Doctoral Studies Step-By-Step

Registration Requirements

Registration procedures, guidelines, and class offerings are published online at Office of the Registrar. Graduate students are responsible for the complete and accurate processing of their registration according to these guidelines. Graduate students who fail to register for two terms consecutively (excluding summer) without taking an approved leave of absence forfeit their admission to the Graduate College. Similar to students who have officially withdrawn from the University, they must reapply for admission to the Graduate College. Readmission is not guaranteed. Students who have passed their dissertation proposal hearing are required to register every term except summer; students who schedule proposal hearings or dissertation defenses in the summer must register for that term.

Academic Advising

Faculty members are assigned as academic advisors to incoming doctoral students. Students are expected to maintain contact with their advisor and to consult with the advisor regarding course selection, degree requirements, etc. Academic advisors provide an annual assessment of student progress in the program. Students who wish to change advisors should contact the Director of the Doctoral Programs.


The Graduate College has begun to convert from paper to online forms. The process currently encompasses only a few scenarios of the Graduate College General Petition. Gradually, more forms and scenarios will be added.

Following is a list of online forms currently available. Paper forms remain for other scenarios at this time.


Formbuilder is administered through the University of Illinois Office of  Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS), and is secure and FERPA compliant.  Students use netid/associated password authentication to submit a form/petition, and every reviewer in the workflow also is autheticated using their netid/associated password.


  • Graduate Student Petition
    • Extension of Time to Degree
    • Extension of Doctorate Preliminary Exam (5 year)
      • There is also a combined Extension of Time to Degree and Extension of Doctorate Preliminary Exam choice
    • Extension of Academic Probation
    • Zero Hours (specify whether Option A or B)
    • Defense Less Than 1 Year From Preliminary Exam


  • The student accesses the appropriate online form via links provided.  The currently available link is above (Graduate Student Petition).
  • Student will complete the identity authentication process (NetID and associated password).
  • Once authenticated, student will complete the online form.
    • Enter personal information requested.  Be careful to enter name and UIN accurately.
    • Use the drop down to pick the petition scenario type.  You must limit your request to the types specified.
      • If you need to petition for more than one type of scenario, complete a separate petition for each.
      • If the scenario is not yet on the dropdown list, you need to complete a paper petition at this time.
    • Choose your student type:
      • If you are a degree-seeking student or non-degree student within a program, choose that radio button.
      • If you are an unassigned nondegree student, choose that radio button.
    • Degree-Seeking Students:
      • If you have an advisor, you need to enter your advisor’s netid.  (See UIC Directory for help)
    • Degree-Seeking Students or Non-degree Students Within a Program:
      • Enter the netid for the support person in your department who works with your Director of Graduate Studies (a link to a list is provided within the form)
  • If you will be graduating in the immediate term, indicate that information where requested (this hastens your graduation processing)
  • Fully explain what you are requesting on the petition, along with justification, in the text box provided.
  • If you have supporting documentation you may upload a PDF which will attach to the online petition. There is an option to include an attachment.
  • Make sure all required fields are completed, and then save/send.
  • The petition will automatically be routed to the next step in the process, based upon the netids you entered.
  • The student will receive email notification whenever someone makes their decision, and the form is sent to the next person in the workflow
  • Once the Graduate College makes the final decision the student and the program will receive notification with the complete text including all comments and any attachments the student may have provided.


Not all courses are offered every term or every year.

 SocW 508. Research Methods in Social Work I. 3 Hours.  The function of research in social work. Research methodologies for social work practice and policy. Knowledge‑building processes and contribution of selected research models to the growth of knowledge examined.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program or consent of the instructor.

SocW 509. Research Methods in Social Work II. 3 Hours.  Functions and processes of research in social work, knowledge‑building methodologies, and the contributions of multiple research models to the growth of knowledge for the profession.  Prerequisite:  SocW508.

SocW 566.   Doctoral Independent Study.  1-5 Hours.  Individual research under faculty direction of an area not adequately covered in an existing graduate level course at UIC.  Prerequisite: Admission to the Ph.D. in Social Work program and approval of the department.

SocW 578. Qualitative Research Methods. 3 Hours. Theoretical foundations and methods for qualitative research in social work; consideration of issues of power, privilege, and oppression and their significance in research approaches and implementation. Prerequisite:  Consent of instructor

SocW 590. Analysis of Social Work Treatment Models. 3 Hours.  Historical development of social work treatment. Concepts and constructs analyzed through examination and critique of selected theoretical models. Values and ethics addressed.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program or consent of the instructor.

SocW 591. Social Welfare Policy Analysis and Development. 3 Hours.  Common domain  and key processes of social welfare policies; development of conceptual models  and factors affecting policy evolution; derivation of a framework for study;  application of models to specific problems; implications for social and  political action.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program, or consent of the instructor.

SocW 593. Social Statistics & Data Analysis. 3 Hours.  Selected statistical procedures particularly important in social work research; applications to illustrative problems. Includes sampling and hypothesis‑testing, nonparametric techniques, tests of association, and multivariate analysis.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program, or consent of the instructor.

SocW 594. Dissertation Proseminar in Social Work. 3 Hours.  Preparation in development of dissertation focus and planning of dissertation research. Readings are assigned and discussed in class. Emphasis on ideas for dissertation topic, its formulation, operationalization, and research design.  Prerequisites:  SocW 592 and SocW 593

SocW 595. Seminar in Social Work Education. 3 Hours.  Preparation for roles as social work educators. Historical development of social work education with special emphasis on relation between curriculum design and the accreditation process. Pedagogical issues such as selecting educational objectives, teaching methods, and evaluation of student performance. Student must participate in a teaching laboratory.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program.

SocW 596.  Proseminar on Selected Topics and Issues in Social Work. 2 to 4 Hours.  May be repeated for credit. Review and critique of selected areas of social work content, theory, or practice. State of current knowledge and needed research stressed.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the PhD in Social Work program, or consent of instructor.

SocW 597.  Applied Linear & Generalized Linear Regression Models. 3 Hours. Concepts and uses of multivariate statistical techniques as well as using the computer to do data analyses; use of Stata.  Prerequisites: SocW593, or consent of instructor.

SocW 599. PhD Thesis Research. 0 to 16 Hours.  May be repeated for credit. S/U grade only.  Individual research, under faculty direction, on social work doctoral dissertation.  Prerequisite:  Consent of the instructor

The Qualifying Examination

Students demonstrate basic knowledge and competence to pursue their dissertation research by successfully passing qualifying examinations. All students take a research examination and select a second examination in
either social policy or social work practice.  

The examinations are administered as a take-home format during the summer.  Students take the examinations once they have completed SocW 508, 509, 578, 590, 591, 593, and 597. Students may not register for SocW 594 if they have not passed the qualifying examinations. More information about the examinations is provided in the Doctoral Student Handbook.

The Dissertation Proposal Hearing (Preliminary Examination)

Note: In the PhD program the dissertation proposal hearing is considered the “preliminary examination” in the Graduate College.

Students must have completed 9 semester hours in outside departments related to their area of interest before they are eligible for the proposal hearing. The first step is the selection of a topic and the selection of a faculty member who agrees to help develop the proposal and serve as chairperson of the dissertation. The chairperson of the committee must be a member of the Jane Addams College faculty and also a member of the Graduate Faculty. A list of faculty eligible to serve as chairpersons is available from the Doctoral Program Director.

The final hearing document should briefly state the background of the problem, the purpose of the research, and related literature reviewed. It should offer a concise and clear statement of the problem including research questions and should concentrate on the proposed research design, including the sample, the instruments and other measuring devices, and plans for data analysis. The proposal should be no more than 50 pages in length.

The committee for the hearing (preliminary examination) is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College upon the recommendation of the department or program. The committee consists of at least five (5) members, of whom at least three (3) are JACSW faculty with UIC Graduate faculty membership, and at least two (2) of the committee members must be tenured faculty at UIC. The chair of the Committee must be a JACSW faculty member with UIC Graduate faculty membership. An outside member is recommended but not required. The outside member may be from an institution other than the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to asking faculty members to participate on a committee, the chairperson may consult with the Director of the Doctoral Program as necessary. A copy of the draft proposal or abstract should be given to potential committee members to assist the faculty member in deciding whether he or she can contribute to the student’s research. The proposal chairperson will submit a Committee Recommendation Form to the Doctoral Director for approval at least four weeks prior to the desired proposal hearing date. The student must provide a current resume/c.v. for all committee members who are not part of the Graduate College faculty. The Director will then submit the form to the Dean of the College, who also must approve the committee. After all required approvals are obtained the Doctoral Office will submit the form to the Graduate College for approval. The Graduate College officially appoints the committee and generates the requisite paperwork for use at the hearing. Proposal hearings may not be conducted until the Graduate College has approved and constituted the committee.

Under the direction of the chair, students should consult with committee members informally in the development of their proposal. After the proposal receives approval of the chairperson, copies must be submitted to committee members. Within three weeks, members of the committee will vote as to whether the proposal is ready for a hearing. All but one committee member must agree that a hearing is in order before it can be held. At the point that this agreement is reached, a hearing date is set. At the hearing, the committee members will ask questions following the organization of the dissertation proposal so that the hearing proceeds in a logical order. The need for the research and the review of the literature are first, followed by the details of the design and methodology. Customarily all committee members must be present for the examination. If this is not possible, the chairperson should consult with the PhD Program Director. Proposal hearings are not open to the public.

One of the following actions is taken by the committee in response to the hearing: Pass, Fail, or Second Examination recommended.

Use of Human Subjects

Proposals for use of human subjects must follow the University guidelines and must be approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board before any work with human subjects begins. Some agencies that may provide data require review of proposals by their own human subjects committee. Proof of Institutional Review Board approval will be required by the Graduate College when a student submits the final dissertation.

Working with Agencies

Students who intend to use the clients or staff of an agency as respondents for research need to work out full details with agency administrators who will later have to approve the project. Neither the researcher nor the agency can compel a client or staff member to participate in a study. The student must agree to provide the agency with a copy of the study, interpret it to the staff, and agree to any special data analysis that the agency may require. A written agreement with the agency or agencies involved must be signed before data gathering begins. Any modifications must be by mutual written agreement.

Preparing the Dissertation and the Dissertation Defense

The next step after the proposal hearing is to select the members of the dissertation committee, ordinarily the same persons who have served on the hearing committee. The dissertation committee is appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the PhD program. The defense committee consists of at least five (5) members, of whom at least three (3) are JACSW faculty with full UIC graduate faculty membership. One (1) must be from outside JACSW. The chair of the committee must be a JACSW faculty with full UIC graduate faculty membership. At least two (2) members of the committee must be tenured faculty at UIC; at least one (1) must be from outside the JACSW which may include graduate faculty from other UIC departments or colleges. The outside member can also be from outside UIC in which case the member must demonstrate equivalent academic standards; the member’s curriculum vitae must accompany the Committee Recommendation form. Procedures for dissertation hearing committee selection are the same as for the proposal hearing committee.

The student’s primary resource person should be the dissertation chairperson. Initial drafts of chapters of the dissertation should be presented first to the chairperson. Any major difficulties should be resolved by the chairperson and the student. Students are discouraged from consulting with several faculty members simultaneously unless one of the committee members has unique expertise necessary to the student’s work or unless instructed to do so by the chairperson.

After discussing the dissertation drafts with the chairperson and after suggested revisions are made, the student will give the draft to committee members. The student is encouraged to discuss the draft with them and should allow time to incorporate any suggestions. If committee members recommend substantial changes in any aspect of the student’s research, the changes should be discussed with the chairperson. Any difficulties should be resolved through the chairperson. The document given to the committee should include a table of contents, references, and appendices. As in the case of the proposal hearing, and following the same procedures, committee members must agree that a candidate is ready for the dissertation defense.

Four weeks prior to the dissertation defense, a second Committee Recommendation Form must be completed and submitted to the Doctoral Program Office for the approval of the Dean of the College. After approvals, the Doctoral Office submits the form for final approval to the Graduate College. Once the Graduate College approves the defense committee the paper work for the defense will be generated and sent to the program. At this time the student will be given temporary access to iThenticate, online software designed to ensure that all information in the dissertation is correctly cited and attributed. The student must analyze the dissertation document and present the iThenticate final report indicating zero overlap to the chairperson prior to the hearing. More information about iThenticate is available here:

The student will begin the dissertation defense with a brief summary of the problem formulation, methodology, findings, and implications of the study. The questions will follow the order of the major topics of the dissertation. The range of decisions following the defense is the same as those for the proposal hearing; that is Pass, Fail, or Second Examination Required. Customarily, all committee members must be present for the examination. If this is not possible, the chairperson should consult with the PhD Program Director. The dissertation defense is open to the public and is announced on the JACSW Weekly Calendar. Individuals who wish to attend are requested to notify the chairperson.


Depositing the Final Dissertation

The final dissertation shall not be prepared until the student has passed the defense. The chairperson is responsible for ensuring that any changes recommended by the committee are carried out. Other committee members may make final approval of the dissertation contingent upon their review and approval of the revisions.

Students must use the University of Illinois at Chicago Thesis Manual as well as the Electronic Dissertation and Thesis website ( for guidelines regarding the style and format of their dissertations. The Thesis Manual is available on the Graduate College website at Except for those areas specified in the Thesis Manual, students must use the current version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association to format the dissertation. The student and the advisor are responsible for ensuring that all formatting is done correctly. The Doctoral Office must certify that the dissertation meets all formatting and quality requirements before it may be deposited electronically with the Graduate College. Dissertations in which errors are found will be returned to the student for further work, even if this results in a delay in graduation. Deadlines for depositing the dissertation with the Graduate College are published on the Graduate College website.

Apply to Graduate

To declare your intention to graduate for a certain term you must complete the online Intent to Graduate.  Students should go to the University portal,, and login.  In the “Academics” tab of the student part of the portal (you may also have staff and faculty sections if you work on campus and/or are a teaching assistant) go to the “Records” sub-tab. Choose links, and then the link to Declare your Intent to Graduate.  Read the information carefully, and follow the instructions given.  (You may view a short tutorial about the Intent to Graduate form in the “Learning Hub” of the portal (if you are logged in, go to the “My Announcements” portlet and choose the Learning Hub; if you have not yet logged into – the Learning Hub is on the right.)

Note the following:

  • Your current program and degree information should appear.  If it is incorrect, or if you are currently attempting to apply to receive a degree that is not listed (receiving a master’s while in a doctoral program, for example), submit what is listed.  A text box will be provided in a later screen where you can type in any corrections or messages.  An example of a message would be:  I am applying for the MS in xeven though I am continuing in the PhD program.
  • If the program and degree information appears to be from a previous program for which you are no longer interested, follow the same procedures listed directly above.  If your program/degree is correctly listed in Student Self-Service, there is not any problem.
  • If you are working on two programs in a joint program, information for both should appear.  If not, provide the information in the text box.
  • If you are working concurrently on two programs and are receiving only one for this term, provide that information in the text box. (Note:  this is only for concurrent programs.  Students in official joint programs must receive both degrees in the same term.)

Make sure that you complete the text box, if degree information needs to be changed.

Once you submit the Intent to Graduate a confirmation will appear on the screen, which you may print.  You need to wait for that confirmation to appear, as that is the only notice you receive of successful submission.  If you submit an Intent to Graduate successfully and you later try to submit another one for the same term, the system will not allow you to do so.

The Intent to Graduate site also allows you to input a diploma mailing address.  Diplomas are typically mailed two or more months after the end of the term of graduation.

If you have lost access to the because you have not been a registered student for over two semesters log into Student Self-Service.  You will be able to complete the Intent to Graduate in Self-Service.  (Note:  If you have forgotten your password, there is a link to change with information on the longin page.)

The Intent to Graduate must be submitted for the term you intend to graduate.  The on-line form is available from the time when registration for that term begins through the Friday of the third week of fall and spring semesters, or through the second week of the summer (eight-week) session.  If you complete an Intent to Graduate for one term and do not graduate that term, you must complete another Intent to Graduate for the new term in which you are attempting to graduate.

If you are declaring for a master or doctoral degree, your college is “Graduate College,”.


Diploma and Diploma Mailing Address

The Diploma is a recognition of completion of your degree, although the offical document attesting to completion of a degree is the transcript.  Diplomas are mailed to graduates approximately two to three months after the term of graduation.  Diplomas are mailed after Fall, Spring and Summer terms and are not connected with the Spring term commencement ceremonies.

Diplomas are sent to the Diploma Mailing address in the student database.  Students may change the mailing address as needed using the procedures detailed in the Intent to Graduate.  Alternatively, students may enter a Diploma Mailing Address in Student Self-Service up until one week after final exams end.  If the Diploma Mailing Address needs to be added or changed after that time, the student must contact the Office of Registration and Records (Records) in the Office of Admissions and Records.  Also, if the diploma is not received after three months, or there are questions about the diploma, the Office of Registration and Records (Records) should be consulted.

For contact information and additional information about diplomas consult the diploma section of the Registration and Records website.   See also the Transcript section below and Commencement Ceremonies.


Deadlines for filing the Intent to Graduate, submission of the Thesis/Dissertation to the Graduate College, and submission of Master Project Certificate of Approval forms are listed under the Academic Calendar.

Date of Graduation

The date of graduation is the date the University of Illinois at Chicago has declared as the official date the degree is conferred.  There is an official conferral date for Fall, Spring and Summer terms (even though Commencement Ceremonies only occur after the Spring term).  Although degree requirements, including, for example, defense of thesis, may have been completed earlier in the term, the official date of graduation is what is printed on the student transcript.  (The date all requirements have been completed may be needed to qualify for a job or other appointment, or for Optional Practical Training (international students).  The official graduation date is the date of degree conferral, however.)   Official graduation dates may be viewed here.

Thesis/Dissertation Questions

James Kollenbroich, PhD
Thesis Coordinator
Room 613 University Hall
(312) 996-3958

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Deadlines

Spring Semester 2019

January 14 M

Instruction Begins

January 21, M

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. No classes.

January 25, F

Last day to complete late registration; last day to add a course(s) or make section changes; last day to drop individual courses via Student Self-Service without receiving W (Withdrawn) grade on academic record. Last day to submit Withdraw from Term request via Student Self-Service and receive 100% cancellation of tuition and fees.

February 1, F

Last day to file for graduation this term.

February 10, Su

CampusCare deadline to change coverage or submit waiver of coverage form.

March 22, F

Last day to submit defended and approved thesis/dissertation to Graduate College for graduation this term.

March 25-29, M-F

Spring vacation. No classes.

May 3, F

Instruction ends.

May 6-10, M-F

Final Examinations.

May 10, F

Last day for Graduate College to receive certificates of approval for master’s and professional doctorate project for graduation this term.

May 11, Sa

Semester ends.

May 9-12, Th-Su

Commencement Ceremonies (by disciplinary college)


Fall Semester 2019

August 26, M

Instruction begins

September 2, M

Labor Day holiday. No classes
September 6, F

Last day to complete late registration; last day to add a course(s) or make section changes; last day to drop individual courses via Student Self-Service without receiving W (Withdrawn) grade on academic record. Last day to submit Withdraw from Term request via Student Self-Service and receive 100% cancellation of tuition and fees (a $50 Administrative Fee is added if withdrawing from all courses during the first 10 days of the term).

September 13, F

Last day to file for graduation this term.

September 12, Th

Campus Care deadline to change coverage or submit waiver of coverage form.

November 8, F

Last day to submit defended and approved thesis/dissertation to Graduate College for graduation this term.

November 28-29, Th-F

Thanksgiving holiday. No classes.

December 6, F

Instruction ends.

December 9-13, M-F

Final Examinations

December 13, F

Last day for Graduate College to receive certificates of approval for master’s and professional doctorate project for graduation this term.

December 14, Sa

Semester Ends / Summer 2019 and Fall 2019 Commencement ceremonies

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