Mathematics Department - Ph.D. Dissertation

Ph.D. Dissertation and Defense

Mathematics Graduate Program

The doctoral dissertation (or thesis) is completed under the direction of a thesis advisor, and must be approved by a faculty committee of (at least) four members, one of which is an ''outside member". Additional information about the rules for forming the thesis committee can be found here

Students should read the Rutgers - New Brunswck Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Style Guide. Here is a guide to producing a Mathematics thesis in LATeX in accordance with the style guide. Writing mathematics well faces particular challenges. There are some helpful guides on how to write mathematics, of which a classic essay by P. Halmos is still worthy of reading.

The graduate school offers thesis preparation workshops.

Degree Policy (adopted May 2006)
The dissertation itself must be a single entity and a clearly written account of the student's original research. In addition to a description of the details and results of the research, it should contain an appropriate general and contextual introduction, written at a level accessible to most other workers in the wider field. If the thesis consists of more than one piece of research, the elements of the dissertation must be related parts of a common research program and should be tied together in the introduction and the conclusion.

The student and his advisor should propose an outside committee member to the graduate program director at least three months before the defense date. The formal doctoral defense should normally be scheduled at least one month in advance of the defense date, and the defense date should be at least two weeks before the deadline for degree as set by the Graduate School.

Our program has a formal policy on such matters in the form of GUIDELINES ON TIME FOR REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF DISSERTATIONS. It is the responsibility of the degree candidate to make sure that he or she adheres to the deadlines as described in these guidelines.

There is an application form available from the graduate secretary.

The committee members should all be present at the defense. Sometimes it is infeasible for the outside committee member to attend the defense. In this case, the outside committee member should write a letter to:

Graduate Program Director, Mathematics
Hill Center
110 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Assuming that the outside committee member approves the thesis, the letter should include something like the following language:
I served as the outside committee member for the Ph.D. dissertation [THESIS TITLE] of [NAME OF STUDENT]. I have read the dissertation and recommend that it be accepted. I authorize you to sign on my behalf on the thesis and the official forms.

The letter should be sent by email to or by regular mail to the above address, or by FAX to 732-445-5530, before or very soon after the thesis defense.

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