Requirements for the MA and PhD Degrees in the field of Mathematics
Students may not be admitted directly to the Master of Arts degree program in mathematics. Instead, graduate students in the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in the field of mathematics may earn the MA as they work towards the PhD in the field of mathematics.
Admission to the PhD program in the field of mathematics is granted to a limited number of students who have illustrated an ability for advanced and original work. Normally, students take one or two years after the BA degree to obtain an MA degree, and they take four or five years to obtain a PhD. An MA is not a prerequisite for the PhD. For additional requirement, regulations and procedures for all graduate programs, please see All Graduate Students
A number of graduate scholarships and fellowships are available, awarded on the basis of merit. As part of the graduate education in mathematics, students also engage in teaching or other instructional duties, generally for no more than eight hours a week.
For courses carrying dual undergraduate and graduate numbers, (e.g., MATH 463/MATH 563), the 500-level version is intended to prepare students for advanced work in mathematics. In particular, written assignments should be prepared to high professional standards. Mathematics graduate students should enroll in the 500-level version.
MA Degree Program
The MA degree can be either a thesis or a non-thesis master's degree depending on the option the student pursues. For general university requirements for thesis master's degrees, please see Thesis Master’s Degrees. For general university requirements for non-thesis master's degrees, please see Non-Thesis Master’s Degrees.
Doctoral students may petition for these once they have satisfied all university and departmental requirements.
To earn an MA degree in the field of Mathematics, students must complete:
- Complete with a grade of B or better a course of study approved by the department. (Students may transfer credits from another university only with the approval of both the department and the University Graduate Council.)
- Perform satisfactorily on the general examinations in algebra, analysis, and topology or prepare and present an oral defense of an original thesis acceptable to the department
|Total Credit Hours Required for the MA Degree in the field of Mathematics||30|
PhD Degree Program
Students pursuing the PhD degree in the field of Mathematics must:
- Complete with a grade of B or better a course of study approved by the department (students may transfer credits from another university only with the approval of both the department and the University Graduate Council)
- Perform satisfactorily on qualifying examinations (see below)
- Write an original thesis acceptable to the department
- Perform satisfactorily on a final oral examination on the thesis
|Total Credit Hours Required for the MA Degree in the field of Mathematics||90|
The qualifying examinations in mathematics consist of the general written qualifying examinations, and the advanced oral examination.
There are three general written qualifying exams on the topics of algebra, analysis, and topology. These are typically offered three times a year, in August and January just before classes begin, and in May just after finals. Students must perform satisfactorily on all three exams by May at the end of the fourth semester. The judgment of satisfactory performance on the general examinations for either the MA or PhD degree is the responsibility of the department graduate committee. Students may take an exam several times.
A PhD student is expected to complete their advanced oral exam within 6 to 12 months after passing their last written qualifying exams. Preparation for the exam should be carried out in close consultation with the faculty advisor, and involves: choosing a special field (e.g., low dimensional topology, several complex variables, group theory, etc.), writing a syllabus,
and choosing an examination committee. Once these items have been decided the student submits all information to the department’s graduate committee for approval. The student is responsible for coordinating with the examination committee to schedule the exam. While students failing the advanced examination may, with the approval of the committee, retake it
on the same or possibly on a different topic, they generally are not allowed to take the advanced examination more than twice.