Get involved with Illinois Mathematics Lab

Why join the Illinois Mathematics Lab Activities?

The underlying goal of the Illinois Mathematics Lab (IML) is to contribute to mathematical research while also making mathematics more accessible to the general public.

The Illinois Mathematics Lab administers undergraduate research projects each fall and spring semester. Undergraduate students work in small teams under the mentorship of a graduate student and a faculty member on a project in an active field of mathematics. Students gain research and presentation skills that make them more well-rounded learners and attractive candidates to potential employers.

IML also sponsors mathematical outreach activities for the public and for local schools.

Through research projects and outreach activities, students learn to present complex mathematical work, making them better communicators to both fellow mathematicians and the general public.

Two students stand in front of a research poster in a library. The poster is titled "Fractals in Fourier Series>"
Two students present the results of their research at the Fall 2022 IGL Open House Poster Session. (Department of Mathematics.)
Information for undergraduate students

Participating in IML research

A typical IML team consists of a faculty mentor who proposes the project, graduate student, and 3–5 undergraduate students. However, in recent years, the size and composition of IML projects has varied. The frequency of meetings will be determined by the faculty mentor; typically the full team meets every few weeks, while the undergraduate and graduate students meet more often (usually once or twice per week).

To participate in IML research projects, undergraduate students must register for course credit (the 3 credit course MATH 492, S/U grading) and commit 10 hours/week to their project. All participants must be able to fit this course into their schedule.

All majors are welcome to apply to IML , but preference may be given to math majors in some cases. The minimum requirement for participation in research projects is completion of MATH 241 (Calculus III), usually with a grade of B or better.

Applications are usually open from late April until early August for fall semester projects, and from December until early January for the spring semester projects. Please join our mailing list, igl-prospectives, if you wish to be notified when the application window has opened.

The application for undergraduates to apply for Spring 2024 projects is now open. See the Upcoming Projects page to apply.  The deadline for full consideration will be Sunday, Jan. 7.  We may consider later applications if spots remain open.

Participating in IML outreach initiatives

The IGL invites participation from all undergraduates interested in doing outreach in mathematics! The IGL undergraduate organization is always seeking new members. Any undergraduate at Illinois can join and membership is not limited to mathematics majors. For more information, see our Outreach page.

Information for graduate students

A graduate member of the IML typically works in a group consisting of one faculty mentor and 3-4 undergraduate students. The graduate member serves as a team leader and is responsible for supervising progress on the project and providing both mathematical and technical support to the undergraduate student members. Application information is sent to Math Department graduate students each semester through the departmental email list. Although we are not able to offer compensation, graduate students who serve as team leaders for at least two semesters become eligible for summer support through the Susan G. Morisato Scholarship program.

Information for faculty members

The Illinois Mathematics Lab (IML) facilitates in-semester vertically integrated research projects. Undergraduate students work in teams under the supervision of graduate student mentors on projects designed by faculty members and postdocs.

The frequency of meetings will be determined by the faculty mentor, but typically the full team meets every few weeks, while the undergraduate and graduate students meet more often (usually once or twice per week). Each undergraduate participant is expected to contribute 10 hours per week to the project.

For each project, a three credit-hours MATH 492 section is generated (S/U grading) and IML students are required to enroll in this section. The setup will be handled by IML administration. As a faculty mentor, you will just need to submit S/U-grades at the end of the semester.

Projects run in either the fall or spring semester. While projects are accepted throughout the year, we ask that faculty member submit any proposals Spring 2024 projects by Nov. 25 if possible.

How to propose a research project idea

We solicit project ideas from faculty throughout the academic calendar. If you have an undergraduate research project you would like to conduct as an IML research project, please complete the proposal form below or email Karen Mortensen.