As a graduate student, maintaining a strong academic work ethic is your primary responsibility.​  The pursuit of a graduate degree requires dedication to the ideal that learning is a life-long endeavor, a graduate student is expected to place academic scholarship above other aspects of life.

Beginning the first year of your graduate study, there are a list of activities and tasks you need to take care on an annual basis.  These activities and tasks are described in the Graduate Student Handbook.  It is essential that you carefully read through the Graduate Student Handbook to learn about various activities and tasks along with departmental policies that are related to your responsibilities or your rights as a current graduate student in the Department of Mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics has assigned every graduate student an Academic Advisor to assist with course work planning and academic related activities.  You are highly encouraged to consult with your Academic Advisor for academic related questions.

Major Milestones for the Master's Degree Programs:
  • Maintain average cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Complete the required coursework
  • Complete the required research/practicum component
Major Milestones for Ph.D. Degree Program:
  • Maintain average a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Pass three qualifying exams within the allowed time period
  • Complete six hours of internship
  • Complete the required hours of course work
  • Complete the dissertation
Each academic year, two qualifying exam periods will be scheduled.  One is during the preparation week of the fall semester, usually in the middle or the end of August.  The other is during the preparation week of the spring semester, usually in the early or middle of January.

Students will be informed to sign up for the August qualifying exams around March/April in spring semester; and to sign up for the January qualifying exams around September/October in fall semester.

The Graduate Coordinator will form the exam committees and determine the exam schedule and post the schedule and names of the committee members to the following link:

Tips for Studying for Qualifying Exams

  • Begin studying early!
    • If you are planning to take the exam in August, you should begin studying in June.  It is by no means overdoing it to be studying for the exam at least 4-6 days a week, full-time.
    • If you are planning to take the exam in January, you should begin studying by the beginning of September.  During the academic year, plan exam studying into your weekly schedule and treat it like an important job.
  • Solve old qualifying exam questions
    • Review the old qualifying exams.  View old qualifying exams HERE
    • Do not just read through the old exams or try to find copies of the solutions.  You must work on solving the problems yourself
    • Old qualifying exams will give you an idea of the types of problems asked and the level of problems asked on these exams
    • Working the problems on old qualifying exams is the best use of your time and efforts when preparing for the exams
  • Study with your peers
    • This will help provide motivation to study.  It will also give you the opportunity to discuss mathematics.
    • One example of this might be having everyone in the study group to to solve the problems on the same old qualifying exam on their own, and then meet to discuss each other's solutions
  • If you have not taken one of the exam courses in a while, ask the instructor of the course if you could sit in on the course
    • Sitting in on the course will be useful only if you take it seriously.  This means do not only attend the lectures, but also study with the people who are enrolled in the course, and do the homework problems and exam problems.
    • Please keep in mind that the instructor of the course likely will not have time to grade your work since you are not enrolled in the course, however, it will still be to your benefit to do the problems.
  • Do not confuse worrying about the exam with preparing for the exam
    • Carrying around the book, reading old notes, and feeling very concerned about the exam will wear you out, and at the end of the day you'll feel like you studied had; don't be fooled.
    • Working on old exam problems and building a notebook of solutions that you worked out is productive.  By the end of your months of study, your should have created a solid notebook of complete solutions to many old qualifying exams.