PhD in Mathematical Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

When you pursue a PhD in Mathematical Sciences at WPI, you join a vibrant community of faculty members, postdoctoral researchers, and students who are creating new knowledge and applying their expertise to solve to complex, real-world problems.

Value Proposition Description

We accept about five new doctoral students in our PhD in mathematical sciences each year, all of whom are fully funded, and maintain a team of about 25 PhD candidates. You will be encouraged to collaborate with researchers in the department and across campus as you make important discoveries in an area of interest, from theoretical mathematics to applications in diverse areas like data science, electrical and computer engineering, bioinformatics and computational biology, and biomedical engineering.


Our flexible curriculum enables you to tailor programs of research and study to your professional goals. You will select courses in mathematical sciences and other disciplines and may choose to complete a PhD project with an external sponsor that allows you to connect your theoretical knowledge with relevant applications. We also offer professional development training to enhance your skills in teaching, grant writing, interviewing, and the job search process.

As you pursue your PhD in mathematical sciences, you will be expected to pass two general comprehensive exams by the end of your first year of study and a series of preliminary exams before registering for your dissertation research.

Research for PhD in Mathematical Sciences

Research in our PhD in mathematical sciences program at WPI plays a vital role in solving complex problems facing our world. You will work alongside faculty and student researchers who are involved in a wealth of diverse projects, both fundamental and applied, in these areas:

  • Discrete mathematics, combinatorics, and graph theory
  • Analysis and differential equations
  • Computational mathematics
  • Statistics and stochastic analysis

Our strong interdisciplinary culture also offers exciting possibilities to interact with researchers in other disciplines, including physics, engineering, and the life sciences.

In addition, as a PhD in mathematical sciences student, you will have access to a modern and diverse line-up of computing facilities and industry-standard software programs, including SAS, R, MATLAB, Python, and Turing, our high-performance computer cluster.

Faculty Profiles

Christopher Larsen
Christopher Larsen

The evolution of defects in materials present very interesting mathematical challenges.  My research focuses on improving mathematical models for material defects and advancing mathematical methods for studying them. Of particular interest are the growing lower-dimensional surfaces found in fracture mechanics.  There are many open questions here, and my projects involve postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates, as well as other mathematicians and collaborators from other fields.



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Mayer Humi
Mayer Humi

I am a mathematical physicist working on the development and application of mathematical methods to atmospheric research and satellites orbits. As part of this research, I am also developing new methods for the use of symmetry principles to solve differential equations. I have taught a broad spectrum of applied math courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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Suzanne Weekes
Suzanne Weekes
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, ad Interim, Mathematical Sciences

Research is a core part of the undergraduate experience at WPI. As Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Suzanne Weekes increases the focus on the undergraduate research enterprise at the university to continue to advance WPI’s mission to create, to discover, and to convey knowledge at the frontiers of academic inquiry for the betterment of society.

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William Martin
William Martin

Bill Martin's goal is to find mathematical research projects that lie between beautiful and powerful mathematical theory, on the one hand, and pressing technological applications, on the other. This effort requires one to keep abreast of both mathematical developments and applications in computer science and engineering. Professor Martin's mathematical research is in the area of algebraic combinatorics, where tools from linear and abstract algebra are applied to problems in discrete math.

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Looking for More of a Statistics Focus? Earn a PhD in Statistics Instead.

Maybe you’re interested in specializing in a statistics PhD rather than mathematical sciences? Our PhD in statistics challenges students to use critical thinking and problem solving to identify patterns in big data. Choose from six statistics and mathematics courses ranging from time series analysis to theoretic probability theory when you pursue a PhD in statistics at WPI.

Do You Need Your Master’s First? Explore Our Mathematics MS Programs.

Whether you have a passion for a specific area of mathematics like finance or prefer a broader scope of study, our mathematics master’s programs can help you gain the knowledge you need to get ahead. If you’re looking for a broad background in mathematics, our master’s in applied mathematics may be a good fit for you. Maybe you’re interested in how to solve complex problems as it pertains to business and industry? A master’s in industrial mathematics is the way to go. This MS program provides students the business background needed to tackle real-world industry problems. Do you have a gift for working with big data and tackling challenges? Be sure to explore our master’s in applied statistics, which dives into crucial statistical methods with the flexibility to select courses that align with your career aspirations. Are you interested in becoming a financial analyst who assesses data findings to steer business decisions? Our master’s in financial mathematics will provide a solid understanding in computational methods and credit risk modeling.

Just Starting to Carve Out Your College Career? Explore a BS in Mathematical Sciences.

If you’re an incoming undergrad interested in mastering mathematical theory to solve real-world problems, our BS in mathematical sciences could be the degree for you. Our bachelor’s explores pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics to give you a breadth of expertise.