Thursday, May 30, 2024


Welcome New Graduate Students!

Information for NEW graduate students in Actuarial Science, Data Science and Statistics at the University of Iowa. 

Last Updated, May 31, 2024.                                   Additional updates will be sent this summer!


Important Information for International Students

The Office of International Students and Scholars does an incredible job helping you settle into Iowa City and the University of Iowa.  They have webinars to help with: 

1. Getting Started and Making Travel Arrangements

2. Achieving Success: On-campus Involvement and Cultural Adjustment (undergraduate students)

3. Graduate Student Professionalization and Support

4. Understanding Orientation Expectations, Responsibilities, and Placement Tests (graduate students)

5. On-campus Housing Assignments and Move-in Tips (undergraduate students)

6. Student Employment

7. Money Matters - University Billing

Do you need to take the SPEC (Spoken Proficiency of English for the Classroom)?

All students for whom English is not a first language (as self-reported on their admissions application) and who have first-time appointments as graduate teaching assistants (TAs) are required to go through a testing process to assess their effectiveness in speaking English before they are assigned assistantship responsibilities. Beginning in Fall 2024, there will be a new test to assess communication in English in a classroom context called SPEC (Spoken Proficiency of English in the Classroom).  This is replacing ESPA and ELPT.  Details will be coming soon.

Any graduate student who is included in the following categories needs to have their oral English proficiency tested by the TAPE Program:

  • Students whose first language is not English (i.e., learned another language first) as self-reported on their admissions application, and
  • Have been appointed as a Teaching Assistant

Exemptions (may change):

  • Students with an official valid (within the last two years) iBT Listening score of 25 and an iBT Speaking score of 26.
  • Students who obtained degrees at institutions in which the language of instruction was English. This includes:     
    • Undergraduate degrees and/or     
    • Continuous attendance of English-language schools since the age of 12 (or younger)
  • Students who served as teaching assistants at other institutions of higher learning in which the language of instruction is English, if they were listed as the instructor of record for a course or led a discussion section in English for at least one year, with a year defined as either two academic semesters or three academic quarters.
  • Requests for exceptions regarding the SPEC can be submitted for evaluation to a committee consisting of the Director of ESL Programs, the Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs in the Graduate College, and a representative from University Human Resources.

Requests for exemption and exceptions must come from the department by the deadline, not the student.   Deadlines to register students for the SPEC are:

  • August 1
  • October 1
  • January 1
  • March 1  

NOT Exemptions:

  • Students who come from a country where English is one of the official languages.
  • Students who are U.S. permanent residents or U.S. citizens whose first language is not English.

Testing Procedures & Results

 To be announced soon!

Graduate/Professional International Students Important Dates

July 12, 2024: Earliest date you may enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status.
August 11, 2024: Latest date by which you should arrive in Iowa City
August 12 - 16, 2024: International Student Orientation
August 26, 2024: Classes begin.


Housing Information for All Students

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?

All US citizens that are financially supported (TA, RA) need to be here on August 21.

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.   


Fall Classes Advising will be August 19-23

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.  Email him after August 12 at to set a time to meet to discuss what classes to take, it may be on Zoom or in his office (233 Schaeffer Hall).
  • IF you are a Data Science MS, Statistics MS, or PhD student you will need to meet with Professor Boxiang Wang.  Email him after August 12 at to set a time to meet to discuss what classes to take, it may be on Zoom or in his office (261 Schaeffer Hall).

New Graduate College Welcome and Orientation, August 21

The Graduate College Fall 2024 Graduate Student Orientation event will take place on Wednesday, August 21, 2024.  A registration form will be sent to your UI email sometime this early summer from the Graduate College. All new doctoral and master’s students are invited to attend.  

New Teaching Assistant Orientation, August 22- required for all new supported students

Sponsored by the Center for Teaching

This event will introduce participants to the role of teaching assistant at the University of Iowa and prepare them for the first week of classes and beyond. 

Participants will discuss evidence-based teaching strategies for lesson planning, inclusive teaching, and more with Center for Teaching staff. Participants will also choose two workshops of interest to them out of several options; these will be facilitated synchronously by experienced TAs.  This is a virtual event for 9-noon.

New Student Department Orientation, August 23 at 9 a.m., Room to be determined.

  • All New Student Orientation —Group Introductions and General Policy Procedures.

New Supported Graduate Assistants Orientation, August 23 at 1 p.m., Room to be determined.

  • 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

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

Nearly all supported students will have a desk in one of our offices.  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, August 23.  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 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 bulk mail.
    • Make sure that none of the categories are checked.

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 SPEC 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 (until July 1, 2024)

Director of Graduate Studies, Statistics and Data Science Graduate Advisor:  (319) 335-0821.

Professor Boxiang Wang (beginning July 1, 2024)

Director of Graduate Studies, Statistics and Data Science Graduate Advisor: (319) 335-2294.

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