Mathematics MA

The Master of Arts in mathematics degree at Arizona State University is unique as it allows enough flexibility to fit any student's interests. Students receive outstanding interdisciplinary training in using mathematics in almost all professions. The program prepares students to pursue a successful career as a professional mathematician working in industry, government labs, or to teach entry level mathematics at universities or at the community college level. Graduates of the program have gone on to work in diverse industries including space, defense, news, and pharma.

The skills of a mathematician are in high demand from employers because the traits that make them a good mathematician make them a great addition to any organization — their discipline, their attention to detail, their love for solving problems and, above all, their resilience.

Some people also use the master's degree as a stepping stone into a PhD program since they will have completed up to 30 credit hours of  course work required for a PhD degree. 

The master of arts in mathematics degree has a thesis option. A master thesis is a written document summarizing the state of the art of a research problem or solving a specific research problem using advanced mathematical tools and skills. Topics for masters theses come from all active research groups in our school. 

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences has more than 50 full-time faculty members and 13 postdoctoral faculty and is housed largely in Charles Wexler Hall, near the center of campus. Our graduate students enjoy a collaborative atmosphere and a full schedule of research seminars and colloquiua each week. We support an active chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), as well as a student chapter of American Mathematics Society (AMS), and the Graduate Statistics Club. The school hosts an annual Math and Statistics Career Day and graduate students explore multiple career paths in science and industry, as well as academia.

2 years to degree
30 credit hour program
50 full-time faculty

Degree Overview

The 30-hour program of study includes coursework, exams, and thesis or nonthesis options.

The MA program in mathematics is designed to increase mathematical knowledge in order to prepare students for careers in industry, government labs, and community college teaching, requiring sophisticated mathematical skills. Students may choose to specialize in: applied mathematics, core mathematics, mathematics education or statistics.

How to apply

The application deadline for our master's degree program is July 1. Applications are accepted for fall admission only.

We do not accept applications for spring admission. Completed applications are reviewed beginning in December for fall admission. There is usually no funding available for master's students.

Applications still considered incomplete by the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences after July 1 will likely not be evaluated by the graduate review committee in time to be considered for admission for that current year. International applicants may want to allow an additional 4-6 weeks for I-20 and visa processing and should pay careful attention to the I-20/DS-2019 important deadlines.

See Graduate Admissions for additional information on non-refundable application fees and the late processing fee.

Application Evaluation

Each applicant is evaluated not only on their GRE scores and grades, but also on their personal statement and letters of recommendation. Only completed applications submitted through the on-line process will be reviewed.

We receive many inquiries asking for a pre-evaluation to see if an applicant would be eligible to apply or make suggestions on their credentials. Unfortunately we are not able to review any application information sent to us.

More specifics can be found on the How To Apply page.

The most enjoyable part of mathematics for me is that I am constantly forced to learn to think in new ways.

Ryan Theisen
Master's student in mathematics
BS Mathematics, BS Economics 2017

Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to be maximally flexible and allows students to design a program that fits their interests.

If a student's interest is in a research project, then they would write a thesis. If a student's interest is to acquire a wider mathematical base to prepare for a successful career in industry, then the student may proceed with the nonthesis option.

The goal of the program is to prepare students to be independent and creative and pursue a successful career as a mathematician.

A minimum of 30 hours is required. 

Requirements and electivesThesis OptionNonthesis Option
Required Graduate Courses and Exams612
Electives
1818
Thesis6  (* except for portfolio option)0
Total hours required3030

Courses and electives

The Mathematics MA can be designed for students to specialize in:

  • applied mathematics
  • core mathematics
  • mathematics education
  • statistics

 

Thesis / Portfolio Option

6 hours of MAT 599 Thesis, which must be defended in a public thesis defense. A portfolio may be substituted for a thesis, only if the project includes proprietary or confidential data.

Students must take one sequence (two courses) from the following list:

  • Algebra: MAT 543 and MAT 544
  • Discrete Mathematics: MAT 512 and MAT 513
  • Geometry and Topology: MAT 501 and 502 
  • Real Analysis: MAT 570 and MAT 571
  • Statistics and Probability: STP 501 and STP 502
  • Mathematics Education: RUME I and II (currently MTE 598)

and pass a written Qualifier Exam for these two courses. Rules and scheduling details for the Qualifier Exams are in the handbook.

Nonthesis Option

Students must take two sequences (four courses) from the following list:

  • Algebra: MAT 543 and MAT 544
  • Discrete Mathematics: MAT 512 and MAT 513
  • Geometry and Topology: MAT 501 and 502
  • Real Analysis: MAT 570 and MAT 571
  • Statistics and Probability: STP 501 and STP 502 
  • Mathematics Education: RUME I and II (currently MTE 598)

and pass written Qualifier Exams for these two sequences (four courses). Rules and scheduling details for the Qualifier Exams are in the handbook.

As an alternative to any written Qualifier exam, students may take two of the following applied mathematics core courses: APM 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506.

You cannot take APM 503/504 and MAT 570/571 together.

The remaining 18 credit hours are chosen by the student with their thesis advisor, according to their interests.

Culminating Experiences:

Thesis / Portfolio Option
6 hours of MAT 599 Thesis, which must be defended in a public thesis defense. 

A portfolio may be substituted for a thesis, only if the project includes proprietary or confidential data. The portfolio will consist of a written but non-published report over recent research conducted under the guidance of the mentor, along with an oral presentation to his/her master's committee.

No-Thesis Option
Two qualifying sequence examinations.

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Accelerated Degrees (4+1)
This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years. Acceptance to the accelerated degree program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply. This accelerated master's degree (4+1) is offered in conjunction with these undergraduate degrees: 

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