New Degree Student Checklist

Congratulations on your recent admissions to Gies Online Programs! Our team has created a comprehensive checklist and onboarding course to help you prepare for the start of your program. Once you have completed your checklist, continue to check your Illinois email address frequently for further updates from the program.

The checklist is self-paced but should be completed at least ten days prior to the start of courses.

  • Summer iMSA term courses begin: June 12 or May 17
  • Fall iMSA term courses begin: August 21 and October 16
  • Summer iMBA and iMSM term courses begin: May 17
  • Fall iMBA and iMSM term courses begin: August 8 and October 11

Ready to get started?

Please note that you will not be able to complete many of your checklist items until you receive your Official Notice of Admissions described in Step 1. This email typically arrives within 3-7 business days of your program offer letter.

Need additional help with a certain step of your checklist? View our collection of onboarding videos for assistance, contact, or join an upcoming New Student Office Hours.

Step 1: Accept Your Offer

Applicants who have been offered admission to Gies College of Business online programs should have received the following:

  • A Program Offer Letter: This indicates that we have referred you to the Graduate College for admission as a degree-seeking student from Gies Online Programs.
  • An Official Notice of Admission from Illinois Graduate Admissions: This will be delivered as an email with the subject line “Illinois Admission Decision."

Once you have received these items, it is time to decide if you’ll join us as a degree-seeking student through the Graduate College Application Portal. You will make one of three choices:

  • Accept Your Offer: This will secure your spot in your program. No enrollment deposit is required!
  • Defer Your Acceptance: You have the option to defer your admission for up to 1 calendar year. No deposit is required. 
  • Decline Your Offer: If you no longer want to join our program, please let us know by declining your offer.
Step 2: Set up your University Accounts

If you have previously completed high engagement, for-credit coursework through Gies Online Programs, your accounts should already be connected. Skip this step and head straight to Step 4.

Throughout your program, you will use a variety of platforms to complete your courses and connect with your peers. The steps below are essential to utilizing with these platforms and should only take 5-10 minutes each to setup.

You should complete Step 2 of your checklist within 1-2 weeks of accepting your offer.

Claim Your NetID and Password
Your NetID will give you access to campus services, including e-mail and file storage. New students should visit Illinois NetID Claim to claim their NetID. First, you will need to enter your University ID Number (UIN) and Activation Code. The UIN and Activation Code were sent to you in your Notice of Admission Letter from the Graduate College. Next, you will select and provide answers to two security questions to protect your NetID account. Finally, you will need to choose a password for your NetID account and setup Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

If you have previously enrolled at the University of Illinois, there is no need to claim your NetID again. You will need to reset your password. You can find more information on the Technology Services Website.

Setup Your University Email Account
Most correspondence is sent to your Illinois email address, so it is imperative you set up your email and check it regularly. Microsoft Office 365 is a service used for email, calendaring, and contact and task management at the University of Illinois and is vital for receiving emails and information from the University. Approximately four hours after claiming your Net ID and setting your password, you will be able to login to and start using your Office 365 Email Account. If you have questions about your email or your Exchange account, please visit the Technology Services Website, or email

Verify Your Personal Information in Student Self-Service
Once you have established your NetID, use it to log into the online Student Self-Service and verify your personal information, such as your contact information. Keeping this information up to date is extremely important and ensures proper delivery of important documents.

Set Up Your Illinois Zoom Pro Account
Zoom Pro is the way you will participate in your live sessions (lectures) for each course, office hours and more. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get setup with Zoom.

Step 3: Set up your Coursera Account

If you have previously completed high engagement, for-credit coursework through Gies Online Programs, your accounts should already be connected. Skip this step and head straight to Step 4.

Set Up Your Coursera Account
The University of Illinois partners with Coursera to offer our Gies online programs’ massive open online courses (MOOCs) that accompany the Canvas component of your online course. Setting up your Coursera account is a two-step process that is outlined below.

1. Link your Coursera account: Within a few days of accepting your offer, you will receive an email from Coursera for Illinois regarding information on how to set-up and link your Coursera account with the University of Illinois. Linking your account ensures that the work you do in the Coursera MOOCs is transferred to your online course to be counted towards your grade. Once you have linked your Coursera account, you will see your program name displayed at the top of your dashboard.

The linking email will be sent to your Illinois email account. If you do not see your linking email after four days of accepting your admission, send an email to requesting to have your Coursera linking email re-sent.

2. Join Coursera for Illinois: Coursera for Illinois is a perk of being a student at the University of Illinois. Carefully follow these step-by-step instructions to successfully add your Coursera for Illinois dashboard. Coursera for Illinois ensures that you can access the University of Illinois Coursera MOOCs for free. If you previously had an account with Coursera then you will still need to enroll in Coursera for Illinois in order to avoid paying the MOOC enrollment fees.

Step 4: Connect with your New Student Guide and Fellow Classmates

Join Workplace
Workplace is an online platform designed by Facebook exclusively for organizations’ members to network and develop excellent professional partnerships. You will receive an invitation to join Workplace at your Illinois email address approximately one week after you accept your offer letter, and you can log in at Make sure to create your profile and get started exploring Workplace. If you choose to join us, you can begin by:

  • Saying hello and introducing yourself to your fellow Gies Online Students
  • Explore interest, location and course-based groups, or create your own to connect with your classmates!

Make sure to check your junk mail if you have not received an email regarding Workplace.

Connect with your New Student Guide
New Student Guides are current students selected to assist you with the onboarding process and serve as your first student connection to the program. For iMBA students, you will receive an email assigning you a guide. For all students, you will be added to a newly admitted students group on Workplace and will be able to connect with the New Student Guides as well as other new students there. Pairing and adding to the Workplace groups begins approximately four weeks prior to the term start.

You can also attend New Student Guide Office Hours to have your questions answered by our New Student Guides. Held on select Wednesdays at 6pm CST and select Thursdays at 12pm CST

Step 5: Complete Your Onboarding Course

If you have previously completed high engagement, for-credit coursework through Gies Online Programs, you should have already completed the onboarding course. Feel free to review this information or skip this step and head straight to Step 5.

Our online courses are delivered on two platforms: Coursera & Canvas.  Each course has two structural components:

  • A Foundational Component on Coursera (MOOCs)
  • Weekly Live Class Sessions, Graded Assignments and Exams on Canvas (High Engagement/HE)

To help students become familiar with both platforms and other important aspects of the program, we have created an Onboarding Course.

This onboarding course takes approximately 3-4 hours to complete but is essential in your success as a Gies online student. Please be sure to complete well in advance of starting your coursework.

Step 6: Review Course Recommendations and Register for Courses

Summer and Fall registration opens mid-April.
Spring registration opens mid-November.

We are excited to begin this journey with you, and our team is prepared to help along the way. While you may want to create a full degree plan at this time, it is important to focus on your first set of courses. After courses begin, you will have an opportunity to attend a Degree Planning workshop offered by our Student & Academic Success Team.

iMBA Students

iMSM Students:

iMSA Students:

Step 7: Submit Your Official Credentials

Original credentials (transcripts, mark sheets, academic records, certificates of degree, etc.) need to be sent from your previous institution(s) to complete your admission. Please note that the credentials you provided as scans in your application are considered unofficial. Please consult your official Notice of Admission from the Graduate College and review the Graduate College’s admitted student final credential requirements for specifics on the documents needed to satisfy the conditions of your admission, as well as methods of submitting these credentials to the Graduate College. We’ve also made a video for those who prefer them.

New student office hours

If you have questions as you work through your New Student Checklist, please email or join our team for weekly new student office hours.