Information for Grad Students

Section 1

Main Content


Champaign-Urbana: The Middle of Everywhere


The twin cities of Champaign and Urbana are a diverse and thriving community of 100,000 located in east central Illinois, just two hours from Chicago and Indianapolis, and three hours from St. Louis. The campus and surrounding communities constitute a vibrant university community rich in the social, cultural, and recreational resources typical of much larger metropolitan areas.

Champaign-Urbana and the University provide residents with the best quality of life available in midsize Midwestern cities, including multiple health care centers and providers, nationally recognized public schools, park districts, and mass transit; and ample affordable housing and a moderate cost of living.

Cultural Life

Each year, for example, the critically acclaimed Krannert Center for the Performing Arts attracts dozens of nationally and internationally renowned artists to the campus. More than 350 performances of theater, music, and dance are held in the center's four theaters, including major symphony orchestras, classical and modern dance, opera, jazz, world music, and family entertainment.


The University also supports two excellent museums: the Krannert Art Museum, second only to the Art Institute of Chicago among Illinois public museums in size and value of its collections, and the Spurlock Museum of world history and culture. The William M. Staerkel Planetarium, located in Champaign, is the second-largest in Illinois.


A number of notable performances are held in CU every year. Recent performers include: Creed, Jessica Simpson, Nelly, Janet Jackson, Natalie Merchant, Third Day, MTV Campus Invasion, Ben Folds, N'Sync, Sesame Street Live, Ragtime, Rent, David Copperfield, the Harlem Globetrotters, and John Hancock Champions on Ice: Olympic Tour 2002. Roger Ebert, the noted Chicago film critic and a UIUC alum, also hosts his annual "Overlooked Film Festival" here.

For sports enthusiasts, there is no shortage of events: the University has numerous teams, including Big Ten football. Additionally, during the 2002 football season, as Soldier Field undergoes renovation, the Chicago Bears will be playing their home games in the University's world-class Memorial Stadium, which seats 70,904 people.

The CU metro area also supports two malls and a number of shopping centers; there are several movie theaters, bowling alleys, golf courses, and pool halls.



Champaign-Urbana is a city of many diverse options, with over 320 restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses to satisify every palate. Take your choice: there are American, Australian, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Indian, Japanese, Jewish/Kosher, Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Swiss, Thai, Vietnamese, and vegetarian/vegan places, among others. There's fast food, health food, and gourmet restaurants; there are dozens of pizza places, innumerable bars, clubs, and pubs, and a coffeehouse on every corner. Many of these restaurants are within easy walking distance from the campus. Some local restaurants are listed in the Visitor's Guide to Champaign County and the Business and Community Directory.

Every Friday night, graduate students in the department gather for a so-called "Happy Hour" at The Bread Company, an affordable Swiss restaurant serving fondues, raclettes, sandwiches, pizza, pastas, soups, entrees, and an extensive wine list. It's a great opportunity to socialize with your fellow philosophy grad students, and spouses and significant others are welcomed!

Recreational Facilities

Fitness Class

Six recreational facilities, including the Intramural Physical Education Building, one of the largest complexes of its kind on any university campus, serve the athletic interests of students and staff.

The Division of Campus Recreation sponsors more than 60 individual and team sports. A member of the Big Ten Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the University supports nine men's and nine women's sports, including football, basketball, and volleyball. The campus is also a leader in providing athletic and other opportunities for the physically challenged.

Facilities include:

  • playing fields and gyms
  • ice arena
  • basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts
  • squash and racquetball courts
  • swimming pools
  • indoor running tracks
  • weight rooms
  • outdoor center
  • in-line skating pad
  • billiards
  • bowling lanes
  • arcade

Programs include:

  • group exercise
  • strength and conditioning classes
  • intramural sports
  • ice skating
  • outdoor trips
  • clinics and equipment rentals
  • special events
  • aquatics
  • sports clubs

The following information is offered in anticipation of some of the questions you may have about our department. If you have other question, please let us know.

Moving to C-U

Moving to a new city can be stressful for anyone. To make your transition easier, we have collected a list of resources and information for incoming students. If you have a specific question not addressed here, please contact our office; they may be able to point you in the right direction.


In addition to University-run graduate dorms and apartments, Champaign-Urbana has numerous landlords and affordable housing options. The Daily Illini maintains an apartment guide and carries classified ads for campus landlords and sublets. Listings for the entire Champaign-Urbana area can be found in the News-Gazette, which also maintains an apartment guide and classifieds.

The Tenant Union at the University of Illinois is available to review all leases, and also maintains a listing of complaints about local landlords.


A variety of local, regional, and national transportation is available from Champaign-Urbana; the city is readily accessible by car, plane, train, or bus. A number of US and state highways serve the motorist. Willard Airport is five miles south of Champaign, just off US-45; American Eagle, American Connection, and Northwest Airlink airlines link the community to five major hubs where passengers can make connections to more than 500 destinations worldwide.Amtrak provides daily rail passenger service to and from Chicago and points from Milwalkee to New Orleans, from Kansas City to Toronto. Greyhound, Trailways, Suburban Express, and Illini Swallow provide national and regional bus service.

Extensive local service throughout the Champaign-Urbana area is provided by MTD, CU's nationally-recognized bus system; it is free for all University faculty, staff, and students. Various charter buses, shuttle, and taxi services are also available.

For more information, visit the Champaign-Urbana Transportation Page. The City of Champaign maintains a listing, as does the University.


There are numerous churches in the area, and several synagogues, mosques, and temples. Check the yellow pages for listings.


For those with a fellowship and/or assistantship appointment, payday is normally the 16th of each month beginning with September 16 and ending with May 16. You will receive one-ninth of your salary each month if you have an academic year (nine-month) appointment. If your appointment is for one semester (four and one-half months) your January check will be for one-half month. (Assistantship salaries are subject to tax; fellowship stipends are usually non-taxable). If you have questions concerning your salary, see Erin Tarr, the Department's Administrative Aide and office supervisor.

You have received or will receive a Check Distribution and Address Information Form, which requests personal information such as office addresses, office telephone numbers, etc. BE SURE TO LIST YOUR OFFICE ADDRESS AS 105 GREGORY HALL. If you list your individual office address, receipt of your mail will probably be delayed several days, or even could be returned to sender.

Mail and Other Written Communication

All mail, U.S. and Campus, for Philosophy faculty/staff/students is delivered to 105 Gregory Hall for internal distribution by the secretarial staff. The U.S. Mail address for our Department is:

Department of Philosophy

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

105 Gregory Hall, MC-468

810 South Wright Street

Urbana, IL 61801

When you give your office address to anyone, be sure to include the street address, and stress the necessity of using it to avoid long delays in mail delivery.

Mailboxes have been established in 105 Gregory Hall for each graduate student. The boxes are arranged in alphabetical order and the names are printed in black text on white labels. All mail (including department memos, pay checks or pay receipts, miscellaneous announcements, etc.) received for you will be placed in your box.

Office and Classroom Space

The main office of the Department, which houses the Chair and the office staff, is located in 105 Gregory Hall and is open from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. Most faculty offices are located on the second and fourth floors of Gregory Hall.

Graduate students holding fellowships and teaching assistantships are given office space in shared offices, which are located on the fourth floor of Gregory Hall. Office assignments are worked out by the President of the Graduate Philosophy Organization (GPO) and the Graduate Program Secretary.

Most Philosophy courses meet in Gregory Hall. Seminars (500-level courses) usually meet in 402 Gregory Hall.

Library/Lounge Facilities

The History and Philosophy Library of the University of Illinois, is located in Room 424 of the University Library. Current issues of nearly all philosophy journals are also received and kept in this library. Back issues of journals and the rest of the University Library's extensive holdings in philosophy are shelved in the stacks of the main library (in the same building), and may easily be located by means of the library's computerized cataloging system.

Room 107 Gregory Hall is our combination library/lounge. It may be used both for conversation and for reading.

Graduate Student Computer Lab

The department has established a Computer Lab for use by graduate students. This lab is located in 405 Gregory Hall. Graduate students who wish to use this lab may obtain keys to the facility from the Department's Graduate Program Secretary. For security reasons, it is absolutely essential that the door be locked at all times. Responsibility and cooperation on the part of all users is necessary.

Clerical Assistance

The office staff is prepared to help you with answers to procedural questions concerning registration, course credits, changes of program, student records, and other aspects of University operation. Your advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, or other members of the faculty will answer questions concerning your academic program.

The office staff will assign you a Department ID code that will enable you to use the copier machine. The copier should be used for class and professional/job-related materials only.

Teaching Assistant Duties

Teaching assistants (TAs) who are assigned to assist instructors as graders or preceptors are expected to devote an average of ten hours per week to their duties for each quarter-time assistantship they are awarded. They are expected to attend the classes of courses in which they are assisting; to hold weekly office hours; to help with the grading (under the supervision of the instructor), doing it as promptly as possible; and, in the case of preceptors in larger courses, to conduct weekly discussion sections. If questions or problems arise in connection with the work expected of them, TAs should attempt to settle them through discussion with the faculty members they are assisting. If problems persist, they may be discussed with the Department Chair. Continuation of assistantship support will be dependent in part upon the satisfactory performance of assistantship duties.

Teaching assistants who are teaching independent sections of 100-level courses are under the general supervision of specified faculty members, and are encouraged to discuss the planning and teaching of their sections with these faculty members (especially when teaching them for the first time). In general, teaching TAs have the same responsibility for their classes and students that faculty members do, and will be expected to discharge their instructional responsibility conscientiously and completely. They should expect to prepare, duplicate, and collate their own syllabi, handouts, exercises, exams, etc. The secretarial staff may be able to assist in the preparation ofsome course-related material (within reason, and as the other demands upon their time permit), but usually will not have time for duplicating and collating or for extensive typing.


Registration is done on-line. To be able to do this, you first have to have a Network ID and a password. You will find these in your mailbox. If you need assistance with registration, please ask a fellow grad student or the Graduate Program Secretary for help.

Email Accounts

To obtain an email account, you must first have your Network ID and Password (which you found in your mailbox). You can then go to CITES (Campus Information Technologies & Educational Services) located at 1304 West Springfield Avenue, Room 1420 Digital Computer Laboratory, and they will help you get an account.

Course Loads

Graduate students (other than those in the Third Stage of the Doctoral Program) are normally expected to take three courses each semester. This may or may not include a foreign language course or a course in some other department; but at least two courses in the philosophy department normally should be taken each semester. Graduate students should not deviate from these general rules without first consulting with their advisors and receiving the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. (deviations may jeopardize financial assistance, as well as good standing in the Graduate College and satisfactory progress in the department).


Each year the department schedules a fair number of colloquia, at which papers are presented and discussed. Some of those making presentations are guests and visitors from other departments and universities, and some are from our own department. Graduate students are expected to attend them, and are encouraged to take part in the discussion of the presentations.

Graduate Philosophy Organization (GPO)

The GPO plays a very important role in graduate student life and affairs in the department. All graduate students are strongly encouraged to take an active part in it, attending its meetings and participating in its activities.


Graduate students should regularly seek the advice of members of the faculty, at all stages of their graduate studies, especially in planning their programs, selecting their courses, deciding upon their dissertation topics and committees, and preparing for their post-graduate careers. Faculty members with whom they should consult include the Director of Graduate Studies and their advisors, but are by no means restricted to them alone. For various purposes, graduate students may also find it helpful to consult with the Department Chair and Associate Chair, the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee, the Chairs of other department committees, and members of the faculty who teach and work in particular areas, or who are knowledgeable of departmental, university, or professional affairs. New graduate students should be sure to consult with the Director of Graduate Studies (who acts as their advisor during their first semester) immediately upon arrival. All graduate students should bear in mind that advice sought and received at the right time may be very valuable, and can help to avert or alleviate difficulties down the road.

Each fall semester you will be asked to make an appointment with your advisor to go over your program of study. You will receive a form to take to your appointment with your advisor. Ask your advisor to sign the form and return it to the Graduate Program Secretary.

All graduate students enrolled in Philosophy 599 in a given semester are required to submit to their advisors a statement reporting their progress that semester on their dissertations and describing a plan for future work on the dissertation. This report is to be submitted at the end of the semester. It must be signed by the student and the student's advisor and will be entered by the advisor in the student's permanent file.

Graduate Student Regulations

Many questions graduate students commonly have can be answered by reading the Department's Regulations Concerning Admissions and Advanced Degrees. If you need a copy, you can obtain one from the Graduate Program Secretary.

The Graduate College publishes a regulation booklet and a calendar. These publications may be very helpful to you. Copies may be obtained in the Graduate College Office in Coble Hall.

Financial Aid

Recommendations concerning financial aid for those applying for admission to our graduate program are developed by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Continuing graduate students receiving financial aid who have not exhausted their five years of eligibility must reapply for continued aid each year. Their re-applications, and application for aid or forms of aid made by continuing students who are not already receiving them, are reviewed and considered by the Graduate Program Committee, which advises the Department and Chair in these matters. (See ourRegulations Concerning Admissions and Advanced Degrees for our policy on the continuation of aid). Continuing students who have exhausted their five years of eligibility, and who desire further aid beyond that point, should make their interest known in writing to the Chair of the Department, who acts on such requests as the teaching needs of the Department may require, as the supplemental resources available may permit, and as the circumstances of their cases may be deemed to warrant. Any continuing student who has questions relating to financial aid should consult with the Chair of the Department.


If you encounter problems or have questions relating to your activities in the department, there are many people to whom you may turn. You should not hesitate to bring them up; and you should also try to turn to the most appropriate people for help with them. In many cases, you might do well to start with your fellow graduate students, the President of the Graduate Philosophy Organization, the Department's Graduate Program Secretary, the Department's Administrative Aide, or your advisor. In others, the appropriate person might be the Director of Graduate Studies, the Chair of one of the committees, the faculty members you are assisting or those with oversight responsibility for the teaching of our various introductory courses, or the Associate Chair of the Department. If none of these is able to answer your questions or give you the assistance you need, you should feel free to see the Chair of the Department, or to consult with the staff in the Graduate College office. We may not have an answer or a solution to everything; but when we don't, we usually can refer you to someone who will be able to help you.