Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is the application deadline?

PhD Admission: December 15

MS Admission: February 15

 All completed applications received by the deadline will receive full consideration for admission. We strongly recommend that you and your recommenders submit your application and letters of support well in advance of the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties incurred due to high traffic. Early completed applications will also be considered for early admission offers.

Q: When will admission decisions be made?

Applications are reviewed as they are received. Early applications may be considered for early admission offers. All admissions decisions will be communicated via email to the email address provided in your application. If your email address changes between the time you submit your application, and March 15th, please send your updated email address to Include your old email address, your new email address, your first and last name, and your Apply Yourself ID number in the email message.

Q: Do I need to submit Certification of Declaration of Finances form and funding documents?

These documents are only required for international applicants and are only needed if no department funding is offered. MatSE does not require evidence of financial resources at the time you submit your application. If you are approved for admission, but a funding offer is not made to you, you will be asked to upload evidence of financial resources. 

Please see here Evidence of Financial Resources

Q: What is the minimum grade point average considered for admission?

The University’s Graduate College enforces a minimum GPA of 3.0. The average GPA of incoming students to Materials Science and Engineering is 3.65.

Q: What are the minimum scores required for the GRE?

The GRE Score is optional (waived). GRE scores can be submitted if you feel it will help your overall application. However, please keep in mind submission of the GRE score as a supplemental document will not give application review priority. Additionally, if the GRE score is not submitted, your application will not be negatively impacted as all applications will be reviewed based on requirements.

Our department does not have a minimum score requirement, however, applications normally offered admission score above 80% for Quantitative, 70% for Verbal and 90% for Analytical. There are no required subject tests.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score required?

The Department requires a minimum TOEFL score of 103 and an IELTS score of 7.5 for full status admission. Limited-status admission may be offered to applicants with truly outstanding academic records who do not meet our department TOEFL requirement, provided that their scores meet the University minimum. Such limited-status admission is seldom offered and requires the student to complete the EPT test upon arrival as well as registering for English as a Second Language (ESL) courses during each of the first two semesters at the University of Illinois. In addition, the Department will not guarantee financial support for limited-status students.

For more information, please visit the following link: English Proficiency Requirement for Admission.

Also see here, for admission requirements by country. 

Q: What is the departmental code for reporting test scores?

You must request the official score to be sent to the University from the organization administering the test – our institution code number is 1836. You may also be asked to select a department code; please select the code that best matches your proposed program of study, but please note that it does not matter which department code you choose, as all scores sent to the University will be accessible by all programs.

Q: Can the TOEFL/IELTS requirement be waived?

Graduate applicants may be exempt from providing a TOEFL or IELTS score if one of the following criteria is met:

    • Received a post-secondary degree from a U.S. institution (or an institution within an approved country) within five years of the proposed admission term.
    • Completion of at least two years of post-secondary study in the U.S. (or an approved country) within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.
    • Completion of at least two years of professional work experience in the U.S. (or an approved country) within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.

See for more information and list of Illinois Graduate Admissions approved countries with English as the primary language.

Q: How can I check the status of my application?

Applicants can check their application status by logging in at the following link:

Q: Can I find out my chances of being admitted and receiving financial aid prior to submitting a complete application?

No. It is not possible for anyone to appraise an applicant’s chances for admission and financial aid without a complete application on file. The Department will not pre-review potential applicants nor will they review unpaid applications

Q: Who will my adviser be?

Those admitted to the PhD program in the fall semester are admitted at large and choose an advisor after arriving on campus and interviewing with professors who have openings for new students. Students admitted to the MS program are assigned an academic adviser at the beginning of their first semester. Spring applicants are only admitted at the request of a MatSE faculty member.

Q: Where should I send my application documents?

Please do not send any materials to the department unless requested by the graduate coordinator. You should upload all required documents to the application system. If you are admitted to the program, you will then be required to send or bring official transcripts within the first month of arrival.

Q: If I’m not accepted to the PhD program, can I be considered for the MS program?

Applicants who do not receive offers of admission to the Ph.D. program may request to be considered for the self-supported, non-thesis M.S. program without filing a separate application. Instructions for this request may be found in the decision letter for the Ph.D. program application.

Q: Can the application fee be waived?

At this time, our department does not provide an application fee waiver. Please see Application Fee, for more information about the application fee, fee waivers and eligibility. International applicants are not eligible for an application fee waiver unless coming under a valid exchange agreement that has an approved application fee waiver. 

MatSE Graduate Programs Office

Graduate Programs Office
106 MSEB
1304 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Ashley Phillips Smith
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs 
1304 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
P: (217) 300-6668

Katie M. Burke
Graduate Programs Coordinator
1304 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801
P: (217) 244-1379