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Preliminary Research Project

Once a doctoral student has chosen his/her doctoral advisor work on his/her preliminary research project can begin. The advisor will aid the student in identifying a suitable topic for the project. Once the topic is chosen the advisory committee should be consulted to delineate the scope and goals of the project. Next, the student may need to spend considerable time to understand the background and motivation for the project. This is to be carried out via a three-credit-hour reading course, MATH 6010, under the direction of the advisor. As the student’s understanding of the project develops, so should his/her independent efforts towards the research goals. At this stage, the student should be enrolled in three hours of Math 6090: Doctoral Research Project. Once the research goals have been achieved, the student should prepare a formal written report in the style of an academic journal article. Finally, the student should make a seminar-like presentation about the research project. The Preliminary Research Project requirement is satisfied once the student’s advisory committee has formally approved both the written report and the oral presentation.

Requirements and Timetable for the Ph.D. in Mathematics

1. Entrance Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

Students entering the Ph.D. program are expected to have good formal training in abstract mathematics and methods of mathematical proof.. Generally speaking, an M.S. degree in Mathematics is adequate preparation for our Ph.D. program. However, an undergraduate degree in mathematics from a research university, coupled with a strong performance in upper-division courses in abstract algebra and analysis, is also satisfactory. We generally recommend that students with only undergraduate degrees apply first to our M.S. program and then continue on to our Ph.D. program once they have a Masters degree.

2. Academic Progress

In typical cases it is expected that students progress through the program in five years: two years to pass the core courses and complete the preliminary research project, one year to pass the qualifying exam, and two years to complete the dissertation.

Students are evaluated annually by the Graduate Committee to determine whether they are making reasonable progress.

3. Graduate GPA Requirement

The Graduate College requires that all graduate students maintain a cumulative graduate GPA of at least 3.0.

4. Core Course Requirements

Each of the three degree specializations has its own set of five core courses. However, there is sufficient overlap between their respective core courses so that a student need not choose his/her area of specialization until the end of the first year in the doctoral program. In any case, a student’s specialization should be established and the corresponding core course requirements should be met by the end of the second year in the program. To complete the Core Course requirement, a student must complete each of the core courses in his/her area of specialization with a grade of B or better.

5. Advisor

New doctoral students are advised by the Graduate Director even before they arrive on campus. However, the need for a personal advisor and mentor arrives early in our doctoral program; as the research phase of the program begins in the second year. Students are encouraged to begin looking for a doctoral advisor even before they have completed their core courses. Once chosen, the doctoral advisor will take over the academic advising of the student and act as the student’s advocate and mentor throughout the rest of the Ph.D. program

6. Advisory Committee

Once an advisor is chosen, the student’s advisory committee should be formed. The advisor will usually suggest which individuals might be asked to serve on the advisory committee.

The doctoral advisory committee shall consist of at least four members of the OSU Graduate Faculty. Roles of the committee members are: chair, advisor, expert member, and outside member.

The chair must hold an OSU faculty appointment. Normally the chair is a faculty member in the department. The chair's duties include convening meetings of the advisory committee as appropriate and ensuring compliance with policies, procedures, and requirements. If the chair is not the advisor, s/he should serve as a liaison with the advisor with regard to progress in fulfillment of the degree requirements.

The advisor's primary duty is to mentor the student in regard to the conduct of research that is original and publishable. The advisor must be a member of the Graduate Faculty but need not hold an OSU faculty appointment.

The outside member of the committee serves as a representative of the Graduate College and ensures a high level of integrity in the procedures used by the committee to review and evaluate students.

The other members of the committee should be experts in research areas closely related to the work to be conducted by the student.

In decisions resulting from a vote of the advisory committee (e.g., qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, dissertation defense, approving a dissertation), a pass requires that the advisor vote in the affirmative and that no more than one member of the committee dissent.

7. Plan of Study

Once a student’s advisory committee has been chosen, a formal Plan of Study should be agreed upon and submitted to the Graduate College. For doctoral students, the Graduate College requires an approved Plan of Study by the end of the third semester.

8. Preliminary Research Project

A student together with his/her chosen advisor should begin a preliminary research project during the second year of the doctoral program. This project is to provide an early research experience to the student and is to culminate in a formal written report and an formal oral presentation. The Preliminary Research Project requirement is completed once the student’s Advisor Committee has been found both the written report and oral presentation satisfactory.

9. Qualifying Exam Preparation

The advisory committee and the student shall hold a conference in preparation for the qualifying exam, which covers the area of the student's research specialization. The advisor should prepare for the conference a draft syllabus for the exam. During the conference, the advisory committee shall

1. revise as appropriate the student's plan of study

2. approve a written detailed qualifying exam syllabus, consisting of research papers and portions of books

3. set a date for the qualifying exam.

The syllabus shall be given to the student at least two months prior to the qualifying exam. A copy of the revised plan of study and the qualifying exam syllabus should be given to the graduate coordinator shortly after the meeting. The revised plan of study must be submitted to the Graduate College.

10. Qualifying Exam

The purpose of the qualifying exam is to test the student in the area of specialization in order to determine readiness to write a dissertation in that area. The exam should be taken when the student has mastered a significant body of material related to the area of specialization. Before taking this exam the student must have an approved plan of study on file.

The exam is conducted by the advisory committee and must be based on the syllabus agreed to by the advisory committee. Part of the exam must be oral. Normally the chair of the committee leads the examination process. After the committee determines the result of the exam, it should record the result using the departmental Qualifying Exam Report form (available here) and give that form to the graduate coordinator.

If the student fails this exam the advisory committee shall notify the student of the conditions under which a second exam may be taken. If the student fails to meet the conditions imposed by the advisory committee, or if s/he fails the second exam, then the Graduate Committee may dismiss the student from the program. Appeals to such dismissal must be filed in writing with the Graduate Committee within 10 working days of the dismissal.

11. Dissertation Proposal

After the student passes the qualifying exam, the advisory committee shall meet to consider for approval a dissertation proposal prepared by the student. This meeting may be held in conjunction with the qualifying exam. The committee should ensure that the research topic undertaken is appropriate to satisfy the degree requirements.

The committee may require an oral presentation by the student. In any case the student should be present to answer questions.

The committee should discuss the extent to which the student will be permitted to use in the dissertation results of papers published (or to be published) with others. The dissertation proposal should identify any portions of the research project that are planned as joint work with others.

12. Admission to Candidacy

Upon approval of the dissertation proposal the committee must file a doctoral candidacy form with the Graduate College. A copy of this form should be given to the graduate coordinator. Admission to candidacy status must occur at least six months prior to the date of the final dissertation defense.

13. Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation is required. It should present, in a self-contained manner, the results of research which makes a new and original contribution to knowledge in mathematics or, for students specializing in mathematics education, in mathematics education. The results should have the quality of work publishable in peer-reviewed journals.

14. Dissertation Defense and Approval

The student must take a final oral exam defending the dissertation. The advisory committee acts as the exam committee. As the date for the exam approaches, the student should periodically provide drafts of the dissertation to the committee. The student must provide a final draft of the dissertation to members of the advisory committee at least three weeks before the dissertation defense.

The dissertation presentation should be announced on the department's bulletin board and electronically. The presentation is open to all faculty members and graduate students in the Department of Mathematics, all members of the OSU Graduate Faculty, and anyone else who obtains the permission of the committee.

The dissertation defense begins with a formal lecture by the student on the results of the dissertation. Questions by all those present are allowed. After the public portion of the defense is completed, the advisory committee may question the student further. Then the student shall be excused, and the committee shall determine the result of the exam on the basis of the oral defense. The committee must submit the dissertation defense form to the Graduate College and should give a copy to the graduate coordinator.

If the student fails this exam, the advisory committee shall determine whether and under what conditions a second exam may be taken. If the student fails to meet the conditions imposed by the advisory committee, or fails a second exam, then the Graduate Committee may dismiss the student from the program. Appeals to such dismissal must be filed in writing with the Graduate Committee within 10 working days of the dismissal.

If the student passes this exam, the advisory committee shall determine whether to approve the dissertation itself and what revisions are necessary before the dissertation can be submitted to the Graduate College. The dissertation must conform to the guidelines for dissertation preparation established by the Graduate College. The student must make any changes in the dissertation required by the committee and by the Graduate College and submit the dissertation in final form signed by the committee to the Graduate College.

The student's successful defense of the dissertation and submission of the dissertation in acceptable form complete the doctoral program.

15. Time Limits

Students making reasonable academic progress and fulfilling their assigned duties in an acceptable manner are normally supported for six years.

Outstanding Mathematics Students

CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 081
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 078
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 098
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 149
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 159
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 153
CAS Student Awards Ceremony - 2018 - 154
Grad Graduates
Service Awardees

The Department of Mathematics is proud to have students recognized at the College of Arts and Sciences' Student Awards Ceremony, as well as our own Student Recognition Ceremony. Above are photos of just a few of our outstanding students. We are happy to have had them in classes and look forward to their future success.