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**How to Become a Mathematics Professor**

Michael A. Karls

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**Decide to Attend Graduate School**

Choose a graduate school! Things to consider: Mathematics program Research areas Location of school Financial aid available Teaching Assistantship (TA) Research Assistantship (RA) Fellowships

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**Graduate Degrees in Mathematics (UWM)**

As an example, UW-Milwaukee offers the following graduate degrees in mathematics: Master of Science Degree (M.S.) Standard Mathematics/Statistics Industrial Mathematics Atmospheric Sciences Applied Statistics Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (Ph.D.)

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**Getting into Graduate School (UWM)**

UW-Milwaukee’s Graduate School has the following minimum requirements for all applicants: Bachelor’s degree 2.75 undergraduate grade point average (4.0 scale) Official transcripts English proficiency Reasons for graduate study (including goals and background) Application fee Application is done on line - once complete, it is forwarded to the department or program of interest.

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**Getting into Graduate School (UWM)**

Individual graduate programs may have additional requirements, earlier deadlines, or choose to admit students only in particular terms. The program reviews your application and makes a recommendation on your admission to the Graduate School. Additional items that a department may require: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) GRE Subject Test Letters of recommendation

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**Additional Requirements for Graduate School in Mathematics (UWM)**

General GRE scores are recommended. GRE Mathematics Subject Test scores are appreciated (not required). For financial support consideration, applicants also need to include: Request for Support Cover Sheet Three letters of recommendation A list of mathematics courses taken (including the college or university, textbook used, and final grade).

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**Additional Requirements for Graduate School in Mathematics (UWM)**

For the standard Mathematics/Statistics Option, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program: Completion of three semesters of undergraduate calculus. At least 18 credits of acceptable undergraduate preparation beyond calculus. Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses. The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

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**Financial Support (UWM)**

Graduate Teaching Assistantships Most students are supported as Teaching Assistants. These half-time teaching positions include a remission of all tuition and the opportunity for health insurance coverage. The TA stipend is negotiated by the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association (MGAA) and for the academic year range from $11,685 to $16,268 depending on the degree program and progress toward the degree. Chancellor's Fellowship Awards Applicants with excellent records are offered Chancellor's Fellowship Awards, ranging from $1000 to $7000 as supplements to their other support. These awards are renewable for several years, depending on satisfactory progress being made toward the degree. No application is necessary; every applicant is considered for these awards.

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**Financial Support (UWM)**

GAANN Fellowship The department has several Graduate Assistants in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowships available to support U.S. citizens or permanent residents. These fellowships provide full tuition, a 12-month stipend, health insurance, and a reduced teaching load (typically one semester per year). GAANN Fellowships are renewable for up to three years. Research/Project Assistantships Some faculty members have support for research assistants or project assistants as part of their research funding. These positions pay a semester or academic year stipend, have remission of tuition and offer health insurance. The duties of the positions are determined by the faculty members. These faculty select who they want for their positions from among current students and admitted applicants. There is no application for these positions.

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**Financial Support (UWM)**

Graduate School Fellowships Outstanding applicants may apply for a Graduate School Fellowship. This fellowship pays a 9-month stipend, remits all tuition, offers health insurance and does not require any teaching during the year. This fellowship is not renewable. The deadline for application is January 15 each year. General GRE scores are required. Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) Fellowships: These fellowships are available to qualified new and continuing graduate students who are members of groups underrepresented in graduate study or who are otherwise disadvantaged minority applicants. More information is available at the program website. Application deadline is typically January 15 each year.

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You get in—now what? Usually offers that include assistantships are sent out by early April (often earlier) for the following fall semester. Find a place to live Dorms Affordable for one person Less living space Apartment Need roommate to afford Most common housing choice Room in family’s home Other

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**First week of graduate school**

TA meetings Orientation Meet other students Practice teaching sessions Practice labs set up (physics grad school) Talks by other students about teaching Social events with “senior” grad students Sign up for classes Get teaching assignment Physics grad school—two sections of lab Math grad school—two sections remedial algebra

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**Master’s Program Requirements - Mathematics/Statistics Option (UWM)**

Minimum degree requirement is 24 to 36 credits 24 credits from mathematics courses, at least 18 credits of which are numbered 700 or above; or 30 credits from mathematics courses, at least 12 credits of which are numbered 700 or above; or At least 36 credits in mathematics courses open for graduate credit. Under the 30-credit option, up to 9 credits may be in approved courses from outside the Department. Under the 36 credit option, up to 12 credits may be taken in approved courses from outside the Department.

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**Master’s Program Requirements - Mathematics/Statistics Option (UWM)**

Major Professor as Advisor The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student's studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The entering graduate student is assigned a temporary advisor by the Department Graduate Program Coordinator. Thesis A thesis is optional. A maximum of 3 credits of thesis may be counted toward the degree requirements. An acceptable thesis will represent an original contribution and may involve applications, a novel exposition, or computational aspects of a mathematical problem or theory. The student must pass an oral defense of the thesis.

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**Master’s Program Requirements - Mathematics/Statistics Option (UWM)**

Examination or Project: Each student who does not elect the thesis option must satisfy one of the following requirements: Pass a written comprehensive examination. Analysis and Algebra Exams Given three times per year (Fall, Spring, Summer). Present a satisfactory oral and written report on a comprehensive project done under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The project option is only open to students who complete the 36 credit graduation requirement.

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**Master’s Program Requirements - Mathematics/Statistics Option (UWM)**

Time Limit Under the 24 or 30 credit option, the student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment. Under the 36 credit option, the student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment. GPA Requirement (when I was in school) 3.5 needed for graduation Lower GPA => oral examination must be passed to graduate.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Admission Applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus departmental requirements as given for admission to the master's program. A master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission to this PhD program. Reapplication A student who receives the master's degree must formally reapply for admission to the Graduate School before continuing studies toward the PhD.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Major Professor as Advisor The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student's studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. The entering graduate student is assigned a temporary advisor by the Department Graduate Program Coordinator.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Course of Study Minimum degree requirement is 54 graduate credits beyond the bachelor's degree, at least 27 of which must be earned in residence at UWM. The student, in consultation with the major professor, must select both a primary and a secondary area of specialization. The primary area may be chosen from one of the following seven fields with minimum credit requirements as shown. The secondary area may be chosen from another of these fields or may be chosen from another appropriate department. Minimum course requirements for all work in both areas of specialization require approximately two full years of study.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Algebra field: 12 credits in algebra; 3 in complex analysis; 3 in real analysis; 3 in topology; 3 in applied mathematics; 3 outside the field. Analysis field: 3 credits in algebra; 6 in complex analysis; 6 in real analysis; 3 in topology; 3 in applied mathematics; 3 outside the field. Applied mathematics field: 3 credits in algebra; 6 in complex analysis; 3 in real analysis; 12 in applied mathematics; 3 outside the field.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Probability and statistics: 3 credits in complex analysis; 6 in real analysis; 12 in probability and statistics; 3 in applied mathematics. Topology field. 3 credits in algebra; 3 in complex analysis; 3 in real analysis; 12 in topology; 3 in applied mathematics; 3 outside the field. Industrial mathematics field: 3 credits in algebra or topology; 3 in complex analysis; 3 in real analysis; 9 in applied mathematics; 6 in probability and statistics; 6 in approved credits outside the 600 and 601 curricular codes. Atmospheric sciences field: 12 credits in atmospheric sciences (synoptic, dynamic, cloud/radiative, air pollution); 9 in applied mathematics or probability and statistics; 3 in analysis.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Foreign Language Except for students in the atmospheric sciences field, each student must pass a written examination in one foreign language. The examination is administered by the Department's Language Committee. Acceptable languages are French, German, and Russian; exceptions may be permitted upon written request of advisor. Computer Proficiency The student shall pass an examination on a higher programming language and/or other appropriate advanced computer skills. The examinations are administered by the Department's Computer Committee. The Computer Committee may accept advanced computer science course work in lieu of the examination. Residence The student must meet minimum Graduate School residence requirements.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Doctoral Preliminary Examination When the student is sufficiently prepared — normally when the student has earned 24 credits in specified areas above the 700 level — a doctoral preliminary examination to determine the student's knowledge and achievement is taken. For students in mathematics, the exam evaluates the student's general knowledge of mathematics, as well as the student's knowledge of the major area of concentration. Students in atmospheric sciences are examined in three areas: at least one from the 190 curricular area code and at least one from the 600/601 curricular area codes. Students must pass this examination to continue in the program. With permission of the examination committee, the student may repeat this examination once. If the student does not have a master's degree in mathematics before this examination, the committee will determine whether the student's performance is sufficient to qualify for the master's degree.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Hearing After passing the language requirements and the doctoral preliminary examination, the student participates in a doctoral dissertation proposal hearing. At this hearing, the student is examined on the student's chosen area of research and a dissertation topic is approved. Dissertation The primary requirement for the PhD in mathematics is the candidate's completion, under the supervision of the Department advisor, of an original and significant mathematical investigation presented in the form of a dissertation. The investigation is to be in the field of algebra, analysis, applied mathematics, probability and statistics, topology, or atmospheric sciences. A dissertation for the industrial mathematics field must involve an industrial problem requiring a mathematical solution.

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**PhD in Mathematics (UWM)**

Dissertation Defense The candidate must, as the final step toward the degree, present a colloquium based on the dissertation and must pass an oral examination in defense of the dissertation. If the candidate does not successfully defend a thesis within five years of admission to candidacy, the candidate may be required to take another doctoral preliminary examination and be readmitted to candidacy. Time Limit All degree requirements must be completed within ten years from the date of initial enrollment in the doctoral program.

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**Looking for an Academic Job**

Position announcements appear in fall semester for openings that start the following fall semester. AMS Employment in the Mathematical Sciences (EIMS) MAA Math Classifieds Chronicle of Higher Education

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**Example of a Job Announcement in EIMS (9/10/07)**

Saint Mary’s College The Department of Mathematics at Saint Mary’s College is accepting applications for a tenure-track position to begin in August, 2008. Requirements include a Ph.D. in mathematics or mathematics education with specialization in Operations Research or K-12 Mathematics Education. The ideal candidate will be a broadly trained mathematician with an expressed, preferably demonstrated, interest in teaching at the undergraduate level, including general education courses in applied, finite and discrete mathematics. Duties beyond teaching include individual consultation with students, directing undergraduate mathematics projects, appropriate scholarly and professional activities, and college service. Numerous opportunities exist for teaching, consulting, and research collaborations across campus as well as in the community. In addition to being strongly committed to undergraduate teaching, viable candidates must demonstrate their potential to contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through their teaching, research and scholarly activity, and service.

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**Example of a Job Announcement in EIMS (9/10/07)**

Applications which are completed by December 4, 2007 will be given full consideration. However, applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. A complete application includes a curriculum vitae with the candidate’s philosophy of teaching, post-secondary transcripts, and three letters of reference, at least two addressing teaching. Saint Mary's College, with an enrollment of 1600 and ranked nationally in the top 100 liberal arts colleges by U. S. News, is a four-year Catholic liberal arts college for women sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Saint Mary’s College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The College has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and seeks applications from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, those who have had multicultural experience, and those who can demonstrate a commitment to diversity. Application materials should be sent to: Donald E. Miller, Chair Department of Mathematics Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame, IN

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**Joint Meetings of the AMS/MAA**

Held each winter One of the largest meetings for professional mathematicians Employment Register Employers post positions available Job seekers fill out cover sheet outlining background and interest Employers request applicants Applicants request employers Computers match requests Mini interviews are held (15 minutes) Additional interviews are held outside of employment register In 1993 when I was looking for a position Approximately 600 PhD’s looking for a job I got 12 interviews at Employment Register Ball State interviewed me outside of register

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**Typical Academic Position Job Interview**

Candidate is invited to campus by search committee Interview takes place over two days Day 1: Candidate arrives Search Committee members take candidate out to dinner Day 2: Informal breakfast with department members Meeting with departmental Promotion and Tenure Committee Meeting with College Dean Campus Tour Lunch with selected faculty members General talk on research to department faculty and students “Chalk Talk” on research with faculty in research area City tour, including housing in area Dinner with department chair Reception with departmental faculty Day 3: Candidate departs

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**Professor! Main Responsibilities Teaching Research Service**

8-9 credit hours/semester 3 hr prep per hour in class ) prep hours 32-36 hours for teaching Research Publish refereed journal articles Give talks on research Attend conferences and workshops Service Departmental committees College and University committees Hiring committees State and National committees and boards Professional meetings

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**Professor! Tenure Rank Seven year probationary period**

Rated on each of the three areas All three needed to be tenured Rank Assistant Professor Associate Professor Professor

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