Supplement to the Graduate Mathematics Program Description
II. Ph.D. Thesis
III. Continuation of support
There are various fellowships
available for graduate students.
We mention in particular:
- a) First and fourth year fellowships --
- Entering Ph.D. students
who are offered full support by our Department will ordinarily be given a
fellowship during their first and fourth year.
This will enable them to take four courses and have no teaching or
grading responsibilities for the year.
- b) Summer fellowships --
- Ph.D. students who are offered
full support will be offered one summer on fellowship, during which they
will receive a stipend and have no teaching or grading responsibilities.
- c) Calabi Fellows and Scholars --
- Incoming graduate students are eligible to be considered for
fellowships from the Mathematics Department's Calabi Scholars Fund,
started in 1997 and named in honor of Prof. Eugenio Calabi.
A small number may be granted by the Mathematics Department each year.
Those who are named as Calabi Fellows or Calabi Scholars receive
additional supplements to their stipends each year of their support
package that they are in good
standing and making timely progress toward their Ph.D.
- d) Dean's Dissertation Fellowships --
- These are one year
awarded in a University wide competition to senior graduate students who
are working on their Ph.D. theses. The Department of Mathematics
recommends several of our most qualified students every year.
Math Department fellowships --
- These are fellowships awarded to
selected Ph.D. students beyond their first year, for the purpose of
allowing them to spend a semester focused on their studies without
teaching or grading responsibilities. Each year a number of these are
- f) NSF Fellowships --
fellowships, which are awarded by NSF, provide three years of fellowship
support with no teaching or grading required. The deadline for applying
for these fellowships is early December, and it is necessary to take the
GRE early in order to apply. These fellowships are restricted to U.S.
citizens and permanent residents. Applications are accepted from students
in their last year of undergraduate study or in their first year
of graduate study. Further information is available on the NSF Graduate
- g) AAUW Fellowships --
- These fellowships are awarded by AAUW, the American Association of
University Women. They provide one year of fellowship support to women
graduate students. More information is available on the AAUW
- h) Microsoft Graduate Fellowships --
- These fellowships are awarded by Microsoft Research.
They provide two-to-three years of fellowship support;
preference is given to students currently in their second or third year
of a Ph.D. program.
More information is available on the
Microsoft Graduate Fellowship website.
- i) NDSEG Graduate Fellowships --
- These US government fellowships provide three years of graduate
support in mathematics and other scientific fields with no teaching
required during that time. These fellowships are restricted to U.S.
citizens or nationals who are at or near the beginning of their graduate
studies. The application deadline is in early January, and more
information is available on the
The Ph.D. thesis (dissertation) is the heart of the Ph.D. program.
It consists of a significant piece of original research in an area of
mathematics. Students generally begin work on the topic of their Ph.D.
thesis in their third year in the program, and should finish writing it
by the end of their fifth year. Work on the thesis is done in
consultation with a thesis advisor, who is ordinarily a member of the
Penn Mathematics Department. In case a student desires to do dissertation
work under a person not on
the graduate faculty at Penn, the student must obtain the approval of the
Graduate Group Chairman before beginning the thesis work.
When a student nears completion of the dissertation, the Graduate Group
Chairman, in consultation with the student and the Thesis Advisor, will
appoint a committee to examine and approve the thesis. This Thesis
Examination Committee consists of three or more faculty members, at least
one of whom is a tenured member of the Penn Mathematics Department, and at
least one of whom is outside the area of specialization of the thesis. The
Chairman of the committee should be someone other than the Thesis Advisor
competent to judge the technical merits of the dissertation. The Thesis
Advisor or the Chairman of the committee (but not necessarily both) should
be a tenured member of the Mathematics Department.
The Graduate Group Chairman will organize the date, time and place of
the examination and issue a memorandum to all faculty members concerning
It is the responsibility of the student to provide members of the
Thesis Examination Committee with copies of the thesis before the
University's "final date for presentation to faculty of completed doctoral
dissertations". A copy of the thesis should also be left in the Department
office by this date so that any other interested faculty member may read
it before the Final Ph.D. Examination. In particular, the Thesis Advisor
and the Chairman of the Examination Committee should have an ample
opportunity to suggest changes in the manuscript before it is typed in
final form. Students should consult the Graduate Secretary and the Office
of the Graduate Faculties concerning the format of the dissertation and
the rules regarding its submission.
The final typed version of the thesis must be read and approved by the
Thesis Advisor and the Chairman of the Examination Committee by the "final
date for faculty reports on acceptance of dissertations". This is a
University-wide rule and no exceptions can be made.
After the dissertation is approved by the Thesis Advisor and Chairman
of the Examination Committee, the Final Ph.D. Examination will be
scheduled. This examination must take place before the University-wide
"final date for deposit of Ph.D. dissertations and for faculty reports on
satisfaction of degree requirements". At the examination, the student will
be expected to give a short exposition of the results of the thesis work
and to answer questions concerning not only the thesis but also areas
related to it. All faculty members of the Graduate Group in Mathematics
will be invited to attend the examination. Those who do so are full voting
members of the Exam Committee.
The number of years indicated below starts with the student's
enrollment as a graduate student at Penn. It does not include graduate
work done elsewhere, or
years on leave.
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- The usual financial support package is for four years, for students in
good standing who are making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. Our
graduate students typically take five years to obtain the Ph.D. and
financial support for a fifth year is available for students making
toward the Ph.D.
- Performance in the first year courses and on the Preliminary
Examination will be taken into consideration before a second year of
financial support is given.
- Before a third year of financial support is given, the student must
have passed one of the language exams and either taken the Ph.D
Preliminary exam or scheduled the exam for the fall (unless given an
extension by the Graduate Chair).
- Before a fourth year of financial support is given, the student must
have passed the second language exam, the Ph.D Preliminary exam, and
fulfilled the seminar requirement, and must be in good standing. At this
point the student should be maturing as a growing mathematician, should be
attending seminars and colloquia on a regular basis, and should be giving
evidence of very serious immersion in mathematics as a professional.
- A fifth year of financial support will be granted only for students
making substantial progress toward the Ph.D. In particular, such students
should have a reasonable chance of completing the dissertation work at the
end of the fifth year.
- On occasion a sixth year of
financial support may be granted, depending on special mathematical
circumstances and on the availability of funds.
- Good performance
as a teaching assistant is expected, for continuation in that capacity.
Such performance is also important when applying for academic jobs.
- Students whose native language is not English must steadily improve
their ability to speak and to understand conversational English. Fluency
in English is an absolute requirement for continuing support as a Teaching
Assistant. Foreign students arriving from abroad for their first year of
study will be expected by the end of their first year here, to speak and
to understand English with fluency and ease. Foreign students are strongly
urged to speak English at every opportunity and to attend departmental
colloquia and social functions.
- During the regular academic year
students receiving financial support from the University (in any form)
must inform the Graduate Group Chairman in writing and receive permission
in writing before they may receive financial compensation from jobs
outside the University. Because of conflict of interest, a student serving
as a teaching assistant for a given course may not receive payment for
tutoring other students enrolled in that course (this includes students
enrolled in a different section of the same course).
- In case of
financial difficulties the student should consult the Graduate Group
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