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Programs and courses

Program overview

Master’s versus PhD:

Our (thesis-based) Master’s degree normally takes two years to complete. The PhD degree typically takes four years. Admission into our PhD program normally requires a prior thesis-based Master’s degree. Alternatively, students in our Master's program may, after one year, apply to sit an exam for direct transfer into the PhD program.

Selection of courses: 

Courses are selected in consultation with the student's supervisor and the Graduate Officer, taking into account the departmental breadth requirement. Beyond this requirement, there are no other constraints on course selection. We encourage students to select courses that will help them develop a broad knowledge of Mathematics and its applications: appropriate courses are often offered by other departments in the Faculties of Mathematics, Science and Engineering.

Master's program: 

The MMath thesis is a comprehensive study that contributes to the understanding of a research topic. Master's thesis results sometimes lead to publication in the research literature. The Master's thesis is assessed by a committee composed of the thesis supervisor and two other faculty members, after which a thesis defence is held. The defence consists of a 20 minute presentation by the candidate, followed by detailed questioning by the examining committee.

PhD program:

The program of studies of a PhD student is directed by an advisory committee consisting of the supervisor and two other faculty members. The committee holds annual progress meetings with the student and the committee members serve as the examiners at the student's comprehensive examination. During this exam, which takes place during the student's second year of studies, the student presents and defends a research proposal, and demonstrates background knowledge sufficient to carry out the proposed research project.

Once the PhD thesis is complete, it is read by the advisory committee and by an external examiner - an expert in the field who provides an impartial assessment of the quality of the student's research contributions. The thesis defence consists of a presentation by the candidate, followed by detailed questioning by the examining committee.

In addition to coursework and successful defense of a thesis, PhD candidates fulfill a lecturing requirement, by teaching a one-term undergraduate course, usually at the first or second year level. Students normally satisfy this requirement after completing the PhD Comprehensive Examination and after gaining experience as a teaching assistant.

Graduate degrees offered:

Detailed descriptions of the following programs can be found in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar:

  • MMath Applied Mathematics
  • MMath Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information)
  • MMath Applied Mathematics (Water)
  • PhD Applied Mathematics
  • PhD Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information)
  • PhD Applied Mathematics (Water)

For a personal take on graduate studies, with some advice that may be useful, you can also consult this document: "Advice for graduate students" prepared by Prof. Achim Kempf in 2011.

Detailed descriptions of the following programs can be found in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar:

  • MMath Applied Mathematics
  • MMath Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information)
  • MMath Applied Mathematics (Water)
  • PhD Applied Mathematics
  • PhD Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information)
  • PhD Applied Mathematics (Water)