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Admission to Graduate Studies and Financial Assistance
Applications for admission are considered throughout the year. Most students, however, begin their studies in the fall term. In some cases, early entrance is given in the summer session.
All full-time PhD students receive financial assistance from the University for 5 years as long as they are in good standing. This funding is extendable to 6 years in special circumstances. Most hold appointments as teaching assistants (TAs) or teaching fellows (TFs). A few are graduate student researchers (GSRs) or Andrew Mellon fellows. Most of the TA commitments are made as a fall/spring package. Summer support is dependent upon the teaching needs of the department during the summer term, so there is no guarantee of more than two terms of support per year. No University support is available to Master students.
The minimum monthly stipend for a TA is currently 2,582 USD. Thus, a new TA can expect to receive 20,660 USD for a two-term appointment. In addition, TAs, TFs, and GSRs receive full tuition scholarships and health benefits. Teaching assistants and fellows are expected to work up to 20 hours per week in addition to the time required for course work and study
The administration of TAs, TFs, and research assistantships is outlined in the University of Pittsburgh's Policy Statement for TAs/TFs and the Policy Statement for GSRs. In particular, TA and TF positions are reserved strictly for PhD students. MA and MS students may be offered graduate student researcher (GSRs) position depending on faculty needs.
Prospective students interested in admission and/or consideration for financial assistance should contact the department for the necessary application materials. Those wanting fall term appointments are strongly encouraged to return the completed forms by mid-January. However, applications arriving later are sometimes accepted. Finally, students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have already completed a degree program at an accredited U.S. institution. In addition, all students whose native language is not English and who have been appointed as teaching assistants must take the English Language Comprehensibility Test after their arrival.
Course Offerings and Course Requirements
The University academic year is composed of three terms. The first, or fall term, begins late in August, and the spring term starts just after the beginning of the new year. The third term, summer, begins in May and ends in mid-August. Many courses are given during that period at an accelerated rate. Most graduate courses run during the fall and spring terms, and many of those offered in the spring are continuations of fall term courses. Ordinarily, not more than three courses are given at the graduate level in the summer term.
The department offers a wide variety of courses in mathematics at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Those numbered from 0001 to 0999 are elementary undergraduate courses and carry no graduate credit. Courses numbered from 1000 to 1999 are at the advanced undergraduate level and are sometimes suitable for graduate credit. Courses numbered from 2000 to 2999 are beginning graduate courses and normally have 1000-level or equivalent prerequisites. Those having numbers from 3000 to 3999 frequently cover advanced graduate topics and usually have 2000-level prerequisites.
A feature of many of the graduate programs at both the master's and doctoral levels is that there are few required courses. However, specialization naturally requires that certain subjects be studied, and the student's advisor will recommend specific courses to be taken. In addition, the tracks in applied mathematics and the dual degrees with engineering and computer science have course lists. However, within these limitations, students may design course sequences tailored to their interests, needs, and capabilities.
- University regulations require that students register for at least 9 credit hours per term of full support, but no more than 15 credit hours. If a student is supported in the summer, he or she should register for three credits. University policy excludes the audit as a grade option for courses used to satisfy the nine-credit-hour requirement. Furthermore, departmental policy excludes the S/N option for such courses when the course is a 2000- or 3000-level course that is part of the department's regular graduate curriculum.
- The Independent-study course is intended to aid in preparation for passing departmental milestones, such as the preliminary or comprehensive exams. At most, 3 credits of independent study may be taken during the semester immediately preceding the scheduled milestone exam.
- The Directed-study course is intended to enhance a student's background in areas in which no graduate courses are regularly offered. They may be considered by students who have passed the preliminary examination, upon approval by the Graduate Committee, based on a submitted syllabus for the study (including the topics to be studied, faculty mentor, and a reading list). At most, 3 credits of directed study may be taken by qualified students during any given semester. The standard grading basis for directed study is S/N.
- The Thesis research course may be considered for PhD students who have passed the comprehensive examination. Courses taken in other departments and schools need to be approved by the Graduate Committee.
- The minimum number of nine credits in item 1 is prorated to the amount of support. The other dispositions are unchanged.
- There are no specific credit-hour requirements per term, but the University's statute of limitations applies (four calendar years for a master's degree, 10 calendar years for a PhD). See the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for details.
Deviations from the schedule outlined above may be allowed but must be approved by the Graduate Committee.
Graduate Course Sequences
Approved Graduate Sequences
- Choose two from (each course can only appear in 1 sequence, no more than 2 sequences in Algebra):
- Math 2500 Algebra 1
- Math 2501 Algebra 2
- Math 2505 Algebra 3
- Math 2810 Algebraic Geometry
- Math 3550 Lie Groups and Lie Algebras
- Math 2245 Algebraic Number Theory
- Choose two from (each course can only appear in 1 sequence):
- Math 2301 Analysis 1
- Math 2302 Analysis 2
- Math 2303 Analysis 3
- Math 2304 Analysis 4
- Choose two from:
- Math 2930 Asymptotics and Special Functions
- Math 2950 Methods of Applied Mathematics
- Math 3020 Calculus of Variations
- Choose two from (each course can only appear in 1 sequence):
- Math 2900 Partial Differential Equations 1
- Math 2920 Ordinary Differential Equations 1
- Math 2901 Partial Differential Equations 2
- Math 2921 Ordinary Differential Equations 2
Geometry and Topology
- Choose two from (each course can only appear in 1 sequence):
- Math 2700 Topology 1
- Math 2701 Topology 2
- Math 2800 Differential Geometry 1
- Math 2801 Differential Geometry 2
- Choose two from:
- Math 3370 Mathematical Neuroscience
- Math 3375 Computational Neuroscience
- Math 3380 Mathematical Biology
- Math 3225 Mathematics of Finance 1, 3226 Mathematics of Finance 2
- Math 3227 Mathematics of Finance 3, 3228 Mathematics of Finance 4
Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing
- Math 2070 Numerical Methods in Scientific Computing 1, 2071 Numerical Methods in Scientific Computing 2
- Choose two from (each course can only appear in 1 sequence):
- Math 2601 Advanced Scientific Computing 1
- Math 2602 Advanced Scientific Computing 2
- Math 2603 Advanced Scientific Computing 3
- Math 2604 Advanced Scientific Computing 4
- Choose two from:
- Math 2090 Numerical Solutions of Ordinary Differential Equations
- Math 3071 Numerical Solutions of Partial Differential Equations
- Math 3072 The Finite Element Method
The function of a faculty graduate advisor is to assist a student in all phases of his or her graduate career until a thesis advisor is acquired or the student terminates studies by graduation or withdrawal. An advisor will be assigned to each student enrolled in the Department of Mathematics. Generally, the advisor will share research interests similar to those expressed by the student, if any. When possible, requests for advisors by name will be honored. In addition, a student may petition the Graduate Committee for a new advisor in case of a change of interest or in instances of incompatibility or fundamental disagreements.
The graduate student advisors are responsible for students who have not yet acquired thesis directors or who are not graduate student researchers (GSRs). For students who have entered the dissertation phase of their programs, thesis directors serve as advisors, whereas the corresponding research project directors advise GSRs. Advisors must be members of the graduate faculty.
The duties of an advisor are to counsel the student; formulate a course program according to the student's interests; register the student each term; approve course changes, including requesting authorization from the Graduate Committee to take courses outside of the department; and monitor the student's progress. In addition, advisors are expected to meet from time to time with the Graduate Committee to receive information on revised procedures and to consult on possible problems with the student's program.
Students who initially intend to study for a master's degree but subsequently decide on a PhD program are subject retroactively to the requirements for the PhD degree. In particular, they must pass the PhD preliminary examination by no later than the end of their second year of full-time graduate study. Consequently, students are advised to consider the available degree options and requirements carefully before beginning a graduate program. NOTE: The General Requirements have been revised.
The requirements listed below affect students entering the master program after January 1, 2017. Students currently enrolled in the master program must comply with the previous master degree general requirements. Master Degree General Requirements prior to January 1, 2017
Master of Arts Degree
In addition to University regulations, the requirements for the Master of Arts (MA) degree are as follows.
- Completion of at least ten mathematics courses (30 credit hours). A minimum of six courses must be taken at the 2000 or 3000 level and completed at grade B or better. The remaining ones may be departmental courses at the 1000 level. Courses given in closely related disciplines such as computer science or statistics may be substituted for the remaining courses if approved by the Graduate Committee.
- Achievement of an overall course average of B or better
- The passing of a comprehensive examination
There are no specific required courses. Thus, a program can be arranged to suit each student's interests and goals. A well-prepared student studying full-time can complete the degree in one year. Most, however, take two. Pursuit of the MA degree beyond two years by full-time students will be allowed only with permission of the Graduate Committee. Part-time candidates may take up to the University-allowed maximum (four calendar years) to complete all requirements.
The comprehensive examination for the Master of Arts degree is based on the content of three 2000-level mathematics courses. They are chosen by the student in consultation with his or her advisor, and the topics, along with the names of three examiners, must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Committee for approval. After approval has been obtained, the examination committee, chaired by the student's advisor, will give the student a list of basic questions in the chosen areas. At an agreed-upon time, the committee will conduct an oral examination of the student. Examination questions will be drawn from the list of basic questions. The committee also will be free to ask additional questions in the areas encompassed by the chosen subjects. If the student is judged to have passed the oral part of the exam, the committee at its option will request the student to prepare a short paper on a subject in one of the examination areas. This must be submitted within two weeks, and the committee will then reconvene to determine whether the student has passed or failed.
A student who fails the examination is allowed a re-examination. The student is not bound by the subjects declared for the first exam, but any changes must be submitted in writing to the Graduate Committee. He or she also may petition for a new group of examiners.
A third examination will be allowed only in extraordinary circumstances and must be approved by the Graduate Committee.
The oral examination is open to interested faculty. However, they cannot act as examiners.
Master of Science Degree
In addition to the University regulations, the requirements for the Master of Science (MS) are the following.
- The completion of at least eight courses (24 credit hours). A minimum of six courses must be taken at the 2000 or 3000 level and completed at grade B or better. The six courses must be selected in consultation with a faculty advisor with a view to the writing of a dissertation.
- Achievement of an overall course grade average of B or better
- In addition to the 24 credits in item 1, completion and defense of a thesis in mathematics (6 credits)
As with the MA degree, there are no specified required courses. Each student plans a program in conjunction with a faculty advisor. The significant difference between the MA and the MS is the thesis requirement. Although it does not have to be as extensive or as original as a doctoral dissertation, it should clearly demonstrate the student's mastery of the chosen topic.
A well-prepared student carrying a full schedule should be capable of completing the degree within two years. During the second year, the student will be expected to register in at least one course each semester. The remaining credits needed to maintain full-time status can be obtained through research. Pursuit of the MS degree by full-time students for longer than two years will be permitted only with the approval of the Graduate Committee. Part-time students are allowed as long as four calendar years from date of entry to complete all requirements.
The thesis defense for the MS degree is an oral examination based on the content of the student's thesis. The examination is conducted by a committee consisting of three faculty members, one of whom is the student's advisor. Subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee, the committee is chosen according to the recommendations of the advisor, who then serves as chairperson. It is preferable that the committee be formed early in the student's career so that its members can guide the student in his or her work.
The proper format for a master's thesis at the University of Pittsburgh is outlined in this Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) example.
Master of Arts and Master of Science Degrees in Applied Mathematics
The Department of Mathematics offers programs leading to the Master of Arts (MA) and the Master of Science (thesis) (MS) degrees with a major in applied mathematics. Successful completion of the program will enhance the student's potential for a position in industry or government or for additional study. The program is flexible in order to meet the needs of students whose specializations may vary widely.
In addition to the University requirements for admission to graduate school, a student should have completed courses in linear algebra, differential equations, and advanced calculus. Some computer experience is helpful. However, an undergraduate major in mathematics or applied mathematics is not necessary, and students with majors in other disciplines and who have sufficient background are a central part of the program. Moreover, well-motivated students lacking the prerequisites may be admitted with the provision that deficiencies be removed by course work in appropriate areas.
Because various program emphases are possible, students must consult their advisors concerning the alternatives. In addition to the requirements of the University, the following also apply.
- For the MA degree, 30 credits of course work are required. A minimum of seven departmental courses must be taken, and at least five of the seven must be at the 2000 level or above.
- The MS degree requires the completion of 24 credits of course work and the completion of a thesis in mathematics (six credits). A minimum of five courses must be departmental, at least four of which must be at the 2000 level or above.
- For either degree, courses must be distributed over the areas of numerical analysis, differential equations, and analysis. In addition, a minimum of two courses at the 2000 level or a minimum of three courses, of which one is at the 2000 level, must be taken outside the department and approved by the Graduate Committee.
- For the MA degree, a final oral examination must be passed. The examination is conducted by a committee consisting of three faculty members, one of whom is the student's advisor. This committee must also contain one member from outside the department who was an instructor in one of the outside courses described in item 3. Subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee, the committee is chosen according to the recommendations of the advisor, who then serves as chairperson. The process of the examination is the same as described above in the section on MA Degree.
- For the MS degree, a thesis defense must be completed. The thesis defense is an oral examination based on the content of the student's thesis. The examination is conducted by a committee consisting of three faculty members, one of whom is the student's advisor. This committee must also contain one member from outside the department who was an instructor in one of the outside courses described in item 3. Subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee, the committee is chosen according to the recommendations of the advisor, who then serves as chairperson. It is preferable that the committee be formed early in the student's career so that its members can guide the student in his or her work.
Doctor of Philosophy
In addition to satisfying the University regulations, each candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) must
- Complete 72 credit hours with minimum of six full terms in residence. The 72 credit hours may be obtained through formal course work, directed study, and thesis research. (for details see below).
- Complete at least 10 courses at the 2000 or 3000 level at grade B or better, excluding the orientation seminars, independent study, and courses designated as preparatory to the preliminary examination.
- Complete three two-course sequences. The approved sequence course list is available at Approved Graduate Sequences.
- Achieve an overall course average of B or better.
- Pass a written preliminary examination within 2 years.
- Pass a comprehensive examination within 3 years.
- Complete an oral overview/prospectus examination and be admitted to candidacy within 4 years.
- Write and defend a dissertation embodying an extended original investigation of a problem of significance in an area of mathematics.
- Participate in a teaching assignment of at least one lecture or recitation section per term for a minimum of two terms. This requirement can be waived by the Graduate Committee.
It is, of course, the satisfactory writing of the dissertation that is the most important goal of the PhD candidate. All other requirements, except that of item 8, support this objective.
The requirements must be completed within 10 years from the date of admission (8 years if already obtained a Master's Degree prior to admission).
Special requirements for a PhD in Mathematics
As of January 1, 2015, the following courses will no longer be included in the count toward the 72 credit hour requirement: Internship (3900), Independent Study (2990), Thesis MS (2000).
Non-Math courses: A student may take up to 1 course per semester from other University disciplines if they are in areas relevant to the proposed program of study. The student’s advisor must submit a request to the Graduate Committee prior to course registration in order for the credits to count toward the departmental 72 credit hour requirement and the 10 course requirement.
Repeated courses: For selected topics courses, documentation is required indicating the unique course material offered in a repeated course in order for the credits to count toward the department 72 credit hour policy. For all other courses, if repeated, the credits and grade (regardless of which is higher) of the course taken the first time around are removed from the transcript.
To receive a PhD in mathematics, a student must complete at least 10 mathematics courses at the 2000 or 3000 level with grade B or better. This excludes reading courses, directed-study courses, and the preparatory courses for the preliminary examination, such as Progress in Mathematics, Matrices and Linear Operators I and II (2020, 2370, 2371).
These courses must include at least three one-year sequences chosen from a list developed and kept up to date by the Graduate Committee. Sequences may not overlap, i.e., any particular course can only be counted in one of the required sequences. The courses should adhere to a coherent plan of study for the student's interests. The plan must be designed by the student's advisor with input from the student and consulting examples of such plans of study. It is to be submitted to the graduate committee for approval.
As many as two courses outside the mathematics department are permitted in these 10 courses, provided that all the following are satisfied.
- The programmatic necessity for the course is explained in writing to the Graduate Committee by the student's advisor and the courses are approved by the Graduate Committee.
- The courses are at the 2000 or 3000 level and are completed with a grade of B or better.
The exclusion of reading courses is not absolute. Faculty advisors can appeal to the Graduate Committee asking that a reading course on a topic count toward the 10 with documentation that it corresponds in requirements, student workload, and material to a real course.
10-course policy for Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) students: The PhD requirement for mathematics PhD students accepted into the CNBC program will be the three CNBC courses (Cognitive Neuroscience, Cellular Neurophysiology, Systems Neuroscience), Computational Neuroscience (Math 3375), plus an additional six mathematics courses at the 2000 level or above. This excludes reading courses, directed-study courses, and the preparatory courses for the PhD (Preliminary Examination, Progress in Mathematics, Matrices and Linear Operators I and II, Math 2020, 2370, 2371)
The course requirement at the 2000 and 3000 level is to ensure that the graduating PhD has a reasonable breadth in mathematics. Students with advanced degrees may be allowed credit for as many as four courses.
The overview/prospectus involves the formation of the student's doctoral committee and the presentation of a proposed research topic. The research should lead to a dissertation describing an extended original investigation and containing a definite contribution to mathematics. The thesis defense constitutes the final step in achieving the PhD.
A well-prepared student who is unencumbered by other obligations can complete the PhD requirements in four years. This can be done by enrolling in six courses per year, passing the preliminary evaluation after one year, the comprehensive examination after two years, and the overview/prospectus at the end of the third year. The dissertation is then written during the final year. For most students, this ideal minimum time is not possible. However, no more than two years should be needed to write a thesis and finish the remaining requirements. Thus, a maximum of five years is anticipated to accomplish the doctorate. In exceptional cases, the Graduate Committee will grant an additional year.
For part-time students, no rigid schedule can be imposed. Such candidates are encouraged to complete the requirements as rapidly as possible, but the only upper limit is the University's statute of limitations of 10 calendar years from the date of admission to graduate study.
The PhD Preliminary Examination
According to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin as published in the FAS Graduate Bulletin, the preliminary examination "should be designed to assess the breadth of the student's knowledge of the discipline, the student's achievement during the first year of graduate study, and the potential to apply research methods independently. Students who have full graduate status should be evaluated formally by approximately the end of the first year of full residence." The PE "is used to identify those students who may be expected to complete a doctoral program successfully and also to reveal areas of weakness in the student's preparation."
Accordingly, the examination covers advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate material, specifically material covered in Math 1530 and 1540 (Advanced Calculus I and II) and Math 2370 and 2371 (Matrices and Linear Operators I and II). The PE is given in April, just after the final exams, and August of each academic year. It is a written examination and consists of questions pertaining to the areas studied in the for courses just mentioned. The examination is prepared by a committee in which recent instructors of Math 1530, 1540, 2370, and 2371 will be involved. The preliminary exam consists of two parts taken on different days. Each part consists of a single set of questions related to either linear algebra or analysis (advanced calculus), according to a schedule that will be posted in advance. View preliminary exam syllabi and sample preliminary exams.
Each part of the examination takes four hours. The two parts are graded separately. A student will receive a credit for passing one of the exams if he or she receives a passing grade on that exam and scores above a specified threshold in the second exam. The student then will need to pass only the second exam. The date at which the second exam is passed will be the official date of passing the preliminary exam. Each time the exams are offered, the exam committee will determine for each of the exams both the passing score and the acceptable threshold.
Under normal circumstances, PhD students are allowed to attempt the preliminary exam for a period of three years, starting from the time of enrollment. In order to receive continued financial support, PhD students must pass the preliminary before the end of their second year in the program. If a student has not passed the preliminary exam by the beginning of the third year, his or her financial support will be halted. The student may remain enrolled in PhD program and attempt to pass the exam in their third year. If the student passes the exam by the end of their third year, his or her financial support will be reinstated. If a student has not passed the preliminary exam by the beginning of the fourth year, his or her enrollment in the PhD program will be discontinued. At that time, the student will have the option of switching his or her degree objective to Master of Arts or Master of Science.
The passing of the PE automatically fulfills the Master of Arts comprehensive examination requirement. Thus, a student who has passed the PE and satisfied items 1 and 2 under general requirements for the master's degree is entitled to a Master of Arts degree.
The PhD Comprehensive Examination
The Graduate and Professional Bulletin states that "The comprehensive examination should be designed to assess the student's mastery of the general field of doctoral study, the student's acquisition of both depth and breadth in the area of specialization within the general field, and the ability to use the research methods of the discipline. It should be administered at approximately the time of the completion of the formal course requirements and should be passed at least eight months before the scheduling of the final oral examination and dissertation defense. In no case may the comprehensive examination be taken in the same term in which the student is graduated."
In contrast to the preliminary examination, the comprehensive examination is suited to the individual needs of each student and is created and administered by a specially formed examining committee of three faculty members, which includes the student's advisor. The comprehensive examination should maintain a proper balance between specialization and generality.
The comprehensive examination will consist of a written component and, at the discretion of the examining committee, a subsequent oral component.
The content of the components should be determined by the examining committee, taking into consideration the chief interests of the student. The examining committee also shall decide whether the student has passed the comprehensive examination. Prior to administering the examination, the examining committee will submit an outline of the exam's areas and the questions comprising its written component to the Graduate Committee for approval.
It is the responsibility of the student to verify that the necessary approvals have been secured before taking the comprehensive examination.
Students are expected to pass the comprehensive examination by the end of the the third year of full-time study.
Overview/Prospectus Examination and Admission to Candidacy
After passing the comprehensive examination, the student should secure a prospective thesis advisor in an area in which he or she wishes to perform research. The thesis advisor will guide the student in further course work and directed study in the appropriate areas. At that time, the student may begin research toward the doctoral thesis.
In contrast to both the preliminary and comprehensive examinations, the overview examination is an oral examination whose form may vary from student to student. In order to take the overview, a student must have worked long enough with his or her advisor to have begun work on a thesis topic. At a mutually agreed-upon time (but no later than one year after the comprehensive examination and at least eight months prior to the thesis defense), the thesis advisor will form an overview committee consisting of at least four members of the graduate faculty. At least one member must be from outside the department. If a committee member is not a member of the University of Pittsburgh faculty, prior approval must be granted by the graduate faculty of arts and sciences office. The Graduate Committee will be informed in writing and must approve the selection prior to the overview.
The exam begins with a presentation of approximately one hour in which the student discusses his or her thesis topic and gives some ideas on where the research may lead. Then there is a period for questions and comments by the committee. Because the question-and-comment period can take a variety of forms, the length and format of the exam cannot be predicted.
If a student is deemed to have passed the examination, admission to candidacy forms are submitted by the examining committee to the Graduate Committee. Normally, the PhD Thesis Committee for the Final Oral or Defense of Thesis will be the same as the Overview Committee. If there is a change in committee members, then the student's advisor must request this in writing, and the Graduate Committee must approve it, as well as the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences.
If the committee is not pleased with the student's performance, then he or she will be asked to retake the examination at a later date. After the second examination, the committee will recommend whether the student will be allowed to continue toward the PhD.
The thesis defense is conducted by the student's doctoral committee as outlined in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin. Successful completion of this final examination marks the end of studies for the PhD degree.
An example of the proper format for a doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh is described in detail in here.
- At least three faculty members familiar with the student as an instructor and/or advisor may, in writing, request that the Graduate Committee dismiss the student from the PhD program.
- Upon receipt of this letter, the Graduate Committee will inform the faculty, via a memo, that such a recommendation has been made and invite comments both for and against the recommendation.
- The student will be informed of the recommendation and receive a list of the reported deficiencies, but not the names of the proponents and opponents. The student will be given an opportunity to prepare a defense against the proposed dismissal.
- A meeting of the Graduate Committee will be held to discuss the recommendation, and all faculty will be invited. At the meeting, the student and any interested faculty member may present oral or written statements. The student will present his or her case first and then leave the room so that an open and frank discussion can take place.
- The Graduate Committee will vote by written, signed ballot within two working days of the meeting. A vote of 75% in favor of dismissal is needed for a student to be dismissed from the program.
- The student and faculty will be informed of the results of the vote in writing. The Graduate Committee also will prepare a written report of the proceedings. The report will be placed in the student's confidential file.
- A student may appeal a dismissal vote to the chairman of the department. The request must be filed within 10 working days of receiving a dismissal notice.
Funding for Travel
The Department of Mathematics strongly encourages graduate students to actively participate in scientific conferences. For this purpose, the Graduate Committee welcomes requests from graduates for financial support toward travel expenses, accommodations, and conference fees.
On the other hand, the department has very limited funds to support travel of faculty and PhD students. All decisions to fund travel and levels of funding are made by the department chair and the Planning and Budget Committee. At their request, the Graduate Committee reviews travel requests of graduate students. The Graduate Committee will forward the worthy ones with positive recommendation that they be funded at some level, provided departmental funds are available.
A travel request should be on one page, possibly including supporting documents as appendices. Separate travel funding requests should be made for each trip. The request should be made to the Graduate Committee chair. The student's advisor must send a supporting letter.
When evaluating an application, the Graduate Committee will favor requests with the following characteristics.
- The student is close to completing a PhD and is giving a talk or has recently finished the comprehensive examination and has not received prior departmental travel funding.
- The student is searching matching support for the travel requested.
Other sources of funding include the following.
- The conference organizers (most conferences have funds for graduate student participants)
- A&S-PBC and Alumni Travel Fellowship-$600 (application required)
- A&S-GSO (FAS graduate student organization) Travel Grant
- Pitt-GPSG (University professional and graduate student organization)
- Your advisor
The request should follow these guidelines. Graduate Student Travel Reimbursement Worksheet
- Request: I request $**** support to attend [insert conference title and dates]. I will give a scientific talk on [title of your talk].
- Rationale: This conference was chosen because [reasons]. Benefits of my attendance include [benefits].
- Budget: [Detailed budget: travel expenses, accommodations, and conference fees, etc].
- Matching funding sought: I have requested matching funding of $**** from [List sources. Have you tried all of the sources listed above? If not, why not?].
- The department [has/has not] provided travel funding before. [If so, give details.]