PhD Program

The PhD program has two stages: precandidacy and candidacy. A student in the PhD program may enter candidacy only after completing all precandidacy requirements. Admission to candidacy is granted only if the student's performance on the General Examination and in courses gives a good indication of success in candidacy; passing the General Examination at the minimum level does not necessarily give this indication. The prospective dissertation advisor makes this judgment and recommends advancement to candidacy if he or she is confident that the student will be able to complete candidacy.


Credit Hours of Graduate Work


Candidacy Requirements

Full-time PhD students typically complete the program in five years; part-time students usually take somewhat longer. CCAS has an upper limit of eight years for completing all degree requirements. If endorsed by the department, extensions may be granted upon petition to the Dean.


Credit Hours of Graduate Work

The PhD program requires 72 credit hours of approved graduate course work (which includes Dissertation Research credits, Math 8999). Students must complete at least 48 credit hours during precandidacy. Credit hours are accumulated through approved course work and transfer credit. To encourage breadth of course work, (a) before 36 credits have been completed, Math 6995, Reading and Research (independent study), can be taken only by petition to, and with the approval of, the graduate committee and (b) at most 15 credits of any combination of Math 6995, 398, and 8999 may be among a student's final 18 credits (typically the fourth year of full-time study) and at most 12 credits of these courses may be among the previous 18 credits (typically the third year of full-time study).

Subject to the approval of the graduate committee (requested via petition) and the agreement of the instructor, mathematics graduate students may take the following undergraduate courses for graduate credit: Math 3710, 3720, 3730, 3740, 3613, 3632, 4239, 4240, 3848 and 4981. Graduate students in such courses must be assigned appropriate additional work to bring the courses up to the graduate level. The graduate committee may limit the number of such courses that students take.

Students wishing to take courses outside the department must petition and obtain the approval of the graduate committee. The committee may limit the number of such courses that students take.

Up to one-sixth of the credit hours toward a PhD may be via courses offered by other institutions in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Students wishing to take such courses must petition and obtain the approval of the graduate committee.


Dissertation Research Credits

A PhD student must take 12 to 24 credits of Dissertation Research (Math 8999) as part of the required 72 credit hours. Math 8999 may be taken during precandidacy. Students in candidacy must register for at least three hours of Math 8999 per semester until they have attained the 72 hours.


Continuing Research

During candidacy, students register for at least 3 credit hours of Dissertation Research (Math 8999) each Fall and Spring semester until they fulfill their credit hour and dissertation research credit requirements. Those needing time beyond that to complete the degree requirements register for one credit hour of Continuing Research (CCAS 940) per semester. Continuing Research does not count toward the credit hour requirement.

PhD Forms

Forms to be Completed by Students:

  • Supplemental Course Summary Sheet Link to the form
  • Transfer Credit Form

  • If transfer credit is appropriate, this form is completed in consultation with the student's advisor.

  • Submitted to: the graduate committee (which forwards it to CCAS).
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.

  • Petition to take Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit
    To take an undergraduate course for graduate credit, this form must be completed in advance of registration and in consultation with the student's advisor and the instructor for the course.
    Submitted to: the graduate committee (which notifies CCAS if the course is approved).
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.

  • Petition to take Courses Outside the GW Mathematics Department
    To take a course outside the department, whether in another department at GW or at another institution in the consortium, this form must be completed in advance of registration
    and in consultation with the student's advisor.

    Submitted to: the graduate committee.
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.

  • Consortium Registration Information, Instructions, and Form
    Submitted to: Consortium Coordinator at the Registrar's Office.

  • Graduate Student Petition Form 
    This form is used for all other petitions, such as requests for leaves of absence or extensions of deadlines. When this form is applicable, it is completed in consultation with the student's advisor.
    Submitted to: the graduate committee (which, if appropriate, forwards it to CCAS).
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.

  • Application for Graduation
    A student must file an Application for Graduation with CCAS (Phillips 107) by the date indicated on the University Calendar for the semester or summer in which he or she intends to graduate.

  • Department of Mathematics Graduate Student Petition Form

Forms to be completed by the department:

  • Assistantship and Fellowship Recommendation Form 
    These forms are completed by the graduate committee chair each year for each student whose financial support is to be granted or renewed for the following year. The forms are submitted to Columbian College with copies put in the student's departmental file.
  • PhD Examination Results 
    A separate form is completed by the examiners for each qualifying exam, each of the (at most two) times the exam is taken. Completion of these forms is coordinated by the graduate committee and the completed forms are filed in the student's departmental file.
  • Specialty Exam Results
    One form is completed by the members of the specialty exam committee each of the (at most two) times the exam is taken. The chair of the specialty exam committee should see that this form is completed at the conclusion of the post-exam meeting at which the outcome is decided. Completed forms are filed in the student's departmental file.
  • PhD Language Examination Results
    This form is completed by the examiner and filed in the student's departmental file.
  • Advancement to Candidacy Form 
    This form is completed by the graduate committee chair in consultation with the student's prospective thesis advisor, and submitted to CCAS, once the student has completed all precandidacy requirements and the advisor affirms his or her confidence in the student's ability to complete candidacy.
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.
  • Final Examination Committee Sign-Off
    The chair of the Final Examination (thesis defense) sees to it that this form is completed by the final examination committee at the conclusion of the post-defense meeting during which the outcome is decided. The form is filed in the student's departmental file.
  • Request for Honorarium 
    The dissertation advisor completes this form to pay an honorarium to a final examination committee member from outside GW. In addition, the dissertation advisor has the department's executive aide fill out the "twenty factors" form and has the outside member of the committee complete the tax information that is attached to that form. Completed forms should be sent to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. 
  • Final Dissertation Approval 
    If the final examination committee decides that changes must be made to the thesis, then the changes must be verified by a designated subset of the committee, after which those members complete this form. The form is filed in the student's departmental file.
  • Graduation Clearance Form (Ph.D.) 
    This form is completed by the graduate committee chair and submitted to CCAS once the student has completed all candidacy requirements (including making all required changes to the thesis) and has submitted all of the items listed at the end of the section The dissertation and the Final Oral Examination above.
    Copies to: the student's departmental file.

Note: Those who want the secretary to prepare the forms for specialty exams and thesis defenses should, at least several hours in advance, supply the secretary with all of the necessary information.