So you would like to work as my PhD student?

We are excited to offer a PhD in Mathematical Modelling and Methods in the Mathematics Department at Ryerson University starting in September 2016! It was long struggle to mount the program, owing to the backlog for new graduate programs in Ontario. With a recent break in that dam, we now are pleased to offer a PhD in the new academic year.

About the program and Ryerson

I am pumped about this unique doctoral program. It is going to be fantastic: the program wonderfully blends theory and practice. There are three streams, and if you are interested in working with me, then you likely want to work on graph theory and discrete mathematics.

To complete the Math PhD at Ryerson, you will take three courses, a seminar, pass a candidacy exam, and write a thesis. The thesis is the most important thing. If you succeed in the program, then it will be one the greatest intellectual accomplishments of your life.

Ryerson University is an emerging institution for graduate education. Ryerson has a strong tradition of academic excellence, blending traditional academia and innovation. We have 40,000 undergraduate students, and about 2,500 graduate students in over 50 programs.

View of Yonge Street from the Student Learning Centre

Ryerson is located in the heart of downtown Toronto. Toronto is my home, the largest city in Canada, and a great place to live. It is truly great city with terrific culture, food, and all kinds of diversity. There many options to live here on any budget, especially with public transit readily available.

The application process is simple, and is based on marks, letters of reference, and your CV and a statement of research interest. A Masters in Math or a related field is required, and I would expect you have ample exposure to graph theory. A publication record, however modest, in the area will boost your application (though it is not needed; we expect you to publish during your doctorate, though).  If you hold an NSERC or other government scholarship, I would love to hear from you.

Please note: the application website is not active yet as the program is new. Check the website frequently, and contact the program director or program administrator.

Who I am looking for

Wanted: bright, enthusiastic students in graph theory. Any area within graph theory is fine, but as Paul Erdos would said, your brain should be open. Open not just to learning what is known, but open to brainstorming and come up with your own novel ideas. I will provide ample guidance, but a PhD is largely driven by your own curiosity and creativity.

Paul Erdos with a young Terence Tao.

What I do

I work on many topics on graph theory, with two main directions: 1) modelling complex networks such as the web graph and social networks like Facebook, and 2) Cops and Robbers games on graphs, including their many variants, along with related topics like Firefighting, graph cleaning, Seepage, graph burning, and all aspects of graph searching and pursuit evasion. Check out my papers and books to learn more. I use deterministic and probabilistic combinatorial tools, geometry, designs, algebra, and discrete algorithms.

My background is in pure math, so expect to prove theorems.  If is it your forte, then we can also work on any number of computational projects I have in mind ranging from simulations of mathematical models to machine learning applications in networked big data.

I have a broad background in the graph theory with over 100 publications in the area. I have also worked on graph homomorphisms, graph adjacency properties, domination, infinite graphs, and games on graphs.

What kind of supervisor am I

The best! Well, OK I am biased.

Supervising grad students is one of my life’s callings, and I thoroughly enjoy working with my students and seeing them succeed. I won an award for my supervising a few years back.  As my student, we will have weekly meetings, or more or less often as needed. You will finish your courses, and pass your candidacy exam. Then you focus on research, which I will direct.

I expect you to be dedicated, hard working, but the major thing is for you to be passionate about mathematics. Passion trumps everything, even skill. You can master things by long practice, but you have to want to practice in the first place.

My disclaimer

I cannot guarantee you an academic job when you graduate. There. I said it.

There are many post-docs and academic positions out there, and competition for them is high. A recent study showed that only two out of five doctoral graduates ultimately end up in academia. That doesn’t mean PhD graduates go unemployed. Far from it: in fact, they are highly employable, and make good income. But the message is they don’t all end up as tenured professors.

It all comes down to your own talent, drive, and ability to network. I did it, and so can you! I can guide you on how to best position yourself to succeed in the academic job market if that is what you want. Note that there are great paying jobs in the private and public sectors looking for bright people with mathematics doctorates. I can help direct you there too. For example, we have a professional skills program Future Smart here at Ryerson that will aid in you along the way.

When to contact me

As soon as possible. A few students have already done so, but I would encourage you to write me via e-mail sooner rather than later. With such a small program as ours, I likely only have at most one new student year.

I look forward from hearing from you. If you are finishing a Masters in graph theory and my research interests you, then drop me a line by e-mail, on my blog, or even on Twitter @Anthony_Bonato

Anthony Bonato




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