FAQ

General Admissions

When can I apply for admissions?
Information on the application process can be found here.

What is the application deadline?
Information on the application process can be found here.

What is needed to apply?

See the Admission Requirements page for further details:

Do you require an undergraduate degree in finance or computer science?
No, it is not required, but it is strongly recommended that a student have an affinity for quantitative and technical study. Our current students’ undergraduate backgrounds will likely be in fields such as computer science, information technology, mathematics, economics, and finance.

What is the application fee?
The application fee is $70 for citizens and permanent residents of the United States. The fee is $90 for international students.  The application fee can be paid by credit card during the online application process. If you prefer not to pay online, you may send a check payable to the University of Illinois directly to the PARM office at

PARM Office
265A Computing Applications Building, MC-382
605 E Springfield Ave
Champaign, IL 61820

Telephone: 217-300-5630
Fax: 217-333-9576

The PARM office cannot process your application until the application fee is received.

What is the tuition and fee schedule for the MPARM program?

See the Tuition and Costs page for further details:

Can I get financial aid?

See the Financial Aid page for further details:

Are there any interviews for admission?
Interviews are conducted on an invitation-only basis. Please refrain from calling or emailing the PARM office to request an interview. You will be contacted by the PARM office if an interview is necessary to make a decision on your application.

How do I make changes to my application once it has been submitted?
You may amend your application by sending your revised and/or additional documents to PARM@illinois.edu or through the Application Management page on the Graduate College webpage.

Where do I mail my admissions material?
Please do not mail any documents to us. You will be allowed to upload scanned copies of your documents during the application process.

Can I send unofficial copies of transcripts, etc.?
Yes, you can upload unofficial transcripts during the application process.  However, if you are admitted, you will need to provide official documentation. Please note that the documents must be provided in a sealed envelope directly from the issuing institution. See Transcripts.

I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree. Can I apply to the PARM program?
Yes. Be sure to note all work experience, internships, and other certificates and activities in your application. In addition, you must have completed all requirements of your degree by the start of classes in August so that you can arrive on the University of Illinois campus in time to participate in orientation, which is held in August.

I am currently a graduate student at the U of I. How can I transfer to your program?
Since you are a current UIUC graduate student, you do not need to fill out the standard application. Instead, you will need to fill out a petition form. It waives the application fee and allows the documents you already submitted for admission to your current program to be forwarded to the Predictive Analytics & Risk Management program.

You will need to write an academic statement of purpose that is no more than 1000 words, describing your area of interest and what your goals are upon completion of the PARM program. We also require one additional letter of recommendation from a recent professor or employer, along with the letters of recommendation that you submitted to your previous/current program. You may send your new personal statement and letter of recommendation to us at PARM@illinois.edu as a pdf attachment.

Once your advisor has signed the petition form, he/she can send all the documents from your file, (transcript, previous letters of recommendation, etc.) along with the completed petition to our office. We will then have the director of the PARM program sign the form, and the Admissions Committee will begin to review your file. This process does not guarantee admission to the program; it just allows you to apply as a current UIUC graduate student.

I am a previous graduate student from the U of I  (completed a master’s and have since left). How can I apply to your program?
Since you were a graduate student in the past, you will not have to re-apply. However, you will need to fill out two forms:

You will also be required to provide us with your transcripts, a new personal statement (no more than 300 words), and one additional letter of recommendation from a recent professor or employer.  These should accompany any previous letter of recommendation that you submitted to your last program of study at the U of I.

Who should write recommendation letters?
Your recommendation letters should come from academic and business sources. These recommendations should emphasize your strengths in the following areas: quantitative and analytical analysis, written and oral communication, spreadsheet analysis, and relevant work experience.

Can I write more than1000 words in my academic statement of purpose?
We encourage you to keep your personal statement to under 1000 words. You may write more, but any more than 1200 may indicate an unclear understanding of directions. Also, due to the high volume of applications, the Admissions Committee may not be able to read an extensive essay as thoroughly as a shorter one.

Is a thesis required?
No. The program is solely based on coursework. Students interested in working on research projects can make arrangements with individual faculty. 

Can the program be extended from 3 semesters?
The PARM program is intended to be 18 months/3 semesters. Exceptions to this rule are made for qualified students who have successfully completed their first semester. Approval must be granted by the director immediately following the first semester and prior to starting in the spring (2nd) semester. 

May I transfer credits to fulfill PARM requirements?
No, we do not allow the transfer of other credits to replace core PARM courses. We realize that some of our students have taken similar courses but not as in-depth or in line with the PARM curriculum here at UIUC. 

Can I waive any courses?
Students who have taken an equivalent course may be allowed to substitute a course with a more advanced course, subject to approval from the faculty and director.

Can I apply for spring admission?
No, due to the sequential design of the curriculum, we do not offer admission into the spring semester. All students must start the program in the fall.

Will I receive health care services?
Yes. As a student at the University of Illinois, you pay two fees at registration covering services that should meet most of your health care needs. Please visit McKinley Health Center for details on these fees and what they cover.

Test Scores

Is the GRE/GMAT required?
No, neither the GRE nor the GMAT is required.

Is the TOEFL/IELTS required?
Yes. Applicants whose degree is not from an institution or country where English is the official language can find the Graduate College English Proficiency Requirements at the following link:

Can I send unofficial copies of test scores?
No. Official test score reports are required for the Admissions Committee to review your application.

Is it possible to submit my test scores at a later date?
You may start applying for our program without submitting your official test scores; however, all official scores must be submitted to be officially reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

International Student Concerns

Am I eligible to apply with a bachelor’s degree from a non-U.S. institution?
Any international student may visit the University of Illinois Graduate College Admission Requirements by Country to view country-specific requirements.

Do I need to upload financial documents at the time of application?
If you are an international student (not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) you must provide evidence that you have enough money to pay for the program and support yourself and any dependents you have for the duration of the program. The University of Illinois is required to document this proof with bank statements showing you have adequate funds before they can provide your I-20 or DS-2019. Please see the Graduate College regulations regarding Evidence of Financial Resources for additional information. These documents do not need to be submitted at the time of application but will need to be sent in quickly upon any offer of admissions.

Admitted Students

How do I accept the admission offer?
It is important that you accept or decline your admission offer by the deadline provided in your offer letter. After the deadline, the admission offer is no longer valid.  If you choose to accept the offer, you must also pay the deposit. The deposit is a partial prepayment of your second semester tuition and can be paid online with a major credit card. 

When will I get my official admissions letter from the Graduate College?
It may take a few weeks for the Graduate College to approve admissions. They will email you with their official decision as soon as one has been made. 

Why is there a deposit?
The deposit holds your seat in the program and is pre-payment of tuition. It will be posted to your student account when the spring semester bill is available. It is non-refundable and non-transferable.

When can I pay the deposit?
Admissions to the Illinois PARM program is very competitive; to ensure your seat in the program, we encourage you to pay the deposit as soon as possible.  If you are not approved for admission by the Graduate College, your deposit will be refunded.

How do I pay the deposit?
A link will be provided in your admissions letter. You will be able to pay using any major credit card. If necessary, you can pay by check.

What if I missed the deposit deadline?
The PARM program has a limited number of seats available. If you do not accept your offer by the deadline, your seat may be allocated to another applicant.  An acceptance is official upon the receipt of a deposit (by the deadline).

Can I have a refund on my deposit?
No. Having forfeited your admission, you have surrendered your seat as well as your deposit. You will find that most graduate programs do not allow refunds of deposits.

Will I receive health care services?
Yes. As a student at the University of Illinois, you pay two fees at registration covering services that should meet most of your health care needs. Please visit McKinley Health Center for details on these fees and what they cover.

Admitted International Students

How do I get a student visa?
We will provide you with an I-20 or DS-2019 form so that you can request a student visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. We will mail these forms to you by express mail along with your formal admission letter. Included with this mailing will be helpful information about the program and your arrival on campus (housing information, etc.).

I am transferring from another U.S. institution. What do I do?
The University of Illinois does not have a transfer-in form. Therefore, you will need to take your admission letter to your current university’s international student’s office and request a SEVIS transfer. Please note that this can be done only while you are in the United States. Our SEVIS school code is CHI214F01070000 for F-1 visa holders and P-1-00209 for J-1 visa holders.

Once your SEVIS record is transferred, you will need to contact the Graduate College to find out when your new I-20 or DS-2019 will be ready. You will then need to check in at ISSS once you arrive on campus.

What financial support documents are needed?
All international applicants requesting visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) are required to demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of their education while in the United States. International applicants should upload the following documentation directly to the online application. These documents do not need to be submitted at the time of application, but it is highly recommended to speed up the process. There are three ways to show adequate financial resources:

When do I need to provide financial support documents?
We suggest that you provide these documents at the time of your application. This will not affect your admission decision; however, it will speed up the process of receiving your I-20 and admissions packet once admitted.

When will I get my admission decision from the Graduate College and my I-20?
It may take a few weeks for the Graduate College to approve admissions.  They will email you with their official decision as soon as one has been made. Once the decision has been made, they will do a SEVIS check to make sure you have the following:

These items can be uploaded to your application at anytime.  Once that is complete, your I-20 will be created, and we will mail it to you along with additional admissions materials.  It usually takes 5 to 7 days, once mailed, for these items to reach you.

I am transferring from another UIUC grad program. Do I need a new I-20?
Yes, you will need to get a new I-20. However, since you are a current UIUC student, you will need to go to ISSS after the petition to change programs has been approved (take proof of the approval with you); an advisor in ISSS will update your I-20 to our program.

I am a new international student coming from a U.S. college. When will I get my I-20?
The SEVIS department at your current university should transfer the paperwork to our SEVIS department at your request.  This will take about a week.  Once the paperwork is received, UIUC will issue you a new I-20.  Once this document has been modified, PARM will mail it to you along with additional admissions material.

How do I transfer my I-20 (SEVIS) from a previous U.S. institution?
You must wait for your current semester to end before your SEVIS record is transferred, but it could be transferred the day after the semester ends (the international student office at your university can tell you the earliest they can transfer your record).

As soon as you have completed your degree at the other institution, the SEVIS department there will transfer the paperwork to our SEVIS department.  This will take about a week.  Once the paperwork is received, UIUC will issue you a new I-20.  Once this document has been modified, PARM will mail it to you along with additional admissions material.

I have submitted all of my documentation. When will I receive my I-20?
It usually takes the SEVIS department a couple weeks to process I-20s. Once this document has been created, PARM will mail it to you along with additional admissions material. It usually takes 5 to 7 days to arrive once it has been mailed.

Why does my I-20 say “Operations Research” for the major?
Please do not worry about the description of major on your I-20. For the most part ,the university’s official name of majors and SEVIS’s official name of majors match, but for our program it is slightly different.

What types of loans can I take out as an international student?
Unfortunately, financial aid is very limited for international students, but there are opportunities available and they are listed at http://www.osfa.illinois.edu/aid/international,  where there are links to scholarships, international student loans, and employment opportunities. You may also want to look at loans from your home country, as most banks in the United States will not give loans to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The MS in Predictive Analytics & Risk Management program is a self-supported program; therefore assistantships and fellowship funding are not available.

Housing

What choices do I have for housing?
There are many housing options to choose from in Urbana-Champaign. These include university housing, certified private housing, and private apartments (the latter are the most popular among PARM students). You can visit the following websites to view the many housing options available:

What can I expect to pay for housing?
You will find that housing in the Urbana-Champaign community is inexpensive compared to larger metropolitan areas. In fact, the cost of living in Urbana-Champaign is anywhere from one quarter to one half of the cost of living in places such as Boston, London, New York, or Southern California. Compare costs of living at this website: Comparison of Cost of Living.

Orientation

Can I take a tour of the U of I campus?
Visiting the PARM program and both the College of Liberal Arts and Science and the GIES College of Business is a great way to confirm the program is right for you. A campus visit offers you an insider’s view and is the best way to gain a realistic impression of life as an PARM student at Illinois.

When should I arrive on the U of I campus?
Orientation is typically held the week prior to the start of classes. During orientation, students have an opportunity to get to know the other students in the program, learn more specifics about their course of study, the faculty, and the campus. Details regarding registration, university computer systems, and the many opportunities and services available to students on the UI campus are also provided.