Best Mathematics Programs

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A graduate degree in mathematics can help students hone

A graduate degree in mathematics can help students hone their skills in a specialty area, from algebra and number theory to discrete mathematics and combinatorics. These are the best graduate-level math programs. Each school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. Read the methodology »

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NYU Courant Department of Mathematics

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Ph.D. Program in Mathematics

Degree requirements.

A candidate for the Ph.D. degree in mathematics must fulfill a number of different departmental requirements .

NYU Shanghai Ph.D. Track

The Ph.D. program also offers students the opportunity to pursue their study and research with Mathematics faculty based at NYU Shanghai. With this opportunity, students generally complete their coursework in New York City before moving full-time to Shanghai for their dissertation research. For more information, please visit the  NYU Shanghai Ph.D. page .

Sample course schedules (Years 1 and 2) for students with a primary interest in:

Applied Math (Math Biology, Scientific Computing, Physical Applied Math, etc.)

Additional information for students interested in studying applied math is available here .



The Written Comprehensive Examination

The examination tests the basic knowledge required for any serious mathematical study. It consists of the three following sections: Advanced Calculus, Complex Variables, and Linear Algebra. The examination is given on three consecutive days, twice a year, in early September and early January. Each section is allotted three hours and is written at the level of a good undergraduate course. Samples of previous examinations are available in the departmental office. Cooperative preparation is encouraged, as it is for all examinations. In the fall term, the Department offers a workshop, taught by an advanced Teaching Assistant, to help students prepare for the written examinations.

Entering students with a solid preparation are encouraged to consider taking the examination in their first year of full-time study. All students must take the examinations in order to be allowed to register for coursework beyond 36 points of credit; it is recommended that students attempt to take the examinations well before this deadline. Graduate Assistants are required to take the examinations during their first year of study.

For further details, consult the page on the written comprehensive exams .

The Oral Preliminary Examination

This examination is usually (but not invariably) taken after two years of full-time study. The purpose of the examination is to determine if the candidate has acquired sufficient mathematical knowledge and maturity to commence a dissertation. The phrase "mathematical knowledge" is intended to convey rather broad acquaintance with the basic facts of mathematical life, with emphasis on a good understanding of the simplest interesting examples. In particular, highly technical or abstract material is inappropriate, as is the rote reproduction of information. What the examiners look for is something a little different and less easy to quantify. It is conveyed in part by the word "maturity." This means some idea of how mathematics hangs together; the ability to think a little on one's feet; some appreciation of what is natural and important, and what is artificial. The point is that the ability to do successful research depends on more than formal learning, and it is part of the examiners' task to assess these less tangible aspects of the candidate's preparation.

The orals are comprised of a general section and a special section, each lasting one hour, and are conducted by two different panels of three faculty members. The examination takes place three times a year: fall, mid-winter and late spring. Cooperative preparation of often helpful and is encouraged. The general section consists of five topics, one of which may be chosen freely. The other four topics are determined by field of interest, but often turn out to be standard: complex variables, real variables, ordinary differential equations, and partial differential equations. Here, the level of knowledge that is expected is equivalent to that of a one or two term course of the kind Courant normally presents. A brochure containing the most common questions on the general oral examination, edited by Courant students, is available at the Department Office.

The special section is usually devoted to a single topic at a more advanced level and extent of knowledge. The precise content is negotiated with the candidate's faculty advisor. Normally, the chosen topic will have a direct bearing on the candidate's Ph.D. dissertation.

All students must take the oral examinations in order to be allowed to register for coursework beyond 60 points of credit. It is recommended that students attempt the examinations well before this deadline.

The Dissertation Defense

The oral defense is the final examination on the student's dissertation. The defense is conducted by a panel of five faculty members (including the student's advisor) and generally lasts one to two hours. The candidate presents his/her work to a mixed audience, some expert in the student's topic, some not. Often, this presentation is followed by a question-and-answer period and mutual discussion of related material and directions for future work.

Summer Internships and Employment

The Department encourages Ph.D. students at any stage of their studies, including the very early stage, to seek summer employment opportunities at various government and industry facilities. In the past few years, Courant students have taken summer internships at the National Institute of Health, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NASA, as well as Wall Street firms. Such opportunities can greatly expand students' understanding of the mathematical sciences, offer them possible areas of interest for thesis research, and enhance their career options. The Director of Graduate Studies and members of the faculty (and in particular the students' academic advisors) can assist students in finding appropriate summer employment.

Mentoring and Grievance Policy

For detailed information, consult the page on the Mentoring and Grievance Policy .

Visiting Doctoral Students

Information about spending a term at the Courant Institute's Department of Mathematics as a visiting doctoral student is available on the Visitor Programs  page.

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Top 10 Best PhD in Mathematics Programs

Lisa Marlin

A PhD in mathematics is an invaluable qualification in many sectors, but particularly academia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mathematicians and statisticians will see a 33% growth in jobs  from 2020 to 2030, especially with the growing need for data and cybersecurity  professionals.

Mathematics PhD programs equip you with the advanced skills and knowledge you need to progress to the highest levels of the field.

Table of Contents

Best PhD in Mathematics Programs

Stanford university, school of humanities & sciences.

Ph.D. in Mathematics

Stanford University logo

Stanford is a renowned Ivy League university known for its high-quality programs in several areas, including mathematics. Its faculty includes eminent figures in the field, and the school features a dedicated mathematics research center on campus. Students must pass two exams, one in algebra and the other in real analysis, by the second year to remain in the program. Progressing students are fully funded for five years.

  • Courses : Multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and applied matrix theory.
  • Duration : 5 years
  • Delivery : On-campus
  • Tuition : Refer tuition page
  • Financial aid : Teaching/research assistantships and fellowships
  • Acceptance rate: 5.2%
  • Location : Stanford, California

Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Harvard University logo

Harvard’s Department of Mathematics is one of the world’s most acclaimed centers for research and education in pure mathematics. You’ll need to complete four courses for each term of your PhD, though there are no compulsory courses. As one of the most impressive mathematics doctoral programs, this PhD emphasizes the love of the subject for its own sake, curiosity, creative ability, and the research process.

  • Courses : Advanced real analysis, commutative algebra, and geometry & complexity theory.
  • Credits : 16 half-courses
  • Duration : 2-5 years
  • Financial aid : Grants and fellowships
  • Acceptance rate: 5%
  • Location : Cambridge, Massachusetts

Brown University, Graduate School

Brown University logo

Brown University is known for its flexible yet rigorous approach to education that gives students the intellectual freedom to apply creative thinking to their work. Its PhD in Math program encourages close student-faculty relationships and collaboration. This program doesn’t ask for GRE scores or foreign language courses for international students.

  • Courses : Complex functions, topology, and algebraic geometry.
  • Tuition : $7,835 per course
  • Financial aid : Fellowships and teaching assistantships
  • Acceptance rate:  7.7%
  • Location : Providence, Rhode Island

The University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences

Penn State logo

UPenn is a world-renowned university that boasts the first medical school in the country. It has a very active mathematics department committed to serious research, and its faculty includes recognized figures from the mathematics community. In its doctorate in mathematics program, students can take courses from other departments in the university. Full-tuition scholarships for all five years of the program are available.

  • Courses: Geometry-topology, mathematical physics, and combinatorics.
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Delivery: On-campus
  • Tuition: Full funding
  • Financial aid: Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and scholarships.
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Mathematical Sciences

Ph.D. Mathematical Modeling

Rochester Institute of Technology logo

The School of Mathematical Sciences at RIT is world-renowned for mathematical and statistical research. It focuses on creative approaches to solving real-world problems using mathematical and statistical knowledge. Its doctorate degree in mathematics is the country’s first  mathematical modeling PhD  and offers five concentrations, including Biomedical mathematics, applied inverse problems, and dynamical systems & fluid dynamics.

  • Courses : Numerical analysis, mathematical modeling, and high-performance computing for mathematical modeling.
  • Credits : 60 minimum
  • Duration : 7 years maximum
  • Financial aid : Scholarships and graduate assistantships
  • Acceptance rate : 73.9%
  • Location : Rochester, New York

Princeton University, The Graduate School

Ph.D. Applied and Computational Math

Princeton University logo

Princeton University is one of the world’s most famous universities, scoring the top ranking in the US News & World Report’s Best Universities list for 2022 . Its PhD program in Applied and Computational Math is flexible with few central requirements: students can work with their advisers to build their own program.

  • Courses : Differential equations, numerical algorithms, and applied dynamical systems.
  • Credits : 12 hours/semester
  • Duration : 4 years
  • Tuition : $56,010 per year
  • Financial aid : Fellowships, research/teaching assistantships, loans, grants, and federal work-study.
  • Acceptance rate : 5.6%
  • Location : Princeton, New Jersey

The University of Arizona, Department of Mathematics

Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics

University of Arizona logo

The University of Arizona is well-known for its contributions to scientific research. Its PhD in Applied Mathematics is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes mathematical modeling and computer simulation. The teaching staff is drawn from various disciplines, including engineering, computing, social, and biological sciences.

  • Courses : Real analysis, algebra, and topology-geometry.
  • Tuition : $13,400 per year
  • Financial aid : Teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, and grants.
  • Acceptance rate:  85%
  • Location : Tucson, Arizona

Portland State University, Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics &         Statistics

Ph.D. Mathematical Sciences

Portland State University logo

PSU’s innovative Mathematics Department has a joint research project  with Ohio University to make the theoretical science of math more relevant and practical. Its PhD program focuses on mathematics and statistics, with separate primary and secondary-level courses in both subjects.

  • Courses : Mathematics, statistics, and mathematical/statistical literature problems.
  • Credits : 81 minimum
  • Tuition : $509 per credit
  • Financial aid : Scholarships, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate : 95.2%
  • Location : Portland, Oregon

Rice University, Wiess School of Natural Sciences

Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics

Rice University logo

Rice University works closely with many prominent research, education, and science institutions in Houston, translating into exciting student opportunities. Its Computational and Applied Mathematics department only accepts 5-9 students into its PhD program, assuring a low student-faculty ratio. The program allows students to conduct high-impact research with the help of professors from diverse fields such as energy, mathematical biology, healthcare delivery, and sustainability.

  • Courses : Advanced numerical analysis, computational science , and modeling mathematical physics.
  • Duration : 4-6 years
  • Tuition : $2,893 per credit
  • Financial aid : Scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate : 10.9%
  • Location : Houston, Texas

Florida Institute of Technology

Applied Mathematics, Ph.D.

Florida Institute of Technology logo

Florida Institute of Technology is the only independent technological university in the Southeast. It is a private institution encouraging a hands-on approach to students’ learning. This PhD is one of the only 30 Applied Mathematics programs in the country and accommodates a wide range of specializations, including non-linear analysis, scientific computing, and optimization. The highly flexible program also allows students to choose their research areas.

  • Courses : Partial differential equations, real analysis, and numerical methods for partial differential equations.
  • Credits : 72 post-bachelor’s or 42 post-master’s
  • Tuition : $1,241 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, awards, loans, graduate assistantships, and veteran benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 70.4%
  • Location : Melbourne, Florida

What Do You Need to Get a PhD in Mathematics?

Exact entry requirements vary from program to program, but often you’ll need a master’s in a related field as a basic prerequisite. Some programs will accept graduates with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related subject, though you’ll probably need to complete extra credit hours compared to students with a master’s.

You’ll need to submit an application, typically involving a research proposal and/or personal statement , academic resume , and letters of recommendation . You may need to present GRE  scores , but these aren’t required for every program.

Equally, the requirements to earn your doctorate will depend on the specific program, though there are several commonalities. Most PhD in mathematics programs include:

  • Qualifying examinations and a final exam
  • Teaching hours
  • A research dissertation

If you want to prepare thoroughly for a math PhD program, it can be helpful to:

  • Study qualifying exam subjects  such as real analysis and algebra
  • Working with proof of math problems
  • Participate in u ndergraduate research experience programs
  • Build your network  and identify mentors

What to Consider When Choosing a Mathematics PhD Program

With so many strong math PhD programs on offer, it can be hard to know which is the right program for you.

While this is a very individual decision, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Courses, specializations, and concentrations
  • Funding options
  • School and faculty reputation
  • Mode of delivery: online, on-campus, or hybrid

Why Get a Doctorate in Mathematics?

Today’s world desperately needs data in every field to improve and grow. So, mathematics is now highly relevant across many fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates impressive job growth of 33%  for mathematicians and statisticians from 2020 to 2030.

A PhD in mathematics equips you with a range of skills, including critical and analytical evaluation, logical reasoning, mathematical solutions for real-life issues, verbal and written communication skills, and dedication.

According to the American Mathematical Society , the number of math PhD graduates has been increasing steadily over the last two decades, and is currently around 2,000 a year. In total, there have been more than 30,000 PhD graduates in mathematics over the last two decades.

Common Jobs for Doctor of Mathematics Grads

With a doctorate in mathematics, you may work in various roles, including:

  • Assistant Professor ( $61,252  average annual salary)
  • Professor ( $88,951 )
  • Data Scientist ( $97,358 )
  • Mathematician ( $70,920 )
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate ( $51,968 )

Key Takeaways

The best PhD mathematics programs are offered by renowned universities across the country, including the most prestigious schools. While some are expensive, various funding options and even fully-funded Mathematics doctorate programs offer some relief.

If you have a real taste for the subject, a PhD in mathematics can take your career to unimaginable heights. It will also let you build high-level skills and in-depth knowledge that could make you a leader in your field.

If you’ve found this guide useful, take a look at our posts on the best online Master’s in Mathematics programs , the top online PhD programs , and the highest-paying PhDs .

PhD in Mathematics FAQs

How long is a phd in mathematics.

A PhD in Mathematics may take 3-7 years to complete, depending on program requirements. If you have a master’s degree , the program will likely be shorter in duration.

How Much Does a Math PhD Cost?

A math PhD costs anywhere from $13,000 to $45,000 per year, including tuition and other fees, based on various factors. You can also find fully funded PhD programs in Math, including from some of the most prestigious schools in the country.

Are Math PhDs in Demand?

A PhD in math is a qualification that has always had a demand in the academic world. With the increasing importance of mathematical principles and concepts in emerging technologies and disciplines, we’re also seeing a range of opportunities for mathematicians in other fields.

Is a PhD in Mathematics Difficult?

Mathematics is an abstract and mostly theoretical subject. Therefore, it’s best to have a certain degree of flair, or at least interest in the subject, otherwise, you may struggle. However, anyone can excel in a math PhD program with a little dedication and hard work.

What Do I Need to be Eligible for a PhD in Mathematics?

At a minimum, you’ll need a bachelor’s in math or another STEM field. However, some programs require a master’s or at least an honors undergraduate qualification.

Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Mathematical Modeling Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree

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The mathematical modeling Ph.D. enables you to develop mathematical models to investigate, analyze, predict, and solve the behaviors of a range of fields from medicine, engineering, and business to physics and science.

STEM-OPT Visa Eligible

Overview for Mathematical Modeling Ph.D.

Mathematical modeling is the process of developing mathematical descriptions, or models, of real-world systems. These models can be linear or nonlinear, discrete or continuous, deterministic or stochastic, and static or dynamic, and they enable investigating, analyzing, and predicting the behavior of systems in a wide variety of fields. Through extensive study and research, graduates of the mathematical modeling Ph.D. will have the expertise not only to use the tools of mathematical modeling in various application settings, but also to contribute in creative and innovative ways to the solution of complex interdisciplinary problems and to communicate effectively with domain experts in various fields.

Plan of Study

The degree requires at least 60 credit hours of course work and research. The curriculum consists of three required core courses, three required concentration foundation courses, a course in scientific computing and high-performance computing (HPC), three elective courses focused on the student’s chosen research concentration, and a doctoral dissertation. Elective courses are available from within the School of Mathematics and Statistics as well as from other graduate programs at RIT, which can provide application-specific courses of interest for particular research projects. A minimum of 30 credits hours of course work is required. In addition to courses, at least 30 credit hours of research, including the Graduate Research Seminar, and an interdisciplinary internship outside of RIT are required.

Students develop a plan of study in consultation with an application domain advisory committee. This committee consists of the program director, one of the concentration leads, and an expert from an application domain related to the student’s research interest. The committee ensures that all students have a roadmap for completing their degree based on their background and research interests. The plan of study may be revised as needed. Learn more about our mathematical modeling doctoral students and view a selection of mathematical modeling seminars hosted by the department.

Qualifying Examinations

All students must pass two qualifying examinations to determine whether they have sufficient knowledge of modeling principles, mathematics, and computational methods to conduct doctoral research. Students must pass the examinations in order to continue in the Ph.D. program.

The first exam is based on the Numerical Analysis I (MATH-602) and Mathematical Modeling I, II (MATH-622, 722). The second exam is based on the student's concentration foundation courses and additional material deemed appropriate by the committee and consists of a short research project.

Dissertation Research Advisor and Committee

A dissertation research advisor is selected from the program faculty based on the student's research interests, faculty research interest, and discussions with the program director. Once a student has chosen a dissertation advisor, the student, in consultation with the advisor, forms a dissertation committee consisting of at least four members, including the dissertation advisor. The committee includes the dissertation advisor, one other member of the mathematical modeling program faculty, and an external chair appointed by the dean of graduate education. The external chair must be a tenured member of the RIT faculty who is not a current member of the mathematical modeling program faculty. The fourth committee member must not be a member of the RIT faculty and may be a professional affiliated with industry or with another institution; the program director must approve this committee member.

The main duties of the dissertation committee are administering both the candidacy exam and final dissertation defense. In addition, the dissertation committee assists students in planning and conducting their dissertation research and provides guidance during the writing of the dissertation.

Admission to Candidacy

When a student has developed an in-depth understanding of their dissertation research topic, the dissertation committee administers an examination to determine if the student will be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The purpose of the examination is to ensure that the student has the necessary background knowledge, command of the problem, and intellectual maturity to carry out the specific doctoral-level research project. The examination may include a review of the literature, preliminary research results, and proposed research directions for the completed dissertation. Requirements for the candidacy exam include both a written dissertation proposal and the presentation of an oral defense of the proposal. This examination must be completed at least one year before the student can graduate.

Dissertation Defense and Final Examination

The dissertation defense and final examination may be scheduled after the dissertation has been written and distributed to the dissertation committee and the committee has consented to administer the final examination. Copies of the dissertation must be distributed to all members of the dissertation committee at least four weeks prior to the final examination. The dissertation defense consists of an oral presentation of the dissertation research, which is open to the public. This public presentation must be scheduled and publicly advertised at least four weeks prior to the examination. After the presentation, questions will be fielded from the attending audience and the final examination, which consists of a private questioning of the candidate by the dissertation committee, will ensue. After the questioning, the dissertation committee immediately deliberates and thereafter notifies the candidate and the mathematical modeling graduate director of the result of the examination.

All students in the program must spend at least two consecutive semesters (summer excluded) as resident full-time students to be eligible to receive the doctoral degree.

Maximum Time Limitations

University policy requires that doctoral programs be completed within seven years of the date of the student passing the qualifying exam. All candidates must maintain continuous enrollment during the research phase of the program. Such enrollment is not limited by the maximum number of research credits that apply to the degree.

National Labs Career Fair

Hosted by RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, the National Labs Career Fair is an annual event that brings representatives to campus from the United States’ federally funded research and development labs. These national labs focus on scientific discovery, clean energy development, national security, technology advancements, and more. Students are invited to attend the career fair to network with lab professionals, learn about opportunities, and interview for co-ops, internships, research positions, and full-time employment.

Students are also interested in: Applied and Computational Mathematics MS

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The College of Science consistently receives research grant awards from organizations that include the National Science Foundation , National Institutes of Health , and NASA , which provide you with unique opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research with our faculty members.

Faculty in the School of Mathematics and Statistics conducts research on a broad variety of topics including:

  • applied inverse problems and optimization
  • applied statistics and data analytics
  • biomedical mathematics
  • discrete mathematics
  • dynamical systems and fluid dynamics
  • geometry, relativity, and gravitation
  • mathematics of earth and environment systems
  • multi-messenger and multi-wavelength astrophysics

Learn more by exploring the school’s mathematics research areas .

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Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Mathematical Modeling Ph.D.

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Mathematical Modeling, Ph.D. degree, typical course sequence

Concentrations, applied inverse problems, biomedical mathematics, discrete mathematics, dynamical systems and fluid dynamics, geometry, relativity and gravitation, admissions and financial aid.

This program is available on-campus only.

Full-time study is 9+ semester credit hours. International students requiring a visa to study at the RIT Rochester campus must study full‑time.

Application Details

To be considered for admission to the Mathematical Modeling Ph.D. program, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete an online graduate application .
  • Submit copies of official transcript(s) (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, including any transfer credit earned.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or US equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • A recommended minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit a statement of purpose for research which will allow the Admissions Committee to learn the most about you as a prospective researcher.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation .
  • Entrance exam requirements: None
  • Writing samples are optional.
  • Submit English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic), if required. Details are below.

English Language Test Scores

International applicants whose native language is not English must submit one of the following official English language test scores. Some international applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver .

International students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Each program requires balanced sub-scores when determining an applicant’s need for additional English language courses.

How to Apply   Start or Manage Your Application

Cost and Financial Aid

An RIT graduate degree is an investment with lifelong returns. Ph.D. students typically receive full tuition and an RIT Graduate Assistantship that will consist of a research assistantship (stipend) or a teaching assistantship (salary).

Additional Information

Foundation courses.

Mathematical modeling encompasses a wide variety of scientific disciplines, and candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. If applicants have not taken the expected foundational course work, the program director may require the student to successfully complete foundational courses prior to matriculating into the Ph.D. program. Typical foundation course work includes calculus through multivariable and vector calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability and statistics, one course in computer programming, and at least one course in real analysis, numerical analysis, or upper-level discrete mathematics.

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Phd or master's in math that is the question..

The great thing about math is that it applies to everything — from the health industry to the banking industry, from education to engineering, from logistics to neuroscience. Your math graduate degree will give you the analytical and problem-solving skills needed for any job after graduation, whether that’s working in academia or in the private or public sectors.

To figure out whether you should choose to pursue your math master’s or your PhD in mathematics, it’s a good idea to look at them side by side and see which program fits your personal goals.

Math Master’s Degree

Students who graduate with their master’s in math are equipped for a range of careers. Earning your master’s typically takes about two years, so you can return to the workforce sooner with a higher level of expertise than your peers.

With your math master’s, you can become a better high school teacher and opportunities to teach at the community college level can open to you. At either level, you’d be helping young students realize the excitement and complexity of your field. This is a great option if you’ve already earned an undergraduate education degree or teaching certification.

Another career option is conducting research for various industries and government agencies. You can work in robotics, health care, the financial sector, aviation, technology and more — the possibilities are vast. Mathematicians creatively and meticulously study and solve problems, and pretty much any industry can utilize that expertise.

And if you’re looking to learn even more, earning your master’s is a great prep for doctoral studies in math or if you’re not sure about your post-grad career options. Most of our math master’s students at UL Lafayette choose to pursue their master’s and PhD simultaneously or attend another university for their PhD in math.

PhD in Mathematics Degree

Typically, students who pursue a PhD in math choose a career in academia. A PhD is needed to teach at the university level, because you’re sharing your intense expertise with students, helping them do research and delve deeper into the field you love so much.

If you teach at a research university, you’ll teach high-level classes and you’ll have the opportunity to continue complex and speculative research. As a PhD student, you’ll begin to discover and invent new math, and you can continue doing just that as a professor, forging a path for yourself and your research.

Earning your PhD in math widens your academic career opportunities, and you get to spend your career as a student and then as a professor learning more about your passions.

There are also plenty of opportunities to work for private companies or governmental organizations. Many of our PhD in mathematics alumni work in medicine, engineering, and software development, applying the knowledge they gained in their PhD program to help solve complex, real-world problems.

Some of our recent UL Lafayette math PhD alumni include:

  • Peter Xiao, who holds 8 U.S. patents and is engineering director at CISCO;
  • Jie Yang, associate actuary at Humana, Inc.;
  • Sowmya Muniswamy, assistant professor at the Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering in Bangalore, India;
  • Dan Zhang, statistician at L2C, Inc.;
  • Jie Peng, assistant professor in the Department of Economics at St. Ambrose University;
  • Haochun Zhang, quantitative analyst at Pittsburgh National Corporation; and
  • Shuhua Hu, senior research scientist at the Center for Research in Scientific Computation at North Carolina State University.

Learn more about our graduate programs in math >>

Suggestions or feedback?

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MLK Celebration Gala pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and his writings on “the goal of true education”

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Clarence Williams stands on a stage while holding a plaque and smiling, as Karl Reid has his arm around Williams’ back. A greyscale photo of the 1963 March on Washington is in the background.

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Clarence Williams stands on a stage while holding a plaque and smiling, as Karl Reid has his arm around Williams’ back. A greyscale photo of the 1963 March on Washington is in the background.

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After a week of festivities around campus, members of the MIT community gathered Saturday evening in the Boston Marriott Kendall Square ballroom to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Marking 50 years of this annual celebration at MIT, the gala event’s program was loosely organized around a line in King’s essay, “The Purpose of Education,” which he penned as an undergraduate at Morehouse College:

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough,” King wrote. “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

Senior Myles Noel was the master of ceremonies for the evening and welcomed one and all. Minister DiOnetta Jones Crayton , former director of the Office of Minority Education and associate dean of minority education, delivered the invocation, exhorting the audience to embrace “the fiery urgency of now.” Next, MIT President Sally Kornbluth shared her remarks.

She acknowledged that at many institutions, diversity and inclusion efforts are eroding. Kornbluth reiterated her commitment to these efforts, saying, “I want to be clear about how important I believe it is to keep such efforts strong — and to make them the best they can be. The truth is, by any measure, MIT has never been more diverse, and it has never been more excellent. And we intend to keep it that way.”

Kornbluth also recognized the late Paul Parravano , co-director of MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations, who was a staff member at MIT for 33 years as well as the longest-serving member on the MLK Celebration Committee. Parravano’s “long and distinguished devotion to the values and goals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspires us all,” Kornbluth said, presenting his family with the 50th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Next, students and staff shared personal reflections. Zina Queen, office manager in the Department of Political Science, noted that her family has been a part of the MIT community for generations. Her grandmother, Rita, her mother, Wanda, and her daughter have all worked or are currently working at the Institute. Queen pointed out that her family epitomizes another of King’s oft-repeated quotes, “Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth.”

Senior Tamea Cobb noted that MIT graduates have a particular power in the world that they must use strategically and with intention. “Education and service go hand and hand,” she said, adding that she intends “every one of my technical abilities will be used to pursue a career that is fulfilling, expansive, impactful, and good.”

Graduate student Austin K. Cole ’24 addressed the Israel-Hamas conflict and the MIT administration. As he spoke, some attendees left their seats to stand with Cole at the podium. Cole closed his remarks with a plea to resist state and structural violence, and instead focus on relationship and mutuality.

After dinner, incoming vice president for equity and inclusion Karl Reid ’84, SM ’85 honored Adjunct Professor Emeritus Clarence Williams for his distinguished service to the Institute. Williams was an assistant to three MIT presidents, served as director of the Office of Minority Education, taught in the Department of Urban Planning, initiated the MIT Black History Project, and mentored hundreds of students. Reid was one of those students, and he shared a few of his mentor’s oft repeated phrases:

“Do the work and let the talking take care of itself.”

“Bad ideas kill themselves; great ideas flourish.”

In closing, Reid exhorted the audience to create more leaders who, like Williams, embody excellence and mutual respect for others.

The keynote address was given by civil rights activist Janet Moses, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s; a physician who worked for a time as a pediatrician at MIT Health; a longtime resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a co-founder, with her husband, Robert Moses, of the Algebra Project , a pioneering program grounded in the belief “that in the 21st century every child has a civil right to secure math literacy — the ability to read, write, and reason with the symbol systems of mathematics.”

A striking image of a huge new building planned for New York City appeared on the screen behind Moses during her address. It was a rendering of a new jail being built at an estimated cost of $3 billion. Against this background, she described the trajectory of the “carceral state,” which began in 1771 with the Mansfield Judgement in England. At the time, “not even South Africa had a set of race laws as detailed as those in the U.S.,” Moses observed.

Today, the carceral state uses all levels of government to maintain a racial caste system that is deeply entrenched, Moses argued, drawing a connection between the purported need for a new prison complex and a statistic that Black people in New York state are three times more likely than whites to be convicted for a crime.

She referenced a McKinsey study that it will take Black people over three centuries to achieve a quality of life on parity with whites. Despite the enormity of this challenge, Moses encouraged the audience to “rock the boat and churn the waters of the status quo.” She also pointed out that “there is joy in the struggle.”

Symbols of joy were also on display at the Gala in the forms of original visual art and poetry, and a quilt whose squares were contributed by MIT staff, students, and alumni, hailing from across the Institute.

Quilts are a physical manifestation of the legacy of the enslaved in America and their descendants — the ability to take scraps and leftovers to create something both practical and beautiful. The 50th anniversary quilt also incorporated a line from King’s highly influential “I Have a Dream Speech”:

“One day, all God’s children will have the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

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The 1960s were “a heady time for the nation,” recalled civil rights activist Janet Moses, left, at a luncheon celebrating “Activism in the Era of MLK.” Topper Carew, middle, a filmmaker originally from Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood and a principal investigator at MIT’s Media Lab, was also on the panel led by Institute Community and Equity Officer Edmund Bertschinger, right.

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