Mathematics Department - Mathematics Graduate Program

Mathematics Graduate Program


Mathematics Graduate Program

I Initial appointment

Ordinarily, only admitted doctoral students in the Graduate Program in Mathematics will be eligible for an appointment as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Assistant (GA) in Mathematics.

For students not currently at Rutgers, admission and initial support decisions are made on the basis of course work at other institutions, general and subject GRE's, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. Other relevant information may also be considered. Students whose native language is not English must supply evidence of competence in written and spoken English. The duties of an initial appointment as a TA may only be grading.

Criteria for an initial appointment as a TA or GA for students at Rutgers combine admissions information together with appropriate parts of the reappointment standards discussed below.

II Reappointment

Candidates for reappointment are judged on a combination of instructional competence (for TA's) and scholarly progress (for both TA's and GA's). Reappointment is always subject to availability of funds. Ph.D. students students who have completed four or fewer years of the graduate study in mathematics and have demonstrated satifactory instructional competence and scholarly progress will normally be be reappointed as TAs or GAs (subject to availability of positions). Ph.D. students who have been students for five years will normally be placed on the waiting list for support, and will be considered for support based on the following priority for support: (i) number of years in the program (with students having fewer years in the program having higher priority), (ii) assessments (by faculty) of the student's progress and prospects for finishing in the coming year, (iii) past performance as a TA. Students who have completed six years in the program are generally not eligible for reappointment as a TA.

A. Instructional competence

Students whose native language is not English may need proof of competence in English at an appropriate level. Such competence is ordinarily assessed by the Rutgers ESL program. Reappointment as a TA generally requires work as a classroom instructor. Such appointments cannot be made until ESL has certified that the candidate possesses adequate competence in oral English (both speaking and understanding the spoken language). In some cases ESL will grant provisional certification conditioned on continuing work in their courses.

An initial appointment involving work as a classroom instructor must be preceded by successful completion of the Department's TA Training Program, or by equivalent training and adequate performance elsewhere.

Adequate current performance in either grading or teaching assignments is required for reappointment. The duties of a recitation instructor are given in the guide for recitation instructors . Assessment of the TAs performance of these duties will be based on reports from the TA's supervisor (usually the course instructor), the end of semester survey of the students, observations of the TA by faculty, and any additional information about the performance that is available to the faculty members who are performing the assessment of TA performance.

Students requesting support past their fifth year as a Ph.D. student are held to a higher standard of instructional competence than are students in their first five years of studies

B. Scholarly progress

Year 1
Satisfactory progress for a student completing their first year: This includes good performance in courses based on grades and faculty recommendations (grades less than B are poor, and normally grades of B+ or A are satisfactory). If most of a student's work is in advanced courses which offer only pro forma grades, additional criteria may be used -- for example, certification by faculty members of active and satisfactory participation in these courses. Students who have not taken and passed the written comprehensive exam during their first year of study here should show signs that they are preparing to take it by the beginning of the second year. Students may be put on the waiting list for support, subject to future assessment and possible denial of support, if their performance up to the time of initial support decisions falls well below expectations.

Year 2
Satisfactory progress for students completing their second year: This includes doing well in courses (grades less than B are poor, and generally grades of B+ or A are satisfactory) and having passed the written qualifying exam. If most of a student's work is in advanced courses or rotations which offer only pro forma grades, additional criteria may be used -- for example, certification by faculty members of active and satisfactory participation in these courses. Students who have not already taken and passed the oral exam should be taking steps to form their oral exam committee. Students may be put on the waiting list for support, subject to future assessment and possible denial of support, if their performance up to the time of initial support decisions falls well below expectations.

Year 3
Satisfactory progress for students completing their third year of studies: The primary behchmark is satisfactory completion of the oral qualifying exam. It is recommended that students complete the exam by the end of the first semester of their third year. Students who have not completed the qualifying exam by March of their third year may not receive support for a fourth year. A necessary condition for such students student to be granted support for the fourth year is to submit a plan for completing the exam to the graduate program director, and have the plan approved. Students completing their third year are expected to have begun working with a research advisor.

Year 4 and beyond
Satsifactory progress for students completing their fourth year:

All such students should have advanced to candidacy, and will be placed on the waiting list if they have not advanced to candidacy.

Beyond that, satisfactory progress means both having a research advisor and making progress on their thesis. The primary assessment of satisfactory progress comes from the thesis advisor. Our program is designed so that a student can normally complete their Ph.D. within five years, though we do recognize that there are legitimate reasons that a student may require six or even seven years to complete their degree. A student who has not completed a Ph.D. after seven years of study is normally considered not to be making satisfactory progress and is therefore normally ineligible for TA support.

Ordinarily we hope to extend TA support to students making satisfactory progress at least through the end of five years of study here. Beyond that we will consider each student individually and may need to put some students on the waiting list for support, with the eventual support decision to be based on resources available.

C. Satisfactory course load

There is a distinction to be made between what the Math Department expects students to take in order to maintain "satisfactory progress" towards the degree and the legal notion (for US VISA purposes only) of "full-time status.

Students in the first three years of graduate school are expected to be taking 9 credits per semester of coursework/research in addition to a 6-credit Assistantship (Teaching or other) - for a total of 15 credits per semester.
For students who are past their oral quals, and admitted for candidacy, "making satisfactory progress" is measured differently. Students who have passed the orals so quickly that they haven't yet accumulated 48 course credits should talk to the Graduate Director. Other students, who have a good idea of when they will graduate, can adjust their research credits accordingly; a lower limit may be reasonable.

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