Each student must pass two preliminary exams: one in Applied Analysis and one in Applied Linear Algebra. These are four-hour written exams that cover material roughly at the level of first-year graduate study. The exams are offered twice a year, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The first set of exams are offered in January. The Applied Analysis preliminary exam will be held the Monday prior to the start of classes, and the Applied Linear Algebra exam is offered the Friday before the start of classes. The second exam offerings follow the spring semester. The Applied Linear Algebra exam is held the Friday before the start of the summer semester, and the Applied Analysis exam is offered the first Friday of the summer semester.

A student wishing to take a preliminary exam must sign up with the graduate program assistant at least one month prior to the administration of the exam. Students who cannot take the exam as planned must give notice of withdrawal at least one week prior to the exam.

Students have a maximum of three attempts to pass each exam. The time limit clock starts the first semester a student is admitted into the program.

- Students entering the Ph.D. program without a master’s degree in mathematics have three years to pass both preliminary exams.
- Students entering the Ph.D. program with a master’s degree in mathematics have two years to pass both preliminary exams.

No appeals will be considered if a student fails the respective exam a third time.