These are the general steps to obtain your PhD in Applied Mathematics at CU Boulder.  

30 Credits of Course Work
  • 18 credit hours must be from APPM at 5000+ level.
  • The 18 hours of APPM credits must include 5600 & 5610 (numerics I & II), 5440 & 5450 (analysis I & II), and one more approved \sequence" (see supplement for a list of approved sequences).
  •  6 credit hours must be a two-course out-of-department sequence. This sequence needs approval (pre-approval recommended!) from graduate chair. Must be at 5000+ level, and not duplicate material taught by APPM.
  • Two 1 credit seminar courses are required. Must be taken after the rst year.
  • You must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better, and earn at least a B- in each class.
Preliminary Exams
  • Applied analysis and numerical analysis are mandatory. Then you can pick either PDEs or probability & statistics.
  • Exams are offered in January and in August.
  • Possible "grades" on a prelim are "research pass," "pass," and "fail." You need to pass all three exams, and you need a research pass in either Applied Analysis or Numerical Analysis. 
  • You may take any one exam no more than two times.
  • To be considered to make good progress towards your degree (for purposes of getting TAs renewed, etc), you should normally have at least one pass by August in your first year, and one pass and one research pass by January in your second year.
Select a Research Advisor

The Graduate Chair will be the advisor for all incoming students.  Once the student has selected an area of specialization and found an Advisor who will take them on, they will inform the Graduate Chair and the Graduate Coordiator.  This usually happens after the students passes their Preliminary Exams and start to focus of their dissertation.

Request for Transfer of Credit

If you are planning on using transfer credits from another accreditied University.  Please review this form below and submit the appropriate paperwork.

Request for Transfer of Credit

Comprehensive Exams

The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to ensure that the student has a sufficient grasp of the fundamentals of the chosen thesis area to begin research, the ability to exchange ideas and information with the members of the examining board (thesis committee), and a broad base of knowledge in applied mathematics. 

Before the comprehensive exam, the Ph.D. student must submit a 5-10 page thesis proposal, complete with motivation for the topic and references to key papers, to each member of the thesis committee.  This proposal should be written in consultation with the chair of the thesis committee.

The exam will consist of a presentation by the student on his/her research proposal for a maximum of one hour in length, followed by a questioning period of up to one additional hour.  The presentation portion is open to all faculty and students in the program. 

Students will need to be registered in classes for the semester they are going to complete their examination for it to count towards that semester. This includes the summer semester.

  • Select Committee (see rules on Exam Report)
  • Schedule Comprehensive date and location with Graduate Coordinator
  • Complete Doctoral Exam Report for committee approval –select Comprehensive (at least 3 weeks prior to Comp Date)
    • Get Graduate Chair signature/approval
    • Make copy for Graduate Coordinator
    • Submit original to Graduate School
  • Submit Title and Abstract to Graduate Coordinator to post in department (at least 2 weeks prior to Comp date) See example or .tex file
  • Have Committee Chair pick up Exam folder from Graduate Coordinator prior to Comp Exam. (Graduate Coordinator will have it ready at least 48 hrs. prior to Exam time)
  • Complete Candidacy application to PhD
    • Turn original and copy to Graduate Coordinator
    • This needs to be submitted with the Completed Comprehensive Exam Report. Your Comprehensive final will not be submitted to the Graduate School without your Candidacy Application.
Dissertation Defense / Graduate with PhD

The exam will consist of a presentation by the student on his/her research proposal, followed by a questioning period of up to one additional hour.  The presentation portion is open to all faculty and students in the program. 

Students will need to be registered in classes for the semester they are going to complete their examination for it to count towards that semester. This includes the summer semester.

  • Select Committee (see rules on Exam Report)
  • Submit Title of Thesis to Graduate School – see doctoral deadlines for dates
  • Complete Doctoral Exam Report for committee approval –select Final (at least 3 weeks prior to Defense Date)
    • Get Graduate Chair signature/approval
    • Make copy for Graduate Coordinator
    • Submit original to Graduate School
  • Print a copy of Thesis Signature page, get original signatures and submit the form directly to the Graduate School. 
  • Have Committee Chair pick up Exam Report from Graduate Coordinator prior to Thesis Defense. (Graduate Coordinator will have it ready at least 48 hrs. prior to Exam time)
  • Submit Thesis to Graduate School electronically - see doctoral deadlines for dates and instructions.
  • Submit 3 hard copies of thesis to Graduate Coordinator. Same due date as Graduate School submission date. This version will serve as the archival copy kept by the University Library. These three copies will be bound for you by the department free of charge (one for you, one for the department, and one for your advisor)
    • One copy must be printed single sided, on 8.5 x 11 watermarked paper of at least 25 % cotton and 20# weight.
    • The other two copies can be printed double sided, on 8.5 x 11 watermarked paper of at least 25 % cotton and 20# weight. 
  • Submit Thesis to CU Electronic Scholars Depository - see instructions here.