Comprehensive Exams

Overview

To complete your MS in Mathematics degree, you have a choice of writing a master's degree thesis or passing two comprehensive exams. Most students choose the comprehensive exam option because

  • The prerequisite is lower. To do a thesis, you need a GPA of 3.5 or better. To attempt the comprehensive exams, a GPA of 3.0 suffices.
  • It's faster. Writing a thesis can take several terms. Comprehensive exams can be passed in one term.
  • It's cheaper. If you don't pass the comprehensive exams on the first attempt, subsequent attempts cost $10 each - assuming that you are not taking any courses.

Even so, if you have ambitions to do a PhD, or are just enthusiastic about mathematical research, you should consider doing a thesis. When in doubt, seek advice from the graduate advisor.

Comprehensive Exam Schedule

Fall 2020 Comprehensive Exam Committees and Schedule

  • Numerical Analysis - Friday, Nov 13th, 9am - 12pm
  • Topology - Friday, Dec 4th, 4pm - 7pm
  • Algebra - Friday, Nov 13th, 9am - 12pm
  • Complex Analysis, Friday, Nov 20th, 9am - 12pm
  • Probability - Friday, Nov 20th, 9am - 12pm
  • Linear Analysis - Friday, Dec 4th, 4pm - 7pm

Comprehensive Exam Policy

For students whose catalog is 2020-2021 and after, see this document.

For students whose catalog is before 2020-2021 see this document.

 

Exam Archive 

This archive is for students whose catalog is before 2020-2021.    We will be updating this information soon for students who are on the 2020-2021 catalog whose comprehensive exam system is different than pre 2020-2021.       

Most comprehensive exams since 2000 are available below. Some are missing because not all exams were offered in all terms.

Algebra

Syllabus

The Spring 2008 and later exams have solutions. The occasional references are to

  • Fraleigh, A First Course in Abstract Algebra, 7th ed.
  • Dummit and Foote, Abstract Algebra, 3rd ed.

There is also a  collection of miscellaneous solutions to older exam questions.

For some reason there was a Winter Quarter 2002 exam: Winter 02

Spring 00 Fall 00
Spring 01 Fall 01
Spring 02 Fall 02
Spring 03 Fall 03
Spring 04 Fall 04
Spring 05 Fall 05
Spring 06 Fall 06
Spring 07 Fall 07
Spring 08 Fall 08
Spring 09 Fall 09
Spring 10 Fall 10
Spring 11 Fall 11
Spring 12 Fall 12
Spring 13 Fall 13
Spring 14 Fall 14
Spring 15 Fall 15
Spring 16 Fall 16
Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18
Spring 19 Fall 19
Spring 20  

 

Topology

Syllabus

Spring 00 Fall 00
Spring 01 Fall 01
Spring 02 Fall 02
Spring 03 Fall 03
Spring 04 Fall 04
Spring 05 Fall 05
Spring 06 Fall 06
Spring 07 Fall 07
Spring 08 Fall 08
Spring 09 Fall 09
Spring 10 Fall 10
Spring 11 Fall 11
Spring 12 Fall 12
Spring 13 Fall 13
Spring 14 Fall 14
Spring 15 Fall 15
Spring 16 Fall 16
Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18
Spring 19  

The exam offered in Fall 2006 is labeled as Spring 2006 because it was intended to be offered in Spring 2006.

The exam offered in Spring 2011 is labeled as Fall 2010 because it was intended to be offered in Fall 2010.

Complex Analysis

Syllabus

Spring 00 Fall 00
Spring 01 Fall 01
Spring 02 Fall 02
Spring 03 Fall 03
Spring 04 Fall 04
Spring 05 Fall 05
Spring 06 Fall 06
Spring 07 Fall 07
Spring 08 Fall 08
Spring 09 Fall 09
Spring 10 Fall 10
Spring 11 Fall 11
Spring 12 Fall 12
Spring 13 Fall 13
Spring 14 Fall 14
Spring 15 Fall 15
Spring 16 Fall 16
Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18
Spring 19 Fall 19
Spring 20  

 

For some reason there was a Winter Quarter 2002 exam: Winter 02

Linear Analysis

Syllabus

Spring 00 Fall 00
Spring 01 Fall 01
Spring 02 Fall 02
Spring 03 Fall 03
Spring 04 Fall 04
Spring 05 Fall 05
Spring 06 Fall 06
Spring 07 Fall 07
Spring 08 Fall 08
Spring 09 Fall 09
Spring 10 Fall 10
Spring 11 Fall 11
Spring 12 Fall 12
Spring 13 Fall 13
Spring 14 Fall 14
Spring 15 Fall 15
Spring 16 Fall 16
Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18
Spring 19 Fall 19
Spring 20  

For some reason there was a Winter Quarter 2002 exam: Winter 02

Numerical Analysis

Syllabus

Spring 10 Fall 10
Spring 11 Fall 11
Spring 12 Fall 12
Spring 13 Fall 13
Spring 14 Fall 14
Spring 15 Fall 15
Spring 16 Fall 16
Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18
Spring 19  
Spring 20  

 

Probability

Syllabus

Spring 17 Fall 17
Spring 18 Fall 18

 

Comprehensive exams in probablility were not offered until Spring 2017.