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The Department of Mathematics offers programs leading to a Master of Arts in mathematics, Master of Science in mathematics, Master of Arts in applied mathematics, Master of Science in applied mathematics, Dual MS degree in mathematics and computer science. The department also offers a Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics.

Contact Information

Department Chair: Ivan Yotov
Main Office: 301 Thackeray Hall
Fax: 412-624-8397

Additional information concerning the department’s graduate program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Mathematics, Graduate Administrator, 301 Thackeray Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-624-1175. Fax: 412-624-8397.


Official TOEFL scores from the Educational Testing Service are required if you are an international student whose native language is not English. International applicants whose first language is not English must attain either a minimum TOEFL (administered by the Educational Testing Service) score of 577 (paper-based test), 90 (internet-based test), or an IELTS (administered by the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate) score of 7.0.

Financial Assistance

If there are adequate funds, graduate students receiving a fellowship or teaching assistantship/teaching fellowship who have demonstrated high-quality graduate work can expect to have financial aid renewed for up to two years. Renewal beyond the second year occurs only if they have successfully passed the PhD preliminary examination by April of the second year. Renewal beyond the third year similarly depends upon passing the PhD comprehensive exam. Beyond that, additional financial aid from the department will be contingent upon a yearly review assessing progress toward completing the dissertation and, under normal conditions, can continue for five years. A graduate student who has not passed these examinations, as described above, is not eligible for additional financial assistance until these examinations are passed.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the MA/MS in Mathematics

The MA in mathematics requires completion of at least eight mathematics courses (24 credits) and an oral comprehensive examination. Five of the eight courses must be taken at the 2000–3000 level; the remaining ones may be those given by the department at the 1000 level or those cross-listed with other departments. Achievement of an overall course average of B or better is required for all courses. The MS in mathematics requires a thesis.

The master’s programs in applied mathematics contain several tracks, each having a selection of required and elective courses.  The MA program requires 30 credits (minimum of 7 departmental, with 5 (of the 7) at the 2000 level or above). An MS option is available that requires a total of 30 credits and a thesis (24 course credits + 6 credits-thesis).

Requirements for the Dual Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science

The dual degree program requires the completion of a minimum of 45 credits of course work through either a thesis or non-thesis option. The total set of courses taken must include, as a subset, the course requirements for MA degree in mathematics and a MS degree in computer science.

Requirements for the PhD

A student must maintain a B average over 72 credit hours of course work and pass departmental preliminary and comprehensive examinations. The main requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in mathematics is the successful completion and defense of a dissertation embodying a substantial piece of original mathematical research. The main stages are listed below.

PhD Preliminary Examination: Students must pass a written preliminary examination on advanced linear algebra and multivariable calculus. The preliminary examination should be attempted as early as possible and must be passed by April of their second year for support to be extended for a third year.

Comprehensive Examination: Students must pass a PhD comprehensive examination demonstrating their competence in their chosen area of mathematics after approximately one year of course work beyond the preliminary examination or within three years of study.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students file an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy. At this stage, students present a proposed topic for doctoral research and a research work plan for its execution to be reviewed by their dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.

Most candidates will require from three to five years of full-time study to complete the degree. Part- time students may be allowed as many as 10 years to finish all requirements.

Additional information and details concerning examinations, requirements, and the advising system can be found in the departmental handbook.

Course Listing


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