Information for New Graduate Students

Are You a new Graduate Student for Fall 2020?

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions specific to our community of international students and scholars
Questions specific to study abroad  Iowa

Please review this information at your convenience. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at anytime.


Welcome to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science!

Classes start on August 24, 2020

All students will register for classes the week before classes start.  International students must complete the required Orientation Program before they can register for classes.

MYUI, and its website will serve as a hub for students to access several of the UI systems and tools they use most. 

Housing Information

The department has a housing webpage, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. If you are looking for a roommate please let us know and we can update this web page!

Looking for housing options

English Proficiency Requirement for International Students

If you are an international student and your native language is not English and your TOEFL score is below 600 on the paper-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test, you may be subject to this requirement.  If you have received a TOEFL waiver PLEASE read your admission letter to see if Admissions has determined that you need to take this exam.  More information can be found here:

ESPA and ELPT Tests for International Students

All “Financially SUPPORTED” international students, whose native language is NOT English, will be required to complete the ESPA TEST.  Students who are offered financial support are automatically signed up to take this test.  The testing schedule can be found here:  Results take a few days to process, and evaluations are often sent to the department by August 23.  A copy of the report is put in your mailbox in the department’s office, 241 Schaeffer Hall on the 26 th or just stop in our office (see Margie) and we can share the results.

More information regarding Teaching Assistant preparation in English please go Iowa's Intensive English Program and English as a second language department. More information can be found here: ESPA & ELPT tests.

If you are NOT currently FINANCIALLY supported and want permission to be evaluated you must make a DEPARTMENTAL request by completing this form and submitting.

It does not mean that we will be able to support you (since support is very limited) however in the event that a position does open in our department those students who secure a “A” or “B” grade will then be considered for future semesters and we are often asked to make recommendations to other departments for teaching assistants.   (This past year our students have worked in Economics, Sociology, Mathematics, Educational Measurement, and Biostatistics, etc.).  We work very hard to find these positions too!

Required International Student Orientation, August 17-21, 2020

If you are an international student you will need to complete your international orientation prior to registration. Go here to see the Orientation Overview for F1 and J1 students.

Fall Classes Advising will be August 19-21, 2020

All NEW UI students must meet with their advisor prior to registration.  There is no worry about getting into any of the classes we teach. 

  • IF you are an Actuarial Science MS or PhD student you will need to meet with Professor Shyamalkumar.  We will set up the appointment for you (so do not worry about this)! We will send more information about his availability in August!
  • IF you are a Statistics MS or PhD student you will need to meet with Professor Aixin Tan.   She is the NEW Director of Graduate Studies for 2020-21.  We will set up the appointment for you (so do not worry about this)! We will send more information about her availability in August!

New Graduate College Welcome and Orientation, August 19 at 1:00- 5:00 p.m.

The Graduate College will be holding a live ONLINE Graduate College Orientation for all incoming graduate students on Wednesday, August 19th from 1:00-5:00 pm via Zoom.  The following sessions will be offered:

  • Keynote Faculty Welcome for masters students and for PhD students
  • Current student panel for masters students and PhD students
  • Information about Billing, Benefits, and Payroll
  • Topical sessions including - resources for teaching, UI library resources, mental health and wellness, outreach and engagement, Graduate Success, dealing with imposter syndrome and more
  • Contact and welcome information for student organizations and resources that would have been at the resource fair

Sessions will be live and interactive.  All sessions will also be recorded and posted on the Graduate College website so students can access them after the event.

Registration will be available by June 1.  The schedule, featured speakers, and additional resources will be posted on the Orientation website soon.

New Teaching Assistant Orientation for ALL new Supported Graduate Assistants, August 20

Sponsored by the  Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology.

We are delighted to announce that Katherine Beydler (PhD, Classical Studies, University of Michigan) has joined the OTLT Center for Teaching as an assistant director. Her portfolio includes the professional development of graduate students and postdocs in their teaching roles, including our Graduate Teaching Fellows program. Please see below for a brief bio. Katherine provides one-on-one teaching consultations, coaching on statements of teaching philosophy, campus-wide and departmental workshops, and other support for graduate students and faculty members. She can be contacted at  

 We will REGISTER our students, you will be reminded of this, but put it on you calendar!

This year’s New TA Orientation will be a virtual event, held on Thursday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, with breaks. There will also be opportunities throughout the fall semester for TAs to connect with us and each other to enhance their teaching skills. We will share the New TA Orientation agenda and additional details later. In the meantime, we would appreciate the following assistance:

As always, please feel free to connect with the Center for support on any matter related to teaching and learning. Our summer offerings include Cornerstones for Course Design, a new four-part webinar series for faculty and graduate students; Keep Teaching Strategies, a new podcast exploring strategies for virtual courses; and other offerings developed in collaboration with Distance and Online Education (DOE) and other OTLT staff members.

All New Student Department Orientation, August 21 at 9 a.m., (more information coming in August)

  • New Student Orientation —Group Introductions and General Policy Procedures

ALL New Graduate Assistants Orientation, August 21 at 1 p.m., (more information coming in August)

Our Director of Graduate Studies will have a department review of expectations and your specific roles in our department. Teaching and grading assignments will be explained, as well as preparation, teaching tips, problems and questions, quizzes and exams, weekly meetings, grading, appropriate office use and the Sexual Harassment Prevention Education.

Cancelled... will be done with students taking STAT:5400.  New MS Statistics Students, August 23 at 3 p.m., (more information coming in August)

Computer proficiency exam.  (Not graded).

Mailbox in 241 Schaeffer Hall 

All graduate students will have a mailbox in our main office.  The faculty do as well.  Please check your mailbox at least once a week!

Office Desk Assignment

Due to COVID and social distancing there MAY not be office space for ALL students.  The assignment priority (in this order) includes: Ph.D. and Fellowship candidates, research assistants, half-time teaching assistants, quarter-time teaching assistants and lastly graders.  Having a desk is a privilege and should be used only for University business.  Office assignments will be given to students on the first day of classes, August 24th.  Keys are checked out ONLY after that time.  Please remember to keep the rooms clean and take out all trash to the large bins in the main hallways.  

Set-up your University of Iowa Email

All University of Iowa students are required to activate their assigned email address, as all official communication from university offices are now sent via email, rather than hard copy. This address usually follows the pattern  (However, often times a number is also attached.) 

To activate the account:

  • Log on to MyUI
  • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Request Email Account
  • Complete the specified steps

Students who prefer to maintain only their work or home email addresses can do so by routing the email to a work or home account. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Log on to MyUI
  • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Update Email Routing Address
  • Complete the specified steps

Important Notes:

  • If your email address is routed to a different account, you will not need to change your address in ICON, as your messages will already forward to your routed address.
  • To reduce bulk/mass email: 
    As a University of Iowa student, you may be receiving emails which are related to university activities but which do not apply directly to you or your program. To "unsubscribe" from these mass emails sent out by the university (except from university administration and UI Student Government):
    • Log on to MYUI
    • Click on My UIowa / My Email / Email Account Filter filter bulk mail
    • Make sure that none of the categories are checked

Do you want a part-time Job?

A great way to find jobs on campus is the following web sites:

Supported Students Please Note the Following: 

You will need bring in the following items to be officially hired.  You can meet with our Department Administrator, Tamara (Tammy) Siegel,  She will email you with details!   Bring the following!

  • U.S. Citizens bring your driver’s license (or your passport or picture ID) and Social Security Card.
  • International students bring your passport, I-94, I-20 and Social Security Card (if you have one, if not we will help with obtaining one\\

Required Graduate Assistants Teaching Courses:

  • ONLINE CLASS Requirement: Sexual Harassment Prevention Edu.  Use your HawkID and password to log into Employee Self Service. Click the Personal tab, next (under Learning and Development) click on Sexual Harassment Prevention Edu., follow instructions.
  • ONLINE CLASS Requirement:  Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Use your HawkID and password to log into Employee Self Service. Click the Personal tab, next (under Learning and Development) next click on Available Online Icon Courses, next FERPA Training, then click on View Details twice and the last click will be to Enroll in this ICON Course Session.
  • International Students, If you pass the ELPT/ESPA you are required to take an 212:009/TAPE:5330  class called TA Preparation: Orientation Program
    • A six-hour orientation program will be required of all students who are certified at level A or B and are teaching for the first time.  This orientation helps new teaching assistants understand the culture of the U.S. classroom and treats topics such as student expectations, teacher-student relationships, and understanding and answering student questions. Discussion focuses on suggestions for maximizing comprehensibility in spoken English. This course meets twice for 3 hours early in the semester. Both meetings are held in the evening.

Administrative Department Staff:

Professor Aixin Tan

2020-21  Director of Graduate Studies and Statistics Graduate Advisor:  (319) 335-0821

Professor N.D. Shyamalkumar

Actuarial Science Graduate Advisor:  (319) 335-1980

Margie Ebert

Academic Services (319) 335-2082

Heather Roth

Administrative Services Coordinator (319) 335-0712

Tammy Siegel

Department, (319) 335-0706