PhD Degree

The following outline of requirements constitutes the basic structure of the PhD program but, depending on the student's background, etc., variations may be worked out with the Program Head. Information about preparedness and prerequisites can be found on the Welcome page. Refer to the PhD Timeline below as your general guideline and refer to the Student Handbook for the complete description of requirements and policies. Request Info Here

Overall Requirements for the PhD

  1. Completion of forty-seven (47) units of graduate-level courses, exclusive of dissertation, approved by the Program and including:

    1. Twenty (24) units from the core courses: Math/Appl Math 581 a, b; Math/Appl Math 584 a, b; Math/Appl Math 589 a, b; Math 586 a, b & Math 599 Independent Study
    2. Nine (9) or more units of advanced 500-level Mathematics courses
    3. Nine (9) or more units from departments other than Mathematics.
    4. Nine (9) or more units of elective course work either in mathematics and/or interdisciplinary topics.

    Note: If the student has taken courses equivalent to some of the core courses, the core requirements may be revised. The total requirement of 47 units will not, however, be reduced. The Graduate College requires that 50% of the units must be in courses for which ABC grades are given. It is also a Graduate College requirement that all courses must be at the 500 level or above, with the exception that up to six units of 400-level courses may be taken outside the major area (which, for the Program means outside of the Department of Mathematics) with prior approval from the Program. The Program's requirement of a minimum of 9 units of course work outside the Mathematics Department is strictly adhered to.

    Eighteen (18) dissertation units (920) are required for graduation. Students may register for more, but the maximum number of 920 units allowed per semester is nine (9).

    Registration of Units: Every student will be required to register for a minimum of 9 units until all course requirements are met. After all course requirements are met, students are required to register for 6 or more units (unless other restrictions apply). A student should register for dissertation units after passing the Comprehensive Examination and when he/she is ready to start (or have started) their dissertation research. The semester during which preparation for the Comprehensive Examination takes place would be an appropriate time to register for 900 level research units. Students should always discuss registration for 900 and 920 units with their advisor.

  2. Successful completion of the Qualification Process at the PhD level.
  3. Successful completion of the Oral Comprehensive Examination
  4. Satisfactory completion of the Research Proposal Writing requirement
  5. There is no foreign language requirement.

PhD Recommended Timeline

Year 1

  • Complete Core Courses
  • Pass the Qualification Process at the PhD level
  • Identify Research Areas of Interest

Year 2

  • Begin research and identify possible research advisors
  • Complete 2 out-of-Math courses
  • Submit Masters Specialist Plan of Study and Masters Completion of Degree Requirements forms to receive MS Degree (if desired)

Year 3

  • Select an advisor
  • Complete Doctoral Plan of Study
  • Schedule and pass Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • Graduate College records Results of Oral Comprehensive Examination form
  • Begin doctoral research

Years 4 & 5

  • Identify employment opportunities (ongoing)
  • Complete doctoral research
  • Select committee members for Dissertation Defense Examination
  • Complete Committee Appointment Form (formerly known as Advancement to Candidacy) at least 6 months prior to Final Defense
  • Select outside dissertation reviewer
  • Complete Announcement of Dissertation Defense Examination Form
  • Pass Dissertation Defense Examination
  • Electronically submit final copy of dissertation to the Graduate office according to the specified deadline for the semester in which the defense takes place.