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Mathematics

A concentration in pure and applied mathematics, the more traditional course of study, ordinarily attracts students who expect to pursue higher degrees in mathematics, as well as those preparing for careers as mathematicians in industry and government.

The Department of Mathematics offers programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in both pure and applied areas of mathematics.

 

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Admission Requirements

Students admitted into the graduate mathematics program must have at least a bachelor's degree and a GPA of 3.2 in their major undergraduate mathematics courses. Students admitted into the program are required to take the screening (placement) examination on arrival, except–those opting to take the Introduction to Analysis and Introduction to Modern Algebra courses in their first year who will be required to take this examination at the end of the first year; –those with advanced standing determined by the department who are admitted directly into the mathematics Ph.D. program.


Students admitted into the program are required to take the screening (placement) examination on arrival, except:

  • those opting to take the Introduction to Analysis and Introduction to Modern Algebra courses in their first year who will be required to take this examination at the end of the first year;
  • those with advanced standing determined by the department who are admitted directly into the mathematics Ph.D. program.
Degree Requirements

The Master of Science Degree Program

To obtain a Master of Science degree in mathematics, a student must earn a minimum of thirty credit hours or thirty-six credit hours depending upon whether or not the student elects to write a thesis.


M.S. Degree (Thesis Option) Requirements

A student

  1. must take a year sequence in graduate algebra, or graduate analysis; (Six (6) credit hours)
  2. will take at least six additional courses of which two may be approved courses given outside the mathematics department; [Advanced approval must be obtained for courses taken outside the department. No more than two courses with course numbers less than 200 will count in this category] (Eighteen (18) credit hours)
  3. will write a thesis. (Six (6) credit hours)

M.S. Degree (No Thesis Option) Requirements

A student

  1. must take a year sequence in graduate algebra, or graduate analysis; (Six (6) credit hours)
  2. will take at least ten additional courses of which three may be approved courses given outside the mathematics department. [Advanced approval must be obtained for courses taken outside the department. No more than two courses with course numbers less than 200 will count in this category.] (Thirty (30) credit hours)

Examinations

Oral Examination

A student writing a thesis must defend it successfully during an oral examination.


No Thesis Option Examination

A student in the M.S. program not writing a thesis must pass at least one of the three Ph.D. qualifying examinations in addition to passing the screening examination.


Screening Examination

This examination which must be passed with distinction, consists of two parts, namely, an Introduction to Analysis and an Introduction to Modern Algebra. The examination may be administered at the beginning of each year or within the first year to all new entrants not exempted from that examination by the faculty.


The Expository Writing Examination

This examination is required and administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Residence Requirements

At least two semesters of full-time study or the equivalent, shall be undertaken in the Department of Mathematics within the Graduate School of Arts and Science.


Other Requirements

Graduate students shall regularly attend seminars, lecture series, and colloquia sponsored by the Department of Mathematics.

The Ph.D Degree Program

This degree program requires a minimum of 60 graduate credits beyond the B.S. degree or a minimum of 36 graduate credits beyond the M.S. degree in course work. In addition 12 graduate credits are required for the Ph.D. dissertation.

Course Requirements

The courses for the Ph.D. degree presented by a candidate must include at most one course from Group 1, all courses from Group 2, at least two courses from Group 3 and a course on topics in History of Mathematics. Additional courses to cover the areas of qualifying examinations as well as topics courses will be on subjects corresponding to the research interests of the faculty.

Ph.D. Degree: Admission and Examination Requirements

To be admitted to the Ph.D. program, students must pass a screening examination or obtain an exemption from the faculty. To obtain a Ph.D. degree, a student admitted to the program must

  1. pass two qualifying examinations on subjects, not closely related to each other, chosen from two of the following six groups: 
    1. Real Analysis or Complex Analysis or Functional Analysis or Harmonic Analysis
    2. Algebra or Number Theory
    3. Combinatorics
    4. Geometry or Topology
    5. Dynamical Systems or Ordinary Differential Equations or Partial Differential Equations
    6. Probability or Mathematical Statistics.
  2. take a third qualifying examination in an area of the student's choice, that may include one from the above six groups, and
  3. write a Ph.D. dissertation and defend it satisfactorily.

Financial Support

Financial support from the university is contingent upon the student making satisfactory progress. Those students who are required to take a screening examination must successfully pass that examination by the end of their first year in order to be guaranteed continuing university support. Students in the Ph.D. degree program are expected to have successfully completed six graduate courses in the first year in the Ph.D. program and to have passed at least two of the qualifying examinations by the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program in order to obtain continuing university support.

Language Requirement

Students must exhibit proficiency in two of the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Russian. In exceptional cases, other languages may be accepted by the Department. In lieu of one language and upon approval of the Chairman of the Department, students may take suitable graduate level courses from one of the following departments or schools: Computer Science, Sociology, Economics, Biology or Education.

Requirements for Admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree:

  1. Candidates must have passed two of the Qualifying Examinations.
  2. Candidates must satisfy the language requirement and the writing skills requirement.

Other Requirements

  1. A minimum of 18 credits of work toward the Ph.D. degree shall be pursued after admission to candidacy.
  2. Doctoral candidates shall participate actively in at least two seminars during their candidacy.
  3. Only courses in which students earn grades of "A" or "B" may be counted toward the Ph.D. degree.
  4. A student in the Ph.D. program who accumulates more than two courses of grades below "B" shall be dropped from the Mathematics Graduate Program.
Admission to Candidacy

A student should file for admission to candidacy after 12 hours of work has been completed and this student has satisfied the GSAS writing proficiency requirement. Forms provided by the dean should be filed a semester before graduation and approved by the student's thesis committee and the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Residence Requirements

At least four semesters of residence and full-time study or the equivalent, shall be in the Department of Mathematics of Howard University.