Pursuing an MS or PhD degree requires considerable advice from a variety of sources. Initially this advice will come from the Graduate Director who serves as temporary advisor for incoming students. One of the main responsibilities of the temporary advisor is to assist in the initial planning of the degree program.

Entering students will undergo an initial diagnostic interview with the Graduate Director to plan an appropriate program of study. If the student’s diagnostic interview identifies a deficiency, the program may be required to include courses to correct this. However, mathematics courses at the 300 level or below will not be counted toward the total credit hour requirement toward any graduate degree in mathematics.

Students must select a permanent advisor, including their committee, by the end of the third semester of residency; in other words, a student in the MS program must choose an MS committee by the end of the third semester in the MS program, and a PhD student should make the selections for the PhD committee by the end of the third semester in the PhD program. The MS with Outside Specialization program, however, has an earlier deadline (see section 2.2 below)  If a student receives a MS degree from  CSU’s program, and then continues to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics at CSU, the Ph.D. permanent advisor and committee need not be the same as the MS permanent advisor and committee.

The choice of committee is formally made by completing a GS6 form (see Appendix A -1 below for more information), and must be approved by the Department Chair.

The advisor is the chief source of advice in the planning process and works closely with the student throughout their graduate career on all matters related to the degree program.  A close, cordial, and professional relationship is therefore of the utmost importance.

Members of the committee should be chosen on the basis of the student’s interests, the student’s experience with faculty members, and the advisor’s knowledge and expertise. As noted above, the makeup of a graduate committee must be approved by the department head and, of course, agreed to by the potential members themselves. It is the responsibility of the student to secure these approvals and agreements.  The purpose of the committee is to make available to the student a broad range of knowledge and expertise. Committee members may aid in general advising of the student and may assist in planning the major elements of the program. The committee administers the final examination for an MS student, as well as the preliminary and final examinations for a PhD student.

The committee must consist of at least three faculty members for a master’s degree program and at least four for a doctoral degree program. The members are as follows:

The major, or permanent, advisor, who serves as chairperson of the committee, must hold academic faculty rank as a professor, associate professor, or assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics.  There is no exception to the rule that every graduate student in our department must have a principal advisor who is in our department.

For the MS degree programs, the committee must include one or more additional members from the Department of Mathematics.

For the PhD degree program the committee must include two or more additional members from the Department of Mathematics.

One member from an outside department who, appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School, represents the Graduate School. The outside committee member appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School must hold a tenured, tenure-track, contract, continuing, transitional, joint, or emeritus/emerita faculty appointment at CSU. The outside member should serve as an impartial external evaluator on the committee, ensuring quality of scholarship and fairness in process.

Non-CSU employees may obtain faculty affiliate appointments in an academic department in order to be eligible to serve on graduate committees. They may also be appointed to such committees through a nomination process that is reviewed and approved by CoSRGE (Faculty Council Committee on Scholarship, Research, and Graduate Education).

Please contact the Human Resource staff member of the appropriate department to determine the appointment designation of a potential committee member.

Co-advisors may be chosen from outside the Department of Mathematics.