Mathematical Sciences

College of Science

Degree Requirements for MS Degree

Mission

The Masters program trains mathematicians for further high-level teaching, and both government and industrial employment. Students gain a solid grounding in contemporary graduate mathematics.

Standard Program

In addition to fulfilling degree requirements for graduate study, students must complete 30 credits distributed as follows.

  • MATH 675 and three of four of the other core courses, MATH 621 (Algebra), MATH 631 (Topology), MATH 677 (Ordinary Differential Equations), and MATH 685 (Numerical Analysis).

  • Six approved graduate courses (18 credits), at least four of which are MATH (All six courses must be approved by the student's advisor. Courses not listed as MATH courses must be approved by the Graduate Committee.)

  • Research/creative component (see below)

Emphasis in Computational and Applied Mathematics

The emphasis in computational and applied mathematics provides students with the analytical skills and background in computational techniques most relevant to the needs of business, industry, and government. The large number of high-tech firms, telecommunications firms, and government laboratories in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area gives students an opportunity to gain practical experience and secure employment after graduation. The emphasis in computational and applied mathematics also provides the background necessary for advanced graduate work, in particular for the PhD in computational sciences and informatics. In addition to fulfilling degree requirements for graduate study, students must complete 30 credits distributed as follows.

  • 12 credits of MATH 621, 675, 677 or 678, and MATH 685/CSI 717
  • Six approved graduate courses (18 credits), at least four of which are MATH (All six courses must be approved by the student's advisor. Courses not listed as MATH courses must be approved by the Graduate Committee.)
  • Research/creative component (see below)

Research/Creative Component

A student may fulfill the research and creative component of the MS degree in any one of the following three ways:

Thesis Option

In preparation for this option, the student must form a committee comprising a chair and two other faculty members. The chair and at least one other member must be from the department; one member may be from a related field. There is no official form on which this needs to be recorded, though the university will require that the department approves the creative component.

The student completes a thesis under the direction of the committee chair. The thesis work is typically completed while students are registered for 6 credits of MATH 799. A thesis proposal and thesis are submitted in accordance with university rules. The student must give an oral defense of the thesis to the committee and the Mason community at large. Students are expected to respond to questions on the thesis and related material. The committee determines whether the defense is satisfactory.

The thesis must be submitted through the university. There are no departmental forms related to an MS thesis; rather students should follow the university's guidelines. All information about thesis requirements and formal submission can be found here.

Paper Presentation Option

In preparation for this option, the student must form a committee comprising a chair and two other faculty members. The chair and at least one other member must be from the department; one member may be from a related field. The student gives an oral presentation of a paper (or series of papers or book chapter) chosen in consultation with the chair of the committee and approved by the full committee. The chosen material must be distinct from work done in fulfillment of course requirements. Students choosing this option take 6 additional credits of electives. The oral presentation is given to the committee and the Mason community at large. Students are expected to respond to questions on the paper and related material. The committee determines whether the defense is satisfactory.

Preliminary Exam Option

The research and creative component of the MS degree can also be fulfilled by passing three of preliminary written examinations for the Mathematics PhD degree. The preliminary exams must be taken at least two at a time unless a student only has one exam to pass, and no one exam can be taken more than three times. More information about the preliminary exams as well as the required online registration link can be found here. Students should register at least one month in advance of the exam.


Graduation

Close to completion of all the MS requirements, students must apply to graduate as this is not an automatic process! You must also be sure to file the form describing how you satisfied your non-course requirements.