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AIM Ph.D. Program Requirements

The AIM Ph.D. Program allows students to engage in interdisciplinary research involving both mathematics and a partner discipline in engineering, the sciences, or social sciences (for example, biology, economics, etc.).

Admission and Financial Support

Admission

Two types of students are generally considered for admission to the AIM Ph.D. program:

  • Mathematics majors, with excellent grades in mathematics courses and excellent letters of recommendation. The admissions committee will also take into account other scholarly activities such as summer research experience, published papers, or courses in other fields.
  • Non-mathematics majors from the physical, life, or engineering sciences, or from other appropriate areas of study. Such students are expected to have completed at least two upper division mathematics courses, and/or have substantial exposure to mathematics in other courses, and are strongly advised to submit a GRE subject test score for an exam in the major field (in addition to the required GRE mathematics subject test). Other experience in working with mathematics (for instance, summer research positions) will also be taken into account, as well as grade point average and letters of recommendation.

To apply, please visit the Admissions page in the Department of Mathematics. 

Financial Support

Graduate students admitted to the AIM Ph.D. program are granted full financial support including an annual stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance extending also to dependents for a period of five years, subject to satisfactory progress. Most are supported as graduate student instructors, but research assistantships, traineeships, and some fellowships are also available.

Program Requirements

Counseling

AIM Ph.D. students will receive course counseling from the AIM Director until they match with their co-advisors. The Graduate Program Coordinator will process departmental and Rackham paperwork.

Course Comments

At the end of the Fall and Winter semesters, the Graduate Office will send this Google Form requesting course comments from the graduate students’ course instructors.  Students will receive a report with the instructors’ course comments.

Progress Reports

In October and March, the Graduate Office will send this Google Form requesting feedback from the graduate students’ research advisors. 
Students will receive a progress report with responses from their advisors to the following questions:

  1. What research projects or preparation has the student been working on this term with you?
  2. Please provide your assessment of the student's progress toward their degree.
  3. Do you have any advice, feedback, or suggestions for the student?
  4. When do you anticipate the student will finish his/her degree?

Requirements

The requirements for the AIM Ph.D. program are designed to offer maximal flexibility in the pursuit of interdisciplinary study while simultaneously ensuring full rigor of training. These requirements differ substantially from those of the Mathematics Ph.D. degree and are detailed below. The order of this list of requirements mirrors the order in which the requirements should be completed.

  1. AIM QR Examinations (formerly called AIM Preliminary Exams)
  2. Coursework
  3. Advancing to Candidacy
  4. Research, Writing, & Defense of Dissertation

Program Timeline

Years bolded below refer to the candidacy stage of the Ph.D. degree, in which students are restricted to a single 3-credit lecture course per semester. Candidacy must be achieved by the beginning of the fourth year of study.

Year 1
  • Pass two AIM Preliminary Examinations
  • Enroll in Math 501 (AIM Student Seminar) for both semesters
  • Begin basic coursework, concentrating on the AIM Core Courses
Year 2
  • Continue mathematics coursework
  • Enroll in Math 501 (AIM Student Seminar) in the Fall semester
  • Begin selection of partner discipline and co-advisors
  • Begin taking courses in the partner discipline
Year 3
  • Complete most required coursework, focusing on advanced research-related courses
  • Prepare AIM Thesis Proposal
  • Pass oral examination
  • Advance to candidacy*

* Candidacy must be achieved by the beginning of the fourth year of study.

Year 4
  • Focus on original research
Year 5
  • Complete research project
  • Write and defend dissertation