A grant application requires me to elaborate on typical output indicators in my field (pure mathematics). In particular, I want to explain that 3-4 articles during a PhD is a good amount for my field. But having that solely as a claim seams very weak. How would you justify this statement? Are there any resources to refer to for this?

  • 2
    Does your graduate program keep stats on this for students in their program?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 20:43
  • 1
    There are no statistics for that at my university I am afraid. Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 20:45
  • 4
    If you are still a student or still in contact with your advisor, ask them for some guidance on this. I'd think the number in math is (still) pretty small. When I was a student (long ago) the answer would be zero for any doctoral student. Good papers still take a long time to get published, I suspect.
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


The AMS has issued a number of "culture statements" (scroll to the bottom of the page) meant to explain the peculiarities of the field to outsiders. One of them deals with rates of publication. It does not address precisely the issue of the "typical number of publications during a Ph.D" (I would doubt that reliable statistics on are available beyond the informal personal impressions of senior mathematicians) but it does explain that mathematicians publish at rates much lower than some other fields. (Another statement is helpful if you need evidence that an alphabetical ordering of authors is the norm in pure maths.)

  • 3
    From my time as a math PhD I would add that 3-4 publications during PhD would be considered a good amount in some fields of pure maths and an exceptionally high one in other areas. Having a single paper with the key results of your thesis is not uncommon in pure maths.
    – quarague
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 7:34
  • 1
    I had one publication (joint with my advisor) in EE in grad school, I was co-author on several conference papers (maybe 3 or 4) ... don't know the current state ... this was decades ago, in the US but we published in UK! Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 22:06

I know at least the University of Michigan has some statistics on this. It may take some digging for others though. The doctoral exit survey graph below reflects data for students graduating between 2018 and 2022 in mathematics, and defines publications as scholarly works based on research conducted while as a graduate student that have been published or accepted:

Number of publications for math graduate students at University of Michigan graduating between 2018 and 2022.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .