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Chronology of Doctoral Studies in Mathematics: Steps and Assessment of Progress


Doctoral students making reasonable academic progress and fulfilling their assigned duties in an acceptable manner are normally supported for six years. The following list shows the steps involved and indicates how progress is measured. For further details, see the timetable here.

  • Initially the student is assigned the graduate coordinator as advisor. The student periodically meets with the advisor for approval of course registration and discussion of short-term goals.
  • The Graduate Committee periodically evaluates the overall performance of all graduate students.
  • The student submits a plan of study to the Graduate College prior to the end of the third semester of enrollment in the doctoral program.
  • As the student completes the core courses, s/he begins taking the comprehensive exams.
  • The student completes the comprehensive exam requirements within two years of arrival, if in Track 1 (three years, if in Track 2).
  • As the student completes the comprehensive exam requirements, s/he selects an advisor in the intended area of research. In conjunction with the advisor, the student should finalize the choice of an advisory committee within one semester of fulfilling the comprehensive exam requirements.
  • The student fulfills the foreign language requirement appropriate to the specialization.
  • The advisory committee holds the first advisory conference, in preparation for the qualifying exam. The syllabus for the exam is given to the student at least two months prior to the exam.
  • The student passes the qualifying exam.
  • The advisory committee holds the second advisory conference, to evaluate the dissertation proposal prepared by the student. This meeting may be held in conjunction with the qualifying exam. Students are expected to have an approved dissertation proposal within two years of completing the comprehensive exam requirements.
  • The advisory committee meets periodically to assess the student's progress on research for the dissertation.
  • As the date for the dissertation defense approaches, the student should periodically provide drafts of the dissertation to the committee. Three weeks prior to the defense, the student gives copies of the dissertation to each member of the advisory committee. At least a week prior to the dissertation defense, the presentation is announced on the department's bulletin board and electronically.
  • The student passes an oral exam defending the dissertation.
  • The student makes any changes in the dissertation required by the committee and by the Graduate College, then s/he submits the dissertation in final form signed by the committee to the Graduate College.