Mathematics, PhD—Advanced Entry

Course Requirements

Advanced students who enter the PhD program with a master's degree (or equivalent) will be allowed to place out of some (possibly all) of the eight basic-level courses; the graduate coordinator together with the first-year graduate advisor will determine the allowable course substitutions and will advise the student which foundational courses to take. Students may satisfy requirements for Algebra 1 (Algebra 1 (MATH 5111) and Analysis 1: Functions of One Variable (MATH 5101)) by taking qualifying exams in algebra 1 and in analysis 1 at the start of the program. Students may satisfy foundational course requirements if they demonstrate proficiency by passing an assessment exam in the course at the beginning of the semester or by demonstrating that they have taken a similar course and have adequate knowledge of the course material (syllabus and transcript are required; a brief oral examination is also required in that case). Academic advising will happen just before the start of each term and during the add/drop period in order to plan a student’s course registration for the term. A complete listing of foundational and advanced courses is available from the Department of Mathematics and the graduate dean’s office. Students are not permitted to register for more than two “readings” courses and three “topics” courses for credit toward the degree without explicit permission from the graduate dean. A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.000 is required for degree conferral.

Teaching Requirement

Some teaching experience is required while in the program. Students must attend university-led TA training at the start of the program; attend a one-semester TA training course conducted by faculty from the Department of Mathematics teaching committee; spend one semester shadowing faculty in the undergraduate classroom; and perform recitations and grading for the undergraduate course they are shadowing.

Qualifying Exams

Qualifying exam sessions are given once in spring and once in fall. Students will be required to pass four qualifying exams: algebra 1, analysis 1, and two other exams. The possible additional topics for qualifying exams are algebra 2, analysis 2, combinatorics, geometry, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, probability, statistics, topology, and algebraic geometry. A qualifying exam may be taken twice by any student. Additional attempts may be allowed at the discretion of the graduate committee with permission from the graduate dean in the College of Science. Two qualifying exams should be passed no later than the end of the second year and all four by the end of the third year.

Doctoral Candidacy

PhD candidacy is reached when all of the following conditions are met:

  • Completion of eight advanced courses
  • Identification of an unsolved research problem
  • Successful passing of four qualifying exams
  • Assignment of PhD supervisor and creation of a 1-page initial plan
  • Completion of a 3-page plan of research
  • Completion of a 10-page progress report and a one-hour defense of proposal, presented to supervisor and three faculty members of graduate committee

Dissertation Requirement

Each candidate must complete a dissertation that embodies the results of extended research and makes an original contribution to the field. This work should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out independent investigation and interpret, in a logical manner, the results of the research. There are two stages to this process:

  • Stage 1: Students in the PhD program must have a dissertation supervisor within two years after joining the PhD program. The department views the failure of a student to find a supervisor within two years of joining the PhD program with concern and considers this sufficient cause to review the student’s status in the PhD program. The process of obtaining a dissertation supervisor always involves two choices—the student chooses the supervisor, and the supervisor chooses the student. For this reason, the department does not guarantee a dissertation supervisor for every student, but the department recognizes its responsibility to help the student find a satisfactory match. This aid is usually provided by the student’s graduate advisor, who should be familiar with the student’s progress in finding a dissertation supervisor. The dissertation supervisor guides the student’s further education as well as directs the student’s dissertation. The dissertation itself must represent an original solution of a problem in the chosen area of mathematics that makes a significant contribution to the mathematical knowledge in that area. Students must enroll in Dissertation or Dissertation Continuation while fulfilling the dissertation requirements.
  • Stage 2 (dissertation defense): The final oral examination on the dissertation is held in accordance with university regulations and given by a dissertation committee of four faculty members (three from the university, including the supervisor, and one from outside Northeastern University). The dissertation supervisor should propose this dissertation committee to the graduate committee for its approval at least one month before the PhD dissertation defense.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Milestones

Four qualifying examinations
Annual review
Dissertation committee
Teaching requirement
Doctoral candidacy
Progress report and presentation
Dissertation defense

Complete 0–16 semester hours of the following courses:
MATH 5101Analysis 1: Functions of One Variable4
MATH 5102Analysis 2: Functions of Several Variables4
MATH 5111Algebra 14
MATH 5112Algebra 24

Tracks

Complete one of the following three tracks:

Pure Track 

Foudational Courses
Complete 0–16 semester hours from the following:0-16
Basics and Probability and Statistics
Basics of Statistics and Stochastic Processes
Basics of Complex Analysis
Basics of Number Theory
Methods for Teaching Math
Topology 1
Geometry 1
Directed Study
Independent Study
Research
Ordinary Differential Equations
Numerical Analysis 1
Numerical Analysis 2
Topology 2
Geometry 2
Combinatorial Analysis
Graph Theory
Discrete Geometry 1
Probability 1
Statistics for Health Sciences
History of Mathematics
Algebraic Geometry 1
Probability 2
Mathematical Statistics
Applied Statistics
Advanced Course Work
Complete 32 semester hours from the advanced course work list. Only two readings and three topics courses are allowed.32

Discrete Track 

Foundational Courses
Complete 0–16 semester hours from the following:0 - 16
Analysis 2: Functions of Several Variables
Basics and Probability and Statistics
Basics of Statistics and Stochastic Processes
Basics of Complex Analysis
Basics of Number Theory
Methods for Teaching Math
Algebra 1
Algebra 2
Topology 1
Geometry 1
Directed Study
Independent Study
Research
Ordinary Differential Equations
Numerical Analysis 1
Numerical Analysis 2
Topology 2
Geometry 2
Combinatorial Analysis
Graph Theory
Discrete Geometry 1
Statistics for Health Sciences
History of Mathematics
Algebraic Geometry 1
Probability 2
Mathematical Statistics
Applied Statistics
Advanced Course Work
Complete 32 semester hours from the advanced course work list. Only two readings and three topics courses are allowed.32

Probability and Statistics Track 

Foundational Courses
Complete 0–16 semester hours from the following:0 - 16
Analysis 2: Functions of Several Variables
Basics and Probability and Statistics
Basics of Statistics and Stochastic Processes
Basics of Complex Analysis
Basics of Number Theory
Methods for Teaching Math
Algebra 2
Topology 1
Geometry 1
Directed Study
Independent Study
Research
Ordinary Differential Equations
Numerical Analysis 1
Numerical Analysis 2
Topology 2
Geometry 2
Combinatorial Analysis
Graph Theory
Discrete Geometry 1
Probability 1
Statistics for Health Sciences
History of Mathematics
Algebraic Geometry 1
Probability 2
Mathematical Statistics
Applied Statistics
Advanced Course Work
Complete 32 semester hours from the advanced course work list. Only two readings and three topics courses are allowed.32

Advanced Course Work List  

Complex Analysis
Algebra 3: Galois Theory
Optimization and Complexity
Functional Analysis
Partial Differential Equations 2
Complex Manifolds
Commutative Algebra
Lie Theory
Representation Theory
Algebraic Number Theory
Lie Algebras
Topology 3
Geometry 3
Differential Geometry 1
Differential Geometry 2
Algebraic Combinatorics
Discrete Geometry 2
Regression, ANOVA, and Design
Nonparametric Methods in Statistics
Modern Mathematical Research
Research
Research
Readings in Topology
Readings in Algebraic Topology
Readings in Geometric Topology
Readings in Singularities
Readings in Combinatorics
Readings in Combinatorics and Algebra
Readings in Combinatorial Geometry
Readings in Graph Theory
Readings in Algebra
Readings in Algebraic Geometry
Readings in Discrete Geometry
Readings in Commutative Algebra
Readings in Probability and Statistics
Readings: Analysis
Readings in Real Analysis
Readings in Geometric Analysis
Readings in Ordinary Differential Equations
Readings in Partial Differential Equations
Readings in Geometry
Readings in Coding Theory

Dissertation

Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

32–64 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required