MATHEMATICS GRADUATE
STUDENT HANDBOOK
UCSD Mathematics

Enrollment

Each quarter, you should enroll in your courses before the enrollment deadline. At Orientation, you will be assigned a faculty advisor whom you should meet with each quarter to discuss courses. After meeting with your faculty advisor and selecting courses, your advisor should email the approved program to the PhD staff advisor, and the advising hold will be lifted from your registration. You will then be able to enroll in classes using WebReg, the university’s online registration system: https://students.ucsd.edu/academics/enroll/index.html You will have an enrollment hold for your first six quarters.

To log on you will need your 4-digit PAC number (Personal Access Code), which will be distributed to you before or during Orientation. Once you are logged on, the enrollment process is self-explanatory. You’ll also need the course code for each course you want to enroll in. These are available from the Schedule of Classes on Tritonlink. The PAC number will remain the same for your entire tenure here at UCSD as a graduate student. If you forget it, you can go to the registrar’s office and they will be able to give you your PAC. The deadline for initial Fall enrollment is the Friday before instruction begins.

With your PAC number, WebReg allows you to add or drop any class through the end of the second full week of classes each quarter. All add/drops AFTER the second week of each quarter cannot be processed through TritonLink, and require departmental and Graduate Division approval via an EASy request (easy.ucsd.edu). Students will be charged late fees if not fully enrolled (at least 12 units) by the end of week 2– the department does not cover late fees. All changes in your course program should be carried out in consultation with your faculty graduate advisor. Enrollment for each upcoming quarter begins in the 7th week of each quarter.

General Guidelines

The following are some general guidelines to follow when enrolling in classes. See the catalog for more details.

  1. Full-time students must enroll for a minimum of 12 units every quarter, eight (8) of which must be graduate-level mathematics courses taken for a letter-grade only. (Mathematics 500 may not be used to satisfy any part of this requirement).
  2. All PhD students should enroll in Mathematics 295 (Special Topics in Mathematics) every quarter. This colloquium features talks from all areas of current mathematical research within the department and is a foundation of the academic life of the department.
  3. All first time Teaching Assistants must enroll in Math 500 (Teaching Assistant Training, S/U grading option, four (4) units if 50% appointment and two (2) units if 25% appointment.) concurrent with their employment.  Students must successfully pass Math 500 to continue employment as a TA in future quarters.  Student may be required to retake Math 500 if they receive poor teaching evaluations.
  4. Typically, students who have not completed all their qualifying examinations should not register for Math 299 (Independent Reading and Research).

Major Codes

There are three major codes in the Department of Mathematics for PhD students. All PhD students are admitted under MA76. However, some students wish to add a specialization (CSME or Statistics). Specializations are added at the time of advancement to candidacy (before the end of year 4). If you plan to declare a specialization, make sure you review the qualifying exam and course requirements here for each one: https://www.ucsd.edu/catalog/curric/MATH-gr.html

Your major code will only change if your degree aim and/or department changes:

  • MA76 – Pure Mathematics (Masters/Doctoral Degree)
  • MA80 – Mathematics with Specialization in CSME (Doctoral Degree)
  • MA81 – Mathematics with Specialization in Statistics (Doctoral Degree)

Half-Time Status

Any graduate student who enrolls in six units or less per quarter is considered half-time. To qualify for reduced fees, a completed online application for Graduate Student Half-Time Study must be filed with Graduate Division by the end of the second week of any quarter. To request half-time status please inform the PhD staff advisor, your faculty advisor, and go to the following link to submit the application:  https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/halftime/student .

International Students should consult the international center and international center website for more information regarding half-time status due to restrictions related to visa requirements: https://ispo.ucsd.edu/current-students/forms-guides/index.html

For general information about declaring half-time status go to the following link: https://students.ucsd.edu/academics/enroll/special-enrollment/parttime-halftime-study/halftime-study.html

The Math Department offers four kinds of graduate courses. First, there are the courses associated with the qualifying exams. These courses have regular homework assignments and exams, and culminate in an associated qualifying exam. These will  be your primary focus for your first year of study. A list of mathematics (graduate and undergraduate) courses can be found here.

The department also offers “topics courses”. These are more specialized courses. The course content is up to the instructor, who may solicit input from interested students as to the topics covered. Topics courses may or may not have associated homework assignments or exams.

Next are the “reading courses” (MATH 299). These are custom courses that are designed by you and a faculty member. You spend the quarter reading selected text(s) and meeting regularly with the supervising faculty member to discuss the material. Taking a reading course with a professor is one of the critical stepping stones to finding an advisor. In addition to learning specialized material from an expert in one-on-one meetings, you get to know the professor on a more personal level. It can be hard to tell from a classroom setting whether or not someone will be a good advisor. Taking a reading course from someone is a good way to see what doing research with that person will be like. Reading courses also provide students with the opportunity to “try out” a particular area of study or to broaden their mathematical horizons.

Lastly, are the “seminar courses.” These are regular meetings between students and faculty to discuss current research in a particular area. The regularity with which these courses are held varies widely. For some seminars, there are different speakers and topics every week. Sometimes, the speakers are invited guests of a faculty member. Some seminars have the goal of understanding a particular paper (or collection of papers). These will typically have a rotating schedule of participant-speakers.