine whether there have been any changes in meeting time, location, or any other aspect of the course.

To add a course after the official deadline, you must receive permission from the instructor and the department offering the course. You can initiate this process by submitting the Late Course Change Form. The form will automatically be sent to all impacted instructors and will be sent to records staff for processing only after it receives instructor approval.

Students may add a course during the first ten instructional days and may drop a course during the first eight weeks of instruction for a full semester course.  Students may add a course that meets only during the first or second 8 weeks of a semester during the first five instructional days and may drop such a course during the first four weeks of instruction. 

For fall and spring terms, as long as you remain enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, you can drop a full-term course without academic penalty until the end of the eighth week of the term. Part-term courses and summer courses may be dropped without academic penalty until the midpoint of the course. (See the Office of the Registrar’s academic deadlines for specific dates.) Courses dropped by the appropriate deadline will not appear on official transcripts.

Be aware that some financial aid packages require completion of a specific number of credit hours. If you currently receive financial aid, talk with a financial aid counselor before dropping any classes.

Dropping to fewer than 12 hours can negatively impact your academic status and may have implications on your time to degree completion, financial aid offerings, NCAA eligibility, visa status, private health insurance, and more. To drop below full-time status, you must schedule an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss your reasons for doing so and the effects it may have on your progress.

See "Late Course Drop" and "Retroactive Course Drop" for information on dropping courses past the deadline.

The Credit/No Credit grading option is similar to pass/fail. It is designed to encourage student exploration of areas of academic interest that might otherwise be avoided for fear of poor grades.

Students who earn at least a D-minus will receive credit hours with a final grade of “CR” on the transcript.  Students who earn a grade of F will not receive credit hours and will have a final grade of “NCR” on the transcript.  Courses taken for Credit/No Credit do not affect GPA and cannot be used to meet any General Education, major, or minor requirements, including courses taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Students who elect to take a course for Credit/No Credit grading must schedule a meeting with their DGS academic advisor by no later than the midpoint of the term for which they are enrolled in the course  (e.g., the first 8 weeks of the semester, the fourth week of the summer session, or by the fourth week of an 8-week course). If students later want to return to the traditional grade option, they must file an amended request with an academic advisor no later than the original deadline to select C/NC.

There are several restrictions on using the Credit/No Credit option:

  • Full-time students may take up to two C/NC courses in a semester (one course if summer term).
  • Part-time students may take only one C/NC course in a semester.
  • A maximum of 18 hours of C/NC may be counted toward a degree.

Be careful about using this option if you plan to apply to professional or graduate school. These programs may consider applicants with a significant number of non-graded courses less favorably than those with none or very few. Likewise, some schools may convert the NC symbol to a failing grade in computing a pre-admission GPA. For example, passed courses taken C/NC at Illinois will NOT be included in the calculation of your LSAC-generated GPA. However, LSAC counts courses with 'NC' grades as 'F' in your LSAC-generated GPA.


DGS recognizes all of its students whose GPA ranks in the top 20% each semester by naming them to the DGS Dean's List. DGS Students whom have made the Dean's List will be notified via email approximately 4 weeks after the term's grades are posted.  The University of Illinois recognizes all students named to their college's Dean's List by publishing the list on the Illinois News Bureau website approximately 3 months after the completion of the term. Please note that each college at Illinois has its own Dean's List; therefore the GPA needed to be in the top 20% in another college may be different.


To be eligible for Dean's List recognition, students must complete at least 12 academic semester hours taken for a letter grade (A through F). This excludes courses graded credit/no credit or satisfactory/unsatisfactory, courses taken at other institutions (transfer credit or Study Abroad), or test-based credit. No consideration is given for the Dean's List until all final traditional grades are in. Students with I, DFR, or missing grades who believe they should be placed on the Dean's List as a result of a grade change more than a month after the end of the semester should notify the DGS Assistant Director for Honors to ensure that corrective action is taken.

Students who are registered with the Center for Wounded Veterans (CWV) or with Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) who are enrolled less than 12 but a minimum of 9 graded semester hours who are in the top 20 percent of their college are also eligible.  Such students must sign a release with CWV or DRES indicating their consent for consideration for Dean's List eligibility and have submitted that consent to their home unit's academic affairs office (for DGS students the release should be submitted to DGS) no later than Reading Day in the semester in which they wish to be considered for Dean's List.  These consent forms are valid only for the semester in which they are issued, and students must submit by the deadline updated consent forms for each semester in which they wish to be considered for Dean's List.

The minimum GPA establishing eligibility for the DGS Dean's List in academic year 2023-2024 is 3.91. This is reviewed each summer and subject to change. 

DGS Students are eligible for drop status if they earn a first semester GPA of 0.50 and below or if they earn below a 2.00 GPA for two consecutive semesters.  Students who fail to make satisfactory progress toward a degree will be eligible for drop status (i.e. failure to declare a major by the start of their fifth semester). 

Students at the University of Illinois are required to be enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours).  Students must obtain permission in order to be enrolled in less than 12 (underload) or more than 18 (overload) credit hours in a semester. 

To request an overload, you must meet with an academic advisor to review your academic history and future academic needs before determining whether an overload is warranted.

Please note that an overload request applies only to a specific semester. Due to University policy, approved overload requests are not processed until the Friday before classes begin (spring and fall terms) and late April (summer term) to allow all students the opportunity to secure course schedules.

Access to the student registration system will be terminated if the student is found to be making excessive unsuccessful registration attempts (i.e. writing code to connect to the registration system to enroll in or continually trying to add a high-demand course).

DGS is unable to approve requests for CPT.

Per the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) may be authorized under certain circumstances to allow F-1 students temporary off-campus employment. Such employment must be directly related to a student's major field of study and an integral or important part of the program of study.  It is important to note that because the Division of General Studies is not a degree-granting unit, DGS is unable to approve requests for CPT.   DGS undeclared students who wish to pursue a CPT opportunity should transition into a declared major first. Please work directly with ISSS for all CPT-related questions.

There are many alternative options to pursue while in DGS.

In the meantime, please know that there are many ways to explore career options and build your knowledge and skills without CPT.

Feel free to reach out to The Career Center to talk through these opportunities and prepare for the application process. (Link to The Career Center: https://careercenter.illinois.edu/). These actions help you to compete for internships and receive CPT once you transition into your declared major.

The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) prohibits DGS staff from sharing a student’s academic record with someone other than the student.  In order to share a student’s academic record with another party, including parents, the student must sign a FERPA waiver with the Office of the Registrar.  A FERPA waiver allows us to share student information, but it does not require us to do so.

If a grade of C-minus or lower was earned in a course, students may elect to repeat the course for grade replacement.  If a 'D-' or higher is earned on the second attempt, only the second grade earned will factor into the student's GPA. If an 'F' is earned on the second attempt, both grades factor into the GPA.  In either case, all attempts remain part of the permanent transcript. Students may only repeat for grade replacement up to a total of 4 distinct courses, not to exceed a maximum of 10 semester hours.  The repeated course must be taken at Illinois.  The deadline to elect Grade Replacement is by the midpoint of a term.  DGS students must meet with a DGS advisor to elect Grade Replacement. There may be instances where a student may choose to repeat a course and not replace the grade. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss their options.

For pre-law students considering applying to law school, please contact Pre-Law Advising Services regarding the Law School Admissions Council. For pre-health students considering any type of health professional school, please contact the Pre-Health Advisors at the Career Center regarding how this policy is applied to the various health professional programs.

In cases where a serious extenuating circumstance makes it impossible for a student to complete a final exam or final assignment for a course an incomplete grade may be requested.  An “I” grade is authorized only for end-of-semester extensions for final exams, final papers, or end-of-semester assignments.  It is not intended as an extension to address a significant part of a semester’s coursework.  A grade of incomplete can only be authorized by the Director of DGS. If you believe that you qualify for an Incomplete for one of your courses, please call our office to schedule an appointment with the Director.

A grade of 'I' is temporary, and the incomplete work must be made up by the 8th week of the immediate subsequent semester (fall or spring). It is your responsibility to contact your course instructor to develop a time frame for completion. If the work is not completed in the time allowed, the 'I' grade will be replaced by a grade of 'F'. In exceptional cases, students may not be able to complete the missing work in the specified time frame due to legitimate reasons (for example, active military service or a chronic health condition). In such an instance, you may be granted a limited extension. Please call our office to schedule an appointment with the Director of DGS to discuss your situation.

Students admitted to DGS are required to be enrolled in DGS for a minimum of one year before being able to transfer to the college of their choice.  Each College has different requirements and deadlines for transfer.  DGS students must meet with their advisor for specific information.

Students initiating registration after the first day of instruction in a fall or spring semester will be assessed a late registration charge of $15.  DGS students must make all attempts to register for the fall or spring semesters by the end of the first week of instruction.  DGS students are not allowed to enroll in only second 8-week courses. 

After the drop period (midpoint of a given term) has passed, students may submit a petition for a late drop of a course only if serious extraordinary circumstances exist that have impacted their ability to be successful in the course. 

Few exceptions to the official drop deadlines are granted. For consideration, you must follow a formal petition process in which you demonstrate that extraordinary extenuating circumstances, particularly those after the official drop deadline, have had detrimental and irreversible effects on your academic ability. You must submit a written explanation of your situation as well as supporting documentation (a doctor’s note, legal paperwork, an obituary, etc.). If you believe you qualify for a late-drop exception, you should talk to an academic advisor, who can provide you with the official late-drop petition form. Courses approved under the late-drop petition process will show as "W" on transcripts.

The Division of General Studies recognizes that there may be times when students have a conflict with a scheduled appointment time. Students who need to reschedule or cancel an advising appointment should do so by calling 217-333-4710 or using the options available in the appointment confirmation email.  All changes should be made at least 24 hours prior to scheduled appointments.

When students do not reschedule or cancel within the appropriate time frame, or simply do not attend a scheduled appointment, this takes time away from other students who may have benefited from meeting with an advisor during that time.

Students who miss a scheduled appointment without notice will have a documented ‘no show’ in their advising record. A pattern of multiple no shows (three or more) may result in a registration hold which would prevent a student from making changes to their schedule until they have met with an advisor or administrator in DGS.  Students receiving an advising hold due to multiple missed appointments will be notified via email.

Students may submit a petition for a late drop, retroactive drop, or retroactive withdrawal for courses or terms when they were enrolled in the Division of General Studies.  Only petitions with documented serious extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control will be considered for approval.  Students must meet with a DGS advisor to discuss the petition process. 

Courses approved under the retroactive petition process will show as "W" on transcripts. A DGS committee will review your petition and notify you of the decision within 2 to 3 weeks of the petition’s submission.

The process is similar to that of a late-drop petition. Please schedule an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss this option and obtain the official retroactive late-drop petition form. Courses approved under the retroactive petition process will show as "W" on transcripts. A DGS committee will review your petition and notify you of the decision within 2 to 3 weeks of the petition’s submission. You must continue to attend class and complete assignments in the course while the petition is being processed. Again, permission to drop after the deadline is not automatic and will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. If your petition is not approved and you have not been attending class and completing assignments, you are solely responsible for the academic repercussions.

Students can only be enrolled in the Division of General Studies for a total of four semesters of college work (including full-time semesters as other institutions).  Students in their fourth semester of college in DGS are required to meet with a DGS academic advisor to discuss their plan for transfer (ICT Plan) before being able to enroll in classes for their fifth term. 

See the Withdrawal and Cancellation page for more details.