Mathematics, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. program does not require an M.A. degree, but applicants who are accepted should show, on the basis of their undergraduate record and recommendations, that they possess not only marked promise in mathematical activities but the potential to perform on a creative level. Like the M.A. program, admission may be granted on a provisional basis.

Students in the Ph.D. program must complete a minimum of 36 hours of formal coursework (at least 27 at the 600/700 level) with an average grade of B or better; at least 18 hours must be taken in the Department of Mathematics. In addition, the university requires at least 12 hours of MATH899 (Doctoral Research). Ph.D. students must pass two qualifying exams, and in addition must take and pass four semesters of courses from a specific list with a grade of B or better, and an overall grade point average of at least 3.3 in these four courses (these courses constitute the third and final qualifying exam requirement). These four courses must be distinct from the ones supporting the qualifying exams. The purpose of the written qualifying exams is to indicate that the student has the basic knowledge and mathematical ability to begin advanced study. Passing the exams is thus supposed to certify understanding of (selected) first-year graduate material. These examinations are given twice a year, in January and August. A student may take one or more examinations at a time. The two qualifying exams and four additional courses, must be passed/completed by January of the student's third year in the graduate program. If successful in these written examinations and courses, students must do advanced reading and coursework in their special area of interest before they can be admitted to candidacy and begin dissertation research. The dissertation must represent an original contribution to mathematical knowledge and is usually published in a mathematical journal.

Generally Ph.D. students spend about six years before obtaining the degree. The combined programs of mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics award an average of 18 Ph.D.s each year. The Ph.D. program has a foreign language requirement. Before a student can schedule the Final Oral Examination, he or she must pass a written examination in either French, German or Russian. The language examinations are composed and graded within the Department and involve translating a passage from a mathematical text into competent English.

Course Title Credits
Core Requirements
Select 36 credits of coursework 130
Pass the written examination requirements
Pass a foreign language exam
Pass a final oral examination
Dissertation Research Requirements
MATH899Doctoral Dissertation Research12
Total Credits42