In the first years, students develop breadth in mathematics and establish a foundation for the area in which they will concentrate. Ph.D. students typically complete a qualifying exam in the second year, followed by an oral exam in the fourth year. The coursework covers both core mathematics areas as well as specialty topics. The Ph.D. and M.S. degree programs can include a minor in a different field as well as interdisciplinary studies. Ph.D. students may opt to obtain a M.S./M.A. degree, and M.S./M.A. students may transfer to the Ph.D. program.
The purpose of the Ph.D. qualifying examination is to demonstrate that the student is mathematically prepared to undertake independent mathematical research.