graduate studies: faqs

who to talk to

choose all that apply

travel funding

We are trying to fund travel of our graduate students. The priority are the students presenting their results or close to their graduation. Typical upper bound is around $500 per trip ($750 for students finishing their PhD in the current year). For foreign travel, the department also will cover travel health insurance.

  • To apply for the funding complete the application form (and ask your advisor, if you don’t present at the event, to write to the DGS, explaining how the event will help your research, and whether they have alternative sources of funding).
    Note: if all of your funding comes from alternative sources (usually, your advisor’s funds, or AWM or your fellowship), no need to fill the form or ask for any approval from the DGS, but rather work with the originator. However, see important caveats below.
  • After department funding is approved: If you’d like the department to pay for your expenses directly (rather than reimburse you), please talk to the Business Office about the procedure.
  • Travel!
  • After the trip: forward the receipts and the approval email from the DGS to the business office. If your funding was coming from elsewhere, complete the reimbursement form.

NB: This workflow pertains only to the funding from the department. A lot of administrative hurdles might exist entirely independent from us: say, a plethora of restrictions by various government agencies if they fund your travel. Do your homework!

graduation countdown

Wondering how this all ends? here’s the algorithm for those planning to graduate this semester:

  • Start looking up the deadlines in the semester you graduate. Search for “Last day to take final exam” (FD) and for “Last day to complete deposit” (DD). In Spring 2024, FD=Friday, April 5, and DD=Friday, April 26, if you plan for have conferral in Spring (Saturday, May 11).
  • Apply for graduation! On self-service before the deadline (deadlines for self-service can be located here).
  • Your thesis should be ready for the committee review 2 weeks before FD.
  • The committee should know about the date and time 3 weeks before FD. By that time the Final Exam Request should be filled and submitted to Marci.
  • (We assume your committee is intact after the prelim. Check with them if they’re still on board.)
  • Before that you should arrange with the committee members time and date (<FD-2weeks!) and ask the department admins to book a room for the exam. Allow a week or two for that.
  • After you pass the exam, and correct the typos and such if needed, Marci will check the manuscript for consistency and appearances, and deposit it. Allow a couple of weeks for that (i.e. give it to her <DD-2weeks).
considering to apply for a PhD here?

Department application guide is here. Applications are done in a centralized fashion, through the Graduate College page.

Application fees are waived not by us, but by the campus, and only for a rigidly defined group of applicants (in particular, no international student is eligible, unfortunately).

What to pay attention to:

  • That 1-2 page personal statement is important: we want to see what drives you, what interests you, and whether you have clear idea about our department.
  • …which is not easy: our research strengths tend to change, and our web presence is not always follows that. Best recipe is to contact a member or two of the faculty you think might be your advisor: explain to them why you believe so, and ask them, if they think you’re good match, to contact the DGS.
    One can get a general idea of what areas of research are alight in the department by looking at this chart.

The GRE general test and mathematics subject test are not required.

For the international applicants, – English proficiency requirements are set, again, centrally. Details, here.

We start to deliberate in January, and by the late February, we send first offers. The offers go out in batches (there are always some delays)…

Those who are admitted, on the waiting list, or just interested, are invited to attend our virtual open house events.


Every admitted student has a promise of funding for 6 years (5 if admitted with a Masters degree) during the semesters. Summers are different: funding is not assured, but we do our best to provide some support to all in need, with some success.

Summers are not funded by default, but we do what we can to keep everyone afloat. Those who do not have a summer job lined up (be it RA, teaching position or an internship), please fill the form below. Preference in funding goes to students in their earlier years in the program.


The department has several (yearly) prizes for Math PhDs. The student needs to be nominated by a faculty member, who has to send a letter of recommendation to one of the prize committees. The following information indicates where nominations should be sent for a given prize. Deadline for all nominations in 2023 was December 10.

1. The Philippe Tondeur Dissertation Prize. Awards are given to recognize students in their final year of the Mathematics PhD program. Nominations should be sent to the CAG Chair

2. Wolfgang Haken Prize in Geometry and Topology. It will be awarded to a graduate student for outstanding research in geometry and topology. Nominations should be sent to

3. The Kuo-Tsai Chen Prize is given for outstanding scholastic achievement by a graduate student  whose research interests lie in the area of the relationship between geometry and analysis or the relationship between algebra and analysis. Nominations should be sent to

4. The Irving Reiner Memorial Award is given for work in outstanding academic achievement in algebra. Nominations should be sent to the Algebra Area Chair, Sankar Dutta, at

5. The Bateman Prize is given for outstanding work in number theory. Nominations should be sent to the Number Theory Area Chair, Kevin Ford, at

department fellowships

The department awards each year a number of graduate fellowships, that provide an RA-type funding (there are some minor bureaucratic differences) for a semester, freeing the recipients from teaching.

Funding of these fellowships comes from a variety of sources (bequests, department funds etc), and is therefore fluctuating year to year. Lately we award about 10 fellowships each year. The list of fellowships (not all of them have sufficient funds, though) is here.

The DGS sends a call for applications in March of the preceding AY. The applications consist of an outline of the planned research, and CV. Also, the applicant has to arrange for two letters of support.

The processing of applications is done by mostly the Graduate Affairs committee (see the list of department committees for its composition), except for the Bateman fellowship which is awarded by the Number Theory group.

The committee sorts the applications, and sends their ranking to the DGS, who then works with the department business folks, to determine how many of the fellowship can be funded, depending on what the finances look like.

This year recipients are listed here.

course information

Look here for:

  • Long term schedule of 5xx courses in the department and
  • CRNs for 597 and 599 courses
  • graduate courses offered the next semester
looking for an advisor?

This is never easy. Even if you like your research area, building relation with a faculty member who will guide you towards becoming an independent researcher is always a hit-and-miss process, just because humans are involved.

Besides, the advisors might have their own research rhythm and cadence, which you learn only once you start working with them.

To help a bit with this catch 22, we created a table of when the present faculty (including emeriti) graduated their students over the past decade (e.g., Prof. Ahlgren had one advisee graduated in 2023, one in 2016, and one, shared with Prof. Zaharescu, in 2020).

Use with caution!

Ahlgren, Scott23 16
Ahlgren, Scott; Zaharescu, Alexandru20
Albin, Pierre21 18
Alexander, Stephanie17
Ando, Matthew20 19 16
Balogh, Jozsef22 22 21 21 20 18 17 17 16 15
Baryshnikov, Juliy23 18 18 18 15
Bergvelt, Maarten19 18 17
Berndt, Bruce20 14
Boca, Florin23 20 19 17
Bradlow, Steven18 16
Bronski, Jared20 18
D’Angelo, John20 16
DeVille, Lee19 17 16 16 15
Dey, Partha23
Dodd, Christopher23
Dunfield, Nathan23 22 21 19 19
Duursma, Iwan21 20 18
Erdogan, Mehmet20 18
Erdogan, Mehmet; Tzirakis, Nikolaos15
Feng, Runhuan22 21 17
Ford, Kevin19 19 17
Haboush, William19 17
Heller, Jeremiah22 21 20
Hinkkanen, Aimo23 21
Hirani, Anil22 21
Hur, Mi Kyoung18
Junge, Marius21 18 18 17 17
Katz, Sheldon23 21 19 17
Kedem, Rinat21 17
Kedem, Rinat; Di Francesco, Philippe17
Kirkpatrick, Kay17
Kirr, Eduard-Wilhelm22 19
Kostochka, Alexandr22 20 19 19 17 16 15 15
Laugesen, Richard22 18 17
Lerman, Eugene20 19 17 15
Li, Xiaochun21 18 17 16
Loja Fernandes, Rui22 18 18
McCarthy, Randy17 17 16
Oikhberg, Timur23 21
Pascaleff, James21
Rapti, Zoi22 20 19
Rezk, Charles22 21 18 17 17 16
Reznick, Bruce23 22 20 18 17
Ruan, Zhong-Jin; Junge, Marius17
Song, Renming23
Song, Renming; Feng, Liming16
Sowers, Richard17
Stojanoska, Vesna22
Stolarsky, Kenneth18
Tolman, Susan15
Tserunyan, Anush; Kostochka, Alexandr18
Tyson, Jeremy20 20 18 17
Tyson, Jeremy; Erdogan, Mehmet22
Tyson, Jeremy; Hinkkanen, Aimo16
Tzirakis, Nikolaos17
West, Douglas17 16 16 15 15
Yong, Alexander23 22 18 18 16 15
Zaharescu, Alexandru19 18 17 15
Zaharescu, Alexandru; Berndt, Bruce18 17 15
Zharnitsky, Vadim18 16
van den Dries, Lou22 21 20 19 18 18 17
interactions with ISSS
  • If you need a CPT approved, the DGS will need you to answer the following questions (copied from the ISSS questionnaire):
    • Expected semester of graduation
    • Thesis title or specific area of research
    • Will the student register for the CPT course in more than one semester
    • Why is CPT integral to the student’s academic program and how does it relate to the curriculum
harassment cases

When something does not feel right, it most probably isn’t. Once you realize that you might be a victim in a sexual or gendered harassment, try to keep calm and map a course of actions. Here are some advises.

  • First, safety: err on the side of caution, and consider taking the following steps as soon as the situation looks unsafe:
    • In immediate danger call 911 right away.
    • If someone persists pursuing you after a clear signal they should stop, file an emergency stalking no contact order. (A helpful explainer on the no contact orders is here.) Those petitions are acted upon fast, and would give you a protection for a few weeks, while a plenary order (leading to a long-term solution) could be considered by the court. An online program assisting with filing the petition is here
      To start, call/write to Victim Services at 217-384-8625 /
      The local organization which can help with filing the order is Courage Connection; their 24/7 hotline is at (217) 384-4390 or (877) 384-4390).
    • Give a call to the campus police (at 217-333-1216) about your problem; if they are alerted, they will react faster in a critical situation.
  • If the situation feels messy, it often clouds one’s reasoning. Please talk to someone in the department: the graduate office is here to help. Or find a faculty member you feel you trust. Or talk to one of the advocates (see the list at the top of the page).
    People in the department have the best understanding of the realities here, and are eager to help you. Besides, the basic first steps to separate you and the offenders are done here: we will move office spaces, adjust class schedules or TA duties.
  • Of course, there are campus resources, at the usual places. Keep in mind that filing a complaint at the Title IX office will not cause an immediate action: its focus is on compliance and the office is known for its slow pace.
  • Lastly, there are, obviously, sexual or gendered issues besides harassment. Thus, intimate relationships between people in subordinate relationship (such as student and teacher, – TAs and graders including! – or advisor and advisee) are by default an ethical violation, and need to be reported and resolved.