The majority of MSCS graduate students are in the PhD program, and about one-third of newly admitted PhD students enter the program with an MS degree. First-year students are assigned a faculty mentor for their initial years in the program, to help plan coursework and prepare for qualifying exams. Along with core coursework, students 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.
After completing the preliminary exam requirements, students select a PhD 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 a PhD 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.