Candidacy Requirements

Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree is granted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the AMSC Graduate Committee. A student must be admitted to candidacy within five years after admission to the doctoral program and at least one year before the date on which the doctoral degree will be conferred.


I. Prior to Applying for Candidacy:

The following must be completed before applying for candidacy:

  • completed the appropriate Preliminary Requirements (AM) (AS) (SC) with the exception of 9 credits of electives;
    NOTE: Upon reaching candidacy, students will automatically be registered for 6 credits of AMSC 899. Students who plan to finish their electives after reaching candidacy should consider their tuition remission, which is limited to 10 credits per semester under MATH Department Assistantships.
  • maintained a 3.0 or better GPA in all formal coursework
  • passed the Candidacy Oral Examination.

The student does not need to have completed the Overall Course Requirements.

It is the responsibility of the student to submit an application for admission to candidacy to the Director of the Program when all the requirements for candidacy have been fulfilled. All work at other institutions offered in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree must be submitted with the application for admission to candidacy. Official transcripts of the work must be on file in the Graduate School.

The student must complete the program for the degree, including the dissertation and final examination (defense), during the four year period after admission to candidacy.

II. The Candidacy Oral Examination

The Candidacy Oral Examination is an oral examination which tests a student's preparation to begin research in the proposed field of study. The examination assumes further advanced course work beyond the qualifying requirements. It shall follow the guidelines listed below.

  • Examination Committee: The examination committee is approved by the AMSC Graduate Committee upon recommendation of the student's advisor or Study Advisory Committee. The examination committee consists of at least three members; at least one represents the mathematical base of the Program and one the area of application of the student. Further, at least two members, including the advisor, should be affiliated with AMSC. AMSC-affiliated faculty are listed here

  • Planning the Exam: To student must prepare a prospectus for the examination. This prospectus defines the primary and related areas to be covered in the examination. These areas should be identified by course citations, literature citations, tables of contents, or other appropriate means. The prospectus is circulated to the Graduate Committee for approval.

  • Possible Outcomes: The examination committee decides to pass, fail, or defer a decision. In the last case, the manner in which the decision is to be resolved must be specified in the report of the committee. The distinction between "fail" and "defer a decision" is based on the committee's evaluation of the probability of successful completion of the Ph.D. degree.

  • Repeating the Exam: Upon failure, the Candidacy Oral Examination may be repeated only once. Exceptions to this rule are granted only under extraordinary circumstances and upon petition to the Graduate Committee.