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A student working towards a PhD in mathematics is expected to major in one of the areas of mathematics in which there is active faculty research interest. The areas are divided into three concentrations:

  • Applied Mathematics (including Mathematical Biology, Numerical Analysis, Ordinary Differential Equations, and Partial Differential Equations);
  • Pure Mathematics (including Algebra, Analysis, and Topology); and,
  • Statistics.

The requirements for the PhD in Mathematics are described below.

Time and residency

A PhD student must successfully complete a minimum of two semesters of full-time consecutive graduate study, not including summer sessions. All degree requirements must be completed within six calendar years following advancement to candidacy in the PhD program.


A PhD student must complete a minimum of seventy-two semester hours of credit beyond the Bachelor's degree. At least forty-eight of these semester hours must be in regular course work. At least twenty-four of these semester hours must be in dissertation research (MATH 699). More information...

Comprehensive examinations

Written comprehensive exams

One of the milestones on your progress toward the PhD is successful completion of your written comprehensive exams. More information...

Oral comprehensive examination

Another milestone on your progress toward the PhD is successful completion of your oral examination. More information...

Language requirement

A PhD student must demonstrate knowledge in two languages other than English and the student's native language (if different from English). More information...

PhD dissertation

A PhD student must complete a dissertation. The dissertation must represent an original contribution to applied mathematics, pure mathematics, or statistics, and must be of such quality as to be publishable in an appropriate professional journal. More information...

MS for PhD candidates

A PhD student who has completed all the requirements for the MS degree may petition the Graduate School for the MS degree. The student will need to complete and submit the appropriate forms and pay the relevant fees. The department does not require PhD students to obtain an MS before obtaining the PhD. They may do so if they so desire and have fulfilled the relevant requirements from both the department and the Graduate School, and it is something that is well worth considering.

Regular status

Some students are admitted in "conditional status"; this includes all international students who do not have a degree from an American university, and students who were admitted with low GPA and/or low GRE test scores. Students who are admitted in conditional status must file a Petition for Regular Status with the Graduate School as soon as they successfully complete 12 hours of graduate credit with a 3.0 GPA or better and no more than one grade of C; and/or they submit satisfactory standardized test results. The Petition for Regular Status form is available under the Current Graduate Students Forms tab at the Graduate School forms and resources web page.


After a PhD student has completed the oral comprehensive exam, he or she may apply for PhD candidacy early in that semester. This is done by filing an Application for Doctoral Candidacy form.  The form must be filed before the student can obtain the degree. The Application Doctoral Candidacy form is available under the PhD Student Forms tab at the Graduate School forms and resources web page.


A student may become "ineligible to continue in Graduate School" should the student receive two grades of C, a grade lower than a C, or if his or her GPA drops below 3.0. A student will also become ineligible if, after having successfully appealed ineligible status once, he or she receives one more grade of C or below. If this occurs, the student will be unable to enroll in courses, and will not be able to receive financial assistance from the department or university. More information...


The Graduate School has a Doctor of Philosophy Degree Checklist that the student should consult; it includes the steps required for graduation. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree Checklist is available at the Graduate School "Staying on Track" Checklist web page.