PhD Program

The PhD program in Mathematics is designed to provide students with a broad overview of current mathematics and a strong command of an area of specialization.

Graduate students pursuing a PhD in Mathematics work with internationally recognized faculty in a range of research programs in both pure and applied mathematics. In addition, numerous seminars and colloquia at Northeastern and in the Boston area give students ample opportunity to learn about important recent advances in mathematics.


  • Pure Mathematics
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Probability/Statistics


Qualifying exam sessions are given once in spring and once in fall. Students will be required to pass four qualifying exams: algebra 1, analysis 1, and 2 other exams. A qualifying exam may be taken twice by any student. Additional attempts may be allowed at the discretion of the graduate committee with permission from the graduate dean in the College of Science. Two qualifying exams should be passed no later than the end of the second year and all four should be passed by the end of the third year.


Some teaching experience is required while in the program. Students must attend university-led TA training at the start of the program; attend a one semester TA training course conducted by faculty from the Department of Mathematics teaching committee; spend one semester shadowing faculty in the undergraduate classroom; perform recitations and grading for the undergraduate course they are shadowing; and become a teacher of record for the undergraduate course they have been shadowing.


The residence requirement is satisfied by one year of full-time graduate course work.

PhD candidacy is reached when all of the following conditions are met:

  • Completion of eight advanced courses
  • Identification of an unsolved research problem
  • Successful passing of four qualifying exams
  • Assignment of PhD supervisor and creation of a one-page initial plan
  • Completion of a three-page plan of research
  • Completion of a ten-page progress report and a one-hour defense of proposal, presented to supervisor and three faculty members of graduate committee


Each candidate must complete a dissertation that embodies the results of extended research and makes an original contribution to the field. This work should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out independent investigation and interpret, in a logical manner, the results of the research.

  • Three available tracks: Pure Math, Discrete Math, Probability/Statistics
  • Bachelors and Advanced-degree entry are possible
  • Teaching experience is required during PhD program
  • Boston residency requirement of one or two years
  • PhD candidates complete and defend a dissertation


Our graduates pursue careers within academia and beyond.

  • University of Southern California
  • General Dynamics
  • Ipek University
  • University of Paris
  • Techische Universitaet Chemnitz
  • York University
  • Athena Health
  • University of British Columbia
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of Footingen
  • University of Chicago
  • Precision Health Economics
  • Pioneer Charter School of Science
  • University of Sheffield, UK
  • University of Toronto
  • University of California, Davis

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Application fee – US $100
  • Unofficial transcripts for all institutions attended
    (Official transcripts required upon acceptance of admission offer)
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE General – recommended, but not required
  • Resume
  • Proof of English Proficiency for all applicants


Priority deadline for completed applications: December 1st

Rolling admissions until March 15.  Check with department to see if there is availability.

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