Information for Current Graduate Students
Requirements to Obtain the PhD in Pure Mathematics
Pass or place out of the nine first-year courses, in accordance with these guidelines: those students who receive, during their first year, either
- more than three conditional pass (C) or fail (F) grades, or
- at least two fail (F) grades
Those students who receive at least 6 pass (P) and at most one fail (F) grade will be allowed to continue, provided that they pass all the courses by the end of their second year.
- Make an oral topic presentation together with a brief written report (usually by the end of the Winter quarter of the second year).
- Complete and present a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty member. This has three parts:
- Complete a written dissertation containing original, substantial, and publishable mathematical results.
- Present the contents of the dissertation in an open lecture.
- Pass an oral examination based on the material of the dissertation and the field of mathematics in which it lies.
The first-year students take three quarters each of basic courses in analysis, algebra, and geometry and topology. See the main page describing these courses, and see below for some collected notes from some past first-year courses.
- Notes for several first year courses by Zev Chonoles
- Algebra by Victor Ginzburg (Autumn 2013)
- Complex Analysis by Wilhelm Schlag
- Riemannian Geometry by Danny Calegari (Spring 2013)
- Differential Topology Homeworks by Shmuel Weinberger (Winter 2012)
Finding an Advisor
Students start looking for an advisor in the winter quarter of their first year, and have usually found one by the end of the spring quarter. Students are expected to take the initiative in finding an advisor. For example, students can
- email faculty members to express an interest
- propose a reading course on a mutually agreed topic
- talk to older graduate students about their experiences with various faculty
There is a Meet the Faculty Colloquium held weekly, usually in the spring quarter. Students can also get a good idea of faculty interests by going to research seminars.
Students are urged to approach the graduate chair (currently Marianna Csörnyei) if they have concerns about academic progress, health and emotional problems, or any other related issues.
Annual Report Form
At the end of the academic year, graduate students in their third year and beyond must fill out the department's annual report form, have it signed by their advisor or advisors, and return the completed and signed form to Laurie Wail.
On behalf of the Department, the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Undergraduate Committee oversee all graduate student teaching in mathematics. For any questions, here is their contact information.
Here is a general outline of the teaching responsibilities of graduate students:
- No student teaches more than one course per quarter.
- First-year students do not do any teaching under any circumstance.
- All second-year students, including those on outside fellowships, serve as College Fellows (apprentice teachers) in an undergraduate mathematics course each quarter under the direction of a member of the faculty. Duties include class attendance, grading homework, holding office hours, conducting problem sessions, aiding in constructing and grading exams, and giving supervised lectures. This is considered professional training.
- Upon approval of the mentor and the recommendation of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, third-year students are approved by the College to assume the position of Lecturer in the College; this means they will be responsible for teaching stand-alone courses.
- Qualified graduate students may continue as Lecturers, with a stipend furnished by the College, until the end of the fifth year of graduate study.
- Students whose native language is not English must improve their language skills in order to teach in English, in a manner commensurate with University standards.
Students who matriculate and maintain satisfactory academic progress should expect five years of financial support, including full tuition scholarship, a generous living stipend, and summer support, the last contingent on current levels of NSF support. Funding comes from the University of Chicago, the National Science Foundation, and the National Need Fellowship Program of the Department of Education.
Student are encouraged further to apply for NSF graduate research fellowships and Department of Defense fellowships, which provide further forms of support (e.g., travel, equipment).
The PhD in Applied Mathematics
The University of Chicago has recently approved a new degree-granting Ph.D. program in Computational and Applied Mathematics. The program will be jointly administered by faculty in a number of departments (Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science and others) in a formal framework called the Committee on Computational and Applied Mathematics (CCAM). See here for information about the Ph.D. program, and the faculty in the Committee.