The next comprehensive exams are scheduled as follows:
Algebra - Thursday, Sept 28, 2017, 2-5pm, MC15B.
Analysis - Thursday, Oct 5, 2017, 2-5pm, MC15B.
All Mathematics Ph.D. students are required to pass a qualifying/comprehensive examination. This examination is in two parts. Part I consists of two written exams: (1) Algebra and (2) Analysis, with the syllabus for each being based on undergraduate and MSc-level material (see below). The aim of Part I is to ascertain that the candidate has a good overall understanding and working knowledge of the mathematics that will form a basis for further study in the PhD program.
The exams are offered in October and May each year. The exams should be attempted the first or second time they are offered and must be successfully completed by the third time they are offered. At most two attempts at each exam are permitted. This chart explains the timing:
|Enter program||First attempt by||Pass by|
|Sep 2016||May 2017||Oct 2017|
|Jan or May 2017||Oct 2017||May 2018|
|Sep 2017||May 2018||Oct 2018|
Copies of the three most recent exams are available from Adriana Dimova. Students are encouraged to use these to prepare for the exam before starting the Ph.D. program. Students who have received offers of admission to the Ph.D. program in Mathematics may receive copies of these sample examinations upon request.
Part II consists of completion of a written paper and oral presentation assigned by the candidate's advisory committee. The objective here is to ascertain that the candidate has the potential to undertake research and to write down results. This is to test his/her familiarity with the background of the intended field of study. This project is assigned within two months of completing Part I and is to be completed within six months of being assigned. The project is judged on a pass/fail basis by a three-person examining committee. See Mathematics 9993 below for more details.
After a Ph.D. candidate has successfully completed Part I of the Comprehensive Examination, he/she shall be required to prepare a review paper describing background material for the intended research topic and to defend it orally. This project may later become a part of the student's thesis. This stage is intended to test the student's potential to undertake mathematical research and to write down results. The submitted paper shall typically be between 10 and 15 pages in length and compile results from several different sources together with proofs. The presentation of the material shall be coherent and sufficiently detailed so that the members of the examining committee can evaluate its correctness without consulting special literature.
The examining committee will contain three faculty members appointed by the Graduate Affairs Committee and usually consists of the advisory committee. Within two months of the completion of Part I of the Comprehensive Examination, the examining committee shall give signed approval of a topic and a list of suggested sources. The oral presentation of the project will take place within six months of being assigned, and a final version of the paper will be submitted to the examining committee at least two weeks before the presentation.
After the presentation and audience questions, the audience is asked to leave and the examining committee meets privately with the candidate to ask additional questions. Then the examining committee meets without the candidate, decides separately whether the paper and the presentation have been satisfactorily completed, and reports its decision to the candidate and the Graduate Affairs Committee. In the event that one or both of the paper and presentation is not deemed satisfactory by a majority of the committee, the candidate may attempt the failed portion(s) a second time, within two months of the first attempt. If the candidate fails again, he/she is required to withdraw from the program.