Department of Mathematics
Duke University : Graduate School : Dept of Math : Math Graduate program
Applying to the Duke Graduate Program in Mathematics

The Graduate Program - Application Information


Application Process:

In order for your application to receive consideration for Fall 2014 admission we MUST receive your application materials (including GRE scores) by January 3, 2014.
(The "December 8 priority deadline" date listed on the Graduate School website is NOT a cut-off date for applications to the Mathematics Graduate Program! Our deadline is Jan 3, 2014.)

The graduate application is completely electronic, and is administered by the graduate school. The list of application materials required by the graduate school is available at the Duke graduate school admissions website. The graduate school requires all of the following for a complete application:

For reporting GRE and TOEFL scores:
  • Duke University's Institution Code is 5156.
  • The Department Code for Mathematics is 0703.
All application materials must be sent directly to the Graduate School at Duke. Please note that the GRE test scores can be at most 5 year old. Please plan your GRE test dates so that the scores will be reported in time for the January deadline!

You may contact the Department of Mathematics directly at with any questions or problems about this procedure. For general admissions questions, or questions about the university requirements you may also contact

Various statistics about our graduate program in mathematics are provided on the Duke Graduate School web site.

The Duke Math Graduate program offers admission to students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in research mathematics (in many areas spanning pure and applied mathematics). We do not offer admission for a Masters degree progam and we do not have a separate track for students primarily interested in teaching, but Duke does have a separate Master of Arts in Teaching program

Overview of the Department:

The graduate program in Mathematics at Duke offers research training in both pure and applied mathematics. Major areas of research specialization include algebra and algebraic geometry, analysis and partial differential equations, applied mathematics and scientific computing, differential geometry, geometry and physics, mathematical biology, probability and stochastic processes, and topology. Courses of study are offered in many areas of pure and applied mathematics leading to careers in academics, industry, and business.

The Duke Mathematics Department currently comprises approximately 28 tenured and tenure track faculty, 18 postdocs and research faculty, and 8 teaching faculty, lecturers and instructors, and 50 graduate students. The faculty include leading researchers in analysis and differential equations, applied mathematics, differential and algebraic geometry, mathematical physics, probability, and topology. All graduate students in the doctoral program are supported by research or teaching funding for five years of study.

Graduate student research is supported in all areas covered by our research faculty, which spans many active areas of current pure and applied mathematics. More information about our collective interests can by found by consulting our research interests page. You can also look at the thesis topics of recent graduates. Duke University research centers in which members of the Department and graduate students are active include:

Also see Faculty research interests. You can read about some of our activities, as well as the latest awards won by our students and faculty at the Duke Mathematics Department News website. Our recent graduates have done well in their careers following graduate school.

Coursework and Examinations:

Graduate students typically take three years of course work and then spend about two years on their dissertation.

Students are given two different examinations before beginning thesis research. The first exam is called the qualifying examination. This examination consists of two parts:

  • Written examinations in undergraduate analysis and linear algebra
  • An oral examination on two basic graduate topics chosen by the student.
The written qualifying examinations are offered in August, December and May annually; students are expected to complete these examinations by May of their first year. The oral qualifying examination is usually taken towards the end of the first year. Its successful completion marks entry into the doctoral program.

In the next step in the doctoral program, students seek research advisors and prepare for the preliminary exam. This is an oral exam on material relevant to the student's intended dissertation area. This exam is taken in the third year or earlier.

The student then focuses on carrying out original research and writing a dissertation which is defended in the final exam. Most of our students finish in 5 to 6 years.

Financial Support and Teaching:

All students in the doctoral program who are making satisfactory progress toward the PhD are fully supported financially. Students are usually supported by a teaching assistantship or by combinations of teaching assistantships and research fellowships.

First-year students begin teacher training in the fall of their first year. The Duke teacher training program is well-designed to prepare graduate students for teaching calculus. By beginning teacher training in the first year, the hope is that the incoming graduate students will begin to feel more like mathematics professionals, rather than just advanced students. For the year 2009-10 we expect that no first years will be required to have any teaching responsibilities in the spring semester.

Graduate students begin teaching duties by assisting with calculus labs. They teach their own section of a class beginning in the year following teacher training. Graduate students participate in teacher training seminars and workshops to facilitate their entry into the classroom.

The graduate student stipend for academic year 2010-11 is $19,575. Health insurance costs are be paid directly by the university and do not need to be paid by the student. All other fees (tuition, registration, etc.) are also included in the scholarship.

In addition we have been successful the past several years in providing summer support to all students who will be in residence during the summer (aside from a one month vacation) and who have an approved plan of study under supervision of a faculty member.

Visiting the Duke Mathematics Department:

Visits by prospective graduate students are welcomed. It may be more beneficial to visit while classes are in session, in order to attend selected graduate course lectures. It is also easier to schedule interviews with the faculty when classes are in session.

Prospective students may find the directions to the Duke Mathematics Department useful in planning travel.

Further Information:

Please direct requests for information to Jenny Hirtz, Staff Assistant,

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Mathematics
Duke University
Box 90320
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0320

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Duke University : Graduate School : Dept of Math : Math Graduate program