Mathematical Sciences

Qualifying Exam

Students are admitted to the PhD program provisionally. To continue as PhD candidates students must pass the Qualifying Examination by the end of their fourth semester in the program. MS students must pass the Qualifying Examination to earn a Plan C MS degree. The Qualifying Exam covers advanced undergraduate material and helps determine if students have the necessary knowledge to succeed in our graduate program. Students may benefit by taking senior level courses to prepare for these exams.

Exam Structure and Topics

The exam consists of two closed-book, three-hour exams. All students take the first exam on linear algebra. The second exam subject depends on the student's area of concentration (see below).

Test 1 (All students take this exam.)
Test 2 (Depends on the area of concentration)

Pure Mathematics (Choose one.)

Discrete Mathematics (Choose one.)


Applied Mathematics

Exam Archive (use ISO password)


The Qualifying Exams are administrated twice a year, usually during weeks three or four of fall and spring semesters. Students are notified by email of the registration deadline, approximately six weeks prior to the exam.