All first-year students are assigned a faculty mentor for their initial years in the program to help plan coursework and prepare for the masters exam and, for PhD students, qualifying exams. Along with core coursework, students are encouraged to take independent studies and participate in research seminars to familiarize themselves with MSCS faculty while considering avenues for research. The Department’s broad range of activities offer graduate students rich, extensive study opportunities to help identify a research question.
The majority of MSCS graduate students are in the PhD program, and about one-third of newly admitted PhD students enter the program with a Masters degree. After completing the preliminary exam requirements, PhD students select an adviser and officially become a PhD candidate. The following years are focused on producing original mathematical research to be presented in the thesis defense. While working closely with their adviser and building a research program, senior-level students also participate in workshops and conferences around the world. At this stage, they begin to collaborate with students, post-docs, and faculty from other institutions in their specific research area while developing a presence in the job market.