Math Grad Program FAQ

A somewhat random and (so-far) unstructured list of frequent questions and
answers for the DGS:


Q: I want to go to a conference, does the dept have money to pay for this?
A: No, the dept doesn't keep any money for this, but there are many other
sources you can turn to:
1) Professors' have travel support for trips on their grant funds
2) See "Conference Travel" under "Other Support" from the Grad School 2010/11 PDF
3) SIAM and AMS also have travel support grants for students...
4) Conference-specific information about their support for visitors...

Q: What is different about year 6 vs. years 1-5 in the program?
A: The Duke Graduate School provides the math dept resources (student
funding and student office space) specifically dedicated for the support of
students in years 1 through 5, hence the department guarantees full support
of students (either via teaching or research assistantships) for years 1-5.
After year 5, student financial support and office space must be determined
from different sources (financial support most often from Advisor's research
grants, or teaching assignments [if available], limited alternative office
space has sometimes been available in the dept).
Another possible source of financial support is Duke's Stern Final-year
Dissertation Fellowship (Applications due OCT 30!) see

Q: What is CTN 1-01?
A: CTN 1 ("continuation") is not a real course, it is a 'book-keeping
device' that the ACES system uses to mark each term that a student is 
enrolled at Duke.
If you sign up for any courses, CTN 1 automatically get added.
Later, if you don't take any courses (just doing research for your
thesis...), then you have to manually select CTN 1.

Q: How many courses are required for a Ph.D. in math?
A: Actually none, but you'd have to already know a LOT to skip ahead of
all the advanced courses and do the requirements: an oral Preliminary
exam, working with an advisor to write a thesis, and doing the final
thesis defense.

Q: How many courses are required for a M.A. in math?
A: The graduate school has uniform rules for all departments -- 10 relevant
graduate level courses are required and a final oral examination in on two
graduate level topics in mathematics...

Q: Is attendance required in graduate courses?
A: Attendance at all lectures is VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Expectations for
the work students are responsible for in courses gets set by individual
instructors. If you can do some of that work independent of the lectures,
good, but there are other things to be learned in the lectures as well.
Missing homework assignments or exams without prior permission will 
significantly adversely effect your grade. Students are required to
maintain at least a B average to remain in the program.
Coming to lectures prevents you from falling behind and digging a hole
that you wont be able to recover from. So, the overall message: Yes, I 
personally recommend that you maintain full attendance in your classes.
If you must miss a class or turn in an assignment late, talk with the
instructor BEFORE-HAND to make appropriate arrangements. 
Fulfilling all of your teaching and help-room responsibilities is even
more strict on ZERO_TOLERANCE for non-attendance; arrangements can be
made for special schedule conflicts in advance, but skipping required
work is very bad.

Q: What should I do if I realize that one of my courses is really not a
good fit for me?
A: Before Drop/Add day (end of week2), you can just drop it. After Drop/add
(but before the end of the term!!) you can drop the course by getting
permission (on a written GradSchool form) from the course instructor and the
DGS. You must take care of this promptly! If you do not officially drop the
course and you receive a failing grade, it will have major consequences.

Q: What do I do when my oral qual exam is coming up?
A: At least one week before the exam, email the date and time of the
exam to Jenny Hirtz ( so she can write up
the "exam card" and file other paperwork for your exam with the
Graduate School.

Q: Can I take other (non-math,non-research-related) courses?
A: Yes, you can sign up for Duke courses relating to your personal
interests as long as you manage your responsibilities so that the other
courses will not interfere with your primary work (math courses,
research, and teaching).

Q: How many students are different professors working with?
A: Sep 6,2010 info on #'s of post-prelim students for Profs:
Allard		0
Aspinwall	0
Beale		1
Bray		3
Durrett		2*
Huber		1
Hain		0
Harer		2
Layton, A	0
Layton, H	0
Liu		0
Maggioni	3
Mattingly	1
Miller		1*
Ng		1
Nolen		1
Pardon		1
Petters		2
Reed		1
Saper		1
Schaeffer	2
Schoen		0
Stern		0
Venakides	1
Witelski	0
Zhou		0

Q: Do I need to plan my thesis defense two months ahead of time?
A: The two months ahead of time applies only if you have to change the
members of the committee vs the people on your prelim committee, else you
just need to keep with all of the checkpoints listed on
and the official version at the Graduate School:

Q: Where is the "Apply for Graduation" request on ACES?
A: Go to the pull-down menu for "other academic..." 

[under construction, to be continued...]