Graduate Mathematics Comprehensive Exams

Students that have taken a graduate course are permitted to take the respective comprehensive exam at most three (3) times. If a student fails an exam, then the student must wait until the next test date to retake the exam. If a student fails a comprehensive exam three (3) times, then the student has to retake the corresponding course(s) and complete them successfully (with a grade of B or higher) in order to be permitted to retake that exam three (3) more times. Students who would like to take a comprehensive exam without having completed the corresponding course(s) with a B or higher must get advanced permission from the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Comprehensive exams are normally offered during the first weekend after classes begin in the Fall and Spring semesters. Official test dates will be announced by the Graduate Mathematics Testing Committee via email. Students must declare intent via email to take a comprehensive exam by the deadline stated in the announcement. Students may withdraw from taking a comprehensive exam after declaring their intent provided notice has been given to the Graduate Mathematics Testing Committee Chair one (1) month in advance of the test date. Failure to do so will count as a failed attempt of that comprehensive exam. Students who provide documentation of extenuating circumstances can petition the Graduate Mathematics Testing Committee to waive the attempt.

Format of the exams

Students must take one exam in either Modern Algebra or Modern Analysis. The content of the exams reflect that of the corresponding graduate courses (MAS 5311 and MAS 5312, or MAA 5228 and MAA 5229). Each comprehensive exam will take three (3) hours. No references can be used during the exams. Bathroom breaks are permitted but students are not allowed to leave the testing room otherwise.

Exam scoring

The Graduate Mathematics Testing Committee will assign a grade of Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) to each comprehensive exam. Students will receive a letter from the Graduate Program Coordinator (on behalf of the Testing Committee) stating the grades S or U received for each comprehensive exam taken during a given testing period.

Syllabi for the exams

The syllabi for the August 2018 and January 2019 exams are shown below.

  1. Abstract Algebra
  2. Analysis

Archive of Graduate Mathematics Comprehensive Exams

Previous Graduate Comprehensive Exams can be found here.

Schedule for the August 2019 exams

The tentative schedule for the August 2019 exams is as follows:

Saturday, August 24
220 Seidler Hall
12:00pm - 3:00pm
Saturday, August 24
220 Seidler Hall
12:00pm - 3:00pm

For any further information concerning the comprehensive examinations, please contact the Graduate Mathematics Testing Committee Chair via e-mail at

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Last update: Monday, January 21, 2019.