Category Archives: Graduate posts

Prospective graduate students


Here in the Department of Mathematics at UH Mānoa, we offer both MA and PhD degrees in mathematics. We have about 20 faculty members with a wide range of interests who can mentor you in algebra, analysis, applied mathematics, combinatorics, geometry, logic, number theory, and topology. You would join a group of almost 40 graduate students learning math and pushing the boundaries of mathematical research. We offer introductory and advanced graduate courses, as well as regular ‘topics’ courses changing every year based on professors’ research interests and student demand. We have a vibrant faculty and grad student lounge that offers a lot of opportunity for talking with your fellow mathematicians.

For more information about faculty research, you can check out our research page.

Below are more details about the MA degree, the PhD degree, the application process, funding opportunities, and living in Hawai‘i.

Program summaries

PhD requirements

The PhD program in the Mathematics Department has four main components: coursework, qualifying exams, a comprehensive exam, and the writing and oral defense of a PhD thesis.

The goal of this program is to develop your abilities to the point where you can contribute original research in mathematics. To this end, we offer a wide range of basic graduate courses as well as advanced topics courses, and the faculty usually run a few seminars every semester. During your time here, you’ll work towards a broad understanding of graduate mathematics, develop your mathematical abilities and creativity, and reach the cutting edge of research in one of the many fields our faculty studies, all culminating in the writing and oral defense of your PhD thesis. Along the way, you’ll have a few milestones to reach: taking at least 10 courses (with some breadth requirements), passing two qualifying exams (out of four: algebra, analysis, applied mathematics, and topology), and completing a comprehensive exam with a faculty advisor.

For more details, see the full requirements page here.

MA requirements

The MA program in the Mathematics Department has two main components: coursework and the writing and oral presentation of a masters project.

As a student in this program, you’ll take both introductory and more advanced graduate level courses, with some freedom to choose your own path. By about half way through the two to three year program, you should settle down on an advisor who can mentor you to the completion of a project that you’ll get to write up and present.

For more details, see the full requirements page here.

Funding opportunities

Graduate Assistantships are available at stipends which range from approximately \$19,000 for the academic year, with waiver of tuition. All newly admitted PhD students are assured funding for up to 6 years. Masters students may be funded  on a space available basis. At any given time, about three quarters of our graduate students are supported by teaching assistantships. Some faculty members also have grants that have funds to support students with Research Assistantships. Most graduate assistants teach recitation sections for pre-calculus and calculus courses though other options exist: tutoring, grading, teaching a class, or assisting a professor.

Living in Hawai‘i

The university campus is located on the Leeward side of O‘ahu at the mouth of the Mānoa Valley in Honolulu, about two miles from the beaches of Waikiki. The island offers an abundance of opportunity for outdoor activities from hiking to Mānoa Falls or the summit of Diamond Head to snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and, as you might imagine, surfing. Moreover, Honolulu is a city of a million people with all sorts of cultural and social activities. You can find out about all this and more on the university’s website.

Application process

The typical requirement for admission to the graduate program is the completion of a standard undergraduate program in mathematics. The candidate will generally be expected to know linear algebra, the elements of abstract algebra, and elementary real analysis. A student whose degree has been awarded in some other field may be considered if they have had the appropriate background courses. Students  must submit a personal statement describing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in math.

For best consideration for Fall semester, applications should be submitted by February 15, and for the Spring by  October 1. Note that we do not usually have many openings for spring admission.

Details about the  graduate application are on this page.


Hawaiʻi nei jobs

Many of our MA and PhD graduates find work at other campuses of the UH System upon graduation.


Neighbor islands

  • Kauai Community College
  • Maui College
  • University of Hawaii – Hilo
  • Hawaii Community College

Current job openings

Due to recent retirements, Leeward is a bit short of Mathematics Instructors lately. Apply here: job ad Due to the hiring freeze, they are only hiring Lecturers, but they will have several full-time Instructor positions available once the hiring freeze is over.

Private tutoring

Interested in private tutoring?

Here is a list of graduate students who are willing to tutor
privately for the Fall 2021 term. Please use the
“” email address for all.

Sam Birns: sbirns
Saroj Niraula: sniraula
Ikenna Nometa: ikenna
Rico Vicente: rvicente

Please contact them directly to make arrangements such as cost,
meeting time and place, etc.  The Mathematics Department is not
responsible for these arrangements.

How to find a research advisor

Choosing a research advisor.

This is an important step for any graduate student. A good advisor/student relationship is very helpful to your success in graduate school. Keep in mind though, that no one is perfect – and they don’t need to be, the whole department is still here to talk with you.  Also a good advisor for one student might be a poor choice for someone else. It’s a personal decision.

Question 1: When to choose an advisor? Start now! It is never too soon to think about who you might want to work with and start investigating what that would entail.

Question 2: How to choose? Read on!

Each item in the list below is useful in choosing an advisor.

1) General research area of interest.

2) Working Style in the professional relationship: more hands-on or hands off? – do they want you to find a problem on your own? expect weekly meetings?

3) Is the person supportive of the kinds of career options you are looking for?

4)  Does the person have  a track record of finishing students in a reasonable amount of time and helping them find suitable employment.

5) How research active is the person? Do they publish regularly (say 1x a year or more, – look them up on MathSciNet, Google Scholar or the arXiv to check this!). Do they attend conferences regularly (1 or more per year)  and give talks about their work? These are all particularly helpful if you are hoping to have a career that focuses on research.

6) Some students like to choose experienced advisors who have a track record of finishing students and helping them find jobs. Other students  like to choose junior faculty who are eager to have students because you find them more related.

How to learn about potential advisors:

1) Attend seminars of a research group you’re potentially interested in.

2) Take a class with potential advisors.

3) Read their blurb on the department webpage.

4) Ask to do a reading course with a potential advisor to learn more about the subject they work in and their style of working with a student.

5) Talk to the faculty members about their expectations for students, and how you would become their advisee.

6) Talk to other students about their experiences with various faculty members.