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Washington University in St. Louis: Department of Mathematics and Statistics

The Graduate Program in the Department of Mathematics strives to provide an atmosphere that encourages good teaching, good scholarship, and learning in the broadest and deepest sense.

  • It combines excellence in teaching with close student-teacher interaction.
  • It offers a strong curriculum in pure mathematics, with additional courses in applied mathematics and statistics.
  • It fosters creative research under the guidance of active mathematicians who are very much involved with the research community worldwide.
  • The department offers generous financial support to promising students.

Graduates of the program find that a Washington University Ph.D. is a strong start to an academic career; many of our students have received offers from top departments around the world. Others have found stimulating careers in a variety of positions in private research, industry, and government jobs.

One measure of the quality of our program is the small attrition rate: in recent years well over two-thirds of the students who completed the first year have gone on to complete the Ph.D. program.

We consider teaching and scholarship to be important components of our mission. Students can participate early and often in seminars, colloquia, and other scholarly activities.

There were 40 graduate students enrolled in the 2014-2015 academic year, 35 of them working towards Ph.D.'s. The department has 27 regular faculty and three visiting post-doctoral faculty. In addition, numerous mathematicians visit for periods of a few days to several weeks and months. Because of our relatively small size, students find it easier quickly to become acquainted with the faculty and the other students, and graduate students receive individual attention from the outset.

Pre-orientation program

The Extended Graduate Orientation is optional but strongly recommended mini-course for the new graduate student in mathematics. The program is run by the Department of Mathematics and has a twofold purpose: to introduce incoming students to the style and pace of graduate courses, so as to have everybody up to speed when Fall classes begin; and to foster a cohesive and supportive social environment of graduate students, faculty, and staff, in which all can work most effectively and productively.

The Extended Graduate Orientation takes place during the second week of August. It mainly consists in lectures and discussions of mathematical topics, and meetings with faculty and supporting staff. A complimentary lunch attended by many members of the Mathematics Department is scheduled at the end of the program.

The orientation program was first created and organized by Professor Gary Jensen, now Professor Emeritus. Professor Renato Feres, who is an Alliance Mentor, is currently serving as the program coordinator. For more information contact

Advanced Courses

Research specialties of our faculty include various aspects of analysis, geometry, topology, algebra, probability theory, and statistics. Find detailed information about our courses and further links provided there.

The University and its Surroundings

Any graduate program consists of a protracted period of hard, and sometimes frustrating, work. It is important, therefore, to do one's work in a comfortable environment. While academic excellence is an integral part of Washington University, it is not the only part. The cultural and social life of the University is as vibrant as its intellectual life. Theater and music, lectures and readings, art exhibits, and concerts are all staples of campus life. So is physical activity. Not only does the University have excellent athletic facilities on campus with indoor and outdoor tracks, a swimming pool, tennis, squash, and racquetball courts, and weight rooms -- it also sits alongside Forest Park, one of the nation's largest municipal parks. In a single day, a student can easily canoe, hike or play soccer, and attend a concert by a well-known ensemble or a reading by a renowned writer. The presence on campus of an extraordinary group of creative writers leads to many such opportunities.

Award winning poets and novelists, as William Gass, Stanley Elkin and Donald Finkel, to name but a few, have added luster to the University.

Also on campus, students have full access to a two million volume library system; comprehensive health services; and ample dining facilities.

Just as parks and recreation are conveniently nearby, so is good, affordable housing. Graduate students can easily find comfortable accommodations within walking distance of the campus. The university maintains an apartment referral service to help students get situated.

A prominent feature of the university is the School of Medicine situated on its own campus two miles east of the Mathematics building. The Washington University School of Medicine is recognized world-wide for excellence in research, teaching, and patient care. Barnes Hospital, one of several hospitals affiliated with the School of Medicine, is ranked among the five best in the country. Our Mathematics Department has several collaborative research ventures with the Medical school -- in population genetics, magnetic resonance imaging, and radiology.


Programs offered

We offer Ph.D. in Mathematics and Statistics, as well as M.A. in Mathematics and in Statistics.


Department of Mathematics
One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1146
Cupples 1, Room 100
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
(314) 935-6760


  • The University has electronic resources provided for Graduate Students by the Washington University Department of Mathematics, including application information.
  • The graduate school homepage houses the Graduate School Bulletin, a Graduate Student Handbook, Forms, Policies & Guides (including a Doctoral Dissertation Guide and a Master's Thesis Guide)

Student body profile

Our students come from diverse backgrounds, nationally and from around the world. We encourage them to study at a pace that is adapted to their level of preparation, and to go as far as they can in their chosen direction. In addition to gaining proficiency as researchers we want our doctoral candidates to foster the development of the discipline. Thus we ask them to take an active role in discussions, seminars, and classes, and to conduct themselves as members of a community of scholars. Our students do their part along with the faculty in maintaining high standards of undergraduate education and they carry a share of teaching and related duties. Such activities are mutually beneficial: they benefit others and the University, and they benefit the graduate students by furthering their growth as teachers.

Our students are not burdened with heavy duties as teaching assistants, allowing them considerable time and freedom to pursue their education. Special incentives and scholarships are available for U.S. residents, but all students are supported generously. As an emblem of their admission into the "community of scholars," all graduate mathematics students at Washington University in St. Louis are given membership in the American Mathematical Society.

Placement of graduate students after completion of the program:

Over two-thirds of the students who have entered the second year of our graduate program complete their Ph.D.'s. Of these, the overwhelming majorities choose academic positions in research universities and colleges; the rest choose careers in government, private research, or industry.

The best evidence of our success at placing our Ph.D. recipients in teaching and research positions is a list of those recipients since 1999 and the institutions at which they now work.

Funding opportunities

All current full-time students in our Ph.D. program are being financially supported. Support usually consists of the following:

  • First year students are University Fellows (UF). UFs receive a stipend and full tuition. They also have minimal duties.
  • After their first year, students are Teaching Assistants (TA). Associated with these assistantships are departmental duties requiring up to twelve hours a week. Following the first year of support with a UF, a student who performs satisfactorily will usually continue receiving a comparable level of support in the form of a Teaching Assistantship.
  • Students receive ten months of support and can be eligible for summer support, although summer support after their second year is not guaranteed. There are also opportunities to teach summer courses to earn extra money.
  • Continued financial support is normally guaranteed for a total of five year, providing the student is making satisfactory progress each year. Our Ph.D. candidates normally complete the program in five or six years and are typically supported through their sixth year.
  • Our Master's programs are self-supported; we do not offer tuition remission or stipend for the Master's students. Our Master's program in Mathematics and Master's program in Statistics are two year programs.
  • The stipend for the University Fellows, Dissertation Fellows and Teaching Assistants for the 2014-2015 academic year is $22,150.

Other forms of financial aid can be available:

  • Dissertation Fellowships (DF): For Ph.D. candidates in their last year of graduate work. These carry no teaching responsibilities.
  • NSF support.

A Research Assistantship is usually given to a student for one semester in the year after completion of the written qualifying exam. Final-year students who are concentrating on the writing of their dissertations may be eligible for either Research Assistantships or Dissertation Fellowships. NSF support comes from an adviser's research grant, and a student being supported this way has no teaching duties.

Additional opportunities are available for women interested in becoming college or university professors:

Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowships: This fellowship is awarded as a result of an annual competition open to all women who intend to commence graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis. The Olin Fellowship carries a stipend for four years and full tuition. Women wishing to become candidates for the Olin Fellowship competition will be asked to complete a separate Olin application when making an on line application to our program. Applicants must be graduates of a baccalaureate institution in the United States.

The Chancellor's Graduate Fellowships: This fellowship is designed to facilitate training for students who, in light of all pertinent academic qualifications, experiences, and attributes, would contribute to the diversity of graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis. Students should have a strong interest in becoming a college or university professor. Candidates wishing to be eligible for the Chancellor's Fellowship competition will be asked to complete a separate Chancellor's application when making an online application to our program.

It is important to recognize that financial support should not be a major concern when you are considering graduate study toward a Ph.D. in the Washington University in St. Louis Mathematics Department. Generally speaking, if you are admitted to our Ph.D. program you would be supported. Note that not only is the financial support we give on the high end of what other universities offer, but St. Louis is a fairly inexpensive place to live.

More information

Our website

Contact for more information:

  • Renato Feres