Grad Student Handbook

General Information About Your Graduate Program

Applied Mathematics


Departmental Forms and Submission (for Current Math Students ONLY)

  • Variable Unit (CRN request for 290 series/sem/reader) forms: HERE.
  • Study List forms: HERE
  • TA Contracts
    • UPLOAD to your folder by at the beginning of the quarter.
    • Directions:
      • Upload the signed version to your Box folder, do not change the file name.

Office of Graduate Studies (additional forms/policy)

Who's Who in the Department: From Staff to Students to Faculty

Finding Your Faculty Adviser

Course Information

Milestones: Exams, Quals, Candidacy, Dissertation etc.

Master's Examination (Mathematics program only)

  • For the Mathematics MA, the candidate must pass the master's comprehensive examination offered each year at the beginning of the Fall and Spring quarters. Typically, this occurs before the start of instruction.
  • This is a written exam that comprises the material covered in 201AB (analysis) and 250AB (algebra).

Preliminary Examinations

Prelim Dates: Preliminary examinations for the PhD degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics are offered each year at the beginning of the Fall and Spring quarters. Typically, this occurs before the start of instruction. See the schedule HERE.

Prelim Timeline:

  • Mathematics PhD: the Preliminary Examination is a written examination which comprises of graduate material in Analysis, Algebra, and Topology as covered in the following six graduate courses: 201AB, 250AB, 215A and 239. The exam consists of three parts: Analysis (201AB), Algebra (250AB), and Topology (215A, 239). The exam is written and administered by the GPC. The exam is offered twice yearly, normally at the beginning of the Fall and Spring quarters. Students in the Ph.D. program may take any or all three parts, during a given offering of the exam. Students in the Ph.D. program must pass two of the three parts of the Preliminary Exam by the beginning of the student’s 7th quarter. Passing two of the three parts is considered fulfilling the Preliminary Examination requirement.
  • Applied Mathematics PhD: the preliminary exam is a written exam covering MAT 201AB and MAT 207ABC. The exam is offered at the beginning of Fall and Spring quarters every year. Ph.D. students are required to pass this examination before the end of their second year in the Applied Mathematics program (and if they entered with a Master's, by October of their second year). They may take the examination multiple times; what matters is when they pass, not how many attempts.
  • Please consult your original support letter for additional information about the timing of exams.


Qualifying Examinations

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether you are capable of independent research. Once you pass this examination, you will petition to advance to candidacy. For international students, once they advance to candidacy, the nonresident tuition will be waived for three calendar years. Your thesis adviser should be seen as a valuable resource when preparing for your qualifying examination. In other words, they can help inform you of what to expect during the qualifying examination itself.

More info from UC Davis Graduate Studies HERE.

Sample Math QE Proposal, for your reference HERE. (Applied Math Students, please see the Applied Math QE proposal on the GGAM website)

QE Timeline:

  • Mathematics PhD timeline: must advance to candidacy by the beginning of their 9th quarter. PhD students entering with an MA or MS or equivalent should advance to candidacy by the beginning of their 7th quarter.
  • Applied Math PhD timeline: must advance to candidacy no later than by the end of the third year in the program. PhD students entering with an MA or MS or equivalent should advance to candidacy by the beginning of their 7th quarter.

QE Committee members:

  • Mathematics - a committee of four examiners. Normally three of the members are members of the Department of Mathematics. Per Graduate Council guidelines, at least one member must be external to the Department. The Dissertation Advisor can be a member of the committee but cannot be the chair.
  • Applied Mathematics - a committee of five examiners. As required by Graduate Council policy, at least one member must be outside of the GGAM and the major professor/proposed. The Dissertation Advisor can be a member of the committee but cannot be the chair.
  • To see policy on who can be on your committee visit: Service on Advanced Degree Committees

QE Process:

  1. Consult with your advisor to select a Qualifying Exam Committee.
  2. Arrange a time and date with Qual Committee.
  3. Reserve room:
  4. Email 1) Qualifying Exam Proposal AND 2) Qual Exam Application to preferable at the same time in order to have approved and submitted on time. This process should be completed approximately SIX weeks prior to the date of your examination.
  5. Once your Qualifying Exam Proposal has been approved (by the Graduate Program Committee, for Math; by the executive committee of GGAM, for Applied), your program Chair will recommend the appointment of your qualifying examination and committee to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  6. Only if, the qual is remote or has a remote member, the student is responsible for sending remote link information to the committee.

Qualifying Exam Workshop -Galois Group: the Department participates in quarterly workshops conducted by the student-run Galois Group. These sessions are informal and are intended to provide a generalized overview of the process.


Masters (M.A. and M.S. Degree)

MA Degree in Mathematics:

  • To be considered for the MA degree, you must complete a petition to Advance to Candidacy (more info on the Grad Studies page). All course requirements for the MA degree must be completed before submitting your petition to Advance to Candidacy.

  • You may submit your petition to Advance to Candidacy for the MA degree prior to passing your written examination at the Masters level (or the PhD level if you are a PhD candidate). As soon as you have passed your examinations, please ask the Department to forward to the Office of Graduate Studies a Masters Report form. This form indicates to the Graduate Studies Office that you have met all the requirements for the MA degree and that you are ready to undergo the degree conferral review process.

MA Process:

  • Email your 1) receipt of payment (see petition for instructions) AND 2) petition to Advance to Candidacy to after it is approved by your thesis adviser and the Chair of your graduate program. Once their signatures are secured, a copy of your petition is made for your department file. Then, it is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval.

MS Degree in Applied Mathematics

  • To be considered for the MS degree, you must complete a petition to Advance to Candidacy (more info on the Grad Studies page). It is recommended that you work with your thesis adviser to discuss whom to nominate for your thesis committee. Three members are required, all of whom should be consulted prior to submitting the Candidacy paperwork. Please be sure to have each member initial next to their name on the form as verification that they have agreed to serve on your committee. All course requirements for the MS degree, except for the thesis, must be completed before submitting your petition to Advance to Candidacy.

MS Process:

  • Email your 1) receipt of payment (see petition for instructions) AND 2) petition to Advance to Candidacy to after it is approved by your thesis adviser and the Chair of your graduate program. Once their signatures are secured, a copy of your petition is made for your department file. Then, it is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval.

Masters on Way to Phd:

In order to complete the Master's degree on the way to your Ph.D., students submit the following forms to

Advance to Candidacy

After you have passed your qualifying exam you will advance to candidacy. Candidacy is the second and advanced phase of graduate study.  To be eligible for candidacy, students must fulfill certain standards determined by their degree objective and their graduate program requirements.  Students must also demonstrate adequate preparation to begin work on their final requirements (thesis, dissertation, comprehensive exam, capstone) and select an advanced degree committee. 


  • Email to

Once their signatures are secured, a copy of your petition is made for your department file. Then, it is forwarded to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval.  Graduat Studies will send you confirmation in about 2 weeks.


Doctoral students are eligible to advance to candidacy when they have:  

  • Completed all required coursework and any other program degree requirements except the dissertation (e.g. language requirement, preliminary exam, etc.).  Including replacement of any incomplete grades.    
  • Earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
  • Passed the Doctoral Qualifying Examination.  
  • Secured dissertation committee members who will provide mentorship and evaluate the dissertation.  The committee is proposed through the Candidacy Application, and reviewed for eligibility by Graduate Studies.    
  • Registered full-time in the current or upcoming quarter.  Doctoral students may not be part-time after passing the QE (starting the quarter after the QE).   

PhD Degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics


MS Thesis in Applied Mathematics

  • A master's thesis on a topic selected under the advice and guidance of your thesis adviser must be completed to earn the MS degree. Your thesis adviser also recommends a program of study in your area of application. You are expected to choose a thesis adviser during your first year. It is very important to choose a thesis adviser as early as possible for timely completion of the degree.
  • Using modern methods of applied mathematics, the master's thesis will normally consist of the solution of a problem or problems, from your area of specialization. The thesis will be read and approved by a committee of three faculty members, which includes the thesis adviser as chair of the committee. The thesis should be completed and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office no later than the end of Summer quarter of your second year. In support of your preparation, the student-run Galois Group has provided some tips to help get you started.

PhD Dissertation

  • The doctoral dissertation is the main part of your program of study. You are to select a topic under the advice and guidance of your thesis committee. A majority of students will be ready to begin some research activity during the first year of the PhD program. A good way to get started is to take a reading course with a faculty member during the Spring quarter of the first year and start research in the Summer after the first year.
  • In support of your preparation, the student-run Galois Group has provided some tips to help get you started.

Exit Seminar

  • Applied Math Ph.D. & Math (for those entering fall 2021 and after)
    • students are required to give a 60-minute seminar presentation, open to the public, on their dissertation subject.
      • Optional Final Oral Examination (at the discretion of the Dissertation Committee) After the exit seminar, the student's dissertation committee may meet privately with the student to discuss the contents of the dissertation and ask additional questions. Satisfaction of this requirement must be verified by the Dissertation Committee Chair.
  • Process:
    • Select the best date for as many committee members to attend. 
    • Schedule room and/or set up the remote link.
    • Send date, location, and title to

Filing Dissertation/Thesis

  • Filing your thesis or dissertation with the Graduate Studies Office is the last requirement to be satisfied by candidates for advanced degrees. Deadlines and information for completing this requirement are listed for each quarter on the Graduate Studies Office website under Calendar and Deadlines and Information for Degree Candidates.
  • Please note that a candidate must be a regularly registered student or on Filing Fee status at the time of filing a thesis or dissertation, with the exception of the period between the end of the Spring quarter and the beginning of the Fall quarter, as long as you were either registered or on filing fee during that Spring quarter.


  • The Graduate Studies Office, together with the Graduate Council and the Graduate Student Association, hosts graduate commencement. The ceremony is held the evening of the last Thursday of Spring quarter in the Pavillion of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). A reception is held immediately following the ceremony for the degree recipients, faculty, family, and friends.
  • If you receive your graduate degree in September, December, March, or June, you are eligible and welcome to participate in the commencement. If you are close to completion and will not be in Davis the following June, you are also eligible and welcome to participate. The Graduate Studies Office will typically send information about commencement in February.
  • Any student who will receive a degree in March, June or September, or who expects to receive a degree in December, and who has not already participated in a June commencement ceremony, is eligible and welcome to participate in a Fall commencement ceremony.
  • For more information about commencement, please reference the "help links" set up by the Graduate Studies Office on their Commencement website.


Degree Information

Probation and Disqualification


Financial Aid and Departmental Support


Getting Around

Bicycling: Preparation and Knowledge

The Bicycle Program maintains and encourages the popular and beneficial use of the bicycle as an important mode of transportation to, from and on campus by providing the campus community with a safe, secure, and efficient cycling environment in response to customer needs and expectations.

Transportation Services (TAPS)

Transportation Services (TAPS) facilitates the access and mobility needs of the campus community through the coordination of efforts among TAPS units and with other campus departments and non-university entities, and ensures that services are provided in a professional, efficient, and service-oriented manner.


Unitrans was founded in 1968 as the University Transport System, when the Associated Students of UC Davis purchased two vintage London double decker buses to operate on two routes. In 1972, Unitrans was opened to the general public, with partial funding from the City of Davis. Since that time the ASUCD/City of Davis partnership has continued, and now Unitrans provides public transportation service to the entire city with 49 buses on 14 routes, carrying over 3 million passengers/year (about 20,000 on a typical day).

Anyone can ride Unitrans for a small cash fare, and many types of prepaid discounted tickets and passes are available. More information on fares and passes is available by going online to their Bus Fares and Rates web page or by calling 752-2877.

Getting Started - ID Info - Department Needs

Student Identification Card

Your student ID card or "AggieCard" identifies you as a UC Davis student to all faculty and staff at UC Davis and at other UC campuses. To obtain your AggieCard, reference the AggieCard website. New students can request it online and pick it up at the AggieCard office in 253 Memorial Union. All students must have a valid driver's license, or other form of valid photo ID, to pick up the card.

If you lose your student ID card, you can arrange to have a new card made. To do this, please visit the AggieCard's Office in 253 Memorial Union. You must provide a government-issued ID (valid state driver's license, visa, or passport) and pay a fee of $15.00 toward replacing a lost, stolen or intentionally damaged card.

Student Office and Building Access

At the beginning of each year, the Galois Group president assigns student office space for all new and returning graduate students. A listing showing your assigned room is typically sent via email, which also includes general instructions on when you may move into your space. Keys to your office can be obtained by visiting a staff person with the Student Services Office. If you are a returning student who has been granted new office space, it is very important that you return your old office key in exchange for the new one.

The Mathematical Sciences Building is open to the public during the weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Overnight access to the building can be granted by using your student identification card (AggieCard), but only after your name and student identification number has been entered into the building's electronic key system. To have this done, please visit a staff person with the Business Office.

Copy Machines and Computer Labs

Copy machines are available for your use as long as the work is either teaching or research related. The machines are in several locations: (click here for building maps) MSB 1224, the Department's mailroom, on the first floor; MSB 2201 on the second floor; and MSB 3114 on the third floor.

You have access to both of the Department's computer labs. The graduate lab (room 3114) is located on the third floor and consists of 8 Linux systems and 1 Mac system (this lab is not to be used by undergraduates). If a class is not in session, you may also use the undergraduate lab (room 2118) which is located on the second floor and consists of 32 computers. Before you can begin using any one of our computer systems, you would need to create a computer account with the Department. To have this done, please visit a staff person with the Student Services Office or a systems administrator with the Technical Office, which is located on the third floor in MSB 3117.

Mailroom and Mailboxes

Personal mailboxes are located in the Department's mailroom (MSB 1224) on the first floor. You may access your mailbox in two ways: you may enter through the front door of the administrative office suite during regular business hours; or you may use your office key to enter from the mailroom's back door. Graduate student mailboxes are arranged in alphabetical order and are alongside personal mailboxes for the faculty and staff. Under no circumstances are undergraduates permitted in this room. Therefore, when you teach, never permit them to return work to your personal mailbox.

Office Supplies

Office supplies such as pens/pencils, dry erase markers, notepads, post-it notes, etc. are available in the mailroom and the second floor copy room.

Room Reservation

Please submit a request to:

Groups - Math Community

Dual Pair Program

The dual pair program informally pairs each incoming student with a "senior level" graduate student in the Department. The purpose of this program is to give "senior level" students an opportunity to welcome and share their experiences and knowledge with an incoming student who is just starting out and who may need that extra helping hand.

Galois Group

The Galois Group is an official organization of the graduate students of the UC Davis Department of Mathematics. All graduate students are automatically members of the Galois Group. This group serves as a voice for the graduate students to the Math faculty and staff. They also coordinate and facilitate various activities, such as Monthly Game Nights, the Departmental Tea, and New Student Welcomes. When referencing the Galois Group's website, take special note of their helpful tips and advice, which have been collected and compiled by the graduate students.

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) represents graduate and professional students on the UC Davis campus. As the officially recognized student government, the GSA serves to empower students and build graduate student community through activities and advocacy. The GSA office is located at 253 South Silo. There are typically representatives from each graduate program, graduate group, etc., that meet throughout the year and discuss issues of importance to graduate and professional students.


The SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Club at UC Davis is committed to promoting the interests of students interested in all forms of applied mathematics at UC Davis. They plan several events throughout the year including a student research conference. Students from mathematics, physics, computer science, atmospheric science, engineering, and other departments interested in applied mathematics are encouraged to join.

Check our Outreach page for other groups and communities at UC Davis. There are groups for promoting inclusivity and diversity, promoting math across ages, and others!

Health and Well-Being

Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

The University of California requires that all students have health insurance. To help you meet this requirement, UC Davis automatically enrolls all registered students in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Fees for SHIP coverage are charged to your student account each school term along with your registration fees. If you have comparable health insurance and do not want to be enrolled in SHIP, you may apply for a SHIP waiver.

SHIP is designed specifically for UC Davis students with both Davis area and worldwide coverage. SHIP includes medical and dental benefits for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Beginning in Fall 2008, SHIP will also include vision benefits.

SHIP does not provide health insurance coverage for the dependents of UC Davis students. However, the student health center provides information and counseling for dependents regarding available health insurance options.

Student Health and Counseling Services

UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services or SHCS provides a wide variety of medical, mental health and wellness services to all registered UC Davis students regardless of insurance coverage. Most services are provided through scheduled appointments, however acute care (services without appointments) for acute medical and mental health needs are also available. Services are provided at two primary locations: The Student Health and Wellness Center and North Hall

Intramural Sports and Club Sports (Rec Sports)

Campus Recreation Rec Sports (formerly Intramural Sports) program provides students, faculty, staff, alumni and other university affiliates the opportunity to participate in a variety of competitive and recreational sport activities. Rec Sports offers more than 30 different activities (Men’s, Women’s and CoRec) in traditional sports such as basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball and flag football, as well as non-traditional activities such as ultimate frisbee, tube polo, and dodgeball. Rec Sports also presents tournaments and leagues for individuals and two-person teams in such activities as badminton, spikeball, and tennis.

Activities and Recreation Center (ARC)

The Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) offers both informal as well as formal recreation opportunities. From working on your jump shot, practicing your dance steps, trying out the climbing wall, playing table tennis or racquetball with a friend to personal training, group exercise classes, and dietary analysis. The ARC makes it easy for you to keep fit, relax, have fun, and meet your fitness goals.

Outdoor Adventure

California offers some of the most spectacular natural areas in the world from Yosemite, to Mt. Lassen, to Point Reyes, to the American and Klamath Rivers. Outdoor Adventures can take you there. Offering a range of diverse hiking, whitewater, and kayaking opportunities, Outdoor Adventures also features a friendly student staff, a helpful resource center of books and maps, comprehensive first aid training, and a rental center stocked with top quality equipment at reasonable prices.

Child Care and Family Services


UC Davis Student Housing

UC Davis Student Housing operates three types of housing: residence halls, campus apartments, and cooperatives. Each area and its included buildings are unique in character, combining with the residents to create a diverse, exciting community. All Student Housing buildings are located on university property, and all are located on the main campus. As a graduate student, you may want to concentrate your initial search by checking out what is available through campus apartments or cooperatives.

Of course, if off-campus housing is more to your liking, there are many opportunities offered among the many community apartments surrounding the university.

Community Housing Listing (CHL)

The Community Housing Listing (CHL) is a service offered to UC Davis students and other Davis community members through the ASUCD Student Services Office. For a nominal fee, anyone can add a listing to the CHL database, and everyone can view their listings either online or at the ASUCD Student Services Office.

Galois Group Housing Information

If you start your housing search well in advance of your arrival on campus, you should be able to find a great place to live. To assist you, the Galois Group has set up this informative web page to explain the difference between leasing and renting. The site also breaks down cost details and shares tips on "what you should look for" when looking for a place to live.

International Students

International Student Requirements HERE

Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS)

The mission of Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) is to help promote the internationalization of UC Davis by facilitating the integration of international students and scholars into the campus community. A major role for SISS is to assist international students and scholars with visa and immigration issues while they are at UC Davis. In addition to preparing the necessary documents to apply for a U.S. visa, SISS assists international students and scholars in maintaining their legal status while in the United States. SISS also provides orientation, assistance, information, and referral to international students, faculty, and researchers regarding financial, personal, cultural, and academic concerns.

Learning and Professional Development Resources

Internship and Career Center (ICC)

The Internship and Career Center (ICC) provides career advising services to all UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for careers in academia, the public and private sectors. In addition, the ICC provides a variety of workshops and symposia on topics such as CV writing, applying and interviewing for faculty positions, career opportunities beyond academia, and transferable skills among other topics relevant to advanced degree holders.

Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers (AATC)

The Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers (AATC) offers free academic assistance to all UC Davis students in: Study Skills, Mathematics/Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Genetics, Biology, Spanish, Writing and English as a Second Language. They have several resources to help you. Located in Dutton Hall, with space in different buildings for tutoring.


Graduate Studies offers unparalleled opportunities and support for professional and career development.  Over 200 workshops, seminars, and panel discussions are offered throughout the year through partnerships between Graduate Studies and other campus units.

Professors for the Future (PFTF)

Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service. This unique program sponsored by the Graduate Studies Office focuses on the future challenges of graduate education, postdoctoral training, and the academy. PFTF is designed to prepare UC Davis doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars for an increasingly competitive marketplace and a rapidly changing university environment. PFTF Fellows receive a $3,000 stipend.

Transfer and Reentry Center

This office includes representatives from various student services units, including the Dean's Offices, Financial Aid, Advising Services, Shields Library, Child Care, and Family Services. Reentry Student Services, in cooperation with the Reentry/Transfer Resource Network and the reentry student club OWLS (Older Wiser Learners), sponsors special programs and activities for reentry students.

Student Disability Center (SDC)

The philosophy of the Student Disability Center (SDC) is to promote independence and integrated participation in campus life for students with disabilities. The SDC is staffed by professional Disability Specialists who specialize in different areas of disability: learning, vision, hearing, medical, psychological, and mobility. These professionals each work with an assigned caseload of students, determining their eligibility for academic accommodations and ensuring the provision of accommodations necessary to allow the students to participate meaningfully in educational opportunities on campus.

Teaching Resources

UC Davis is dedicated to helping teachers grow as effective educators in undergraduate and graduate teaching. Through the Office of Undergraduate Education, faculty members are supported by have access to  campus initiatives and units that support instruction.

Women's Resources and Research Center (WRRC)

The Women's Resources and Research Center seeks to educate the campus community about women's issues and concerns. Its hope is to promote an understanding of the role and impact of gender in our lives and our society while helping women of diverse backgrounds achieve their intellectual, professional and personal goals and realize their full potential.

Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA)

The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) supports the University's educational mission by upholding standards of academic honesty and responsible behavior, promoting student development, and assisting students in need.