graduate studies: faqs

who to talk to:

choose all that apply:

  • general guidance: director of graduate studies, currently Prof. Yuliy Baryshnikov
  • master degree programs: associate director of graduate studies, Prof. Karen Mortensen
  • most of the process knowledge (forms, dates,…) resides with Ms. Marci Blocher
  • issues related to teaching: department associate chair, Prof. Vadim Zharnitsky
  • ambience, such as temperature, garbage disposal, lighting,…: facility manager, Mr. Kevin Armstrong
  • IT, including printers and software glitches: Math-IT
  • human resources, hiring, offers etc: Ms. Emily Lange
  • miscellaneous finances (food, travel reimbursements etc): Ms. Ann Byers
  • international students: most questions involving visas, work permits etc need diligent eyes of people at ISSS
travel funding

We are trying to fund travel of our graduate students. The priority are the students presenting their results or close to their graduation. Typical upper bound is around $500 per trip ($750 for students finishing their PhD in the current year).

  • To apply for the funding complete the application form (and ask your advisor, if you don’t present at the event, to write to the DGS, explaining how the event will help your research, and whether they have alternative sources of funding.
    Note: if all of your funding comes from alternative sources (usually, your advisor’s funds, or AWM or your fellowship), no need to fill the form or ask for any approval from the DGS, but rather work with the originator. However, see important caveats below.
  • After department funding is approved: If you’d like the department to pay for your expenses directly (rather than reimburse you), please talk to the Business Office about the procedure.
  • Travel!
  • After the trip: forward the receipts and the approval email from the DGS to the business office. If your funding was coming from elsewhere, complete the reimbursement form.

NB: This workflow pertains only to the funding from the department. A lot of administrative hurdles might exist entirely independent from us: say, international travel might need approval by the College (COVID-related rule), or a plethora of restrictions by various government agencies. Do your homework!

graduation countdown

Wondering how this all ends? here’s the algorithm for those planning to graduate this semester:

  • Start looking up the deadlines in the semester you graduate. Search for “Last day to take final exam” (FD) and for “Last day to complete deposit” (DD). In Spring 2023, FD=Fri, Apr 7, and DD=Fri, May 5.
  • Apply for graduation! On self-service before the deadline (deadline can be located here; search for graduation).
  • Your thesis should be ready for the committee review 2 weeks before FD.
  • The committee should know about the date and time 3 weeks before FD. By that time the Final Exam Request should be filled and submitted to Marci.
  • (We assume your committee is intact after the prelim. Check with them if they’re still on board.)
  • Before that you should arrange with the committee members time and date (<FD-2weeks!) and ask the department admins to book a room for the exam. Allow a week or two for that.
  • After you pass the exam, and correct the typos and such if needed, Marci will check the manuscript for consistency and appearances, and deposit it. Allow a couple of weeks for that (i.e. give it to her <DD-2weeks).
considering to apply for a PhD here?

Department application guide is here. Applications are done in a centralized fashion, through the Graduate College page.

Application fees are waived not by us, but by the campus, and only for a rigidly defined group of applicants (in particular, no international student is eligible, unfortunately).

What to pay attention to:

  • That 1-2 page personal statement is important: we want to see what drives you, what interests you, and whether you have clear idea about our department.
  • …which is not easy: our research strengths tend to change, and our web presence is not always follows that. Best recipe is to contact a member or two of the faculty you think might be your advisor: explain to them why you believe so, and ask them, if they think you’re good match, to contact the DGS.

The GRE general test and mathematics subject test are not required.

We start to deliberate in January, and by the late February, we send first offers. The offers go out in batches (there are always some delays)…

Those who are admitted, on the waiting list, or just interested, are invited to attend our virtual open house events.


Every admitted student has a promise of funding for 6 years (5 if admitted with a Masters degree) during the semesters. Summers are different: funding is not assured, but we do our best to provide some support to all in need, with some success.

Summers are not funded by default, but we do what we can to keep everyone afloat. Those who do not have a summer job lined up (be it RA, teaching position or an internship), please fill the form belopw. Preference in funding goes to students in their earlier years in the program.


The department has several (yearly) prizes for Math PhDs. The student need to be nominated by a faculty member, who has to send a letter of recommendation to one of the prize committees. The following information indicates where nominations should be sent for a given prize. Deadline for all nominations in 2022 is November 23.

1. The Philippe Tondeur Dissertation Prize. Awards are given to recognize students in their final year of the Mathematics PhD program. Nominations should be sent to

2. Wolfgang Haken Prize in Geometry and Topology. It will be awarded to a graduate student for outstanding research in geometry and topology. Nominations should be sent to

3. The Kuo-Tsai Chen Prize is given for outstanding scholastic achievement by a graduate student  whose research interests lie in the area of the relationship between geometry and analysis or the relationship between algebra and analysis. Nominations should be sent to

4. The Irving Reiner Memorial Award is given for work in outstanding academic achievement in algebra. Nominations should be sent to the Algebra Area Chair, Philippe Di Francesco at

5. The Bateman Prize is given for outstanding work in number theory. Nominations should be sent to the Number Theory Area Chair, Kevin Ford, at

what courses to take next semester

Descriptions of the Math 5xx courses in Spring’23 is here.

Here are pointers to a few mathematical courses taught outside of Math in Sp’23: