Apply to PhD Program

No "Program specific requirements" are imposed on PhD applicants in Mathematics, and no "writing sample" is required.

International students: the Mathematics Department requires a minimum TOEFL iBT speak score of 22 (or IELTS 6.5 speaking score). If you are a non-native English speaker with a score < 22, then do not apply. See below for detailed English requirements.

Indian students: a three-year Bachelor’s degree is not sufficient for admission to our graduate programs, by decision of our Graduate College. So only apply if you are completing a four-year Bachelors degree or a five-year Masters degree in India.


January 4, 2019: Deadline for PhD applications for Fall 2019. All application materials and letters should be submitted by this date, and test scores also, if possible. See below for specific requirements.

Applications received after the deadline might still be considered, but are not guaranteed full consideration. Applications will be reviewed only after they are complete.

Online Application

First complete the online portion of the application, including payment of the application fee.

Under-represented U.S. minority applicants can apply for an application fee waiver.

GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The GRE general test and mathematics subject test are required for all applicants living in the United States or Canada (except applicants with a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). They are strongly recommended for all other applicants.


As part of the online application process you will be asked to upload a copy of your undergraduate transcript (and also graduate transcript if applicable) showing grades for the most recent semester. For example, applicants for Fall admission should submit a transcript showing grades for the preceding Fall.


If your grade point average is below 3.25 on a 4.00 scale, then do not apply.

Letters of recommendation

Please arrange for three letters of recommendation to be uploaded to our online application system. Letters from professors who have taught you in mathematics classes or who have supervised you in a research project are the most useful.

Personal Statement

Please include a 1-2 page personal statement as part of your online application. We prefer statements that are honest, specific, and brief, and explain why you are applying to our program.

Program Specific Questions

The Department of Mathematics does not require any program specific questions.

English requirements for international applicants

Students with high TOEFL or IELTS scores have a better chance of admission!

1. Minimum Requirement for Admission
All international applicants must satisfy the Graduate College English Proficiency Requirement for Admission.
The Mathematics Department requires a minimum TOEFL iBT speak score of 22 (or IELTS 6.5 speaking score) and a minimum TOEFL total of 95 for admission to the PhD program. Some applicants are exempt from the English requirement for admission. Even those students will increase their chance of admission if they submit recent TOEFL or IELTS scores.

2. Minimum Requirement for Teaching Assistantship Funding
Teaching assistants must meet a higher standard: proficiency in spoken English, as measured by the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT), the IELTS, the TSE (Test of Spoken English), or the university-administered EPI (English Proficiency Interview). Students who do not satisfy this requirement can still be granted a Teaching Assistantship in Mathematics with duties outside the classroom (e.g. grading) for the first two years, provided they enter with a TOEFL iBT speaking sub-section score of 22 or 23. After two years, continuation of the Teaching Assistantship depends on whether the student has successfully demonstrated proficiency in spoken English.

Declaration of Finances

International students must submit the Declaration and Certification of Finances form before a visa can be issued. We do not need this form in order to decide on your application. If you are later offered admission and accept the offer, then you must submit the form promptly along with the required bank statement, before you can be admitted to the university and get a visa. The bank statement must show resources for the full cost of education and living expenses. If you are offered a teaching assistantship, then a bank statement showing about US$1,700 to cover any additional cost of living will be sufficient. Please note that you are not required to pay this amount, only to show evidence of such finances in a bank account.

To repeat: we do not need this documentation now in order to review your application.