Master of Arts in Mathematics

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The 30-credit Master of Arts in Mathematics provides students with a solid foundation in the major areas of mathematics, an appreciation for the structures and theories of advanced mathematics, and a deeper understanding of the role of mathematics in applications. The department strives to produce graduates who exhibit knowledge, comprehension and creativity in the practice of mathematics as they pursue their careers in college/high school teaching, business or government, or as they pursue doctoral studies. Please note that the information in this document is subject to change. For the latest information on our courses, please contact the department.

Admission to the Program

The applicant must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have completed the equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics. (This usually means a minimum of 24 credits beyond calculus with an average of "B" or better. Deficiencies can be removed by taking remedial coursework, but these credits will not contribute to a student's graduate Plan of Study.)

The application process is managed by the Center for Graduate Studies, and application materials are available online. The application includes:

  • official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies, and
  • two letters of recommendation from persons who can attest to the applicant's qualifications for graduate study.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. These carry a stipend and scholarship for up to 18 credits of tuition per academic year. To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, students must be full-time (i.e., registered for a minimum of nine credits a semester). Assistantship duties require 20 hours of work per week. Additional information may be obtained from the department office and the Center for Graduate Studies (585) 395-2525.

Program Requirements

Students must meet the College's standards for graduate study.

Each student admitted to the Master of Arts in Mathematics program selects an advisor or is assigned one by the Graduate Committee. The advisor assists the student with the responsibility of planning the student's program and submitting a Plan of Study to the Graduate Committee for approval during the student's first semester in the program.

Required Courses (30 credits)

*The selection of the elective courses is subject to approval by the Graduate Committee. In determining the suitability of the choice of electives, the Graduate Committee is most prepared to accept electives in mathematics. However, where deemed appropriate by the Graduate Committee, suitable electives may be courses in mathematics, computer science, economics, or other mathematics-related fields.

Prerequisite Requirements (0–25 credits)

  • MTH 203 Calculus III
  • MTH 255 Differential Equations
  • MTH 281 Discrete Mathematics I
  • MTH 324 Linear Algebra
  • MTH 346 Probability and Statistics I
  • MTH 425 Abstract Algebra**
  • MTH 446 Probability and Statistics II**
  • MTH 457 Real Analysis**

**One of these courses may be taken at the graduate level as part of the plan of study.

Total credits (30–55 credits)

Other Requirements

  1. Credit is not allowed for any course that substantially duplicates a course taken as an undergraduate or intended for graduate students in other disciplines.
  2. Ordinarily, no more than six transfer credits are accepted.

Comprehensive Examination

As part of the graduation requirements for the MA in mathematics, students must pass three comprehensive exams, which are based on the three core courses in algebra (MTH 621), analysis (MTH 651), and statistics (MTH 641).   
These exams are offered at the end of both spring and fall semesters.  The exams are usually scheduled to be completed within a 1 week time period (e.g., one exam on Monday, one on Wednesday and the last on Friday).  Typically, the exams are taken in June and January, depending on availability.  By default, they are offered two weeks after a semester ends, but may be moved by a week or two if the graduate director and majority of students taking the exam agree on a different time schedule.  The scheduling of these exams is coordinated by the graduate director with input from both the students and exam writers.
Students are allowed to take these exams after completing 24 or more credits of the courses included in their Plan of Study.  At first, a student must attempt all three exams.  If a student fails an exam, they are allowed one retake, and only need to retake the exam(s) which they failed in their first attempt.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the methods of three major areas of mathematics to rigorously solve problems and carry out proofs that are typical to each of these areas.
  2. Carry out the creative and explorative processes of mathematics, including conjecture, generalization, and the construction of mathematically rigorous proofs.
  3. Use mathematics to model and analyze real world problems, and utilize technology as appropriate to help solve mathematical problems and judge the reasonableness of results.
  4. Communicate mathematics effectively.
  5. Actively engage with mathematics beyond the classroom.