Mathematical Sciences

College of Science

Master of Science in Mathematics

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the prerequisites for admission to the MS program?

The minimum mathematical background required for admission into the Mathematics MS program is recent completion of the following GMU Mathematics courses or their equivalent with a grade of B or better. Descriptions of these courses and their prerequisites can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

  • MATH 113 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)

  • MATH 114 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry II)

  • MATH 213 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry III)

  • MATH 214 (Ordinary Differential Equations)

  • MATH 290 (Foundations of Mathematics)

  • MATH 315 (Advanced Calculus)

  • MATH 321 (Abstract Algebra)

  • MATH 322 (Advanced Linear Algebra)

Usually, but not always, a student with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics will have had all of these courses.  A student without adequate preparation will not be accepted to the Mathematics MS program.  You should complete all of the above courses before you apply.  Note that no course should be taken without the proper prerequisites.

If you are not sure whether or not you have sufficient preparation to apply to the Mathematics MS program,  contact the graduate coordinator.

What if I don't meet all of the prerequisites?

Many of our applicants either do not have an undergraduate degree in mathematics or have not taken a mathematics course for some years. In this case, we recommend that you take the appropriate undergraduate courses under the Non-degree Undergraduate Program. To determine exactly which courses you should take, contact the graduate coordinator.

Can I take some courses without being admitted to the program?

The Non-degree Undergraduate Program allows students to take a course for which they have the necessary prerequisites without being admitted to a degree program. If a student subsequently is admitted to a degree program, graduate courses taken in the non-degree program are treated as transfer credit, and are subject to all applicable restrictions (indicated here in the COS Policies for Graduate Students webpage).

How do I apply for admission to the MS program?

The online application process can be started here, where you can also obtain forms and other information. A completed application packet consists of: (1) the online application form, (2) your undergraduate transcripts, (3) three letters of recommendation, and (4) a goals statement. International students may have additional requirements. Please check with COS and with the Office of International Program and Services for information regarding additional required documents for international applications.

What if I am already in another degree program at GMU?

If you are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or Doctoral degree program, you can apply to the MS program using a Secondary Master's Program Application form. In some cases, credits earned toward your Ph.D. or Doctoral degree can also be applied to the MS degree. If you are currently enrolled in a Masters degree program at GMU, you will need to apply to the MS program as a new student.  Please note that you cannot count the same courses for two different Masters degrees.

What is the application deadline?

Current application deadlines can be found on Admissions website. Applications received after the deadline are processed in the Mathematics Department on a rolling basis, which means that applications are acted on shortly after they are complete and after the application materials have been forwarded to the department by the COS Graduate Admissions office.  Applications received after the deadline often take longer to process, so in order to ensure that your application materials are forwarded in a timely fashion, it is recommended that you submit your application by the above deadlines.

Is it possible to waive the application fee?

No. It is the policy of the College of Science not to waive the application fee under any circumstances.

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for admission to the MS program in Mathematics.

Is there any financial aid available?

The only financial aid offered by the Mathematics Department is in the form of a limited number of teaching assistantships. Priority is given to students in the Mathematics PhD Program, but occasionally students in the Mathematics MS Program are supported.  It is very rare that students in any other non-mathematics degree program can be supported.  If positions cannot be filled by students in graduate mathematics degree programs, then applicants will be solicited through the College of Science. Other part-time job opportunities not originating with the Mathematics Department are brought to our attention from time to time. Information on such positions will be posted under News for Students.

I am an international student. Is there anything special I should know?

International students who wish to apply to the graduate program are subject to certain policies. For example, they are subject to application deadlines imposed by the College of Science, they must take the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. Information on requirements can be found here. Students may obtain more information from the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS).

Are graduate courses offered at night?

Most graduate courses are held at night, starting at 4:30pm or later, with the occasional exception of some upper level graduate courses that are held at 9:00am.

Are graduate courses offered in the summer?

The only graduate courses that regularly run in the summer are some of the 500-level actuarial courses. Typically no regular 600-level or higher graduate courses run in the summer.  It is also possible to arrange with an individual faculty member to take a reading course (MATH 697) in the summer.

How can I find out when a particular graduate course will be offered?

The graduate course frequency chart indicates when courses are typically offered. Also on this page is a listing of the graduate course offerings for the past several years. The student should understand that this is a planning document and not a guarantee that these courses will be offered in the semester indicated.

Is an undergraduate allowed to take graduate courses?

Qualified undergraduates may take graduate courses; they must fill out the Graduate Courses for Undergraduate Credit form. Courses used toward an undergraduate degree may not be applied toward a subsequent graduate degree at GMU, unless a student is enrolled in the Accelerated BS/MS Program.

I intend to graduate this semester. What do I do?

Graduation is not an automatic process. You must apply to graduate! Everything you need to know and do, together with all relevant deadlines, can be found here.

How can I get more information?

The College of Science (COS) maintains a very informative website.  Click here for the COS Graduate Admissions webpage.