Mathematics, PhD

This degree is intended for students with superior mathematical ability. It emphasizes a solid mathematical foundation and promotes creative scholarship in mathematics. ASU has very active research groups in analysis, number theory, geometry, and discrete mathematics.

The approved faculty PhD advisors for Mathematics are

Students making satisfactory academic progress in the Mathematics PhD program are eligible to compete for a maximum of five years of financial support either as teaching or research assistants. The stipends are competitive. Summer assistance is also often available. Click on the Financial Support tab above for more details.

Applicants must submit the Graduate College online application. Minimum background for consideration of admission to the PhD program in mathematics includes:

  • a bachelors degree in mathematics or a closely related area in a regionally accredited university
  • at least a 3.00 GPA (4.0 scale) overall and in Mathematics courses
  • mainly A's and B's in advanced mathematics courses
  • competitive in an applicant pool as evidenced by course work in linear algebra (equivalent to ASU course MAT 342/343) and advanced calculus (equivalent to ASU course MAT 371), letters of recommendation, and a statement of educational and career goals
  • the general GRE is required

There are four essential components to a Ph.D. in mathematics:

  1. Coursework – 84 credit hours (minimum) which includes qualifier courses as listed below; overall GPA must be at least 3.0 (on a four point scale with A=4.0). The remaining coursework will include advanced coursework and research credit hours chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.
  2. Qualifier Exams – two exams, each based on a two-semester sequence of courses, must be passed at the PhD level by semester four.
  3. Comprehensive Exam – a written exam must be passed by the end of the fifth semester over advanced coursework as part of a plan of study chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.
  4. Thesis – an original piece of research written by the student under the guidance of a thesis advisor and the thesis committee. Before starting the thesis, the student must pass an oral exam based on a written dissertation prospectus, which covers background material in the general area of the thesis work. After the thesis is written, the student must pass an oral defense of the thesis.

Details of these four components along with a typical timeline are given below.

Year 1 - Students must achieve PhD passes on two qualifier exams based on the topics listed below by the end of semester 4. In their first two years, student coursework should include courses from the list below as needed to meet the qualifier timeline.

Algebra: MAT 543 and MAT 544 (syllabus)
Real Analysis: MAT 570 and MAT 571 (syllabus)
Discrete Mathematics: MAT 512 and MAT 513 (syllabus)
Geometry/Topology: MAT 501 and MAT 502 (syllabus)

Past Qualifier Exams

Other existing qualifier exams (e.g., from the applied mathematics PhD program) may be substituted with the approval of the student's supervisory committee.

There is some variation in the policies for the four qualifying exams:

Algebratwo 3-hour parts, both on the same day, first part on MAT 543, second part on MAT 544Given in May and August
Real Analysissingle 4-hour exam on MAT 570-571Given in May and August
Discrete Mathematicstwo 3-hour parts, first part on MAT 512 in January, second part on MAT 513 given in MayBoth parts given in August
Geometry/Topologysingle 4-hour exam on MAT 501-502Given in May and August

It is possible to take a qualifying exam without registering for the course. The possible grades for the exam are: PhD pass, master's pass and fail. The student must achieve a PhD pass on all parts of the exams.

Years 2 and 3 - In the third semester of study, students select a dissertation (thesis) advisor and a bit later, a dissertation committee. In consultation with the advisor, students will select and take two 500-level courses as the basis for their written comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam should be completed by the end of the fifth semester. With the guidance of their advisor, students will also plan for any remaining coursework and background readings necessary for their thesis. An oral dissertation prospectus over this coursework and background readings is conducted with the advisor and dissertation committee by the end of the sixth semester.

Years 4 and 5 - Their dissertation should be written and successfully defended by the end of Year 5. Each dissertation will be reviewed by an external reviewer (reviewer must be approved by graduate director in advance). Students are highly encouraged to present their research at ASU seminars and relevant research conferences.

All PhD graduate students must attend 75% of the Colloquium/Distinguished Lecture Series for four semesters of their graduate program. For further information on the PhD program in mathematics, contact the graduate director at



Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistantships in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences are awarded in early spring for the following academic year (starting in fall semester). Admission decisions are made first, followed by offers for TA positions.

Our Graduate Review Committee is continuously reviewing applications to all Graduate Programs and strives to return admission decisions within two weeks of a completed application. Teaching assistantships are highly competitive. Applications for them will be reviewed in early January and first offers will be made by mid January.

Download the Graduate Teaching Assistantships Info flyer for more details.

Being admitted to one of our graduate programs does not guarantee funding. TA positions are highly competitive, with many more applicants than available assistantships. Funding is available primarily for graduate students admitted to one of our PhD degree programs.

Teaching assistant applicants must either speak English as their native language or have a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 100 (IBT).

Criteria used in making awards include academic records, letters of reference and demonstrated ability in English.

All international students with teaching assistantship positions must take the ASU-administered Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) upon arrival to ASU and receive full certification on the SPEAK after the first two semesters of support to be eligible to compete for continued financial support. International students are encouraged to take the International Teaching Assistants Teacher Training Course.

Applicants wishing to apply for financial assistance can do so in their online application.

Differential stipends are employed to reward and encourage students as they progress through their degree programs. The base stipends for doctoral students are fixed at the levels set by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For administrative purposes, a student's level in any given semester is based on their status at the end of the previous semester.

Limited summer support is available in the form of teaching positions during the six-week and eight-week summer sessions pending budgetary approval.

Additional resources for financial support can be found at the bottom of our Financial Support page under Graduate Admissions.


PhD application deadline is January 1, if you want to compete for a teaching assistant position.

Applications are accepted for fall admission only. We do not accept applications for spring admission. The graduate review committee will begin reviewing completed applications for admission and teaching assistantship positions beginning after January 1 for fall admission. The first round of offers for TA support will be made by late February. Only those receiving an offer will be contacted.

PhD application deadline is July 1, If you are applying for admission only and are not competing for TA support.

Applications still considered incomplete by the School of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences after July 1 will likely not be evaluated by the graduate review committee in time to be considered for admission for that current year. International applicants may want to allow an additional 4-6 weeks for I-20 and visa processing and should pay careful attention to the I-20/DS-2019 important deadlines.

See Graduate Admissions for additional information on non-refundable application fees and the late processing fee.

Application Evaluation

The requirements for each degree are listed on this website, and each applicant is evaluated not only on test scores and grades, but their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications submitted through the on-line process will be reviewed.

We receive many inquiries asking for a pre-evaluation to see if an applicant would be eligible to apply or make suggestions on their credentials. Unfortunately we are not able to review any application information sent to us.

Required Application Items

You can apply online to the graduate program and can check your application status with Graduate Admissions by using MyASU. Your privacy is protected by the use of an ASURITE User ID and password. If you are new to ASU, your ASURITE User ID and instructions for its activation can be found on your application acknowledgement letter. If you need the application materials mailed to you, contact the Graduate Admissions office.

The following items are required before an application is considered complete and ready for review by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. All application materials, with the exception of official transcripts, should be submitted online to Graduate Admissions.

  • Submit your on-line application to Graduate Admissions.
  • Submit the appropriate application fee to Graduate Admissions.
  • Send official transcripts to Graduate Admissions from all institutions you have attended.
  • International students must submit an official TOEFL score to Graduate Education. See Graduate Admissions for English Proficiency Requirements. If you are applying for support as a TA by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 100 (IBT) is required.
  • Submit official GRE test scores (general scores only; we do not require the subject test). The ASU Institution code is 4007.
  • Three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of three (3) references when you complete the Graduate Admissions application online.
  • If you are applying for support as a TA/RA, indicate this information on your online application. No additional form is required. Priority for funding will be for students in one of our PhD degree programs, with limited funding available for MA degree seeking students.
  • Submit a statement of purpose that specifically addresses your research interests and goals for graduate school. This should be uploaded during the online application process.

Academic Integrity

The highest standards of academic integrity and compliance with the university’s Student Code of Conduct are expected of all graduate students in academic coursework and research activities. The failure of any graduate student to uphold these standards may result in serious consequences including suspension or expulsion from the university and/or other sanctions as specified in the academic integrity policies of individual colleges as well as the university.

Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication of data, tampering, plagiarism, or aiding and/or facilitating such activities. At the graduate level, it is expected that students are familiar with these issues and that each student assumes personal responsibility in their work.

Application Status

Due to the number of applications we receive, you will not be notified by the school until a decision has been made on your application. You are encouraged to check your application status on MyASU or e-mail Include your name and ASU ID number on all correspondence to the school.

If I send my application information in via email, can I receive a pre-evaluation to see if I am eligible to apply?

We receive many inquiries and applications; therefore, we are not able to review your scores to determine your eligibility to apply or make suggestions on your credentials. The requirements for each degree are listed on our website, and each applicant is evaluated not only on test scores and grades, but their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications will be reviewed.

What semesters are applications accepted?

Our School only accepts applications for the fall semesters.

When do applications need to be submitted?

If you are requesting funding from the School, all application materials must be received by January 1. We will continue to accept application materials until July 1 for that current semester. International applicants should be mindful of the deadlines for issuing I-20/DS-2019 documents.

Do all supporting application materials need to be submitted and received by the application deadline?

Supporting materials can be submitted after the deadline; however, preference for funding requests is given to students whose applications are completed by the deadline.

What are the prerequisites for the degree programs?

All of the School's degree programs require that you have completed a Bachelor of Science in mathematics or a related field and that you have successfully completed both Linear Algebra (ASU equivalent of MAT 342) and Advanced Calculus (ASU equivalent of MAT 371) with a grade of B or better prior to admission.

Is a Master’s degree required to apply for the PhD program?

Domestic students applying to the PhD program must have completed a Bachelor of Science in mathematics or a related field. Due to the differences in the international education system, all international applicants must confirm that their degree(s) will meet the Graduate Admissions requirements.

Is the subject GRE test required?

The general GRE test is required for all graduate programs; however, the subject test is not required.

What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score?

The minimum acceptable TOEFL score required for admission by the ASU Graduate Admissions is 80 (iBT). If you are requesting TA funding the School requires a minimum score of 100 (iBT).

See the English Proficiency requirements on the ASU Graduate Admissions website.

Can IELTS scores be used for English Proficiency?

Yes, the IELTS is accepted at ASU for the English Proficiency requirement. See the English Proficiency webpage.

Do I have to submit TOEFL scores if I have been attending school in the United States?

Visit the Graduate Admissions' policies and requirements on English Proficiency.

Do I need to request that ETS send my official GRE and TOEFL scores?

Yes, we cannot make a final recommendation on your application until we have received the official test scores from ETS. Copies are not accepted and should not be mailed to the School.

Where should I have my official documents sent?

All official application materials should be sent to ASU Graduate Admissions:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by U.S. Mail:
Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 870112
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:
Graduate Admission Services
Arizona State University
1151 S. Forest Avenue, #SSV112
Tempe, AZ  85287-0112

Where can I find the form for recommendation letters?

There is no form for recommendation letters. They are submitted electronically. You will enter the recommender information on the online application and an email will be sent to each recommender requesting an electronic letter submission for your application.

My recommender will only complete a paper recommendation, where can he/she send it?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept letters of recommendation on paper; all letters must be submitted electronically using our system.

What if my recommender needs the email request resent?

If your recommender needs the email resent you can log in to MyASU and resend the email to your recommender.

Which faculty are actively recruiting students for research assistantships? Can I contact them directly?

Faculty research requirements change constantly and we are unable to provide a list of actively recruiting faculty. Faculty do have access to view all incoming applicants and typically notify our office or contact the student themselves if a strong applicant shows an interest in their research and has been accepted into the program.

You can view the different research areas and faculty in our research section of our website. Faculty will often discuss research projects by email with enthusiastic applicants.

What kind of financial support is available through the School?

Eligible applicants who are admitted into the program have the opportunity to apply for a teaching assistantship. See our financial support section for additional information.

Download the Graduate Teaching Assistantships Info flyer for more details.

Is there a funding application which must be completed?

No, the information required for the application is included in the online Graduate Admissions application.

How can I check the status of my application?

Log in to MyASU. Your log in information is located in the application confirmation email sent to you from the Graduate College. If you have difficulties logging in contact their office at

When will a decision be made on my application?

Our Graduate Review Committee is continuously reviewing applications to all Graduate Programs and strives to return admission decisions within two weeks of a completed application. Teaching assistantships are highly competitive. Applications for them will be reviewed in early January and first offers will be made by mid January.

Where can I find information about the Graduate Admissions application and how do I contact their office if I have a question?

General information regarding the online application form can be found on the ASU Graduate Admissions website and their office can be contacted via email at

Degree Offered

Mathematics, PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

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