In order to obtain a graduate degree in Mathematics, a student must have completed courses in the following topics at the senior undergraduate level or above:
Most students will have completed these four requirements before starting their graduate programs. Students admitted in spite of a gap in their background will be required to address it during the first year of the program.Top
To complete the Master's (M.A. or M.Sc.) program, a student must . . .
Mathematics students pursuing a Master's degree through the Institute of Applied Mathematics face slightly different requirements: details are provided on the IAM web page.
Credit may be given for equivalent courses taken before the student started a graduate degree program at UBC, provided those courses were not counted toward another degree.
Students may also request that credit be given for appropriate courses in departments at UBC other than Mathematics.Top
To complete the PhD program, a student must . . .
A full-time Ph.D. student must register in at least 12 credits of course work in the first year of their graduate program at UBC if they have not completed a M.Sc. degree or if they were admitted directly to Ph.D. after completion of B.Sc. degree. After being admitted to candidacy, a student working on a thesis may register for Math 649 with the approval of the thesis supervisor.
All PhD students are expected to take at least four graduate-level courses, totaling at least twelve credits, at UBC as part of their program. Courses counted towards the 30 credits of approved coursework (#2 above) can also be counted towards this requirement, if taken at UBC as a PhD student. These courses cannot be reading courses; however, seminar courses with credit will be considered separately as they become available, to determine whether they can be counted in the requirement.
Every doctoral student at UBC must have, by mandate of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, a supervisory committee of at least three members: the research supervisor and two others, typically UBC faculty with a rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. PhD students in Mathematics are expected to have a committee in place by the end of the first year of their doctoral program at UBC. The committee is responsible for guiding the student's course selection and research program, for administering the candidacy examination and the final doctoral examination, and for providing other support and advice as needed. You can read about the role of PhD supervisory committees in more detail.
IAM Students: Mathematics students pursuing a doctorate through the Institute of Applied Mathematics face slightly different requirements. Details are provided on the IAM web page.
Students are expected to attend the weekly mathematics colloquium. Mathematics students registered with the IAM are expected to attend the Applied Mathematics colloquia.Top
The Qualifying Examinations ("Quals") are written tests on undergraduate material. They are offered twice a year:
The Quals are designed to:
All PhD students in the Mathematics Department, including those in the IAM, must pass the Quals before their second year ends. (For example, for a PhD Student who started in September 2014, the last chance to write the exam will be January 2016.) Doctoral students are strongly encouraged to attempt the Quals immediately upon their arrival at UBC; those who do not are required to participate in the next scheduled sitting.
MSc students are welcome to take the Quals as well, although it is not an official part of the Master's degree requirements. The supervisor of each MSc student can communicate their personal policies concerning the Quals. Note that a student who passes the Quals during their Master's degree and who is admitted into the PhD program in this department will have already satisfied the PhD Quals requirement.
Both MSc and PhD Students may attempt the Quals any number of times, subject to the deadline for PhD students of passing it before their second year ends.
The Quals consist of three different exams:
Each exam lasts three hours. The Analysis exam runs from 9 AM to noon of the Saturday on which the Quals are scheduled; both the Algebra and Differential Equations exams run from 1 PM to 4 PM on the same day. A student may attempt either one or two exams on a given day as they wish; each exam can be passed independently of the others. Students must inform the Graduate Program Coordinator well ahead of time (at least two weeks before the August/September Quals, and before the Christmas break for the January Quals) which exams they plan to attempt in a given sitting, so that the proper exam papers will be present.
Each exam will consist of six problems, split roughly evenly between the subjects covered by the exam. There will usually be significant overlap between the linear algebra problems on the Algebra and Differential Equations exams in any given sitting.
The only two possible marks are "pass" and "fail". The passing mark is usually set at a score of 60%. The Quals committee will make every effort to notify the students and their supervisors of the results within one week of writing the exams. The exam papers themselves can be reviewed with a member of the Quals committee. Exam papers are destroyed after two years.
The Qualifying Examinations resources page contains the official Qualifying Examinations syllabi, as well as past exams and sample problems.Top
The Candidacy Examination is a mandatory formal event to assess the student's readiness to undertake research at the doctoral level. It probes the student's knowledge, problem-solving, and communication skills through mathematical writing, oral presentation, and interactive discussion.
Students are required to complete their Candidacy Examination in the first 24 months of their
PhD program. Any requests for extensions must be submitted in writing to the
Graduate Chair [gradchair(at)math.ubc.ca] prior to this deadline; extensions
Candidacy Exam Extension.pdf] are contingent upon
an acceptable reason for delay. By FoGS rule, students who do not advance to Candidacy within
36 months will be required to withdraw from the program. For further information on Candidacy,
please refer to:
For mathematics students in a program sponsored by the Institute of Applied Mathematics (IAM) , the IAM's Thesis Proposal Examination replaces this requirement.
You can read about the Candidacy Examination format and expectations in more detail.