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Degree Requirements

In addition to the general University requirements stated earlier in this catalog, the student must meet the following requirements:

Course of Study

Each student must follow a plan of study, approved by a faculty adviser, which usually includes three years of course and seminar work. A minimum of 81 graduate credits of course work are required for the degree, at least 60 of which must be in mathematics and the rest may be in closely related fields. Course offered by other programs which are listed under Math as “See Also” may be taken for credit toward the Math degree. A determination regarding other courses not so designated will be made on a case-by-case basis. At least 36 of the 60 credits in mathematics must be in non-introductory courses or seminars.

First Examination

We expect all students to complete all three parts of the First Examination by the middle of September of their second year.

The Mathematics Qualifying (or Preliminary) Examinations are given in six areas. The exams are scheduled twice a year, in September and May. Students must pass three exams (of their choosing) to be considered to have passed the Qualifying exams (also called the "First Examination;" it is listed this way on the transcript.) Students may retake a failed exam once. Exams are graded Pass/Fail. Students must sign up at least three days in advance of any exams that they wish to take so that the proctor will know how many students to expect. Each exam is scheduled for three hours.

Language Exam

There is one foreign language requirement with a stipulation that it cannot be your native language.  Consult the mathematics office for details.

Second Examination

After passing the First Examination, the student specializes in some area of advanced mathematics. A faculty committee will be appointed to help the student arrange a program of study in an area of special interest. When this program of study is completed, the student takes an oral examination given by the faculty to determine readiness to pursue dissertation research.


Each student must complete a dissertation embodying the results of original research in mathematics. The thesis is usually written in a field of specialization recommended by the candidate's thesis advisor and approved by the thesis committee. The completed dissertation must be approved by the thesis committee and must be defended at an oral examination.