Official department and College information about the graduate program
is available at the
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 department administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 603-646-2415.
How can we obtain application materials for the
graduate program in Mathematics? (answer)
If you have questions, you may request information via:
Graduate Program Administrator
Department of Mathematics
6188 Kemeny Hall
Hanover, NH 03755-3551
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.
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
What is the size of the math department?
About 25 faculty and about 30 math graduate students.
How many grad students enter in one year?
About 4–7 each year.
Where have recent Ph.Ds taken jobs?
See our list of recent graduates to where people have gone.
Are there specific fields of research that the
math department generally focuses on, or are there a broad range of
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.
How many years does it take to get through the
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
What kinds of course requirements are there?
You should consult your first year advisor before deciding on your coursework. The certification exams at the end of the first year are based on the two-course sequences: 101-111; 103-113; 104-114; 106-116; 126-136. You are required to pass three certification exams, so choose your courses accordingly. After your second year you are required to pass two oral qualifying exams. These are typically based on more specialized courses which are more closely related to your research area of interest. Six classroom courses are required during your first two years, and three classroom courses are required each subsequent year. You may choose courses from other related scientific disciplines as long as they are approved by the Graduate Program Committee (GPC).
Syllabi and sample questions for the qualifying
exams can be found here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Last modified on March 01, 2019
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