Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

igniting and nurturing creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition

About IMSA

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships.

Growing the State's Supply of Technical and Scientific Leaders

IMSA offers a uniquely challenging education for Illinois students in grades 10 -12 talented in the areas of mathematics and science. Tuition and most room and board expenses are provided by state funds. The 650 students who are enrolled in the three-year residential program participate in a unique approach to learning that is problem-centered, inquiry-based and integrative. Advanced courses in mathematics, science, the arts and humanities emphasize connections across the disciplines.

Research- A Cornerstone Educational Experience

Students are widely recognized for their achievements in research, presentations and academic testing. High-level student research is a cornerstone of IMSA's unique educational experience. Through the Student Inquiry and Research program, students conduct research with master scholars and scientists at more than 100 institutions, including Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the Field Museum and Loyola Medical Center. They deliver their findings at professional conferences nationwide and abroad.

Admission to the Nation's Top Colleges and Universities

Students reach exceptional levels of achievement. While IMSA students' standardized test scores are among the nation's highest, their college readiness includes more than high scores. Their evidence of deep learning through research projects, mentorships, published studies, and presentations at professional conferences makes them highly attractive candidates to the nation's most selective colleges and universities.

The five Illinois universities that enroll the highest number of IMSA graduates from the classes of 2006-2013 are University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, The University of Chicago, and Illinois Institute of Technology.

The five out-of-state universities that enroll the highest number of IMSA graduates from the classes of 2006-2013 are Case Western Reserve University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Alumni - A Growing Force in Illinois and Beyond

IMSA alumni include 4,560 graduates with 99.5% having enrolled in college. Nearly 2/3 earn degrees in either science or mathematics which is significantly higher than the population at large and more than four times higher among women. The IMSA approach to learning -- problem- centered, inquiry-based and integrative -- has prepared graduates to be decidedly different learners.

Many graduates are making strong contributions in their fields and to society. These leaders are conducting research in ecology, evolutionary biology, infectious diseases and astronomy. They work for multi-national Fortune 500 companies as consultants in E-commerce and as design engineers. They fly jets for the United States Air Force and Navy. They contribute to the field of medicine by improving detection devices for the diagnosis of cancer and lead breakthroughs in neurological disorders. They are business leaders, engineers, physics and chemistry teachers. They are scientists at national laboratories and leaders in education at Harvard, MIT and other prestigious universities.  Earlier this year, an IMSA alumna from Englewood in Chicago was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

As entrepreneurs, they are improving the way we live, learn and work. IMSA alumni were part of the start-up teams that created Netscape, PayPal and YouTube. Alumni are fulfilling IMSA's Promise to Illinois - using their talents and compassion to advance the human condition.  An IMSA class of 2012 graduate was named a "20 Under 20" Thiel Fellow and will receive $100,000 for the next two years to start a company.  

Faculty - Among the Nation's Best

IMSA faculty members include Presidential Award winners, 34% are National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certified faculty, distinguished authors and fellowship recipients. All faculty have advanced degrees, with 51% holding doctorate degrees. In 1998, Nobel Laureate Dr. Leon Lederman became the inaugural Resident Scholar at IMSA.

Stimulating Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Technology in Illinois Schools

IMSA delivers statewide professional development and enrichment programs to Illinois teachers and students. The Academy works with teachers in school districts to focus on professional development in mathematics, science and technology curriculum, instructional methods, standards alignment and measurement of results. IMSA delivers enrichment programs to stimulate the interest, motivation and achievement of elementary, middle school and high school students in mathematics, science and technology. Programs are held on IMSA's Aurora campus, at its Chicago and Metro East field offices, at locations throughout Illinois and online.

Bringing Recognition to Illinois

Since it was founded in 1985, the Academy has been uniting the best knowledge of how people learn with input from experts in mathematics, science, technology and other fields. IMSA's models of teaching and learning are recognized nationally and abroad. Delegations of educators from Illinois, other states and countries including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand come to IMSA to study curriculum and instruction models.

IMSA was named the winner of the 2009 Intel Schools of Distinction Star Innovator Award. Each year, only one educational institution in the nation is the recipient of this prestigious recognition.  In 2013 an IMSA senior was named an Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) semifinalist in the Annual Intel Science Search.  Also in 2013 the IMSA Scholastic Bowl Team won their third straight IHSA State Championship and an IMSA Team received the highest ranking possible in the 15th annual international High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling (HiMCM). 

IMSA has been profiled by Wired.com, CNN, Nature journal, NBC-TV's Dateline and the New York Times to name a few. The Wall Street Journal and Worth Magazine named IMSA among the top public college prep programs in the nation for placing graduates in Ivy League and other highly selective universities. Newsweek named IMSA in its list of top "public elite" secondary educational institutions in the nation.