Frequently Asked Questions

Expand the following sections to find answers to you admissions-related topics and questions. 

What are the minimum GRE scores required for admission?

GRE scores are not required for MS applicants, though they are highly recommended. GRE scores are required for PhD applicants. We do not have a minimum GRE score for admission. Average scores for admitted students for Fall 2019 were Verbal: 155; Quantitative: 167; Analytical Writing: 3.6.

Do I need to find a faculty member to work under before I am admitted as a PhD student?

This answer is complicated. Most of our PhD students are admitted with a Research Assistantship with a specific ISE faculty member; however, that does not mean that person is required to serve as your advisor. We expect the student to find an ISE faculty advisor to work with by the end of the first semester. We do sometimes admit PhD students with a Teaching Assistantship or Fellowship. For all these reasons, we encourage all PhD applicants to learn more about ISE faculty members and contact them about the possibility of working with them. Please note that faculty members are contacted by several prospective students and may not always have positions available. 

How do I know if I'm admitted to MS thesis or non-thesis?

Students who do not wish to continue past the M.S. for a Ph.D. are admitted to the non-thesis option. Keep in mind that this is not an absolute. Students may declare thesis or non-thesis during the first semester of their program.

What are ISE's Concentrations/Fields of Specialization?

The MS Industrial Engineering degree program has an optional Advanced Analytics concentration for the MS Industrial Engineering degree.  This is the only concentration that is offered through ISE.

How many students do you admit each term?

We do not admit a set number of students each term. Admission depends upon the quality of the applicant.

My TOEFL score is not the required minimum of 103. May I still apply?

Yes. Students may be admitted on limited status if their TOEFL score is 79-102, but the applicant must be outstanding in other areas. Limited status requires the student take an English Placement Test (EPT) at the University of Illinois. See On the basis of the EPT results, applicants are generally required to enroll in non-credit "English as a Second Language" courses and take a reduced academic load beginning the first semester at the University. See

How long does it take to complete your MS/PhD program?

There are many factors to consider-the motivation of the student, the number of hours taken each semester, thesis/non-thesis (MS only). Students pursing the MS non-thesis option can complete the degree in a year if they register for 16 hours or more per semester (fall/spring) and 4 in the summer. Students pursuing the thesis option can expect to complete the MS in two years. In the PhD program, if a student is entering with an MS, the PhD in as little as three years, but the student must be very motivated and organized with a study plan.

What are the degree requirements for the MS/PhD Industrial Engineering/Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering?

Degree requirements for all majors are located at

Does ISE have any Program Specific Questions?

ISE does have one program specific question, which will be asked in the application page. You will  be asked to rank your Research Area Preference:

Research Area Preference (you will be asked to rank 1-5; with 1 being the highest ):

  1. Data Analytics
  2. Decision & Control Systems
  3. Design & Manufacturing
  4. Financial Engineering
  5. Operations Research
Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

Certain domestic applicants (U of I Civil Service Staff, Academic Professionals, Faculty, Employees of  Allied Agencies, or applicants to designated programs, such as Project 1000, McNair Scholars, CIC Free App) may be eligible for an application fee waiver or exemption. If you are eligible for a fee waiver, choose the appropriate waiver in the application. Unfortunately, unless the applicant is covered by one of the waivers described above, the application fee will not be waived. International applicants are not eligible for an application fee waiver unless studying under an exchange contract that includes an application fee waiver. Students applying using the ISE Simple Entry Program should email for waiver instructions.

Do I have to submit a Declaration of Finance (DF) Form when I submit my application (International Students Only)?

ISE highly recommends that the PDF form is submitted with the application. It will save time if admitted to our program. Students who submitted their proof of funding at the time of application received their I-20 approximately three weeks earlier than those who waited until admission. See:

Where do I send my official transcripts?

Simple-You Don't. ISE does not require official transcripts unless you are admitted to our program. After being admitted, a student may bring or send their official transcripts to the Graduate College / 110 Coble Hall, 801 S. Wright Street/ Champaign, IL 61820

My recommender cannot use the online system. What do I do?

ISE prefers that the recommender submit their recommendation online. If he/she is unable to do so, please ask your recommender to send the letter directly to or mail to:

507 East Green Street
Suite 101, MC-434
Champaign, Illinois, 61820

I completed a degree in a country where English is not the primary language, but my education was completely in English. Do I still need to submit my TOEFL scores?

Yes. Graduate applicants may be exempt from providing a TOEFL or /ELTS score if one of the Following criteria is met:

  1. Completion of at least two years of post - secondary full-time study, as defined by the home institution, in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  2. Completion of at least two years of professional work experience in a country where English is the primary language within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  3. Completion of a post-secondary degree in a country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this exemption is for admission purposes only. This does not provide an exemption for international teaching assistants. For more information, please see the Please review for admission purposes only for a list of countries that qualify for an exemption from the admissions requirement.

When will I be notified of admission/denial?

ISE does not have a specific date that we notify our admitted students. Fall applicants can expect a decision by April 15.

I am an admitted student. When will I receive my 1-20?

Processing of the I-20 is completed by the Graduate College. Once the I-20 is completed, it can take up to a week before it is received by the ISE Graduate Programs Office. The ISE Graduate Programs Office then requests the document to be sent via UPS World Wide Express, which usually takes approximately one week. A tracking number will be sent to the student.