Clarkson University offers graduate programs leading to an MS and/or PhD degree in mathematics.

The Mathematics MS and PhD programs are designed for you to increase your fundamental knowledge and to give you guidance and experience in applied research. The emphasis of our degree programs and our research activities is applied mathematics: dynamical systems, optimization, numerical analysis and computational methods, probability and statistics.

As a graduate student, you'll pursue these objectives by taking advanced courses, participating in seminars and carrying out and reporting on a research project. The department provides the advantage of a close personal association between you and the faculty, giving you individualized attention regarding your needs and interests.

Clarkson University also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with a mathematics focus.

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Our Graduate Mathematics Programs

Clarkson’s Department of Mathematics offers residential (on-campus) MS and PhD programs in Mathematics. Currently, the graduate program consists of 20-25 graduate students from all over the world (United States, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China, etc.). Most of our current graduate students have joined with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, applied mathematics, or statistics, although some of them entered with degrees in adjoining disciplines, such as industrial mathematics, operations research, electrical engineering, and physics. 

MS in Mathematics
  • Residential program on our main campus in Potsdam, New York, lasting approximately two (2) years
  • Three graduation options, ranging from coursework-dominant to research-dominant
  • Opportunities to work with faculty on individualized research projects
  • Opportunities to take graduate courses in related programs, including MS in Applied Data Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Physics and Biology
PhD in Mathematics
  • Residential program on our main campus in Potsdam, New York, lasting five to six (5-6) years: coursework is dominant for the first two to three (2-3) years, then the focus is on research
  • Research topics in a broad area of applied and computational mathematics and applied statistics, with plenty of opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Excellent PhD advisors to PhD student ratio of ~two (2) students per advisor on average
  • Students engage with researchers and research teams, often as early as the first year of graduate studies
  • Most current graduate students supported by TA and RA positions: deadline for Fall TA application is January 31.

Mathematics MS and PhD Curriculums

MS in Mathematics Curriculum

The Master of Science (MS) in Mathematics program is generally completed within two years. Students take up to 30 academic credits consisting of graduate coursework and research seminars. There are three paths toward the degree: (a) comprehensive examination in graduate material, (b) comprehensive examination and research project, supervised by a faculty, completed during one semester, (c) research thesis, supervised by a faculty, often organized around an effort to complete an original journal article.

Degree Requirements
  • Complete 30 credit hours subject to the following restrictions:
    • At least 20 credit hours of course and seminar work must be earned in residence at Clarkson
    • At least 16 hours must be earned in the Department of Mathematics as courses and seminars numbered above MA 505, with at most one of these credits coming from seminar.
    • Among the courses, one course must be MA 521 Classical Complex Analysis, MA 522 Classical Real Analysis or MA 578 Numerical Analysis, and two other courses must be at the 500 or 600 level. The remainder of the coursework must be approved by the advisor in collaboration with the Graduate Committee Chair.
    • Have an overall grade point average of at least 3.00 in their course work.

Fulfill one of the following:

  • Write a thesis under the guidance of a faculty member. The thesis is to be an original or expository study of some area or problem and shall represent 6 to 10 credit hours. The topic of the thesis must be approved by the graduate committee and thesis advisor in advance. As required by University regulations, the thesis must be examined by a committee of at least three Clarkson faculty appointed by the chair of the department.
  • Pass two qualifying exams described under the requirements for the PhD degree. The choices must be approved by the student's advisor and the graduate committee.
  • Pass one exam from either of the categories (I or II) listed in the PhD requirements, plus complete a special project. A description of the proposed project must be approved in advance by the student's advisor and the graduate committee. When the project is completed, it must be approved by the graduate committee. Completion will carry 3 to 9 hours at the discretion of the student's advisor.
PhD in Mathematics Curriculum

The PhD in Mathematics consists of 90 credits above a bachelors degree. These credits are taken in coursework, seminar and project work to fulfill the PhD requirement. The program consists of extensive coursework completed in the first 2-3 years of the program, followed by the development of the original research dissertation under the direction of one of our faculty members.

Degree Requirements

PhD candidates take at least 39 credit hours of approved course work (30 of which may be those taken for the MS degree). As required by University regulations, the course work must contain a minimum of fifteen hours in his/her major area, a minimum of nine hours in a minor area, and a minimum of six hours of work outside the department. Cross registered graduate level courses from other institutions are acceptable. The major area and minor area will be identified by the candidate's advisor and must be approved by the graduate committee.

  • Have an overall grade point average of at least 3.00 in their course work.
  • By the end of the second semester (not including summer) every PhD student must pass a General Comprehensive Exam. The purpose of this exam is to determine whether or not a student possesses the fundamental knowledge and skills to pursue PhD level research and course content. The topics cover Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, Probability, and Statistics. The exam is offered in August, January, and May. By the fourth semester (summer not included) every PhD student must pass two additional written Comprehensive Examinations. One exam will be from Category I and one from Category II below. The choices must be approved by the student's advisor and the graduate committee. In the event that a student has not satisfied these conditions within the time limit allowed, the student must petition the graduate committee in order to continue studies.
    • Category I: (Pure Math) Real Analysis, Complex Analysis, Sets and Topology, Numerical Analysis.
    • Category II: Matrix Theory and Computations, Partial Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, Ordinary Differential Equations, Probability and Measure Theory, or Statistics. Acquire at least six hours of seminar credit. A seminar is a course in which the student is expected to make presentations to the class. This is in addition to the minimum of 39 credit hours of approved course work in (i) above. One hour of seminar credit may be earned by either attending a regular scheduled seminar and making one presentation, or attending all colloquia for one semester and giving one presentation at a Department of Mathematics Seminar.
  • Have made a formal presentation of a proposed thesis topic to his/her Thesis Committee (see part (vi)) within one year of passing their Comprehensive Exam (part iii). The topic must be acceptable to the committee.
  • Write and defend (to their Thesis Committee) a dissertation which embodies the results of their original research. In association with this work, the student must obtain at least 21, but no more than 45, hours of thesis credit. The Thesis Committee consists of at least five Clarkson faculty members of whom at least one is from another department.
  • Complete a total of 90 hours graduate credit. The satisfaction of these requirements will be certified by the Thesis Committee.
Research Topics & Environment

Almost all Math faculty conduct original research and receive funding from federal, state or private sources. Our research funding (per capita) is over twice the national average. Other important departmental programs include educational outreach partnerships with local school districts and their students. Our faculty’s research portfolios are dominantly in computational and applied mathematics with common collaborations with physical sciences, health sciences, and engineering. Learn more about specific topics on the Department’s Research and Affiliations page

Current areas of research interest include:

  • Dynamical Systems
  • Network and Complex Dynamics
  • Applied Optimization and Optimal Design
  • Numerical PDEs and Analysis
  • Applied Statistics, Biostatistics and Probability
  • Environmental, Sustainability and Interdisciplinary Research
  • Biometrics

Clarkson University supports a highly collaborative environment, not only within the Math department, but broadly across the full campus. Graduate students often have the opportunity to collaborate with more than one professor and to engage in interdisciplinary research. Math faculty have ongoing research projects with faculty from every school and nearly every department on campus, allowing our faculty and students to work on some of the most compelling problems facing today’s world.

Admissions Process

Clarkson University Class of 2020 100 percent placement rating

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online Application Form
  • Resume/CV.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE Test Scores.
    • Optional for those with MS and BS degrees in mathematical sciences (mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics); for others it is required but waivers will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • For International Applicants, an English Proficiency Test is required.
    • Minimum Test Score Requirements: TOEFL (80), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) and Duolingo English Test (115).

Prerequisites: Students must have a BS (or MS) or equivalent degree(s) in mathematics/closely related subject. Admission to the mathematics PhD program depends upon approval by the Mathematics Graduate Committee.

Criteria for Acceptance & Helpful Information
  • WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE?
    Typical successful applicants have an undergraduate or a Master’s degree in mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics, or a related quantitative discipline. While the balance of topics in any student’s background may vary, we expect that applicants will have had an excellent foundation in undergraduate mathematics, including experience with proof-based courses, coding in at least one programming language, and fluency in written and spoken English. Prior research experience is not a requirement, but it definitely helps in making a strong case for the student to be accepted. Experience in one or more programming languages, such as Python, MATLAB, Julia, R, etc., is important.
     
  • DATES & DEADLINES
    Your application will be accepted at any time, although new students are accepted only for the Fall and Spring semesters. Please complete the application at least 2 months, and up to 10 months in advance of the start of the semester. Once an application file is submitted, the faculty review takes at least one month to complete.
     
  • TA & RA POSITIONS
    If you are additionally applying for a TA or RA position please see additional deadlines. Reviews for admission and for a TA or RA position are separate, with the TA/RA process significantly more competitive due to a very limited number of available spots. Past successful applicants to TA/RA positions have had significant undergraduate research experience (e.g. participating in semester-long or year-long research projects, potentially co-authoring a publication), and some experience in teaching, whether as a tutor for college-level courses or an undergraduate teaching assistant. In most such cases, recommendation letters and statements of purpose gave the committee a good understanding of the content of research/teaching experience, and the degree to which students were involved.
     
  • RESEARCH FIT/TOPICS
    It is critical that the evaluation committee understands how specifically a student may fit in the research program at Clarkson; statements that say “I will do whatever it takes/work on whatever topic” are typically not helpful – instead, we encourage the applicants to describe a smaller set of research topics for which they believe they are well prepared and which may keep their interest for the next 5 years.
     
  • NO MINIMUM GPA/GRE REQUIRED 
    There are no GPA, GRE, or other scales/cutoffs that we use to accept/disqualify applicants; rather, the committee evaluates holistically the set of skills and experiences applicants bring with them.
Explanation of Application Documents
  • Statement of Purpose. Statements of purpose give our Department the best understanding of why you want to join the program, in terms of your research goals and the Clarkson experience. Be clear about what research excites/interests you, and how it connects to research programs of our faculty. Think about who you might like to work with, and why Clarkson is a good fit for you as you write. We want to know why you want to be here. While some applicants write in a literary style, this is not needed. If anything is unusual in your background, please devote some space in the statement for either highlighting it as a strength of yours or for explaining why it is not a weakness (anymore). 
  • Letters of Recommendation. Recommendation letters are crucial to a successful application. Ask individuals who can say something positive about your research, coursework, and other school-related activities. Try to get a diverse pool of letter writers, so that we can hear about the full breadth of your undergraduate/Master's experience. The letters should come primarily from academic faculty, commenting on your scholarly abilities and suitability for graduate studies. Non-academic recommenders, e.g., employment supervisors, typically do not carry as much weight unless the position is somehow related to your academic ambitions. Personal references from friends and family, commenting either on scholarly ability or character traits, are not useful and should be omitted.
  • Curriculum Vitae. CV should summarize your academic preparation, with emphasis on any teaching and research experience.
  • Transcripts. Please make sure that the scans are well organized and clearly legible. The Department does not maintain a list of necessary undergraduate courses, however, successful applicants will have been exposed to topics in calculus, matrix analysis and linear algebra, proof-based calculus, differential equations, and probability and statistics. 
  • GRE (General). Optional for those with MS or BS degrees in mathematical sciences (mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics); for others it is required but waivers will be considered on a case by case basis. You may request a GRE waiver by emailing graduate@clarkson.edu after completing all other components of the application.
  • English Proficiency Test. If your primary language is English, or the language of your undergraduate/Master’s education was English, you may request a waiver. Other applicants satisfy this requirement by completing a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test.
Specifics of Applying for the MS Program

There are no specifics for MS program applicants. If you already have a certain career path in mind, e.g., using your MS degree as a stepping stone to an eventual Ph.D. program, or trying to enter a specific industry, please elaborate in your statement of purpose.

Tuition, Expenses, Funding & Assistantships

Most current graduate students are supported by Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships. A full appointment covers the 30 credit hours of tuition (the equivalent of $44,640) and provides a stipend of approximately $23,500 that covers the estimated living expenses (around $22,000, including lodging, food, and other expenses).

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Most PhD students are supported by a TA position. A full appointment requires the student to teach up to 20 hous/week (on average) during the Fall and Spring semesters. In return, a TA position covers the full tuition and pays a living stipend to the student that covers the estimated expenses of living in Potsdam for the full academic year (including during summer). Regularly, priority for TA positions will be given to PhD students. Only if the TA positions cannot be filled by PhD students will MS students be considered for TA positions, without expectation of continued funding beyond their initial contract.

Additional Information on Teaching Assistantships
  • To apply for a TA position, simply indicate your interest on the application form. Prior teaching experience is not necessary, but it is helpful. The number of TA positions available each year varies. The offers are issued during the Spring semester (for Fall admittance) after a competitive review of interested applicants by the admissions committee.
  • All TA positions start in the Fall semester, and the contract runs for a year at the time. If you are looking to start in the Spring semester, you should expect to have external funds to cover the tuition and living expenses for your first semester here (Spring); you would then be competitively evaluated for any available TA positions open in the subsequent Fall. 
  • TAs can expect to be reappointed in subsequent years for up to 5 years total, under the condition that they maintain good academic progress (maintain a cumulative GPA above B/3.00 and complete examinations according to deadlines) and perform their teaching duties well.
  • All new TAs will complete a TA training during their first summer (“TA boot camp”) that involves a virtual/remote portion and an in-person portion during early August. During the TA boot camp, TAs will be introduced to different teaching methods, teaching activities, and typical US university classroom dynamics. The TA bootcamp is organized by the Institute for STEM Education which will additionally track the progress and development of TAs. We hope that through this continual teacher training, our PhD graduates will have an edge in their first job search, and be able to quickly transition into all future academic positions. 
Research Assistantships (RA)

Faculty members will occasionally obtain a research grant that funds an RA position. An RA graduate student will work closely with the faculty member to achieve research goals. In many cases, this research can form a significant part of the student’s PhD project; in other cases, it may be unrelated to the student’s research. 

The RA position carries a similar hourly commitment to the TA position, with the difference that the commitment extends for the full duration of support (not simply Fall/Spring semesters), and with continued funding limited by performance, the need of the funded project, and the duration of the grant. RA positions are often filled by second and more senior graduate students. When there are unfilled RA positions open to first-year students, the Department will advertise them below. 

No current RA positions are available.

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions Team
graduate@clarkson.edu
518-631-9831

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