Mathematical Sciences

College of Science

PhD in Mathematics

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the prerequisites for admission to the PhD program?

Most successful applicants to the PhD in Mathematics have earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from an accredited four-year institution or the equivalent at an international institution. Minimally students are expected to have completed the requirements for entry into the MS program in Mathematics.  If you have completed a Bachelor's degree more than three years prior to applying, you should speak with the Graduate Coordinator about the best path forward.

What if I don't meet all of the prerequisites?

If your undergraduate degree is not in Mathematics, but you ultimately have an interest in seeking a PhD in Mathematics, then it may be better for you to seek admission first to the MS program in Mathematics.  Prerequisites for admission to the MS program are found in the Masters Degree FAQ List.  If you have not met these prerequisites, then you may have to take some undergraduate courses as a nondegree student before applying to the MS or PhD program. 

Can I take some courses without being admitted to the program?

The Non-Degree Status allows students to take a course for which they have the necessary prerequisites without being admitted to a degree program. If a student subsequently is admitted to a degree program, any course taken as a Non-Degree student is treated as transfer credit, and is subject to all applicable restrictions (indicated here in the COS Policies for Graduate Students webpage). If a student registers for a course as a Non-Degree student and then at some point during that semester is admitted to a degree program, the course automatically counts toward the degree and is not treated as transfer credit.

How do I apply for admission to the PhD program?

The online application process can be started here, where you can also obtain forms and other information. A completed application packet consists of: (1) the online application form, (2) your undergraduate transcripts, (3) three letters of recommendation, and (4) a goals statement. International students may have additional requirements. Please check with COS and with the Office of International Program and Services for information regarding additional required documents for international applications.

What if I am already in another degree program at GMU?

In most cases you must apply to the PhD program as if you were a new student. 

What is the application deadline?

The deadline for admission is February 15 for domestic students and February 1 for international students.  All students begin in the Fall semester; we do not accept PhD students for the Spring semester.  Late applications will be considered on a space available basis. International students should confirm the deadline with COS.

Is it possible to waive the application fee?

The application fee is waived only if you are currently enrolled in a PhD program in the College of Science and wish to apply to the PhD program in Mathematics.  It is the policy of the College of Science not to waive the application fee under any other circumstances.

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required as part of the application for the PhD in Mathematics for admittance or for graduate fellowships. However, we highly recommend that students take the general GRE exam and submit their scores with their application, as some university fellowships require GRE scores in order to be eligible. High GRE scores can positively influence an application or funding decision.

Is there any financial aid available?

Financial aid offered by the Mathematics Department is in the form of a limited number of teaching assistantships and research fellowships. Priority is given to students in the Mathematics PhD Program, with a few rare exceptions. The stipend for GTAs enrolled in the Mathematics PhD program varies per academic year, but typically includes tuition remission.  Eligibility requirements and pay scales for other Graduate Teaching Assistants can be found here but are often subsidized by the department. Other part-time job opportunities not originating with the Mathematics Department are brought to our attention from time to time. Information on such positions will be sent in an email.

I am an international student. Is there anything special I should know?

International students who wish to apply to the graduate program are subject to certain policies. For example, they are subject to application deadlines imposed by the College of Science, they must take the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. Information on requirements can be found here. Students may obtain more information from the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS).

Are graduate courses offered at night?

Most graduate courses are held at night, starting at 4:30pm or later.

Are graduate courses offered in the summer?

The only graduate courses that regularly run in the summer are some of the 500-level actuarial courses. Typically no 600-level or higher graduate courses run in the summer. Such courses have been held during one of the summer sessions in the past when there is student demand and when a professor is willing to teach it. It is also possible to arrange with an individual faculty member to take a reading course (MATH 697) in the summer.

How can I find out when a particular graduate course will be offered?

The graduate course frequency chart indicates when courses are typically offered. Also on this page is a listing of the graduate course offerings for the past several years. The student should understand that this is a planning document and not a guarantee that these courses will be offered in the semester indicated.

I intend to graduate this semester. What do I do?

Graduation is not an automatic process. You must apply to graduate! Everything you need to know and do, together with all relevant deadlines, can be found here.

How can I get more information?

The College of Science (COS) maintains a very informative website.  Click here for the COS Graduate Students webpage.