Graduate Studies

General Information (excerpted from 2019-2020 Graduate Catalog)

PDF version of Graduate Catalog

The History and Heritage of Western Illinois University

Founded in 1899, the Western Illinois State Normal School was established as an Illinois public institution to address teacher preparation in the state’s grammar schools. The faculty and students of Western were eager to meet this need, and the institution soon became known for its well-rounded, deeply committed graduates, a tradition that continues.

As the years passed and the name was changed to Western Illinois State Teachers’ College in 1921, and then to Western Illinois University in 1957, the institution’s mission continually broadened to include academic majors that prepared high school teachers; the state’s earliest and most successful extension program; a multifaceted graduate school; a liberal arts program; and, eventually, distinguished colleges devoted to Arts and Sciences, Business and Technology, Education and Human Services, and Fine Arts and Communication.

Throughout time, and most recently as Western celebrated 50 years as a University during academic year 2007-2008, we have earned and maintained a reputation for expanding public access to affordable, high-quality degree programs and fostering student involvement in University activities.

We are now a leading University with a residential campus in Macomb; a metropolitan, commuter campus in the Quad Cities; and extension and distance learning programs. With an outstanding, diverse faculty and staff committed to multicultural and international education, Western Illinois University offers undergraduate and graduate programs of study to approximately 8,500 students from Illinois, across the nation, and around the world.

The Present and Future of Western Illinois University

With more than a century of growth and development, and more than 100,000 living alumni, Western Illinois University maintains a strong sense of community and historic commitments to student access, affordability, and success. Western has consistently been recognized as a “Best Midwestern College” by the Princeton Review, and WIU was recognized in 2018 for the fourteenth consecutive year as a “Best Midwestern University” by U.S. News & World Report, one of only 36 Midwestern public universities in the top tier. Western is also identified in the U.S. News & World Report top-tier list of “Best Regional Universities,” one of only three Illinois public universities in the top 70. U.S. News & World Report also recognizes WIU as a “Best for Veterans School” and a “Best Value School.”

Western Illinois University is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The University’s teacher licensure programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The University also maintains a strong commitment to discipline-based accreditation and licensure, where appropriate to the discipline. In academic year 2018-2019, Western Illinois University maintained accreditation/licensure with 20 agencies, ranging from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

These external recognitions and peer-based accreditations showcase our high academic standards, quality instruction, proven opportunities for job and graduate school placement, outstanding academic and residential facilities, exciting extracurricular activities, and institutional commitments to sustainability and affordability.

These recognitions also reinforce the unique mission and niche of Western Illinois University in the state’s system of public higher education. Keeping focused on our vision, mission, and values is critical for continued student success and our progress, growth, and contributions to the state and beyond. Western Illinois University, along with all other 11 Illinois public universities, is currently being challenged by a declining number of Illinois high school graduates; decreasing state support (appropriations) for higher education; and increasing costs, maintenance, and technological, infrastructure, and accountability needs.

Through continued successful implementation of Higher Values in Higher Education, the institutional planning, resource allocation, and accountability reporting process established in academic year 2002-2003, we will continue to build upon our strengths and take advantage of opportunities. Western Illinois University will continue to prepare our students and graduates to lead in the global community. We will do so in a manner that is distinctive and nationally recognized for successful implementation of our vision, mission, and values.

Our Vision

Western Illinois University will be the leader in educational quality, opportunity, and affordability among regional public universities.

 Our Mission

Western Illinois University empowers students, faculty, and staff to lead dynamic and diverse communities. We provide student-centered undergraduate and graduate programs characterized by innovative teaching, research, and service, grounded in interdisciplinary, regional and global perspectives. We engage our students in educational opportunities guided by a professional and diverse faculty and staff in collaboration with alumni and community partners.

Our Values

Academic Excellence: Central to our history is the commitment to teaching, to the individual learner, and to active involvement in the teaching-learning process. Western Illinois University's highly qualified and diverse faculty promotes critical thinking, engaged learning, research, and creativity in a challenging, supportive learning community. We are committed to student success in an academic environment that encourages lifelong development as learners, scholars, teachers, and mentors.

Educational Opportunity: Western Illinois University values educational opportunity and welcomes those who show promise and a willingness to work toward achieving shared educational goals. We are committed to providing accessible, high-quality educational programs and financial support for our students.

Personal Growth: Western Illinois University values the development of the whole person. We are committed to providing opportunities for personal growth in an environment that supports the development of wellness, ethical decision making, and personal responsibility in the global community.

Social Responsibility: Western Illinois University is committed to equity, social justice, and diversity, and will maintain the highest standards of integrity in our work with others. We create an environment that fosters and promotes civic engagement. We serve as a resource for and stimulus to educational, cultural, environmental, community, and economic development in our region and well beyond it.

Mission of the Graduate School

It is the primary goal of the School of Graduate Studies to facilitate, encourage, support, and coordinate excellence in graduate education at Western Illinois University. To achieve this goal, the Graduate Council and the Graduate Office, in concert with the provost, deans, department chairs, department graduate committee chairs, and graduate faculty, will oversee issues relating to policies, procedures, and academic standards in graduate education.


Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. In addition, many of its departments and schools are accredited by professional agencies, including the following: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering; The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Commission on English Language Program Accreditation; Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs; Council on Social Work Education; Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET; Iowa College Student Aid Commission; Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council; National Association of Schools of Art and Design; National Association of Schools of Music; National Association of Schools of Theatre; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements; and National Recreation and Park Association.

Western Illinois University is approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). As such, the University’s distance learning program follows policies and standards that are overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and administered by four regional higher education compacts. For additional information, please visit

Comments and Complaints

Participants in the Title IV Federal Financial Aid under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, are required to direct students to a state agency for assistance with unresolved complaints. Related regulations require all Title IV participating institutions, regardless of the origin of their state authorization to operate, to comply with state agency complaint process and to communicate such information publicly. Under Federal Rule 34 CFR §600.9 and §668.43(b), Title IV eligible institutions must make available to students or prospective students, upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution’s accreditation and state authorization. The institution must provide its students, or prospective students, with contact information for filing complaints with the University, its accreditor, and the state.

Student and graduate comments and complaints are addressed separately for discrimination, ethics, police conduct, and/or all other institutional issues. University policy, procedure, and contact information for each type of complaint are described below.

All student complaints should first be addressed at the local level (the level at which the complaint arises). If it cannot be resolved at the local level, the complainant should express his/her complaint to the head of the academic department or administrative unit after referring to the University Organizational Chart ( ) or the University Directory ( ) to determine the appropriate contact. If the complaint is not resolved at this level, the following individual(s) should be contacted:

Complaint Type

Contact Information





Ms. Andrea Henderson

Interim Director, Equal Opportunity and Access

Sherman Hall 203

(309) 298-1977

(309) 298-3455


Ms. Elizabeth Duvall

Ethics Officer/General Counsel Attorney

Sherman Hall 208

(309) 298-3070

(309) 298-3455

Police Conduct

Mr. Derek Watts

Interim Director, Office of Public Safety

Mowbray Hall

(309) 298-1949

(309) 298-2884

Student Services—Macomb

Dr. John W. Smith

Interim Vice President,

Student Services

Sherman Hall 321

(309) 298-1814

(309) 298-2558

All Other—Macomb

Mr. William T. Clow

Interim Provost and Academic Vice President

Sherman Hall 211

(309) 298-1066

(309) 298-2021

Quad Cities

Dr. Joseph Rives

Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Initiatives

3240 Quad Cities Complex

(309) 762-9481

(309) 764-7172

State of Illinois: The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) maintains the master plan which guides development of the state’s system of public and private colleges and universities, and it maintains an online complaint system for registering institutional complaints at . This website includes step-by-step instructions and key information regarding the complaint process.

State of Iowa: Western Illinois University is certified by the State of Iowa to provide educational certificates and degree programs in Museum Studies and distance education in Iowa. In serving students from Iowa, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission maintains a system (form available at to document concerns, questions, and complaints related to post-secondary educational institutions.

 Equal Opportunity and Access

Western Illinois University complies fully with all applicable federal and state nondiscrimination laws, orders, and regulations. The University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from discrimination based on sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other classes protected by state or federal law.

Further, the University is committed to a comprehensive Affirmative Action program that ensures access and equity in educational programs, activities, and employment.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access is responsible for administering and monitoring Western Illinois University’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action policies and procedures. Inquiries about or complaints alleging violation of the policies should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, 203 Sherman Hall, (309) 298-1977. The director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access also serves as the administrator for Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 Religious Observance Policy

Consistent with Illinois Public Act 84-212, an act to prohibit public school districts and institutions of higher education from discriminating against students for observing religious holidays (effective August 26, 1985), Western Illinois University subscribes to the following policy and procedures:

Western Illinois University supports the concept of "Reasonable Accommodation of Religious Observances" in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and other academic work requirements.

1. A student who is unable because of the observance of a religious holiday to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused from taking any examination or any study or other academic work assignments on such days or times.
2. Faculty and administrative personnel may require up to 5 calendar days advance notice of absences to observe religious holidays.
3. It is the responsibility of the faculty and administrative personnel to make available to such students an equivalent opportunity to make up the examinations, study, or other academic work requirements which they missed due to such absences.
4. It is the responsibility of all students who also are employees of the University to make arrangements to fulfill their obligations to the University in advance of their absence, and/or to utilize accrued leave (if applicable) during the absence. (See section II.)
5. No fees or penalties may be imposed against the students who exercise such afforded opportunities. If a student believes she/he has been a victim of discrimination on grounds of religious observances, she/he may seek redress under the existing Discrimination Complaint Procedures.

A student who feels that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational or employment benefit due to religious beliefs or practices should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.

Western Illinois University’s full Reasonable Accommodation of Students’ and Employees’ Religious Observance Policy is available at

 Student Right-to-Know

Information complying with the Federal Student Right-to-Know legislation, including the Campus Safety and Security Act (Clery Law), is available in the Office of Public Safety and University Relations. The information contains campus crime statistics and graduation rates at Western Illinois University and is available at

 Administrative Organization

Graduate degree programs are administered by academic departments in four colleges. College deans report to the provost and academic vice president, who has responsibility for all academic programs and personnel at the University. The administration of graduate education is centered in the Office of the Provost under the leadership of the associate provost and academic vice president. In addition to the provost, four other vice presidents administer the areas of student services; administrative services; advancement and public services; and Quad Cities campus and planning. The president reports to the Western Illinois University's Board of Trustees for the operation and general welfare of the University.

The School of Graduate Studies is the coordinating agency for the University’s graduate programs. It maintains records related to admission, graduate assistantships, and completion of degree requirements, and works closely with members of the graduate faculty, academic departments, and college deans. The School of Graduate Studies is administered by the associate provost and director of graduate studies, who reports to the provost and academic vice president. The School of Graduate Studies is responsible for implementing the policies, procedures, and academic standards established by the Graduate Council, a representative body elected by full members of the graduate faculty. Any deviation from graduate academic regulations must be approved by the Graduate Council. The Council may determine, at any time, a student’s eligibility to continue graduate studies at Western Illinois University.

 Academic Colleges

Graduate programming and coursework is offered in four academic colleges and other areas as indicated below:

College of Arts and Sciences

African American Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Community Development and Planning, English, Environmental Science: Large River Ecosystems, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Geography, Geology, GIS Analysis, History, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Zoo and Aquarium Studies

College of Business and Technology

Accountancy, Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics, Agriculture, Business Administration, Business Analytics, Computer Science, Engineering Technology Leadership, Instructional Design and Technology, Quantitative Economics, and Supply Chain Management

College of Education and Human Services

College Student Personnel; Counseling; Curriculum and Instruction; Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality; Educational Leadership; Educational Studies; Health Sciences; Health Services Administration; Kinesiology; Public Safety Administration; Reading; Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration; Police Executive Administration; Special Education; Sport Management; and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

College of Fine Arts and Communication

Art, Broadcasting and Journalism, Communication, Museum Studies, Music, Music Performance, Speech Pathology, and Theatre

Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

Community and Economic Development

 Trustees of the University

Polly Radosh, Good Hope (Chair)
Greg Aguilar, East Moline
Erik Dolieslager, Quincy
Kisha M.J. Lang, Maywood
Doug Shaw, Peoria
Justin A. Brown, Rantoul (Student Member)

 Officers of the University

Acting President: Dr. Martin A. Abraham
Interim Provost and Academic Vice President: Mr. William T. "Billy" Clow

Dean of College of Arts and Sciences: Dr. Susan Martinelli-Fernandez
Interim Dean of College of Business and Technology: Dr. John "Jack" Elfrink
Interim Dean of College of Education and Human Services: Dr. Katrina Daytner
Interim Dean of College of Fine Arts and Communication: Dr. William G. Hoon
Dean of University Libraries: Dr. Michael G. Lorenzen
Dean of Centennial Honors College: Dr. Richard J. Hardy
Interim Associate Provost and Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Mark Mossman

Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives: Dr. Joseph A. Rives
Vice President for Administrative Services: Dr. William J. Polley
Interim Vice President for Student Services: Mr. John W. Smith

 Graduate Council, Academic Year 2019-2020

Christine Anderson, associate professor, Education
Carolyn Blackinton, associate professor, Theatre and Dance
Jonathan Hammersley, associate professor, Psychology
Hoyet Hemphill, professor, Engineering Technology (Chair)
Kishor Kapale, professor, Physics
Brian Locke, professor, Music (Vice Chair)
James McQuillan, professor, Computer Science
Sebastian Szyjka, associate professor, Education