Application FAQs

Deadlines/Timing:

Q: What is the deadline in order for an applicant to be considered for admission and financial aid?
A: January 1 for Fall admission and October 8 for Spring admission, but applicants are strongly urged to submit their applications and supporting documents earlier. Applications received after these deadlines will be considered, but the possibility of finanical aid is reduced.

Q: When are admission decisions made?
A: Decisions are made on a rolling basis after the deadlines. For instance, we begin to review application files for the fall semester in late January.

Q: Is there any advantage to submitting the application early?
A: Yes. The sooner your application is submitted and the file is complete, the sooner you will receive a decision. Applicants who submit their documents later may find that all of the financial aid offers in their area of interest have already been obligated.

Q: When are decisions on offers of financial aid made?
A: Most financial aid offer decisions are made at the same time as the admission decision. A few are held for later decisions.

Q: Who makes the finanical aid decisions?
A: Research assistantships are decided by the AE faculty in charge of the research. Other types of financial aid, including teaching assistantships, are decided by the Head of the AE Department.

Q: How do I apply for funding opportunities?
A: All applicants are considered for funding opportunities. There is no separate process to be considered for assistantships and fellowships.

GPA Requirements:

Q: What is the minimum grade-point average considered for admission?
A: It is a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale (A=4) for previous bachelor degree and graduate work. However having a GPA higher than the minimum is no guarantee of admission. Also applicants having an MS degree generally must meet a higher standard.

Q: What is the minimum grade-point average considered for financial aid?
A: The same as for admission.

Testing Requirements:

Q: Are any tests required?
A: Yes. The Graduate Record Examination, General Test is required of all applicants. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required of all applicants who have attended a school in a country in which English is not the primary language. Non-native English-speaking applicants who wish to be considered for teaching assistantships must also successfully complete the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

Q: What is the GRE or TOEFL code for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
A: 1836.

Q: What is the GRE code for aerospace engineering?
A: 1601.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score required to be considered for admission and financial aid?
A: For the paper-based test, the minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 613. For the computer-based test, the minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 257. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL iBT is 103. Students wishing to be considered for teaching assistanships must have a score of 24 or higher on the Speak section of the TOEFL exam.

Q: What is the minimum TSE acceptable score?
A: The minimum TSE acceptable score, in order to be considered for a teaching assistantship, is 50.

Q: What are the minimum scores required for the GRE?
A: There are no minimum score requirements for the GRE. A quantitative score above 700 is highly recommended.

Q: If I have an MS degree from an institution in the United States, do I still have to take the TOEFL?
A: Yes. Regardless of the time spent studying in the United States, the Department of Aerospace Engineering requires all students who are from countries in which English is not the first language to take the TOEFL exam. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to tank@illinois.edu.

Q:How long are TOEFL scores accepted?
A: A TOEFL must be taken within two years of the proposed term of entry; older scores are no longer valid.

Completing the Forms:

Q: I will not be able to provide part of the docmentation (i.e. GRE or TOEFL scores, letters of reference, etc.) needed for my admission file by the deadline. Will my application still be reviewed?
A: Yes. We will put together your admission file and hold it until all the materials have been received. Please email the Coordinator of Academic Programs tank@illinois.edu about the delay.

Q: In completing the reference letter forms, what should I put where it says "Major field of study" and "Field of specialization"?
A. The major field of study would be Aerospace Engineering. The field of specialization would be the area in which you wish to concentrate your studies and research in graduate school, i.e., computational fluid dynamics, multiphase flow, solid mechanics, astrodynamics, etc.

Q: How do I respond to degree sought?
A. If you have a BS, indicate MS. If you have an MS, indicate PhD. If you have a BS but want a PhD, indicate MS but state in your personal statement that you want to go on for a PhD.

Q: What should I emphasize in the personal statement?
A. In one page, discuss your interests and goals and why you should be admitted to Aerospace Engineering.

Q: Does the Aerospace Engineering Deparment have program specific questions which must be answered?
A: No. However, after you apply you will receive an email with a link to the Department of Aerospace Engineering online admissions system where applicants should indicate their research area(s) of interest. This site will also allow you to view the status of your admission file.

Q: Do I need to provide the Declaration and Certification of Finances form if I do not have any funding to report? What if I will provide proof of funding at a later date?
A: The Declaration and Certification of Finances form is not needed unless you are accepted into our graduate program with your own funding.

Application Fee:

Q: Can I receive a waiver for the application fee?
A: Only the Office of Admissions can waive the application fee. You would need to contact them regarding a fee waiver.

Q: Can I submit my application now and pay the application fee later?
A: Yes, you can submit an application without the application fee, but you will not be able to pay by credit card once the application is submitted. Payments by check or money order in US$ will need to be mailed to the Office of Admissions and Records. Applications will not be reviewed until the application fee is paid.

Where to send application materials:

Q: Where do I send the completed application?
A: All application materials must be submitted online or emailed to tank@illinois.edu.

Q: Who receives the GRE and TOEFL score reports sent by the Educational Testing Service?
A: GRE score reports must be coded 1836-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 1601-Aerospace Engineering in order to be accepted. TOEFL score reports are sent to the Office of Admissions regardless of the department code.

Status of application file:

Q: How will I know whether or not my application file is complete?
A: Applicants will be able to check the status of their application through the Aerospace Engineering online application system. After you apply you will receive an email with a link to the Department of Aerospace Engineering online admissions system where applicants should indicate their research area(s) of interest. This site will also allow you to view the status of your admission file.

Visiting/contacting faculty:

Q: Some schools request that applicants contact faculty members to explore the possibilities of obtaining a research assistantship before a decision on admission is made. Should I contact the faculty members to discuss research opportunities?
A: You should generally contact faculty members only after a decision on admission has been reached.

Q: What is the policy regarding visits to the department and campus?
A: Please contact the Coordinator of Academic Programs at tank@illinois.edu if you have questions about visiting the AE Department. Please include the preferred date(s) of your visit and the faculty/research facilities you would like to see.

Miscellaneous:

Q: Can I get an idea about my chances of being admitted and receiving financial aid prior to submitting an application and supporting documents?
A: No. It is not possible for anyone to appraise an applicant's chances for admission and financial aid without a complete application file.

Program information:

Q: Although I applied to the MS program, I was accepted into the MS Non-thesis program. Why? May I still switch to the MS w/ thesis program?
A: The longer duration of the MS thesis program (2 full years) necessitates financial support to cover tuition and living expenses. However, we usually get many more applications for the MS thesis program than we can support. Therefore, applicants for who no research funding is available are encouraged to register for the MS Non-thesis program which is self-funded and designed to be completed in 1 semester.

Q: May I switch between the MS thesis and MS Non-thesis programs?
A: Switching between the MS thesis and MS Non-thesis programs is straight forward and requires a petition signed by the thesis advisor. The petition should also include a commitment of funding from the thesis advisor. No department support is provided to students switching from the MS Non-thesis to MS thesis program.

Q: Can I do a minor in another engineering discipline while a graduate student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering?
A: No. The Aerospace Engineering Department does not have an approved minor program. A list of graduate programs with approved minors can be found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/current/minors.htm.

Coursework:

Q: How and when do I select courses?
A: At the beginning of the Fall semester and prior to the first day of classes, the department holds an information session for all new incoming graduate students. We encourage you to meet with your advisor as soon as possible after you arrive on campus. Course selection is made as soon as students arrive on campus and have met with their advisor. Please contact the Aerospace Engineering department at tank@illinois.edu if you do not know who your advisor is. International students may not register until they have checked in with the International Students and Scholar Services Office.