Students have passed their Preliminary Examination if they passed the two qualifying exams, the specialty exam, and have fulfilled the major & minor course requirements. This now means you can apply for dissertator status.
Satisfactory Progress Criteria
Graduate students in mathematics are required to make satisfactory progress. Students not making satisfactory progress will be placed on probation. If this probationary status is not resolved by the end of the semester in which it is initiated, the student will not be allowed to continue as a graduate student in mathematics and any guarantee of support will be terminated. Exceptions to the rules will be made only in rare circumstances and must be initiated through written appeals to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Programs Committee. Graduate students in mathematics must meet all university requirements. (See Satisfactory Progress in the Graduate School Catalog.) In addition, satisfactory progress in the Mathematics Department requires the following:
1. Course and Grade Requirements
- During their first year, Ph.D. students must take at least two mathematics courses numbered 700 or higher each semester. (6 credits per semester)
- During their second year, Ph.D. students must take at least one mathematics course numbered 700 or higher each semester, for a total of at least three mathematics courses numbered 700 or higher during the year.
- Thereafter, all Ph.D. students must take at least one mathematics course numbered 700 or higher each semester. A student can count Math 990 as satisfying this requirement for at most two semesters while being a dissertator.
- Non-dissertators must take at least two mathematics courses numbered 700 or above every semester until reaching dissertator status, unless an alternate plan is approved by the student’s advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies. In addition, students must also meet the Graduate School’s full-time requirements, which are higher for RAs and fellows. For a summary of full-time requirements, visit the Enrollment Requirements page.
- Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
2. Examinations — Qualifying Exams
- All students are required to pass at least one qualifying exam by the beginning of their fourth semester (the spring semester of the second year), and two by the beginning of their sixth semester (the spring semester of the third year).
- Failure to pass at least one qualifier by the beginning of the fourth semester results in the immediate withdrawal of guaranteed support, although students will continue to be supported during the fourth semester.
- A student who has passed no qualifying exam by the beginning of the fourth semester is no longer in the PhD program. The student may register for the fourth semester as a Master’s student to earn a Master’s degree.
- Failure to pass two qualifiers by the beginning of the sixth semester results in the immediate withdrawal of guaranteed support, although students will continue to be supported during the sixth semester.
- A student who has not passed two qualifying exams by the beginning of the sixth semester is no longer in the PhD program. The student may register for the sixth semester to earn a Master’s degree by the end of that semester.
- Students who have not passed two qualifying exam by the beginning of the sixth semester will not be allowed to enroll in either the Master’s or the Ph.D. program for the seventh semester or thereafter.
3. Dissertation Advisor, Dissertator Status and Defense Committees
- A student must have a dissertation advisor by the end of the sixth semester.
- At no time after the sixth semester (end of third year) may a student be without a dissertation advisor for more than one semester. If you change advisors at any time, you must notify the Graduate Coordinator (203 VV).
- Students must satisfy all the requirements for dissertator status by the end of the eighth semester (end of fourth year). Specifically, the student must have finished all degree requirements other than the dissertation.
- A student can count Math 990 for at most two semesters while a dissertator.
- A Ph.D. thesis committee should consist of at least four approved faculty members: major advisor, two readers and one additional faculty member. One member should represent the student’s minor area.
- Three of the four members of a Ph.D. committee must be UW-Madison graduate faculty or former UW-Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement. Here “graduate faculty” means regular tenured or tenure track faculty. The required 4th member, and any optional additional members of a doctoral committee may be from any of the following categories: UW graduate faculty, visiting faculty (including Van Vleck assistant professors), graduate faculty from other institutions, and emeritus faculty. Other qualified individuals (including faculty from a department without a graduate program) may serve as a fourth member. This, in each individual case, requires approval by the graduate program committee or the director of graduate studies.
4. Time Limits
- Students must complete their PhD in no more than eight years (16 semesters).
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