I'm new on this website and am not sure how much of higher academia works.

Suppose I wanted to work with a professor in a particular field of mathematics at a research university (not necessarily a PhD-granting university) to possibly write a dissertation in that field. Must that university be a PhD-granting university? If not, how would I go about working in a particular field?

I'm currently working on a master's degree in mathematics. I have found that most of the researchers in the field I would like to pursue are employed at non-PhD-granting universities. Does that mean I won't get the chance to pursue research in the field?

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    You should state which country or countries you wish to do this in, because I suspect this is something that will vary a lot with the country. For example, in the U.S. one applies to a specific university's graduate department, take classes and such for 1 to 2 years, pass your qualifying exams, then get admitted to candidacy (which might require at this point selecting a supervisor), and begin more advanced work/research leading to a dissertation. It's usually possible to also work with someone at a different college/university, but I'm pretty sure your supervisor has to be at your university. Nov 29, 2019 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


You can work with them, but you can't likely have them as a phd advisor in their own institutions. But you should be able to have them as a coadvisor. If you have a particular person or people in mind you can try to see if any of their collabrators are in the particular area you are interested in. Maybe their universities grant phd's and those two people are interested in co-advising you.


AFAIK, almost every Ph.D. granting universities requires your supervisor to be employed at that university. The only workaround for your situation is to have your desired professors from other universities as your co-supervisor or co-advisor. Please note that this is something to be decided by your supervisor, not by you. Also, you need to convince a professor from another field to accept your not-related application in the first place.

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