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FAQ For Graduate Program Applicants

Official department and College information about the graduate program is available at the Application Info link. This includes the application form for admission as well as financial aid information.

The list below contains informal responses to frequently asked questions, most of which were provided by Mark L. Tomforde, a former graduate student. If you have questions about the program not answered below, you may email the program secretary at mathphd@math.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2415.

Questions

  1. How can we obtain application materials for the graduate program in Mathematics? (answer)
  2. What is the location like? (answer)
  3. What is the size of the whole school? (answer)
  4. What is the size of the math department? (answer)
  5. How many grad students enter in one year? (answer)
  6. Where have recent Ph.Ds taken jobs? (answer)
  7. Are there specific fields of research that the math department generally focuses on, or are there a broad range of choices? (answer)
  8. How many years does it take to get through the program? (answer)
  9. Can I get just a Masters degree? (answer)
  10. I already have a Masters degree from another school. Can I skip the Masters requirements and qualifying exams and just get a Ph.D. from Dartmouth? (answer)
  11. What kinds of financial support are there? (answer)
  12. How many years will the support last? (answer)
  13. Are there any scholarships available? (answer)
  14. Briefly, what are the requirements for graduation? (answer)
  15. What kinds of course requirements are there? (answer)
  16. What is the attrition rate? (answer)
  17. What is the emphasis on research versus teaching? (answer)
  18. I've heard that Dartmouth has a strong focus on teacher preparation. How do they prepare you to teach? Is it helpful? What is the teaching load? (answer)
  19. Do I have to take the math subject test? I've missed my chance to take it this year. (answer)
  20. I bombed the math subject test. What is your cutoff score? (answer)
  21. Do I have to take the TOEFL? I have studied for four years at a US college or university, and am graduating with a bachelor's degree.(answer)
  22. What is your cutoff score for the TOEFL? (answer)
  23. Is there anything else a prospective student should know about the program? (answer)

Answers

  1. How can we obtain application materials for the graduate program in Mathematics?
    • All applications are now done online at https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=dart-grad
      Application deadline is February 15.
    • If you have questions, you may request information via:
      Graduate Program Administrator
      Department of Mathematics
      6188 Kemeny Hall
      Dartmouth College
      Hanover, NH 03755-3551
      (603) 646-2415
      mathphd@math.dartmouth.edu
  2. What is the location like?
    Dartmouth is located in Hanover, NH which is a small town of approximately 10,000 (not including Dartmouth). It is located near Interstates 89 and 91. Hanover is 2 hours from Boston, 3 hours from Montreal, and 5 hours from New York City. The surrounding area is very scenic. There are hills and lots of hiking and the surrounding area is full of trees which are quite pretty in the fall when the leaves change color. There are lots of outdoor activities available, and although Hanover is small there is a town called West Lebanon about 5 miles away which has things like K-mart, a bunch of restaurants, and other chain stores.
  3. What is the size of the whole school?
    About 6,000. (4,000 undergrads, the rest are grad students, med students, Tuck business school students, and Thayer engineering students)
  4. What is the size of the math department?
    About 25 faculty and about 30 math graduate students.
  5. How many grad students enter in one year?
    About 4–7 each year.
  6. Where have recent Ph.Ds taken jobs?
    See our list of recent graduates to where people have gone.
  7. Are there specific fields of research that the math department generally focuses on, or are there a broad range of choices?
    There is a pretty broad range of areas that the math department is involved in. Algebra, Analysis, Topology, Geometry, Number Theory, Logic, Combinatorics, Applied Mathematics. There are also people who are willing to supervise students in any of these areas. See our list of Faculty and Research Interests.
  8. How many years does it take to get through the program?
    Five years altogether. Typically, one - two years for the Masters degree and three additional years for the Ph.D. In theory, of course, you can graduate as soon as you fulfill all the requirements (e.g. pass written certification exam, oral quals, write a thesis, pass language exam). In reality, almost everyone needs five years to do this.
  9. Can I get just a Masters degree?
    No. At least that can't be your intent when you enter. Typically Dartmouth only admits those students who wish to continue on to get a Ph.D. Although students will sometimes leave the program after getting a Masters and before receiving a Ph.D., all students who initially enter are supposed to do so with the intent of completing the Ph.D. program.
  10. I already have a Masters degree from another school. Can I skip the Masters requirements and qualifying exams and just get a Ph.D. from Dartmouth?
    In general, no. Dartmouth requires that you pass all certification/qualifying exams even if you have a Masters degree, so in effect, you will get a Masters from Dartmouth before becoming a Ph.D. candidate. Obviously accommodations are made for course material you know, and you may attempt the certification upon entry into the program, and pass the oral qualifying exams as soon as you are able.
  11. What kinds of financial support are there?
    The 12-month stipend for 2011–2012 is $24,552. The money is quite adequate to live off of since the cost of living isn't very high around here. The support continues through the entire year (summers included).
  12. How many years will the support last?
    Support lasts for 5 years, provided that you meet the deadlines for certificationa and qualifying exams, language exam and advancement to candidacy, and otherwise remain in good academic standing. Under those circumstances, the support continues (essentially) automatically.
  13. Are there any scholarships available?
    All graduate students who are not otherwise supported receive a Dartmouth Fellowship, which covers the cost of tuition as well as the stipend mentioned above. There really aren't any other internal scholarships.
  14. Briefly, what are the requirements for graduation?
    See Appendix 11.1 of Information for Graduate Students for complete details.
  15. What kinds of course requirements are there?
    You need to take eight courses including 101, 103, 111, 113, 114, 124, pass the written certification exam at the end of the first year, and pass two oral qualifying exams. Syllabi and sample questions for the qualifying exams can be found here. In addition there are other course to make up for things you may have missed as an undergraduate (e.g. point set topology, complex analysis, undergraduate algebra or analysis, etc.) as well as other graduate courses in subjects which you may want to learn for one or more of your oral quals such as number theory, logic, geometry, etc. You take at least 6 classroom courses per year in each of your first two years, and at least 3 classroom courses after advancing to candidacy.
  16. What is the attrition rate?
    In general, probably less than 20 percent. There are no significant differences in completion rates between men and women, nor between international students and U.S. students. Given that in recent years we have admitted 4–7 students per class, you can judge for yourself by looking at our recent graduates.
  17. What is the emphasis on research versus teaching?
    Teaching and research are both taken seriously. The program is designed to make you a competent researcher while at the same time developing skills to make you a more effective teacher.
  18. I–ve heard that Dartmouth has a strong focus on teacher preparation. How do they prepare you to teach? Is it helpful? What is the teaching load?
    Teaching is taken very seriously at Dartmouth. The faculty are chosen not only on the basis of research but also on their ability as a teacher. Likewise a component of the graduate program will entail training to make you a better teacher.
    Teaching responsibilities are as follows: During your first two years you TA one Dartmouth course for two quarters (and you then have two quarters off.) Although the TA assignments can vary, in general it will involve holding a tutorial in a room 3 nights a week to which students come voluntarily. It also involves grading tests with the professor (about 3 times a quarter). You will not have to grade homework. A reference sheet for TAs is available here.
    The summer after your second year you will take the Teaching Seminar. This is an intensive 10-week long graduate seminar supervised by two Dartmouth professors. You will read and discuss different philosophies on how to teach mathematics and problem solving to undergraduates. You will also receive hands-on experience by developing and implementing curricula for two different week-long high school workshops, as well as substitute teach two days in a Dartmouth course. Furthermore, you will learn about designing group work, syllabi, tests, and homework assignments. The Teaching Seminar is a lot of work (it counts as two courses) but almost everyone who takes it agrees that they are a better teacher afterward. (In addition, it looks good on CVs when applying for jobs.)
    After the teaching seminar you will teach one class for each of the next two years (so one class during one quarter, and then three quarters off to work on your thesis.) You will have a course supervisor who exercises oversight on your course, but usually you will bear full responsibility for the course including supervising graders and TAs.
  19. Do I have to take the math subject test? I've missed my chance to take it this year.
    We can waive the math subject test only in the most unusual cases.
  20. Q: I bombed the math subject test. What is your cutoff score?
    We don't have a hard-and-fast minimum for the math subject test. While the subject test score is an important datum, we take into account many other factors, including preparation in courses (what you studied; how well you did); letters of reference; independent research you may have done at a summer program or with a faculty member; your personal statement; etc.
  21. Do I have to take the TOEFL? I have studied for four years at a US college or university, and am graduating with a bachelor's degree.
    In cases like this we will generally waive the TOEFL requirement, upon request.
  22. What is your cutoff score for the TOEFL?
    We don't have a hard-and-fast cutoff, but you should be aware that we are looking for a higher degree of English-language proficiency than what is expected by more typical math graduate programs. Roughly speaking, we're looking for a combined score of 105 or better on the internet TOEFL test, with at least 25 on the speaking test. We also look for other evidence of English proficiency, such as specific comments in your letters of reference about your ability to speak and write English.
  23. Is there anything else a prospective student should know about the program?
    Some random facts:
    • In general the math department and grad students are a very friendly and supportive bunch. The grad students say that the atmosphere is not overly competitive and they frequently collaborate with each other.
    • Money is typically available for (at least advanced) grad students to travel to one or two conferences a year.
    • Currently one third of the graduate students are female, and Dartmouth has more female tenured faculty than any of the other Ivy League schools.
    • In September, 2006 the Math Department moved into its new facilities, Kemeny Hall. It is a beautiful building, and graduate student space abundant and well-appointed.