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Master of Arts in Mathematics

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M.A. Degree Requirements

The M.A. program is flexible and accommodates the different interests and backgrounds of students. Some of the courses required for the M.A. are common to the Ph.D. tracks, and we encourage students interested in an M.A. to take advanced Ph.D. classes among their selective course work. Many Ph.D. students earn an M.A. on the way to the doctoral degree. They have the option to do so after completing the qualifying examinations.

A candidate for the M.A. must fulfill general requirements. At least 30 hours of appropriate graduate credit must be earned with at least a B average, and a research component must be included in the candidate’s program. Usually the research component is fulfilled by writing a thesis or by completing appropriate seminars, independent research, or advanced graduate courses. In addition, a candidate must complete one of these options:

Option 1

Pass the departmental Ph.D. written qualifying examinations and complete 30 hours of courses at the 700 level or higher, of which 12 hours are at the 800 level or higher.

Option 2

Complete the following courses and pass an oral examination: MATH 800, MATH 810, MATH 820, MATH 830, MATH 831, and at least 9 of the remaining 15 hours from courses numbered 700 or above. The additional 9 hours may include the credit (a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 6 hours) used to fulfill a research component (e.g., enrollment in MATH 896, MATH 899, MATH 990, MATH 993, or advanced courses). An M.A. candidate must demonstrate an ability to communicate mathematics both orally and in written form. An M.A. candidate not selecting the thesis option (MATH 899) is expected to write a technical report as part of his or her research component. A candidate must give a short (30 to 60 minutes) presentation of her or his research in the first part of the oral examination.

Option 3

Complete 36 credit hours of courses numbered 600 or above. Complete MATH 727, MATH 765, MATH 781, MATH 790, and MATH 791. Complete a research component and pass an oral examination. At least 24 of the 36 hours must be in courses numbered 700 or above. Course equivalents to MATH 727, MATH 765, MATH 781, MATH 790, or MATH 791 may be substituted if approved by the graduate studies committee. An M.A. candidate may, with prior approval of the chair of the graduate studies committee, substitute up to 9 hours of courses taught in other departments. Also, the 36 hours may include the credit (a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 6 hours) used to fulfill a research component (e.g., enrollment in MATH 896, MATH 899, MATH 990, MATH 993, or advanced courses). An M.A. candidate must demonstrate an ability to communicate mathematics both orally and in written form. In particular, an M.A. candidate not selecting the thesis option (MATH 899) is expected to write a technical report as part of his or her research component. Also, a candidate must give a short (30 to 60 minutes) presentation of her or his research in the first part of the oral examination. A proposed program of study must be submitted to the chair of the graduate studies committee at the earliest feasible time, preferably during the second semester of enrollment. The degree is awarded only on the basis of an approved program, which can, however, be revised.

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