The aim of the doctoral program is to provide comprehensive knowledge of existing theory, its applicability to problems in science and engineering, and its extension significantly beyond the present bounds. Being an applied program, particular emphasis is placed on educating students to recognize the relevance of analytical and numerical methods to the solution of specific problems and to enable them to develop new methods when they are needed. The education aims to produce an applied mathematician with the ability to develop new theoretical results and apply them as the need arises. Central to this goal is the research part of the program. Both the ability to conduct the research successfully and to report it in a coherent and fully documented dissertation is essential to the program. The program is kept sufficiently flexible, however, to permit students to develop their own specific interests.
The program nominally takes 36 months (12 quarters) beyond the master’s degree to complete. The course work takes a minimum of one year of full-time study, leaving the remaining time to conduct the research, write the dissertation, and make a successful public oral defense of the work.
Entering students seeking the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree meet with the Department Head to discuss his/her academic interests, expectations, and goals. Based on this discussion, the Department Head will assign a pro tem advisor with interests similar to the student's. The student, working closely with the pro tem advisor, then sets up a tentative education plan for his/her doctoral program being careful to fulfill the general requirements of the doctoral program (see below). The pro tem advisor continues to advise the student until the student has decided on his/her preference for a research advisor. The research advisor and the student's research committee are appointed by the Department Head with the full participation of the student.
The doctoral program requires the student to pass, other than the final oral defense of the dissertation, an examination over his/her major area of study. The examination occurs in two parts neither of which can be waived. The first part is a written examination over the subject area. Some time later the student is given an oral examination over the course material and research prospectus. The research prospectus is the student's written documentation of the problem to be researched for the dissertation and its relevant history. The prospectus usually includes a statement of the problem, its importance in the scientific community, a background study of similar work that has been done, and the student's plan for attacking the problem. By passing the student on the oral part of the major examination, the research committee is, in essence, telling the student that he/she knows the subject area adequately, has a reasonable problem to study for the doctoral degree, and has a credible plan for attacking the problem.
Minimum Requirements for Ph.D. degree
Complete an approved program of study under the direction of a research committee appointed by the Department Head in consultation with the student. The program must include the following:
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