I studied in Europe some times ago but didn't finish my PhD dissertation. Recently I finished it and I published in a math journal. I never studied in the USA, but I have been living and working there. Is it possible to finish this PhD with the same results that I have found, or I have to start all over again?

  • 3
    Contact your supervisor or find a new one prepared to take you and the dissertation on. – Solar Mike Jun 1 '19 at 18:16
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    Why not finish it where you started? – henning -- reinstate Monica Jun 1 '19 at 18:20
  • My adviser is retired! – AmirD Jun 1 '19 at 18:34
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    Some retired professors are still able and willing to finish up with their students. It depends on both the person and the university, however. – Buffy Jun 1 '19 at 22:41
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    And when your advisor first told you he was retiring, and you asked him whether he would continue advising you—and if not, how to complete your PhD—how did he respond? (You did ask, didn't you?) – JeffE Jun 2 '19 at 18:25

There are some US universities whose requirements are (a) pass the qualifying examinations and (b) write a dissertation acceptable to the faculty. You need to find such a place by searching and talking to people. You need to find a supervisor who is happy with your work and may accept it as is or with some additional work. But you probably also need to pass a set of qualifiers in several math areas. This may be easy for you or not.

But finding the supervisor who thinks this is a good idea is the main step. Best will be someone interested in becoming a collaborator and who has a definite interest in what you have already done.

But there will be more than paperwork involved.

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I disagree with the other answers. Virtually all reputable US graduate schools have a residency requirement. Further, they will have little interest in a "pass-through" candidate who feels that they have already earned a PhD elsewhere and wants to obtain it as quickly as possible.

Your best bet is to follow up with your old program / contacts. Even retired professors might be willing to work with you. Perhaps someone knows someone who will take a special interest in you. With a professor on your side, rules can be bended or special arrangements made.

If that is a strict no-go, then you would essentially have to start over at a new institution. You could shop for an institution that will minimize the additional work you will need to do, but I would still expect it to take multiple years.

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If your completed work is not enough for a PhD dissertation in a US program, it's likely that you would need to take at least some exams and fulfill other requirements like any other student in a math PhD program in the US. But if your work is (1) enough for a PhD and (2) really exceptional, it is possible that some programs would grant the PhD with a minimum of additional requirements. The only way to know is to ask.

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