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Information for Prospective Graduate Students

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Download Letter to Prospective Graduate Students from the Director of Graduate Studies

PROGRAMS

The Department of Mathematics offers the doctor of philosophy and master of arts degrees in mathematics. Most of our students pursue a Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program requires 72 credit hours of course work, including dissertation research. Doctoral candidates complete a core curriculum in algebra, analysis, and topology. After passing preliminary exams in two of these three areas, students study in their area of concentration. For Ph.D. candidacy students pass a qualifying examination involving either an oral examination in their specialty or an expository paper. Once students have qualified for Ph.D. candidacy, they concentrate on dissertation research.

WHY STUDY AT VANDERBILT?

  • The most recent (2010) National Research Council (NRC) report on U.S. math graduate programs places our department in the top group of graduate programs surveyed.
  • The Department of Mathematics has a distinguished international faculty that includes a Fields Medalist and International Congress of Mathematicians invited speakers.
  • The department has a variety of research groups: universal algebra, topology, group theory, geometry/topology, approximation theory, number theory, noncommutative geometry, operator algebras, mathematical biology, partial differential equations, and graph theory.
  • The stimulating research environment is supported by an ongoing program that attracts visiting scholars from institutions around the world and hosts several major conferences a year.
  • The Department of Mathematics has approximately fifty research faculty and forty resident graduate students. It is large enough to support a wide range of courses, but small enough for students to receive individual attention from faculty members.
  • Graduate students are given one to two years of training to teach at the college level. After that period, they generally serve as TAs and eventually instructors in calculus classes. This opportunity provides valuable experience in communication, even for students who do not pursue careers in academia.
  • Our graduate students are very successful in securing jobs.
  • Nashville offers the amenities of a large city and the friendliness of a small town.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Most Ph.D. students in mathematics receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and support is usually provided for a five-year period. Teaching assistants receive a University Tuition Scholarship (a service-free award that pays all tuition costs), student health insurance coverage and a twelve-month stipend. For 2018/19 the stipend is $26,000.  Some highly qualified applicants are awarded University Graduate Fellowships that provide an additional stipend up to $5,000.  Also, the Graduate School awards several Provost’s Graduate Fellowships that provide an additional $5,000 to highly qualified students from underrepresented groups.

Students who do not have financial aid pay tuition of $1967 per credit hour.

GRADUATE STUDENT TEACHING

First-year graduate students participate in a weekly teaching seminar and conduct tutored study halls for calculus.

Second and third-year students serve as TAs. Responsibilities include attending class meetings, conducting a weekly recitation section, holding office hours, and grading papers.

Fourth and fifth-year students with good teaching evaluations and strong recommendations from their faculty mentors are assigned to teach a first-year calculus course.

FACILITIES

Vanderbilt University’s libraries are among the top research libraries in the nation, home to more than eight million items, including print publications, microfilm items, and digital collections. The mathematics collection is housed in the Science and Engineering Library, conveniently located in the math building. This collection is excellent, both in books and access to electronic resources, including e-journals and online databases such as MathSciNet and Web of Science. Items not available locally can be borrowed through interlibrary loan, which is free of charge to graduate students.

Computational resources available to graduate students include access to the university’s large cluster and desktop computers equipped with computer algebra software and LaTeX. Graduate students may use these facilities freely for research, writing, and teaching.

Furthermore, the graduate students’ office suite is a newly renovated state-of-the-art facility.

HOUSING

Ample private housing is available within walking distance of the campus. The Office of Housing and Residential Education maintains an off-campus housing referral service. Visit their web page at: offcampushousing.vanderbilt.edu.

VANDERBILT AND NASHVILLE

Vanderbilt is a private university, founded in 1873. The university includes the four undergraduate schools, the Graduate School, and eight professional schools.

Located approximately two miles from downtown Nashville, Vanderbilt is situated on 330 acres and is designated as an arboretum. A diverse student body of about 6,800 undergraduates and 5,700 graduate and professional students is taught by more than 4,200 full-time faculty members.

The metropolitan Nashville area, in the heart of middle Tennessee, has a population of over one million. The city, a center for music of all kinds, has many other cultural and entertainment opportunities, including theatre, film, museums, symphony, recreation areas, and two major league sports teams.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Applications should be made online and can be accessed through Vanderbil’s Graduate School at Application Process. Your application will simultaneously be sent to the Department of Mathematics. The application deadline for Fall, 2019 is January 1, 2019.

In the event you are unable to apply online, please send an email message to apply@vanderbilt.edu and request a copy of the application. A printable version of the application form will then be sent to you as an email attachment.

Below is a list of required information and materials you will need in order to complete your application. You may begin an application at any time and fill in the missing information when it becomes available.

  1. GRE General Test scores (No minimum score required)
  2. GRE Mathematics Subject Test score (No minimum score required)
  3. Letters of recommendation (Minimum of 3 letters required)
  4. Transcripts
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. TOEFL score is required of all applicants that have not received a degree from an English-speaking university. (The minimum acceptable score on the paper-based test is 570, and for the internet-based test, 88.)

FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information, please contact:
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Mathematics, 1326 Stevenson Center
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, U.S.A.
mathgrad@vanderbilt.edu
Telephone: +1 615 322 6672
Fax: +1 615 343 0215