Graduate Studies

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the admission process?

  1. Submit application & pay fee

  2. WIU ID number is received 2-4 business days after the submission of the application. 

  3. Send admission documents to . Include your WIU ID number and full name.

  4. Applications 

     A. Undergraduates: GPA calculation performed.  

     B. Graduates: GPA calculation performed. Students are notified and the file is sent to the department for admission decision. 

  1. Student is notified of admission decision (and scholarship amount if applicable) via email

  2. If admitted, the student submits  proof of funding  to .

  3. Acceptance letter and I-20 is sent via email to the student 

Can I apply for more than one program?

Yes.  Applicants are limited to two programs for which they can be considered for admission.. Select your first choice from the application menu, record your second program of choice in the comments section of the application. Do not submit multiple applications.

How do I submit my application documents?

Most applicants can submit materials as clear, full sized scanned documents (no photographs) to . PDF attachments are preferred.

Hard copy, official documents should be mailed to:

WIU School of Graduate Studies, International Admissions
116 Sherman Hall 
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL  61455

What is the format for letters of recommendation?

Letters on letterhead are preferred but not required. Your full name and WIU ID# should be included in all letters as should the name of the recommendation provider. Choose recommenders that can attest to your ability to be successful in graduate school.

Should I send my recommendation letters or should it be sent directly from the recommenders? 

It is preferred that you collect your letters from your providers and send them to . We are unable to provide status updates on all applications. If letters are submitted in this manner, you will know that the documents have been submitted. If your recommender prefers to send the letter directly to , please request that they notify you when the letter is submitted.

How long does it take to get an admission decision? 

We are not able to give an exact timeline for admission decisions as it varies by department, volume of applications we receive, and is dependent on the student submitting all required admission documents to complete the file. Pay special attention to the required documents for your application status and program.

How do I check my admission status?

You will receive an email notification of receipt of documents. We do not have a student portal at this time.

Graduate students will be notified by automated email when their file is sent to the department for an admission decision.

Applicants will be notified by email of the admission decision.

What is a full or complete academic record?

For undergraduate students: Secondary (high school) and post-secondary (college or university), academic records  from every institution attended. 

For graduate students:  Academic records from every post-secondary institution attended

Can I choose what academic records to submit for admission consideration?

No. Every applicant is required to submit their complete academic record and are assessed for admission based on that record. You cannot choose or request to exclude an academic record.

What is an official academic record?

Official refers to any academic record that is sent from the issuing institution directly to the receiving institution, WIU in this case. OR an academic record issued to the student in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution. The document must remain sealed in the original envelope upon its delivery to WIU (by mail or in person) to be considered official.

What is an original academic record?

Original refers to any academic documents issued directly to the student. The exception to this are documents issued in a sealed envelope by the issuing institution. Provided the documents remain sealed in the original envelope, they can be delivered by mail or in person & be considered official.

When should I send my official academic record?

All applicants from Nigeria, Benin and Cameroon are required to submit official paper academic records prior to being considered for admission. 

All applicants who attended a private University in Benin are required to submit a WES ICAP document by document evaluation.
WIU reserves the right to request an official transcript or WES ICAP document by document evaluation from any applicant prior to being considered for admission. Applicants will be notified by email should this be required .
Single issue degree or diploma certificates must be presented at admissions/immigration check-in at orientation.

Any applicant admitted on an unofficial academic record will be conditionally admitted pending receipt of your complete official academic record. Upon notification of your acceptance, request the official documents be sent from all institutions as described below.  The complete official academic record must be on file at WIU prior to your arrival on campus.  The only exception to this requirement is degree and/or diploma certificates that are single issue. The original single issue degree/diploma certificate(s) must be presented at the admissions/immigration check-in held at the beginning of each semester.

Caribbean: request the Registrar or Records Office of your institution to send official electronic transcripts directly to

South Asia : You can request the records office of each institution attended mail or courier your official or attested individual mark sheets and degree certificate(s) WIU by mail or courier delivery  OR  you have the option of collecting the official or attested mark sheets, transcripts & certificates from the issuing institution in a sealed envelope then sending the sealed envelope directly to WIU mail or courier delivery.  The documents must be in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution & the seal must be unbroken to be considered official. 

What is the deadline for receipt of my official academic record?

Official documents must be submitted after you are accepted & prior to the following dates:  

Spring: March 1

Fall: October 1

Your complete official academic record is required prior to your arrival to WIU. The only exception is as follows: Original single-issue degree and/or diploma certificates must be available for presentation as the admissions/immigration check-in at orientation.

Where do I send my official hard copy academic record?

Order the documents from all institutions attended & have them sent to:

WIU School of Graduate Studies, International Admission
116 Sherman Hall
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL  61455

Does WIU accept electronic transcripts?

WIU currently accepts electronic transcripts from the approved third party providers. This includes Parchment, Student Clearinghouse and Escript.

For institutions in the Caribbean,  WIU accepts electronic transcripts from the Records Office or Office of the Registrar

Where should electronic transcripts be sent?

Is a WES Evaluation required?

For the majority of students, the answer is no. Occasionally, our office will request a WES ICAP for verification of the legitimacy of an academic credential or degree.

Does WIU accept WES?

IF a student has already had a WES ICAP course by course or document by document evaluation completed, the ICAP can be submitted to WIU’s electronic account through WES. This specific evaluation includes a verified transcript. The transcript is considered official, however, the evaluation will not be used for admission purposes . All GPAs are calculated in this office and the WES evaluated GPA will not be used for admission determinations.

Does WIU accept transcript evaluations for admission purposes?

No. An evaluation will not be used. The actual academic document is required for admission.

What are the deadlines to apply? 

April 1 -  fall (August)  

August 15 -  spring (January)  

How Much is the Application Fee?


Can I Request an Application Fee Waiver? 

The $50 application fee must be paid before your application can be processed. We do not provide fee waivers.

How Do I Pay the Application Fee? 

  1. Credit card payment through the application

  2. Payments made after submission of application

  • Check or money order drawn on a US bank. Include full name of applicant, application ID number & WIU ID number

  1. Sent by  mail to International Admissions

  2. Paid by in person in 116 Sherman Hall (Macomb Campus) by a third party

  • Exact cash paid by a third party in 116 Sherman Hall on the Macomb campus

  • Credit card or money transfer via PayMyTuition . WIU ID number is required 

Can I change programs?

New applicants : Send an email to  with your name, WIU ID number and the program to which you want to change. Your major will be updated based on your email.  

New students ( enrolling at WIU for the first time): New students must complete a semester in the program to which they were initially accepted and is designated on their I-20. 

Returning students (previously enrolled at WIU): Submit the  change of status form  to change or add a program. 

The change of status must be received and processed prior to the 5th day of classes in the semester in which the change is to be effective. If the application is not processed during the first week, you will remain in the program to which you were originally accepted until the start of the next semester.

How will I know if you have received my supporting documentation?

You will receive an email once the documents have been received. 

Is the TOEFL or other English Language proficiency exam required?  

It depends on your country of citizenship.  Refer to the Language Proficiency Requirements 

Is the GRE and/or GMAT Required? 

It depends on the program. Refer to the Departmental Requirements. 


Costs and Scholarships

How much does it cost to attend WIU?

International students are assessed the international student tuition rate.  A three-hour course will be assessed three hours of tuition and three hours of fees.  

Undergraduates and graduate students are assessed different amounts. 

View the Cost Estimator

View Estimated Expenses

How do I pay my tuition?  Do I need to pay prior to my arrival?

See the Billing and Receivables website.

There is no prepayment for tuition or expenses required prior to enrollment at WIU.

Can I apply for scholarships now? 

You will be automatically considered for several international scholarships.   Once you are a registered student, there will be other scholarships that you can apply for and you will receive an email once they are open for applications.

How do I apply for the International Presidential Scholarship? 

Qualified candidates will be selected & contacted by the Center for Global Studies.



When Can I Register For My Courses? 

Once you complete your check-in with International Admissions and the Immigration Specialist at new student orientation, you will be able to register.

How Many Courses Do I Take Each Semester? 

International undergraduate students must enroll for a minimum of 12 semester hours for the fall and spring semester.  However, the normal or average number of semester hours taken by an undergraduate student is 15-16 semester hours.  The maximum allowed each semester is 18 semester hours.

International graduate students must enroll for a minimum of nine semester hours of credit during the fall and spring.  The maximum number of hours each semester is 15.


Graduate Assistantships

Can I apply for an assistantship before I have been accepted?

Yes, but you are not eligible for a position until you are fully accepted into a degree program. Full eligibility requirements can be found here .

When will I be notified if I received an assistantship? Can I contact the department? 

Each hiring area has its own timeline for making decisions regarding assistantships. Typically decisions begin to be made around mid-March for the fall semester. Hiring areas can be contacted directly to obtain the anticipated decision dates.

 Are letters of recommendation required to apply for an assistantship position?

The School of Graduate Studies does not require recommendation letters to hold an assistantship.  Contact your program directly for the assistantship application requirements specific to your program. .It is up to the hiring area to determine if letters or other supporting documents are required and how they would like to receive them.

How do I search for an assistantship? (Do's & Don'ts)

The first place to look for an assistantship is within your own program. Once you are admitted, contact your graduate advisor about possible opportunities within the program or for recommendations of other areas at the university that have historically hired students from the program. The second place to check is our website which is where available positions are posted when we are made aware of them. Do not go to each office on campus inquiring about assistantships. Do not email every department at the university inquiring about assistantships.

Should I wait for an assistantship appointment before I submit financial documents? While it is possible to do so, it is not advisable as there are significantly more students than positions available on campus. The majority of students do not have funding via the assistantship. If you miss the deadline for submission of financial documents, extensions will not be given and you will need to defer.



The Major on My I-20 Doesn't Match the Major Listed on My Acceptance letter; What Should I Do?

WIU has assigned majors specific CIP codes that do not always exactly match the name of the degree.  Consulates are aware of this and there should not be any issues.

What is My SEVIS Number? (Does This Number Change?) 

Your SEVIS number will be located on your I-20 and will not change if you defer semesters (e.g. from spring 2022 to fall 2022).  There are some instances where you will receive a new SEVIS number if your record has been inactive for a certain amount of time.

I Have Received My I-20 and Acceptance Letter, What Are the Next Steps?

You will need to pay the SEVIS fee and then schedule a visa appointment. 



When Do I Receive My Ecom Username?

Your Ecom Username will be included in your acceptance email and official acceptance letter .

What If I Am Unable To Attend? How Do I Defer?  Will My Assistantship Be Held If I Defer?

Submit the Request to Reactive Application .  It will be up to the department to decide if your assistantship will be held if you defer.

Does WIU Accept the Higher National Diploma As Equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree? 

If you have not completed a minimum of a Bachelor's degree from your country, you must have completed one of the  following sequences to be considered to have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree and be eligible to apply as a graduate student at Western Illinois University:

A 2 year National Diploma followed by a 2-3 year Higher National Diploma. Diplomas should be in a similar field.

A 3 year Higher National Diploma followed by a minimum of 1 year of study in the form of a Post Graduate Diploma, Post Graduate Certificate or a Master's degree. The National Diploma & subsequent top off program should be in similar fields.

A 3 year Higher National Diploma only is not equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree and would require a top off program for the applicant to be eligible to apply to graduate school. WIU does not offer a top off program.

Be advised that some graduate programs at WIU, require specific background degrees or underlying qualifications and admission may be denied based on the lack of these requirements. Familiarize yourself with the requirements for your program of interest prior to submitting the application. 

What is WIU’s policy on 3-year degrees?

WIU does accept some 3 year degrees provided the degree meets the following criteria:

  • The applicant has completed 2 years of underlying A Levels in addition to a three year bachelor’s degree.


  • The institution attended is both UGC & NAAC accredited with a B or better grade from NAAC.

  • The applicant is applying to a related graduate degree program

For 3 year Indian degrees completed at institutions with no NAAC grade but do have UGC accreditation, applicants will need to complete a 1 year top off program. This would include an MComm or similar program. WIU does not offer a top off program.

Bologna Compliant degrees are accepted as equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree. The corresponding Diploma supplement or HEAR report is required.