New Graduate Student Steps to Success

Welcome to Graduate School!

“Welcome new MatSE grad students! Get ready to pioneer materials research in a highly collegial and collaborative environment equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. A world of opportunities awaits you.

Here you’ll tailor the curriculum to meet your specific needs and interests to preparing you for an exceptional career, whether you’ll be developing novel solutions for combating emerging diseases, making data-driven discovery of new materials for efficient, sustainable generation and energy storage, or beyond.

This is an exciting time, and I look forward to working with you as you engage in innovative classes and research. I can’t wait to see you learn and push the boundaries of knowledge in materials science.”

Moonsub Shim, Associate Head of Graduate Studies

Meet Your Peers

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Steps to Success Before You Arrive

Before you start achieving your dreams, be sure to complete all 10 essential steps on the Gradudate College Quick Guide to help you get everything in place.

Explore the Quick Guide


Steps to Success Once You Arrive

Set yourself up for success, Illini. Cross off the important steps listed in the Graduate College Quick Guide before your arrival on campus. Please also review important information and deadlines below, which will require you to take action once you've arrived on campus. Please make sure to read all information very carefully.

When Should I Arrive on Campus?

All students are required to arrive prior to the start of the Fall semester.

*International students should plan to arrive on campus by the program start date listed on your I-20. If you anticipate visa processing to delay your arrival, please let our department know as soon as possible. In the case of visa delay, the Graduate College and MatSE recommend your arrival on campus no later than the 10th day of instruction of the Fall  semester.


Transportation | Graduate College

Transportation | ISSS

I'm an International Student, What else Should I Do Upon Arrival?

All International students are required to check in with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) upon arrival to campus. ISSS will provide updates for all your needs, including check-in, ISSS orientation, transportation, welcome events and much more. For questions, please contact ISSS directly and be sure to review all important ISSS links below:

Plan Your Courses and Register for Class

You will need to register for classes via the UI Integrate Self-Service. (You can begin registration prior to arrival and/or once registration time ticket has opened to all graduate students for the term.)

For guidance on course suggestions and planning your first semester, check out these resources:

Ensure you register for required MSE courses inlcuding MSE 595 colloquium and MSE 529 or 559 to meet your seminar requirements in the fall semester as noted in MatSE's degree requirements.

For variable credit hour classes, please see here for instructions to update credit hour using the enhanced registration screen.

For comparison textbook shopping, visit the Illini Union Bookstore.

  • Master's students: Your advisor will be assigned to you after you begin the Fall semester.
  • Doctoral students: If you haven't already done so, please reach out to a MatSE faculty member of interest directly. You will be required to confirm your research group after the start of the semester. More information about advisor/group selection will be provided at orientation.

I am a Doctoral Student with an Assistantship, Now What?

Please be sure to review the Timeline to MatSE document here.

You will need to check-in with the MatSE Human Resource Office to complete your new-hire paperwork prior to August 16th, if possible. *Check in dates can be scheduled beginning July 24. Be sure to have a form of state-issued identification card, such as a driver's license, passport or social security card.

After completing your new-hire paperwork, you will receive your first paycheck in September. For more information, check out the Graduate College's assistantship policies. Please also see


*Please note: If you have completed the FAFSA and received a financial aid award letter provided by the University, assistantship with stipend and waiver information provided by our department will not be listed. Applicable tuition and fee waivers are not applied to your student account until after the start of the Fall term, once your assistantship appointment and/or any applicable fellowship waiver has been processed.

Need help finding your home away from home? Check out your housing options with the Graduate College's Housing Map.

For on-campus housing, explore the Graduate Upper-Division Halls. If you're considering an off-campus housing option, make sure to check with Off-Campus Community Living before signing a lease.

Save the Date

MatSE New Graduate Student Orientation


 Details regarding orientation will be provided to all incoming graduate students via email closer to the start of the fall term. 

*All incoming students are expected to attend orientation.*

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