Admissions


What are my chances of being admitted?

We’re very happy to hear of your interest in applying to our Master’s or Ph.D. program.

We often get inquiries from students about our various programs. We hope you will understand when we explain that we can’t predict your chances for admission and/or support without a completed application. In fact, applications aren’t even forwarded to the department for our review until the all necessary application information, exams, and transcripts have been received and verified by the Admissions Office.

What are the dates and deadlines for admission into ISU?

Admission dates and deadlines can be found on the ISU Graduate School website by clicking on your sequence in mathematics.

Where do I apply for admission into ISU?

You can apply for admissions at the ISU Graduate School website.

As an international student, what TOEFL score is needed to be considered for admission?

The English proficiency requirements for admission to Illinois State University can be found at the ISU Graduate School website. An international student must present a TOEFL score of no less than 79 on the internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based text, or 550 on the paper-based test; or present an overall band score of no less than 6.5 on the IELTS exam.

Deadlines and Timelines


What are specific deadlines I should be aware of throughout the semester?

Where can I find an outline of the degree requirements for Master’s and Ph.D. students in mathematics?

Consult the graduate catalog for all courses needed to graduate with a master’s or Ph.D. In addition, consult your advisor.

What is the time limit to get a Master’s degree?

You have six years to obtain your master’s degree from the time you are admitted.

What is the time limit to get a Ph.D. degree?

You have eight years to obtain your doctoral degree from the time you are admitted.

Can I take a leave of absence from my program?

Yes, you may take a leave of absence for up to one year. At the time you take your leave, the clock stops for all deadlines of completion. You must send a request to the graduate coordinator in order to receive a leave of absence.

What are the last dates to drop/add a course?

This information changes from semester to semester, so please follow the academic calendar for deadlines.

Do I have to register to get my degree in my last semester?

Yes, you must file a degree audit form with the graduate advisor. Further information can be found here.

How do I apply for graduation/participate in the Commencement Ceremony at Redbird Arena?

We’re very glad to hear that you’re close to finishing your master’s degree at ISU! Since deadlines come early, it’s good that you’re getting a jump on the paperwork. You need to file two forms: a Master Degree Audit Form,and a Completion of Degree and Commencement Participation Form.

For your Degree Audit Form, fill out everything you can, including the courses you took, the number of credit hours, and your grades. Send your completed form as an email attachment to the Master’s or Ph.D. Coordinator.

The instructions for completing the Completion of Degree and Commencement Participation Forms are on the first page of that form. There’s a $40 fee for filing this form. It’s important that you follow the deadlines for submitting this form. Click on the tab for your graduation date to see the deadlines. We know it’s early in the semester for submitting this paperwork, but the Registrar’s Office has over a thousand of these to process. They need every bit of that time.

You can send me your degree audit as soon as you know which courses you’re going to take in the fall. Leave blank the grades on any classes you may have taken over the summer and those you plan to take in the fall.

For further information regarding graduation and commencement please visit ISU Graduate website. When it becomes time to participate in commencement, you will want to purchase your cap and gown from Jostens by selecting Illinois State University as your school. Learn more information about participating in commencement from the Graduation Services website. This site will tell you the schedule, give you directions to Redbird Arena, and much more.

Finally, if you have any further questions upon visiting the provided websites, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your corresponding degree coordinator as a Ph.D. student or Master’s student.

Credit Hours and Courses


How and when do I register for courses?

You can register for courses on My Illinois State and under student services center you can enroll in a course at ISU.

How do I request an override into a course?

You may request an override by going to your Myilstu account login. Under the academics tab you see a link named course permit request (override). Fill out the proper information.

What is the minimum number of credit hours I can register for as a graduate student?

Part time students enrolled in the mathematics department may have less than 9 credit hours. As a GA, student on fellowship, and international student: You must be registered as a full time student which is at least 9 credit hours. If you register for more than 15 credit hours, you must obtain approval from the graduate coordinator. During the summer sessions a full time student is considered to be at least 6 credit hours. However, if you are in your last semester as a master’s student you can register for a minimum of 1 credit hour but must file a form with the graduate coordinator who will approve your course load.

What is the maximum number of credit hours I can register for as a graduate student?

Mat 400 (Independent Study for Master’s Students): Only 6 credit hours will count towards your degree.

Mat 490 (Master’s Project): 3 credit hour course that can’t be repeated for credit.

Mat 498 (Professional Practice): Between 1-3 credit hours will count towards your degree

Mat 499 (Thesis): Between 4-6 credit hours where a minimum of 4 are required for a master’s degree. More than 6 credit hours will not count towards graduation.

Mat 500 (Independent Study for Doctoral Students): Only 12 credit hours will count towards your degree.

Can I repeat a course?

Yes. You can take a course at most twice. The 3rd time taking a course requires permission from the graduate coordinator and the graduate school. Note that permission is not always granted and the grade received during your repeat semester is the grade that goes on your transcript regardless if it was better or worse.

Can I use courses from outside the mathematics department in my plan of study?

Yes, you may but the course must be approved by the graduate coordinator in order to be counted towards your degree.

Can I take undergraduate classes?

Yes. However, the credit hours will not count towards your graduate GPA. Although they will count towards your course load requirements. You may have to take an undergraduate course to satisfy pre-requisites for graduate level courses. In addition, you may have to take undergraduate courses to fulfill VEE’s for the Society of Actuaries.

Can I transfer credits from other institutions to count towards my Master’s/Doctoral degree?

Sometimes, with approval from the graduate coordinator and graduate school. Credits that are more than 6 years old will not transfer. If a course you wish to transfer was used to count towards your bachelor’s degree, you can’t use those credits to count towards your master’s degree. Only graduate level courses with a grade of B or better will transfer and they will only transfer as 300-level electives.

Master’s Students: Generally, a maximum of 9 credit hours can be transferred. However, more than 9 needs to be approved by the graduate coordinator and graduate school.

Ph.D. Students: Generally, a maximum of 6 credit hours can be transferred. However, more than 9 needs to be approved by the graduate coordinator and graduate school.

How do I audit a course and what does it mean to audit a course?

In order to audit a course you must fill out the form located under the Auditing Courses tab on the Office of the University Registrar site.

An auditor does not participate in the activity of the class but is expected to attend regularly. A student may register as an auditor in a class or classes if space is available. An Audit (AU) designation will appear on the student’s transcript when the instructor certifies that the student has attended the class on a regular basis. If the student has not attended regularly, a WX will be recorded on the transcript after the instructor has notified the Office of the University Registrar in writing that the student has not attended regularly.

Will you waive courses I’ve already taken?

We may waive requirements on a case-by-case basis after considering your transcript. Note that we don’t waive credits only individual course requirements. This means that you must replace the credits for any course we waive with an equal number of other graduate mathematics credits.

What is a visiting graduate student?

A visiting graduate student is one who either does not seek a degree at Illinois State or has not been officially admitted to a degree program. Only students admitted to Illinois State as a degree student or a visiting student may take graduate classes. More information can be attained on the Graduate Admissions Page about visiting graduate students.

How many credits can I take as a visiting graduate student and will those credits transfer to a graduate program at ISU in the future?

A student who has not yet been admitted into a degree program can take up to 9 credit hours as a visiting student at ISU. If a student at large gets admitted into a graduate program at ISU they can transfer up to 12 credit hours to their degree program.

Graduate Assistantships


How and when do I apply for a GA position?

All information pertaining to how and when to apply for a GA position if found under Financial Assistance.

Am I a good candidate for a GA position?

We’re very happy to hear of your interest in applying for an assistantship. Every student is eligible to apply for a Graduate Assistantship. A good candidate would be someone who has mathematical experience, academic excellence, and excellent communication skills.

We hope you will understand when we explain that we can’t predict your chances for an attaining an assistantship without a completed application. We are looking for candidates who have a high mathematical understanding, communication and leadership skills.

When do I find out if I attained an assistantship?

You will receive an email from the Master’s or Ph.D. Graduate Coordinator. Fall assistantships will be offered at the end of March for the initial round. Spring assistantships will be offered at the end of October for the initial round. Your offer letter will state a deadline for you to accept your offer by.

Do you offer GA positions over the summer?

No, the Mathematics Department at ISU does not offer GA positions over the summer.

When do my GA responsibilities begin and end?

Teaching responsibilities begin on the date of your contract. You are expected to be available no later than one week before the start of classes for meetings and orientations.

Do I need to take the GRE to be a Master’s Graduate Assistant?

Yes, taking the GRE is required for the master’s program or to be a master’s GA.

Do I need to take the GRE to be a Ph.D. Graduate Assistant?

Yes, the GRE is required.

As an international student, what TOEFL score is needed to be considered for a GA position?

The English proficiency requirements for admission and obtaining a Graduate Assistantship to Illinois State University falls into the following categories;

have a currently valid minimum speaking score of 26 on the TOEFL iBT; submit the results of a passing score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) prior to arrival on campus; or be evaluated on campus (directly through the department/school interview or through the campus English Language Institute).

Where can I find the Graduate Assistant handbook?

GA handbook

How do I obtain a GA position for my second year of grad school?

In order to receive your GA position for a second year to finish your Master’s/Doctorate, you must re-apply on the ISU Jobs Page before the end of the spring semester. It is best to apply sooner rather than later.

When do I have to purchase/cancel ISU insurance as a GA?

If you are a GA who is registered for less than 9 credit hours, you must purchase ISU insurance on your own if not covered on an external insurance plan. This can be done by going to the go.isu.edu website. Click “Home”, “Main Menu”, “Campus Solutions”, “ISU CS Main Menu”, and then “Student Health Insurance”.

If you are a GA registered for 9 or more credit hours, you will be automatically enrolled in ISU insurance. If you wish to cancel the ISU insurance then you must fill out the form located on the ISU Student Health Services Website. Complete a cancellation form and provide proof of other coverage (copy of insurance card) each semester prior to the 15th calendar day of the Fall and Spring semesters, and the 8th calendar day Summer semester.

Can I request to be with a certain instructor for my assistantship?

Yes, a few weeks before classes start, the grad coordinator will ask for your class schedule and for any special requests for assignments. Please note that due to changing schedules, we may not be able to accommodate your requests.

When do I find out who I am working with during the semester as a Master’s GA?

Typically, you will find out your assignment a week before the semester begins. Keep in mind, you may put in a request to work with a specific instructor. It is not guaranteed you will be placed with them.

What will I be doing during the semester as a Master’s GA?

Most GA’s will be working in the tutoring center in STV 330. In addition, master’s GA’s may be running labs for undergraduate mathematics courses, assisting faculty members with teaching their courses, or assisting with various needs for the mathematics department.

What do I do if I have problems in the class I teach or assist in?

Talk with the instructor you work for. If the issue doesn’t get resolved, bring up your problem with the graduate coordinator and they will do their best to support you.

When do I return my university keys?

You must return your university keys at the end of your assistantship. Additional information on this topic can be found under ‘Services’ on the Facilities Services page.

Master's Degree


What are the general requirements to be admitted to a master’s sequence?

Please find all that information here and then select your desired sequence for additional requirements.

What are the requirements for international students to be admitted into the program?

To be admitted into the university you must follow the admission requirements outlined on the graduate school website.

What are the additional requirements for students interested in the actuarial program?

We expect all entering students in Statistics and Actuarial Science to have passed three semesters of calculus, one semester of linear algebra, and at least four courses in statistics or financial mathematics. Experience in econometrics also counts. Please let us know in your application if you have passed any actuarial exams. If you have questions about the Actuarial program, we invite you to contact Dr. Krzysztof Ostaszewski, the director of our Actuarial program by email at krzysio@ilstu.eduor by phone at 309-438-7226. Please visit the Actuarial sequence page as well as the Actuarial website for ISU.

What are the additional requirements for students interested in the biomathematics program?

Additional requirements can be found here on the Biomathematics sequence page.

How do I attain an internship?

You can find more information under the Culminating Experiences Tab and going to the course info for Mat 498.

In order to register for MAT 498: Professional Practice (Internship) for actuarial science, your internship must first be reviewed and approved by Dr. Krzysztof Ostaszewski. Start by sending a copy of your job offer to Dr. Krzysztof Ostaszewski, then register with Hire-A-Redbird. See Actuarial website for ISU for more details.

In order to register for MAT 498: Professional Practice (Internship) for statistics, you will first need to find a mathematics faculty member (usually in statistics) willing to act as your internship coordinator. Your coordinator must approve your internship contract. Please complete the Professional Practice Form, have it signed by your coordinator, and return to the Master’s Program Coordinator.

Can I graduate with two master’s sequences in mathematics?

Yes, this is possible. Some courses may overlap and can be counted towards both degrees depending on the sequence. However, contact the Master’s director.

Who should my thesis or graduate project advisor be as a Master’s student?

Each student is responsible for finding a faculty member to serve as a thesis or project advisor. Except in rare cases, this must be a graduate faculty member in the mathematics department. (Link to math section of grad catalog for list.) This person should be able to guide your study, and help you lay out a plan and a timeline for your work.

What is the Research Symposium and who can participate in it?

The Research Symposium is held each spring and offers an exciting opportunity for enrolled Illinois State graduate and undergraduate students to present what they have learned through their research, scholarship, and creative endeavor to a large audience in a professional setting. All students enrolled at the University and engaged in research, scholarship, and creative endeavor under the direction of a faculty mentor are eligible to register.

Financial


When is the first GA payday?

Each payday is the first of each month during your assignment.

Can I get an advance on my first paycheck?

Yes, you may get an advance on your first paycheck by contacting the Master’s coordinator.

Is there travel money available to attend professional meetings?

Yes, students are encouraged to participate in professional meetings. The mathematics department will assist you with travel, registration, and presentation fees. Talk with the graduate coordinator for more details.

Is summer support guaranteed for a GA?

No, the mathematics department does not offer assistantships over the summer. However, if you’re a Graduate Assistant for a fall or spring semester a tuition waiver for up to 12 credit hours for the summer after the semester in which you hold your assistantship is guaranteed.

Can I apply for research support?

Yes, the mathematics department will help with internal and external funding through the university.

Are there funding opportunities outside the department?

Yes, see the financial assistance page on this website.

How do I purchase student health insurance?

In order to buy student insurance you need to go to My Illinois State. Once, logged in, click “Home”, “Main Menu”, “Campus Solutions”, “ISU CS Main Menu”, and then “Student Health Insurance”. Fill out the form and the insurance office will process your request. Make sure you check back in a few days to the same location to determine if your request was approved. If approved, the student insurance health fee will be charged to your ISU bill at Student Accounts.

Where and how do I pay my bill for ISU fees?

Please visit Student Accounts to gain further instructions. The New Student Checklist is a checklist of everything you need to do in order to pay your bill. If you wish to have your personal bank send a check directly to Student Accounts, please follow the directions at Student Accounts.

Are there scholarships available to fund my education?

Yes, see the financial assistance page on this website.

Problems


What happens if my graduate GPA falls below 3.00?

You will not be in good academic standing with the university and may be placed on probation. Once on probation, you may not hold a Graduate Assistantship unless told otherwise by the graduate coordinator. In addition, on probation you will become ineligible for other financial aid opportunities. Students not in good academic standing can’t graduate from their graduate program.

I’m having difficulties in one of my courses, what can I do?

Talk with the teacher of your course. Let them know your concerns and they may have other study suggestions for you. As always, make friends in class and work together.

Under what conditions can I be terminated as a graduate student?

You must remain in good academic standing with the university and be making progress to obtain a degree. In addition, the mathematics department holds the right to recommend to the graduate school if you should be terminated from the program.

Can I lose my fellowship?

Yes. You must be in good academic standing to continue to receive your fellowship. In addition, you must satisfy all requirements of the fellowship and continue to make progress on your degree.

If I witness or am a victim of sexual or any other kind of harassment, what do I do?

Consider making a report. Your report can be made with law enforcement, be confidential, be a university report, be an anonymous report, or you can report it in person. In addition, counseling is available for you at Student Counseling Services. Sexual assault resources can be found at ISU’s Get Help Page.

Is there help available for confidential medical and psychological problems?

Psychological emergency services are available at ISU’s Psychological Emergency Services. In addition, Student Counseling Services holds appointments available for individual and group needs at ISU’s Counseling Services. Student Counseling Services will also help you with any self-help needs including anxiety, body image, eating disorders, depression, grief, pregnancy, suicide, veterans, etc.

Is there someone outside the department with whom I can discuss problems?

You can discuss issues with Student Counseling Services.

Computers and Mail


Do I have a university email and can I use it also as a personal email?

Yes, each student is provided with an ISU email address. You may use it for your personal email as well, but keep in mind when you graduate your ISU email will be terminated.

How often must I check my university email?

Check your email on a daily basis. You will receive a university email with the domain name ilstu. The university will send all official communication to you at this address. You should use this email account to send email to university offices, your instructors, and (if necessary) to any of your students.

How do I obtain a license for Mathematica?

You can obtain Mathematica by contacting TechZone and following the directions found here.

Whom do I contact if I’m having problems with the a university electronic resource (ie. printers, computers, projectors, etc.)?

Email: ithelp@ilstu.edu, Call: 438-HELP or visit ISU IT Help Website

Where is the nearest computer lab in Stevenson Hall?

There are several computer labs in Stevenson Hall.