Rice University Math
     

Degree Requirements:

Although students are not normally admitted to study for a masters degree, the department does offer non-thesis and thesis MA degrees. Doctoral students may petition for these once they have satisfied all university and departmental requirements.

Candidates for the MA in mathematics must:

  • Complete with a grade of B or better a course of study approved by the department. (Students may transfer credits from another university only with the approval of both the department and the University Graduate Council.)
  • Perform satisfactorily on the general examinations in algebra, analysis, and topology or prepare and present an oral defense of an original thesis acceptable to the department.

PhD Program—Candidates for the PhD in mathematics must:

  • Complete with a grade of B or better a course of study approved by the department (students may transfer credits from another university only with the approval of both the department and the University Graduate Council)
  • Perform satisfactorily on qualifying examinations (see below)
  • Perform satisfactorily on examinations in one approved foreign language (French, German, or Russian)
  • Write an original thesis acceptable to the department
  • Perform satisfactorily on a final oral examination on the thesis

Qualifying Examinations - The qualifying examinations in mathematics consist of the general examinations and the advanced oral examination.

To complete the general examinations, students must take exams, one each in algebra, analysis, and topology. Exams are offered every August, January, and May. First-year students may take any combination of exams at any time. After two semesters of study, students must attempt to pass all remaining exams at each offering. Students must perform satisfactorily on all three by the January exams at the beginning of their fourth semester. The judgment of satisfactory performance on the general examinations for either the MA or PhD degree is the responsibility of the department graduate committee. Students may take an exam several times.

To complete the advanced oral examination, students must select a special field (e.g., homotopy theory, several complex variables, or group theory) and submit it to the department graduate committee for approval. The committee schedules an advanced examination in the selected field, normally six to nine months after the student completes the general examinations. While students failing the advanced examination may, with the approval of the committee, retake it on the same or possibly on a different topic, they generally are not allowed to take the advanced examination more than twice.