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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Mathematics, PhD

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Requirements for the PhD

A student must maintain a B average over 72 credit hours of course work and pass departmental preliminary and comprehensive examinations. The main requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in mathematics is the successful completion and defense of a dissertation embodying a substantial piece of original mathematical research. The main stages are listed below.

PhD Preliminary Examination: Students must pass a written preliminary examination on advanced linear algebra and multivariable calculus. The preliminary examination should be attempted as early as possible and must be passed by April of their second year for support to be extended for a third year.

Comprehensive Examination: Students must pass a PhD comprehensive examination demonstrating their competence in their chosen area of mathematics after approximately one year of course work beyond the preliminary examination or within three years of study.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students file an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy. At this stage, students present a proposed topic for doctoral research and a research work plan for its execution to be reviewed by their dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

Most candidates will require from three to five years of full-time study to complete the degree. Part- time students may be allowed as many as 10 years to finish all requirements.

Additional information and details concerning examinations, requirements, and the advising system can be found in the departmental handbook.

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