FAQ and Checklist for New Math Majors
This FAQ is for new math majors who have just been accepted to the University. You have probably already looked over the B.A. Program Overview and the 60 semester hours in the standard bachelor’s completion program. There are 32 hours of core math courses, 18 hours of general electives, and 10 hours of the University’s required Engaged Citizenship electives. There are, however, many different transfer situations, and many of you will have somewhat more or less than exactly 60 transfer hours. Some have much more than two years coming in, and their extra upper division hours will apply to those 18 hours of general electives; completion of the B.A. for them may only involve 42 hours. Other students may still need to be working on Calculus and/or general education courses such as Composition and Humanities. We would like you to review the general information below to get started off well, and if necessary for particulars to your situation, refer to a math advisor.
Disclaimer: This page is informal information (not the official catalog), and is primarily directed to math degree-seeking students. Some of the information below does not apply to students who are non-degree seeking, or working on secondary math certification with the Teacher Education Program. Being in TEP as a minor will also affect your ECCE requirements, as some of their requirements cover those.
First off, here are a couple of walkthrough videos to help you get started if you would like a visual. The first one, 21 minutes long, contains an explanation of the parts of a DARS. The second one, at 14 minutes, shows how to find gen eds and ECCE’s on the general education website, as well as a couple of other useful sites.
- First things first
- Important: Prerequisites for math classes
- How will I contact my instructors?
- Buying textbooks
- ECCE and General Education Requirements
- Career Services
- Miscellaneous fees
- First Semester Checklist
First things first: Where do I get started?
With your initial notification of acceptance, you should have your UIN, which you will need to log on to UIS systems, and to communicate with us so that we can look up your information to better help you. As you start searching for courses to take during your first semester, the Registration page will give you some registration tips and links, and you will be immediately directed to create your NetID and Enterprise ID. You will need an activation code to set it up, which Admissions would have sent you.
Begin using your student email as soon as possible, because official information about upcoming registration, billing, events, and other items of interest to students will be sent out on the student distribution lists.
In your first semester here, most of you will sign up for MAT 330, the entrance assessment. However, if you don’t have all three of your calculus prerequisites done, you should wait until you have completed them to sign up for this. The entrance assessment is not a course, although you sign up for it in the course registration system, so it won’t add to your overall course load. It is a test which you take and submit once. This is the only math course in the schedule you will sign up for as a credit/no credit option. Everything else you must take for a letter grade.
For your first semester as an online student, it is probably advisable to take a smaller course load if you can, to allow yourself to adjust to the demands of studying online. In any given semester, we do not recommend taking more than two core math courses at the same time. Do not sign up for courses for which you have not taken all the prerequisites. Expect registration for Summer and Fall to open in April; for Spring, in November.
Students who were registered for classes in the preceding semester may start registering a week earlier. Don’t wait too long—the online courses are popular and will fill up quickly.
Some courses in the schedule will have special restrictions on them, such as instructor approval required, or restricted to majors of that particular program. Sometimes you’ll have to email for an approval, or sometimes the restriction will be dropped later in registration. If you get confused about registration quirks, ask the math program coordinator. If it’s a technical issue, contact tech support.
Do not sign up for courses with a number below 330. Those are service courses, offered as electives for other majors. They are not the core for a math major. Note this one: MAT 302 Discrete Mathematics does NOT count as a math elective for math majors or minors.
You may want to take a moment early on to familiarize yourself with Lynda, offered through our Information Technology Services . It’s a free service to all of our students, teaching how to do various tasks in many different software platforms. If you’re working on any computer project and need to know “how to do that”, try studying it in Lynda.
Many math classes have prerequisites, and these are not arbitrarily set up– you will need the topics taught in the earlier classes to succeed in the later ones.
Do not take MAT 432, Mathematical Statistics II, without having completed MAT 431, Mathematical Statistics I. You must have at least two full semesters of Calculus before taking MAT 332, Linear Algebra.
Linear is a key course, and you should take it as early as possible. It must be completed (not taken concurrently) before attempting MAT 403 Abstract Algebra, MAT 404 Geometry, MAT 444 Operations Research Methods, and MAT 336 Differential Equations.
You will need the third semester of Calculus, and Linear, before taking MAT 415 Advanced Calculus. Advanced Calculus must be completed before taking MAT 416 Real Analysis.
You may take MAT 401 History of Math after completing at least one semester of Calculus, and Mathematical Statistics I after completing at least two semesters of Calculus.
When browsing for the courses you want in the online schedule, click on the link to “view catalog entry”. This will take you to a course description which lists prerequisites, if any. If there is a course you want to take, and the prerequisite is an upper division course which you have already had at another university, such as Linear or Advanced Calculus, make sure that this course was officially approved to transfer in by the math faculty. If it hasn’t transferred officially, it’s not good for a prerequisite.
How will I contact my instructors?
You may contact them by phone or email, or visit them at the university. Email is often the best bet, unless you know the particular instructor’s office hours. Of course, when you are enrolled in a course, most contact will occur in Blackboard. Outside of that, you may find the math program’s contact information at our Faculty page. When looking at courses (from any department, not just math) in the dynamic schedule, the instructor’s name should appear, as well as an envelope icon which links to the instructor’s email. This is for you to use if permission is required to get into the course.
Although you will have communicated with Admissions and the online coordinator using your personal email address during application, you should start checking your official student email account after acceptance. Expect program and instructors’ contacts and other college correspondence to come through that.
Buying Textbooks: How do I know what textbooks to buy?
The University bookstore should have lists of all required texts a few weeks before the first day of class.
Graduating: I’ll be graduating soon. What do I need to do to get ready?
You’ll need to get a graduation contract from Registration’s Forms page. This should be completed in the semester before your final one; however, you may start earlier and that is advisable. Contact your faculty advisor to finalize this (see the next question below if you don’t know who that is.)
If you would like to come to Springfield for graduation, let us know early. A few online students do this, and we would like to meet you. If we know early enough how many are coming, maybe we can set aside a time for all of us to get together. There is also usually an online students’ graduation brunch the morning of graduation, for those who were in online degree programs across the university.
Advising: Who is my advisor?
The online coordinator is an unofficial advisor to assist you through the application process and into your first semester. The department chair (Dr. Chan) is also the curriculum advisor for new students during this time. Soon you will be assigned a regular faculty advisor. The graduation contract at the end of your studies must be signed between you and your faculty advisor. Like the coordinator, this FAQ page is also an unofficial aid to get you started, but you should also be aware of and in compliance with the official version of program entrance and graduation requirements for your particular cohort (the first semester you were accepted as a student, registered for and completed a course), which is accessible in the online catalog.
By your second registered semester, you should know who your faculty advisor is. If you don’t, look for the advisor’s name on your DARS report (see next paragraph), or contact the online coordinator to look it up.
There is an individualized electronic record for each student of all degree requirements, called the Degree Audit Reporting System, or DARS. Instructions and the login link are on the registration page. Your advisor will probably look at this, and you can too, to help understand what you still need to take. If you have upper division math courses which you want to apply toward math requirements here at UIS, Admissions will not make this determination, and the courses will not automatically show up in your notice of admission or on your DARS. Each one must be approved by the math faculty, and if they ok it, you need to write it on a petition and send it in for it to show up in DARS. The faculty will allow up to two courses, or eight hours, of math to be transferred in to the upper division requirements.
ECCE and Gen Eds: How do I know what will meet these requirements?
A list is published each semester at the general education pages: www.uis.edu/generaleducation/curriculum/courselist . The first sections on this list are courses which are approved for the semester to meet certain General Education requirements, for those of you who were admitted lacking those. At the end of the list are the courses approved for that semester to meet ECCE requirements.
The courselist contains links to course descriptions and schedule, so you can easily click through and find out if there are seats available. Courses offered online also have “online” in parentheses.
The current catalog (at uis.edu/registration/) toward the bottom of the undergraduate page, explains the ECCE requirement in some detail. Students entering Fall 2012 or later will take the Speaker’s Series and 9 additional hours for 10 hours of ECCE. Do not take all the courses in the same category.
Be sure that you take ECCE classes which are at least 300 level. They sneak in some 200 level ECCE’s in the schedule once in a while. If you are minoring in Teacher Education, coordinate your ECCE requirement with them, because student teaching will count toward it.
Any student who was deficient in the lower division gen eds, and must take those, would have been so notified on the bottom of the first page of their Notice of Admission.
Career Services: Does UIS offer help in job placement?
Absolutely. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Our Career Development Center offers professional counselors, a very extensive job search tool, a Virtual Career Center, and on-campus workshops which you can attend online. Select UIS-SUCCESS on their website to establish your profile and receive passwords to access career resources. To properly hone your job search, searching skills, and resume, you should start working with the Career Development Center in your first semester at UIS—don’t put it off until the end.
Miscellaneous Fees: What are all those fees listed in the tuition page?
If you are accepted into a degree-seeking online program, and take only online courses, you qualify for e-tuition. This is listed on the Registration website as a per-credit-hour amount; remember that the math courses are 4 credit hours each. In addition, there is an online academic support fee which is also per-credit-hour. This applies if you are in-district, out-of-district, or anywhere in the world. If you are taking only online courses, many of the other fees are waived under the current system.
There is also a flat per-semester services fee listed. (Students who will be taking on-campus courses have additional health insurance, immunization, and other items to be concerned about. Online students should encounter these only if they are near campus and sign up for an on-campus course.) There is a small student-to-student grant which is automatically assessed on every student’s bill. If you don’t want to participate, you must notify the Bursar (217-206-6738) in advance to waive it.
If you see other fees on your account, it might be simply a mistake. In a few instances, students who do not even come to the campus have been charged for immunization non-compliance, or have had a hold placed on their registration. If you are an online degree-seeking major and this happens to you, contact Health Services and represent to them that you are only online and never come to campus; they can reverse it.
If you are normally online, but do plan on coming to campus occasionally, you may get a parking hang tag to avoid a parking ticket. There is an online application at the parking webpage. There is also an explanation there of the policy for getting a one-day tag. (section 3-105)
First Semester Checklist
- Register as early as possible in the registration period (April for Summer and Fall, November for Spring).
- Ensure that you have the prerequisites for any class you are signing up for. (topic #2, above)
- Check the bookstore to see if your classes have any required texts. (topic #4, above)
- Log in to Blackboard the first day of classes. http://bb.uis.edu/
- If you were still taking classes at time of application, and Admissions indicated in your notice of acceptance that they were waiting on transcripts, be sure to make arrangements to have them sent.
- Look over your DARS report and plan out what courses you will need to take. If you are planning on having math courses transferred from elsewhere, have this officially approved by the math faculty–and do this immediately if such course is a prerequisite for a class you want to take now. (topic #6, advising, above)
Updated December 11, 2015