Graduate Student Affairs Office
The Graduate Vice Chair and the Graduate Studies Committee are responsible for all graduate mathematics programs. The Graduate Vice Chair, Graduate Advisor, and the Graduate Assistant, manage the day-to-day operations.
The Graduate Vice Chair (GVC) is the Chief Faculty Advisor, Financial Administrator and chairs the Graduate Studies Committee, Graduate Admissions Committee, and Graduate Advisors Committee. The members of these committees span most of the major fields of mathematics. The GVC may also be consulted for general academic advising. The Graduate Vice Chair and the Graduate Studies Committee are responsible for reviewing qualifying exam results and making recommendations for students not making satisfactory progress. They also make decisions regarding dismissal and appeals of dismissals.
If you have further questions, please contact the Math Department’s Graduate Affairs Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This handbook provides information on departmental academic policies and requirements, also included is a synopsis of university regulations.
UCLA requires at least a B (3.0) grade point average in all courses taken on any UC campus during graduate status. If the GPA falls below 3.0, a student is placed on academic probation and can be subject to dismissal.
Full-time enrollment is 12.0 units per quarter. Students on fellowships e.g., VIGRE, NSF and University Fellowships, etc., must enroll in 12.0. Students may enroll in less than 12.0 units if they are advanced to candidacy or have approval from the Graduate Vice Chair.
RAs and TAs must enroll in at least 12 units to receive full fee remissions. Math 375 is not acceptable. Math 495 is acceptable at this time (subject to change).
The Math Department does not have a part-time program. Graduate students who take less than a full load must obtain approval from the GVC and are responsible for meeting all departmental requirements according to schedule.
To receive a Satisfactory grade (S) students must do B or better work, if not, an Unsatisfactory (U) grade will be assigned. Students in good standing (3.0 GPA) may take one course per quarter on an S/U basis outside the major. Upon approval from the GVC, these courses may be applied to the MA and Ph.D. degrees and/or academic residency requirements.
Master’s students must complete at least three-quarters of academic residence in graduate status at the University of California, including at least two quarters at UCLA. Doctoral students must complete at least two years of academic residence in graduate status, including one year, ordinarily the second, in continuous residence. If the Master’s degree was earned at UCLA, one year of the residence requirement may be applied towards the doctorate. Academic residence is defined as completing at least one course (4 units) of graduate or upper division work during a quarter.
Students may not receive credit for courses that were applied toward any previous degree, or for courses taken before the awarding of the bachelor’s degree. The GVC determines transfer credit for Ph.D. students. Upon approval from the GVC, courses completed at other UC campuses may apply to the Master’s degree, provided they were not used toward a previous degree. Students must have had graduate status and must have received a grade of B or above. Such courses may fill up to one-half the total course requirement, one-half the graduate course requirement, and one-third of the academic residence requirement.
Upon approval from the GVC, students may transfer a maximum of two courses (8 quarter units or 5 semester units) completed at institutions other than UC campuses. Students must have had graduate status and must have received a minimum grade of B or above. Such courses can only apply to the total course requirement.
With approval from the GVC, students may receive credit towards the MA degree for a maximum of three courses designated “XLC” from UCLA Extension with a grade of B or above.
All graduate students who want to TA at UCLA are required to participate in university and departmental TA Training programs no later than the first quarter in which any TA work is done. In the department of mathematics both programs are offered only in the fall quarter. Therefore they must taken in the fall of any year in which a graduate students is going to be given TA work. Departmental TA Training requires attendance at a 2 day training session prior to the beginning of Fall quarter and participation and enrollment in Math 495, which meets weekly during the Fall. Students who have prior experience TAing at other universities are not exempted from this requirement. Students should consult the Graduate Advisor to sign up for departmental training.
Non-native English speaking international students must pass the UCLA TOP Exam to be eligible to TA. A student who gets a score of 7.1 or better on the TOP has completed all requirements and may TA. A student who gets a score in the interval [6.4, 7.0] may TA but is required to take an approved ESL course either before or during the first quarter of TA-ing.
Leaves of Absence
Students must be in good standing to request a leave of absence (LOA), and must meet with the GVC. If the LOA is approved, to receive a full refund on fees, the LOA must be filed with the Graduate Division prior to the beginning of the quarter (not to be confused with the beginning of instruction). The Graduate Division has final approval on the LOA. A LOA can be taken for 1-3 quarters at a time, for a total of 6 quarters. The granting of the leave of absence does not stop the clock for making satisfactory academic or qualifying exam progress. A leave of absence will result in the termination of any committed financial support. Waivers to these policies must be in writing by the GVC.
Dismissal & Appeal of Dismissal
Students who are not making satisfactory progress towards fulfilling all the requirements for the Master’s or Ph.D. degree are subject to dismissal from the program. The GVC and Graduate Studies Committee make this decision and hear all appeals.
The Department offers the M.A. degree in Mathematics under the comprehensive examination plan (no thesis).
Students must complete an approved program of at least eleven courses with a grade of B or better. Courses must be letter-graded. At least eight courses must be graduate courses. A maximum of three may be approved upper division courses. Upper division honors courses; 110ABCH and 131ABCH are acceptable. Courses of a predominantly mathematical in nature may be used from outside departments with approval from the Graduate Vice-Chair. One 596 course may also be used with GVC approval.
Students cannot receive credit towards their M.A. degree for:
- Undergraduate courses which are required for the B.S. degree in Mathematics at UCLA, namely Mathematics 110AB, 115A, 120A, 131AB, and 131AH (these courses can only be used to make-up deficiencies).
- Upper division mathematics courses numbered 100 through 109.
- Any 285 course without prior approval from the GVC.
- Courses taken outside the department without approval from the Graduate Vice Chair.
- Math 290 or 296 courses.
- Math 375 or 495 courses.
If the following pairs of courses are taken during enrollment at the graduate level, only one course can apply towards the degree.
- 110AH and 210A – Upper Division Algebra and Graduate Algebra.
- 110BH and 210B – Upper Division Algebra and Graduate Algebra.
- 132 and 246A – Complex Analysis for Applications and Complex Analysis.
- 131BH and 245A – Measure and Integration and Real Analysis.
- Foreign Language Requirement
- Master’s students do not need to satisfy a foreign language requirement.
Written Qualifying Exam
All students must pass the Basic Examination.
Time to Degree
Students should be able to complete the requirements for an M.A. degree within six quarters.
Satisfactory progress towards the Master’s degree is defined as maintaining a 3.0 GPA and passing the Basic Examination by the beginning of the fourth quarter after entering the program.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students must file an Advancement to Candidacy form no later than the end of the second week of the quarter in which the degree is expected.
Transferring from the MA to the Ph.D program
If a student in the Master’s program meets the requirements for satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree, the student may petition to transfer to the Ph.D. program. Transfer to the Ph.D. program is not automatic, nor guaranteed.
The Doctorate in Mathematics is a degree that certifies both a high level of scholarship and the ability to make original contributions in one’s own field. Students must take several advanced courses, pass certain qualifying examinations, and write a dissertation containing original research.
Earning the M.A. Degree on the way to the Ph.D. Degree
Students in the Ph.D. program may obtain a Master’s degree by fulfilling the course and basic examination requirements. This degree may be awarded during any quarter in which the requirements have been satisfied.
Course of Study
The PhD program has two tracks, one in Pure Mathematics and one in Applied Mathematics. Students indicate their preference on their application to the graduate program. Students have the flexibility to switch tracks although all requirements for the chosen track must be completed prior to graduation. Entering students are assigned a faculty advisor and are expected to consult with that advisor at the beginning of the fall and spring quarters concerning their course selection. Students are free to change advisors, as long as the new advisor approves. The course of study falls naturally into three stages, although in some cases, these stages may be passed over or merged together.
Initial Curriculum for Ph.D. Students
There is a structured curriculum for students in their first two years who have not yet passed all their Area Exams. The course sequences listed below help prepare students for the Area Exams, and provide other essential background. First year students are required to take at least two of these sequences, unless they have already passed some of the Area Exams, in which case the corresponding sequences can automatically be counted toward this requirement. Second year students who have not yet passed all their Area Exams are required to take at least one of the sequences. Any exceptions require approval from the Graduate Vice-Chair at the beginning of the year.
Failure to complete all parts of the required sequences is a violation of Satisfactory Progress and may impact student funding.
Students should consult with their faculty advisor and/or the Graduate Vice-Chair on course selection. It is important for students who want to work in a particular field to plan for taking the corresponding Area Exam(s), since potential thesis supervisors would expect that later on.
Core Sequences for students in Pure Mathematics:
- Algebra 210ABC; these help prepare students for the Algebra Area Exam.
- Real Analysis 245ABC and Complex Analysis 246AB; these help prepare students for the Analysis Area Exam.
- Differentiable Topology/Differential Geometry/Algebraic Topology 225ABC; these help prepare students for the Geometry/Topology Area Exam.
- Mathematical Logic and Set Theory 220ABC; these help prepare students for the Logic Area Exam.
Core Sequences for students in Applied Mathematics:
- Applied Ordinary/Partial Differential Equations 266ABC; these help prepare students for the Applied Differential Equations Area Exam.
- Advanced Numerical Analysis 269ABC; these help prepare students for the Numerical Analysis Area Exam.
- Scientific Computing 270ABC; in particular 270BC help prepare students for the Numerical Linear Algebra part of the Optimization and Numerical Linear Algebra Area Exam.
- Optimization 273ABC; in particular 273AB help prepare students for the Optimization part of the Optimization and Numerical Linear Algebra Area Exam.
Students from the Pure Mathematics or Applied Mathematics tracks are welcome to take core sequences from the other track. Area exams from both tracks count towards degree requirements for all tracks.
Typical Stages of Graduate Study
First Stage: Students take foundational courses, and prepare, independently and in groups, for qualifying examinations. Preparation consists of study of the topics of the exam syllabi, as well as study of old exam problems (which are posted online.) Students may attempt Area Exams any time they are offered. Depending on background preparation, and rate of learning, students may attempt an Area Exam in September of their year of entry, or in March of their year of entry. All students should attempt an Area exam by September of their second year at the latest to avoid the risk of failing to maintain Satisfactory Progress. In the second year or earlier, students may begin to explore special topics, or to specialize in their area of interest by taking appropriate courses. Normally, by the end the second year a student will have completed the Area Exam requirement and will have a definite idea of the area of mathematics in which they wish to write their dissertation. As a general rule, students should take advanced courses as soon as they can, but only with proper preparation and without compromising on the mastery of foundational material. Special participation courses, numbered 290 and 296, are offered to help students to become acquainted with research areas and current research.
Middle Stage: Once the Area Exams have been passed and a general area of research interest has been found, it is time to begin (or complete) the search for a thesis advisor and specific research problems. This process involves taking several advanced courses, participating in seminars(especially the 290 and 296 courses), enrolling in reading courses with individual faculty members, especially possible advisers, etc. Most successful students have a good idea of their research area and problem within a year of passing their qualifying examinations or by the end of the third year. However, this is not always the rule. Some advisers pose problems directly to students, some pose preliminary research problems to get the student started, and some expect that a good problem will be found by the student as they make a guided study of current literature. During this middle stage, students in Pure Mathematics should also fulfill the language requirement. This must be done prior to Advancement to Candidacy, and, while never a serious hurdle, can take some effort.
The Dissertation Stage: This last stage begins when the student shifts attention rather fully from mastery of courses and texts to study and problem-solving necessitated by thesis problems. While this period officially commences with the first oral qualifying examination and Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy (ATC), many students enter this phase considerably before they ATC. It ends with the Final Oral Exam, if required, and the submission of the thesis to the University. The length of time needed varies, but typically students devote at one or two years to a small area of mathematics, and sometimes to a single difficult problem. Most students continue to take advanced courses and seminars in their field while working on their thesis.
Course Requirements and Restrictions
Pure Mathematics – Graduate students who entered UCLA before Fall 2020 must complete at least 12 approved graduate Mathematics courses numbered from 205 to 285, not including 210AB, 245AB or 246AB, with a grade of B or better. A maximum of three 285 courses may be applied toward the 12 course requirement. 596/599 courses may not be applied toward the 12-course requirement.
In addition to the 12-course requirement, students must complete two Participating Seminars from Math 290 or 296. In these advanced seminars students give 2, 1-1/2 hour lectures. It is advisable to take the seminars after passing the qualifying exams. Students are responsible for picking up credit forms from the graduate office and returning them with the professor’s signature after completion of the seminar. These seminars do not apply towards the 12-course requirement. Students who have received a Master’s degree from the UCLA Department of Mathematics may receive credit for the graduate courses taken during the Master’s program (excluding Math 210AB, 245AB, and 246AB).
Graduate students who entered UCLA in Fall 2020 and forward must complete at least 15 approved graduate Mathematics courses numbered from 205 to 285, with a grade of B or better. A maximum of three 285 courses may be applied toward the 15 course requirement. 596/599 courses may not be applied toward the 15-course requirement.
In addition to the 15-course requirement, students must complete two Participating Seminars from Math 290 or 296. In these advanced seminars students give 2, 1-1/2 hour lectures. It is advisable to take the seminars after passing the qualifying exams. Students are responsible for picking up credit forms from the graduate office and returning them with the professor’s signature after completion of the seminar. These seminars do not apply towards the 15-course requirement.
Applied Mathematics – Must complete at least 18 approved graduate courses, including at least 12 Mathematics courses numbered from 205 to 285, with a grade of B or better. A maximum of three 285 courses may be applied toward the 18 course requirement. 596/599 courses may not be applied toward the 18-course requirement.
Time to Degree
The University normative time to degree is the number of quarters established for students to complete requirements for the doctorate degree. The normative time for the Math department is 15 quarters. The maximum time to complete the math Ph.D. degree is 18 quarters.
Satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree is defined as maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA, completing core courses as described in the section on Initial Curriculum, and passing the qualifying exams according to the following schedule: the basic exam must be passed by the end of the first year, one Area exam must be passed by the beginning of the sixth quarter, and all qualifying exams must be passed by the beginning of the seventh quarter. NOTE! A leave of absence does not delay this schedule.
Written Qualifying Exams
Students for the Ph.D. must pass the Basic Examination (preferably upon entrance to the graduate program) and two Ph.D., qualifying examinations chosen from among the following seven areas: algebra, analysis, applied differential equations, geometry/topology, logic, numerical analysis, optimization and numerical linear algebra.
Oral Qualifying Examination (Advancement to Candidacy)
A minimum four member Doctoral Committee administers this exam. The purpose of this exam is to test the depth of knowledge in the research area of the proposed dissertation. It often involves a discussion of the specific problems involved in the dissertation.
Students must consult with their advisors for recommendations on committee members. Students complete a Nomination of Doctoral Committee form available in the graduate office. Students should then choose a date/time and request a room for their exam from a staff member in the graduate office. The Nomination of Doctoral Committee form must be filed with the math graduate office two weeks prior to the exam. It takes two weeks for the Graduate Division to approve the nomination of the doctoral committee. Approval from the Graduate Division must be received prior to taking exam.
After passing the first oral exam, students are advanced to candidacy. There is a small advancement fee ($90 as of January 2011, subject to periodic change).
Students must prepare a dissertation containing original mathematical research. To meet the University standards for thesis preparation and filing, students should obtain the Graduate Division publication, “Policies and Procedures for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Filing”. This publication can be obtained from 1255 Murphy Hall or 390A Powell Library, or online at http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/publications.asp.
It is highly recommended that students attend a workshop on manuscript preparation and filing procedures. The schedule is announced quarterly. (See http://www.gdnet.ucla.edu/gasaa/library/thesismtg.htm where the quarterly filing deadlines are also given.)
Final Oral Examination
When student and advisor agree that the thesis is near completion (i.e. all key results proven and written down, and only several months to go before the thesis is fully finished), it is time to take the Final Oral Examination. The student must then notify his doctoral committee members and arrange a date and time for the exam. Students must also notify the Math Graduate Office to arrange for a room and to ensure that the necessary paperwork will be available on exam day. This exam is usually taken several weeks before the actual filing of the dissertation. Students are expected to distribute preliminary versions of their thesis, or extensive written summary of their work, to the members of their committee at least one week before the exam. Students should not delay this exam since it can be very hard to get the committee together for the Exam on short notice.
In the exam, the student gives a lecture on the dissertation, its relation to the mathematical research area to which it contributes, and then answers questions, both during and after the exam, about the work.
See our Qualifying Exam Dates & Systems page for more information.
The Graduate Vice Chair (GVC) oversees the awarding of financial support for all graduate students. The GVC appoints teaching assistants, allocates Graduate Division funds, and nominates students for University Fellowships.The Graduate Vice Chair oversees the awarding of financial support for all graduate students. The GVC appoints teaching assistants, allocates Graduate Division funds, and nominates students for University Fellowships.
Faculty members award Research Assistantships (RAs) to individual students. Students are selected as RAs for their promise as creative scholars and to assist faculty with their scholarly research.
In April, students not on guaranteed support can submit a financial support application to the Graduate Office. These are reviewed by the GVC. By mid-June all Ph.D. students are notified about their financial support for the upcoming academic year. Questions and/or appeals regarding support should be directed to the GVC.
Policies & Regulations
It is the student’s responsibility to read the Academic Apprentice Personnel Manual for complete details regarding University regulations for academic apprentice personnel positions (TA, RA, Reader). University policy is that, absent extraordinary circumstances, graduate students may not be TAs for more than 12 quarters. In all circumstances, graduate students may not hold a combination of TA/RA appointments for more than 18 quarters.
TAs play a fundamental role in teaching at UCLA. In general, among other responsibilities, TAs lead discussion sections, hold office hours, help proctor and grade examinations, and, for advanced courses, grade homework. TAs work closely with instructors and provide them feedback on the course. A TA’s workload may vary somewhat from quarter to quarter according to the nature of the courses and the work requested by the instructor. Conscientious teaching, good student evaluations, and satisfactory degree progress are necessary for renewals of TA-ships.
All graduate students must take Math 495 as a requirement for TA-ing. This must be done either before or concurrently with their first quarter of TA-ing. It is offered only in the fall and is preceded by a mandatory 2-day intensive training. For details, contact the Graduate Advisor.
The fees of Teaching Assistants are normally remitted (i.e. cancelled). To be eligible for fee remissions students must be enrolled in at least 12.0 units of coursework. Students who TA in a given quarter, and who fail to enroll in 12 units or more of coursework, must pay their own fees.
TAships are awarded at the following three levels for students who will be working as TAs for the first time at UCLA beginning Summer 2023: (Students are responsible for informing the Graduate Advisor when they are eligible for promotion).
- TA-1: No experience required
- TA-2: 3 quarters of University teaching experience at the same campus of at least 25%
- TA-3: 6 quarters of University teaching experience at the same campus of at least 25%
TAships are awarded at the following three levels for students who worked as a TA at UCLA in Spring 2023 or prior: Math courses that count towards 36 units must have a letter grade. Math 290, 296, 375, 495, and 596 are not acceptable to meet this requirement. (Students are responsible for informing the Graduate Advisor when they are eligible for promotion).
- TA-1: No experience required
- Associate Instructor 4: 3 quarters of University teaching experience + obtained a Master’s degree or has 36 units of graduate coursework
- Teaching Fellow: 6 quarters of University teaching experience + has advanced to candidacy
Many graduate students receive Fellowships and Research Assistantships. To be eligible for fee remissions RAs must be enrolled in 12.0 units.
RAships are awarded at the following four levels: (Students are responsible for informing the Graduate Advisor when they are eligible for a higher level.)
- Step 1: students who do not have a Master’s degree and do not have previous RAship experience.
- Step 2: students who have a Master’s degree or have completed at least 36 units of graduate level course work at UCLA.
- Step 3: students who have completed at least two academic year of full-time graduate study at UCLA and have at least one year of RAship experience.
- Step 4: students who have been formally advanced to candidacy, and have at least two years of RAship experience.
The Department employs a number of students (both graduate and undergraduate) as readers to grade homework papers. All readers must have at least a 3.2 GPA and must have taken at least two years of college calculus. Graduate student readers must be making satisfactory degree progress. Applications are accepted at various times throughout the year. Like TAships, Readerships usually provide fee remission in addition to income.
Nonresident Tuition Fellowships
The Department has a limited number of fellowships to cover non-resident tuition. All United States citizens who receive such fellowships for their first year are required to establish California residency by their second year. The Department and the University (for those on University fellowships) will not pay non-resident tuition after the first year for citizens or permanent residents. Information on establishing residency is available at the Office of the Registrar- Residence Deputy, 1134 Murphy Hall.
University and Extramural Fellowships
The Graduate Division notifies students via email during the fall quarter when the application and publication, “Graduate Student Support for Continuing Students,” is available. The publication describes in detail University fellowships. The GVC reviews all fellowship applications and decides which students to nominate. Departments submit a limited number of fellowship applications.
Students interested in extramural support should obtain the Graduate Division publication, “Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support”.
Students who enter the program with “Guaranteed Support” are assured support for the duration of the time stated in their admission letter, and at whatever levels are promised, provided they make satisfactory progress towards their degree, competently perform the work that their TAships, RAships and Readerships require, and avoid certain pitfalls. Satisfactory progress is defined as maintaining a 3.0 GPA, and completing qualifying exams according to the schedule in this handbook, and advancing to candidacy within 11 quarters. Competence in a job performance is measured via faculty and student evaluation. Pitfalls include changing math disciplines (e.g. from pure to applied or vice-versa), leaves of absence, or resigning a TAship without permission. If a student is considering a leave, resigning a TAship or changing discipline, he or she must explain this intention to the GVC in order to learn its impact on the funding guarantee.
There is no grace period in these matters and default position is to terminate any guarantee of funding if any of these events takes place. Actual funding status goes by quarter, not by year. For example, a student who fails to pass a Qualifying Exam by a satisfactory progress deadline in September will be supported according to their package for that academic year only through the fall quarter. In the winter quarter the student may have lower or no financial support.
Sixth year support is not guaranteed, but may be possible for students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. prior to the beginning of their fifth year. Per UCLA Division of Graduate Education, ASE Appointments – between 16 and 18 quarters require advancement to candidacy and Division of Graduate Education approval. The following criteria is used by the GVC to determine sixth year support 1) availability of funding 2) expected progress towards thesis completion with 11 quarters as documented by letter from Graduate Advisor 3) university limits on total amount of student employment.
Important Phone Numbers
|Math Graduate Student Affairs Office|
6356 Math Science Bldg.
|Campus Numbers:||(310) Area Code|
|Graduate Student Support||825-4213|
|Graduate Student & Academic Affairs||825-3819|
|Graduate Admissions/Final Transcripts||825-1233|
|MyUCLA Telephone Enrollment||208-0425|
|MyUCLA Procedure Questions||825-1091|
|Office of International Students and Scholars||825-1681|
|International Students’ Center||825-3384|
|Off Campus Numbers||Phone Number|
Social Security Administration
11000 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 10203
Open Monday to Friday: 9 am – 4 pm
Students are strongly encouraged to review the following publications:
- UCLA General Catalog
- UCLA Schedule of Classes
- Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees
- Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA
- Graduate Student Support for Continuing Students
- Academic Apprentice Personnel Manual
- Policies and Procedures for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Filing
Other forms and publications can be found on the Graduate Division webpage.