Math Postbaccalaureate FAQ

Contact Information

Bernard Lidický
(515) 294-8136

Jason McCullogh
(515) 294-8150

These are questions asked by some participants.

  • How much it the application fee? There is no application fee, it is free to apply.
  • Is housing provided? No. You are on your own to find a place to stay. Ames has some specifics since it is a college town. Almost all leases are from August 1 to July 31. If you want to get a shorter lease, be prepared to pay a premium for it. When looking for houses, you may consider looking at CyRide to see bus routes around the town. Getting a place close to some bus route is useful. The buses are free for students. There is no parking next to the building of department. However, there is a commuter lot by the football stadium and a frequent free bus running between the parking lot and the campus. Ames is also quite bike friendly, not during winter, and it is easy to lock the bike at the stands in front of the building. There are no neighborhoods in Ames that one should avoid for safety reasons.
  • Do you provide relocation assistance? No. If you fly, the nearest airport is in Des Moines. Executive Express is a shuttle service between Ames and Des Moines or you may contact us and see if we can help with getting to Ames from the airport. Uber is also an option for travel between the airport and Ames.
  • Can I take any classes I want? You can pick exactly two classes from the provided list each semester. The fall semester is typically Math 501 – Introduction to Real Analysis and Math 507 – Applied Linear Algebra. You cannot take more classes or classes outside of the list. If you are interested in other topics, we can arrange for you to sit in other classes.
  • When do I need to get to Ames? Plan to be here the week BEFORE classes start. Check the ISU Academic Calendar for more details. There will be some orientation, paperwork, and training during that week. There will be orientations specific for this program as well as all meetings that include all 1st year graduate students. You will be given exact schedule later. If you want to come earlier, that is perfectly fine but you will need to entertain yourself.
  • When do I get paid? You get money on the last business day of each month. You get 9 months of stipend. Since the school begins in the middle of August and ends in the middle of May the stipend will be split in 10 equal payments. The first stipend you receive will be at the end of August and the last one will be at the end of May. In order to get money, you need to go to payroll office (3rd floor of Beardshear Hall) and fill I-9 form by the end of the last Thursday before the classes start.
  • How much money will I get? We do not know exactly yet. In the past, the pay for in academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 was a little bit above $20,000.
  • When will I know my teaching assignment? The teaching assignments are done over the summer. Most students know their assignments during the week before classes start. Sometimes, there might be last minute changes.
  • Can you help me find off-campus work? No. Your success is our number one priority for you while you are here in this program. We have a commitment to you and your success. Part of you being successful is you being deeply engaged and committed to doing the work. We expect the coursework to be one of the more challenging mathematical experiences that you have encountered. We should be prepared to dedicate a great deal of time to the work. All of that being said, things like taking on jobs while in the program is heavily discouraged. Part of the model that we have created for this postbac program is contingent on folks not taking outside regular job. If this is something that you feel is required for you to do, then we should sit down and discuss your financial situation so that we can make a plan. We do not want your progress, status, or future funding to be negatively affected because of this.
  • Is there a tuition payment plan? Yes. Once you register with the payroll office, you can set up a tuition payment plan in AccessPlus yourself. Look for Employee or Student tab. There is a small fee (about $30) for doing monthly payment instead of paying it all at once. Every student in the program qualifies for in-state tuition rate and at least 1/2 of the tuition is covered.
  • Do I have to be a math major? No. However, this is a program to prepare students for graduate studies in math and it is integrated with our first year graduate program. Hence a reasonable background in mathematics is a necessary prerequisite for your success. In general, we expect that applicants know calculus and had some proof based math classes.
  • How about fees? In addition to the tuition, ISU is also charging fees (about $600 each semester). The fees can be included with your tuition in a payment plan. Unfortunately, the first payment on the payment plan needs to be paid before you get paid for the first time.
  • What is the approximate cohort size? We expect to have 4 to 7 students. The actual number depends on funding and applicant pool.
  • Do I have to take GRE? You do not have to take GRE subject test to apply for this program. However, we plan for you to take it while being at this program. Some graduate schools require you to take the test before you apply there and we would like for you to have options. We will support your preparation for the GRE subject test.
  • What is the tuition rate? In-state tuition rate and at least 1/2 will be covered for students in the program.
  • Is there some research component in the program? No. There will be no research component in the program. The goal of the program is to build a solid foundation for graduate school. Most of the participants end up being quite busy with the two graduate classes and teaching assignments they need to do each semester. The graduate classes often turn out to be more challenging than the students initially expect. You are welcome to attend seminars, and in the spring semester, there is a special semester-long seminar where different faculty talk about their research to first-year graduate students. But you will not be involved in any actual research projects.
  • Do you accept international students? While the program is open to all, we especially welcome applications from traditionally underrepresented minorities.
  • Where are alumni of the program?  Students who continued their education after our postbac program went to the following programs (in alphabetical order).Auburn University (PhD), Iowa State University (PhD, MS), New Mexico State University (MA), Rice University (PhD), University of California, Santa Barbara (MA), University of Cambridge (MS), University of Colorado Denver (PhD), University of Kansas (PhD), University of Vermont (PhD), University of Washington (PhD), University of Wisconsin, Madison (PhD), Washington State University (PhD)