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Master of Arts in Mathematics

Students pursuing the M.A. degree in mathematics may choose the traditional track of M.A. in either pure or applied mathematics or the track in data science (pending CBHE approval).  The traditional track is well suited for tudents preparing to teach at the high school or junior college level.  Those who concentrate on applied courses in the traditional track build a foundation for the application of mathematics in industry and the continuation of their education in the Ph.D. program in mathematical and computational sciences.  The M.A. with data science emphasis is well suited for students preparing to work in industry as data scientists.  Our graduates with data science emphasis will acquire a solid foundation in statistics and computational skills with emphasis on applications to data science.  Students may enroll in any of these graduate programs on a part-time basis.

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Admission Information
Assistantship Information
Complete List Courses (5000+ are Graduate)

Entry Requirements

Applicants must meet the general graduate admission requirements of the Graduate School, described in the UMSL catalog. Students are considered for admission to the graduate program in Mathematics only after they have formally applied for admission through the Graduate SchoolApplications may be completed online.  Additional Requirements are listed below.

Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree in mathematics or in a field with significant mathematical content. Examples of such fields include computer science, economics, engineering and physics. An applicant's record should demonstrate superior achievement in undergraduate mathematics.

Students must also have completed mathematics courses equivalent to the following UMSL courses:

A student missing some of the above requirements may be admitted on restricted status if there is a strong supportive evidence in other areas. The student will have to take the missing courses, or demonstrate proficiency to the satisfaction of the Graduate Director. Special regulations of the Graduate School applying to students while they are on restricted status are described in the UMSL Bulletin.

Degree Program

Candidates for the M.A. degree must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework (numbered 4000 or above). At least 15 hours must be in courses or seminars numbered 5000 or above. Graduate students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average on a 4.0 scale. All courses numbered below 5000 must be completed with grades of at least B.  The program has two options:

For the mathematics option, the courses taken must include those listed below in the mathematics core and other seven mathematics courses numbered 4000 or higher with at least five courses numbered 5000 or above. For the data science option, the courses taken must include the data-science core courses listed below and five elective courses chosen from the listed below in the data-science electives. Up to 2 courses in the data-science electives can be substituted with other courses upon student’s request and graduate program director’s approval.

Students who have already completed courses equivalent to those in the core may substitute other courses numbered above 4000. All substitutions of courses for those listed in the core require the prior approval of the graduate director.

Thesis Option
Either for the mathematics option or for the data science option, the non-core course work may consist of an M.A.  thesis written under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. A thesis is not, however, required for this degree.  A student who wishes to write a thesis should enroll in 6 hours of Mathematics 6900, M.A. Thesis. Students writing a thesis must defend their thesis in an oral exam administered by a committee of three department members which includes the thesis director.


Core Courses

Math 4100 Real Analysis I
Math 4160 Complex Analysis I
Math 4450 Linear Algebra


Electives must be seven mathematics courses numbered 4000 or higher with at least five courses numbered 5000 or above.

Data Science Emphasis

Core Courses

Math 4005 Exploratory Data Analysis with R
Math 4200 Mathematical Statistics I
Math 4210 Mathematical Statistics II
Math 5070 Nonlinear Optimization
Math 5250 Statistical Methods in Learning and Modeling

Elective Courses

Choose five of the following courses:

Math 4220 Bayesian Statistical Methods
Math 4260 Introduction to Stochastic Processes
Math 5080 Scientific Computation
Math 5090 High-dimensional Data Analysis
Math 5225 Statistical Computing
Math 5320 Topics in Statistics and its Applications
Math 5600 Topics in Computation
Math 5770 Advanced Topics in Nonlinear Optimization
CMP SCI 5340 Machine Learning
CMP SCI 5342 Data Mining

All work for the Master's degree must be completed within 6 years after the first graduate course enrollment. The final two thirds of the courses must be completed in residence at UMSL. This restricts the number of transfer credits from other graduate programs to a maximum of 9 hours.

For further information about our Graduate Degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science, financial aid, and the regulations of the Graduate School, see our page on advanced degrees.