FAQ: Graduate Admission and Teaching Assistantships
The Department of Statistics
Western Michigan University

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Frequently Asked Questions About Applications:

How do I apply?

Go to the Application Guide page.

When does the school year start?

Fall Term, which usually starts around Sept. 1. The second semester is called Spring Term, and starts the first week of January. There are two half-length semesters in the summer: Summer I starts in early May, Summer II starts in late June. (See the WMU academic calendar.)

What is the application deadline for Fall (September) admission to WMU?

APRIL 1 (for international students):
This is the deadline that the International Services and Student Affairs (ISSA) has set for processing international applications for Fall Term admissions.

AUGUST (for US residents):
The Graduate College continuously accepts applications until the start of the semester.

What is the application deadline for Teaching Assistantships?

The Graduate Committee makes its first round of Teaching Assistantship (TA) awards for Fall Semester (September) on this date. However, we will keep on accepting applications past this date for later rounds of decisions.

Can I apply for admission in Spring Semester (January)?

Yes, but there are fewer courses to take, since the first year sequence of courses starts in the Fall.

Do you have TA positions that start in Spring?


My major is not Statistics. Can I get admission and financial assistance?

Yes. Check out the program prerequisites for the Masters in Statistics. If you have taken and passed these prerequisite courses with grades of B or better, then you can apply for admission and a teaching assistantship.

I do not have a Masters in Statistics. Can I apply for the PhD program?

Applicants usually enter the PhD in Statistics program with a Masters in Statistics. If you do not have a Masters degree in Statistics, you may apply for the MS Statistics program and change to the PhD program after one year of coursework.

What type of financial aid have traditionally been offered to first-year students?

Teaching assistantships (TA). Our TA's are typically assigned to teach two sections of elementary mathematics or statistics classes. We do not have non-teaching financial aid.

How many new students will receive financial aid offers this year?

The number of new TA positions varies from year to year. Last year, we had 6 new positions. 3 of these went to US residents, and 3 went to international students.

What do you look for in a TA application?

First we verify that you have taken and passed the prerequisite courses for your desired program. Then we look at your overall background (courses taken and grades).

If you are a foreign applicant, we look for evidence that you speak English well enough to teach a class of English-speaking students. Examples of evidence are work experience in an English-speaking environment, or letters of reference that describe how well you speak English. If your application makes the short list of candidates, we will do a phone interview as a final check.

The names of my calculus, linear algebra, probability and statistics courses do not appear clearly in my official transcripts. They just appear as Mathematics 1, Mathematics 2, etc. Will this be a disadvantage to my application?

You may include a letter that describes the specific topics covered by each course.

Is there a minimum GPA required for admission and financial aid?

TA applications need a GPA of 3.0 or better (or their equivalent in your grading system). If your overall cumulative GPA is below 3.0, but your last two years of coursework has a cumulative GPA above 3.0, you may still qualify for a TA.

There is no minimum cumulative GPA for admission into a graduate program. However, the prerequisite courses  for the desired program should have been passed with grades of B or better.

Is the GRE required for admission?

Only for doctoral applications, and only the General test. Subject tests are not necessary, and there is no minimum required score.

Applications for Masters in Statistics do not need a GRE test.

Is there a minimum required TOEFL score? What other English language tests are acceptable?

A score of 500 (173 CBT/61iBT) is required for restricted enrollment (part-time English study and part-time academics during the first semester) or 550 (213 CBT/80 iBT) for unrestricted enrollment.

Go to the ISSA applications page for more information, and for a list of acceptable English language tests.

I live in a country where English is a second language. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Residents of some countries do not need to take the TOEFL. Go to the ISSA applications page for more information, and follow the links to a list of exempt countries.

I have been a student in the US for the past two years. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

No, but you are encouraged to contact ISSA to get confirmation about your case. In the past, students who have been in a school in the US for at least one year do not need to take the TOEFL.

If you have questions about the graduate programs or the application process, please email the Statistics graduate advisor .

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