Becoming a mathematician takes time and skill, as well as a love for numbers, equations. Often, you do not need a doctorate or Ph.D. in order to have a successful career in the math world, but having a Ph.D. from an accredited and renowned university will help establish your name in the field. Earning a Ph.D. requires years worth of study and focus, as well as a high ability to solve problems.
Searching for a Program
Find a mathematics Ph.D. program that is located at a university different from your undergraduate and graduate alma mater. According to the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, attending a school where you received your master's might not be a good idea because you know the professors and therefore, it could create an environment where you may be too comfortable. The point is to challenge yourself.
Check the reputations of the schools' programs and advisers using recommendations, not just word-of-mouth reviews from friends and former professors.
Apply to the schools of your choosing following their application processes. Be sure to follow each school's application steps as any minor deviation may eliminate your application.
Apply for any scholarships that will help pay for your Ph.D. education. According to the Polytechnics Institute, those enrolled in a Ph.D. program should receive a full tuition scholarship; students should also receive a stipend if they teach at the university they are attending.
Expect to take two years worth of courses at the university of your choice. Ph.D. level mathematics classes are rigorous and involve students to practically eat, breathe and sleep mathematics. Classes involve calculus, trigonometry and advance algorithms which involve plenty of research and concentration.
Take and pass two written or oral mathematics exams given to you by your Ph.D. program adviser. These exams test your knowledge and skill level in your specific mathematics field and determine whether you pass or not. If you do not pass, you are removed from the Ph.D. program.
Write your thesis with the guidance of your academic adviser. The thesis process will take anywhere between two to four years. While writing your thesis, you will need to research and perform two tasks: Develop a new mathematical theory and prove a new, unknown theorem.
Present your thesis to a dissertation committee. This committee will ask questions regarding your thesis which will require you to defend your theories, research and stance. If you successfully defend your thesis, you are allowed to graduate.