PhD in Mathematics

The PhD in Mathematics degree program trains students for careers pursuing research in either academia or industry. The program provides rigorous classroom training in the theory of mathematics and probability and in their applications to a broad range of disciplines. It provides students the opportunity to work with faculty on advanced research topics over a wide range of theoretical and applied topics. To enter, students need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or in a closely related discipline.

Course Requirements

Sixteen semester courses (64 credits) are required. These shall provide a reasonable breadth of background in mathematics and mastery of the basic tools relevant to the research area selected.

Language Requirement

All students pursuing a PhD in Mathematics are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated through either a language examination, successful completion of a noncredit, graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must pass this examination by the end of their second year.

Qualifying Examination

Students must pass this examination by the end of their third year.

Students must take this examination within two years of the start of their 700-level study. More detailed information is provided upon admission to the PhD program.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the director of graduate studies, and the department chair/program director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as a valuable contribution to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

A PhD student leaving the program will obtain an MA, provided they have completed 8 graduate courses (32 credits) and passed the comprehensive exam.