Mathematics Master of Arts Degree Program
The Master's Degree in Mathematic's progam is appropriate for students who want a flexible general education in mathematics, including students pursuing the Ph.D. degree. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits with an average of B or better. There is no foreign language requirement. However, a student planning to continue with doctoral study should acquire a reading knowledge of French, German, or Russian at the earliest opportunity.
Requirements for Admission
In addition to the general University requirements for admission to graduate studies, an applicant's undergraduate major preferably should have been in mathematics. Students who are deficient in their mathematical preparation must make up such deficiencies before being formally admitted into the program.
DESCRIPTION OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MATHEMATICS PROGRAMS:
Most students work in one of the following two programs.
- Mathematics (18 credits, minimum): Courses as advised, including Mat 680, or Mat 699. With departmental approval, a thesis may be presented in place of Mat 680. (Individual programs range from a concentration in one area of mathematics to a broad spectrum of courses).
- Supporting courses (0-12 credits): Courses in other fields as approved by the advisor.
- Satisfactory completion of a special field examination in mathematics.
- Recommended courses: At least three of the following courses: Mat 510A, 513A, 520A, 540A.
- Mathematics (18 credits, minimum): Courses in statistics as advised, including Mat 682 or Mat 699. With departmental approval, a thesis may be presented in place of Mat 682.
- Supporting courses (0-12 credits, minimum): Courses as approved by the advisor.
- Satisfactory completion of a special field examination in statistics.
- Recommended courses: Mat 554-555, Mat 558-559, and at least one of Mat 556, 562, 564, or 566.
Special Field Examination:
Graduate students who expect to complete the requirements for the Master's degree by the end of a given semester, must notify the Director of Graduate Studies at the beginning of the semester. The special field examination is given near the end of coursework. Ordinarily, students satisfy this requirement by successful completion of a comprehensive examination as detailed in option 1 below. With permission of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics’ Chair or the Chair’s designee, students may satisfy this requirement by successful completion of either option 2 or 3.
Option 1: With approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, the student selects three graduate courses from the student’s program, for comprehensive examination. The Special Field Examination Committee consists of three different faculty members knowledgeable on the corresponding approved courses. One of the faculty members should be selected as chair of the special field examination and is responsible for directing the examination. The examination consists of a comprehensive oral examination on the selected and approved courses. The exam is not open to the general public.
Option 2: Students who took the Master’s Seminar and wrote a master’s thesis must obtain formal permission from the advisor and department Chair to submit a thesis and give an oral presentation on its results in fulfillment of the special field examination. With approval of the master’s thesis advisor, a committee consisting of three faculty members shall be formed. The chair of the committee is the master’s thesis advisor. The other two faculty members are selected in areas close to the master’s thesis topic. The thesis should follow the University’s Master Thesis guidelines. A copy of the thesis should be presented to the members of the special field examination committee at least one week prior to the examination. The special field examination consists of an oral presentation of the thesis and an examination of the thesis. The exam is not open to the general public.
Option 3: Students may fulfill the special field examination by passing two of the PhD preliminary examinations.
The special field examination must be taken by the end of the final examination period of the semester in which the degree is to be conferred.
A student who fails the special field examination may retake the examination one more time. The second examination may not be taken until the subsequent semester, and must be taken within a calendar year of the first attempt. Only two tries are permitted. The special field examination must be first attempted within one year of completion of course work.
This requirement of the program is designed to provide an independent learning experience either outside the context of a formal course or in a seminar, and at its best approximates a research experience. The format followed by the faculty member directing the seminar varies widely. The Master’s Seminar should ordinarily be taken during the last semester or year of the student’s program. The results are either written up as a term paper or are presented in a seminar.
A student wishing to write a Master’s thesis should sign up for MAT 699, which is repeatable for credit, or one of the 680, 681, 682, 683 courses. Students are encouraged to write a thesis as it represents a complete and permanent work of recognized quality. Option 2 of the special field examination gives the student a chance to show off his or her accomplishments.
Completing a thesis involves some extra effort. It must be prepared in a manner conforming to university standards, accepted, and submitted on or before the first day of the month in which the degree is to be conferred to the Graduate Office, together with prepayment for binding charges. Students allowed to use option 2 in fulfillment of the special field examination must give a copy of their thesis to the exam committee members one week prior to its presentation.
In addition to the completion of course requirements, satisfactory performance in some ancillary teaching, research, or practicum duties contributing to academic development is required, whether or not the student receives financial support from this institution. These duties will be assigned with educational objectives in mind.