PhD students resources

This page houses various resources for PhD students.

The PhD in mathematics degree requires:

  • completion of at least 135 graduate-level credits beyond the BA or BS degree;
  • passing of preliminary examinations;
  • completion of a tool requirement;
  • and completion of a written dissertation.

Although a master’s degree is not a prerequisite for acceptance into the PhD program, each student is required to obtain a master’s degree in mathematics before completing 80 credits in the PhD program.

Course Requirements

Of the 135 credits, a minimum of 36 credits of MATH courses must be completed at the 4000 level. Up to 35 credits may be taken in other relevant disciplines, as approved by the mathematics department graduate committee. Courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.

Preliminary Examinations

The preliminary exams in algebra and analysis take place two times every academic year, typically during the week immediately preceding the beginning of the fall quarter and during the first week of the winter quarter.

All students admitted to the PhD program must pass preliminary exams in algebra and analysis by the end of the winter quarter of their second year of study. The following documents govern this requirement.

Some past, sample exams:

Tool requirement

It is strongly recommended that students satisfy their tool requirement by demonstrating the ability to use a modern computer typesetting system. Other options include:

  • reading competency in two languages selected from French, German and Russian,
  • a series of outside courses in another discipline,
  • a significant laboratory experience involving mathematics.


The dissertation must make a significant contribution to the research literature in mathematics.

After the dissertation has been completed, the student must defend it in a final examination, as specified by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Please refer to the Office of Graduate Education manual for thesis and dissertation formatting guidelines.

Transfer credits

The Department of Mathematics adheres to standard transfer credit policy outlined by the Office of Graduate Studies. (See Graduate Policy Manual, p. 51-52)