MS General Advising for Registration

New MS Student Registration Guidelines - First Semester (Fall Term) General Advising

We are excited you are joining our team this August! This site is designed to give you guidance on registering for Fall 2023 courses. If you have an RA appointment or have connected with a faculty member that could be your potential thesis advisor, please seek additional advice from them through email or a Skype/Zoom session. All incoming MS students will be have the fall and spring terms to secure their thesis advisor. Until your thesis advisor is secured, the CS Graduate Academic Office will serve as your advisor.

Please review the MS Planning Document to help guide you on the program requirements.

International Students

International students must check-in at the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS). Check-in details and schedules are available on the ISSS website. International students must arrive on campus by the start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.


Registration for Fall 2024 courses opened on April 18, 2024. We highly recommend that you register as soon as possible after this date. With increased enrollments in the CS department and on campus, CS courses tend to fill up quickly so we request that you register as close to this date as possible.

Steps to Complete for Course Registration

  • To start the registration process, you must first setup your NetID and password. The instructions for this were given to you in your "official offer letter" from the Graduate College. If you missed the link, please go to
  • Go to to sign up for classes. To review the courses that will be offered in computer science, please visit the Fall 2024 CS Course Schedule.
  • Courses at the 400- and 500-level carry graduate credit.
  • CS 591 PHD seminar for Fall 2024 term is the orientation seminar required for all new PHD students to help them learn about research, policies, campus, and the community. You may find this useful as a master's (with thesis) student. Enrollment in this seminar will open to interested M.S. students by August 1, 2024, subject to availability of seats.

Number of Minimum Credit Hours to Register for Fall 2024 Term

  • RA or TA Assistantship Appointment - 9 credit hours*
  • Departmental (Qualifying) Fellowship - 9 credit hours
  • Combined RA or TA Assistantship Appointment + Departmental (Qualifying) Fellowship - 9 credit hours*
  • Qualifying External Fellowship - Registration requirement is subject to fellowship terms with a minimum of 9 credit hours

* MS students who hold a Teaching Assistantship and/or a Research Assistantship in their final term are required to register for at least 9 credit hours. Students in the Grainger College of Engineering on-campus graduate programs must register for at least 9 credit hours  to be considered full-time students.

Selecting Courses

For your first semester, we recommend that you select courses that interest you and start to complete the "Breadth Requirement". In addition, we recommend that you choose a CS 598 Special Topics course with a professor that you might want to secure as your thesis advisor. Graduate students are free to register for any 400 or 500-level course. If there is a pre-requisite for a course, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the prior knowledge required for the course. In addition, 400-level courses are introductory graduate level courses and can be taken for either 3 or 4 credits. If you select the 4 credit hour 400-level course, the faculty will usually have you do a project or paper for the extra credit hour.  During the early registration period, graduate students must register for the 4 credit section of the 400-level courses.  If you wish to take a 400-level course only for 3 credits, you may change the credits after the 10th day of the term.  All 500-level courses (except for CS 591, 597 and 599) are taken for 4 credit hours.

Graduate Academic Office Contact Information


Graduate Academic Office / University of Illinois
201 North Goodwin, 1312 Siebel Center
Urbana, IL 61801
Campus Mail Code: MC-258
Phone: (217) 333-4428
Fax: (217) 244-6073

Monday – Friday

  • Morning: 8:00 AM to 11:45 AM
  • Afternoon: 1:00 PM to 4:45 PM
  • Walk-in advising hours start at 10:00 AM

List of Graduate Advising Contacts and Virtual Advising Queue