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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.

The traditional track is well suited for students 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.

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 School. Applications 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.

Individuals may apply for direct admission to either the M.A. or Ph.D. program. Candidates for the M.A. degree may choose an emphasis in mathematics or data science. Students in the M.A. program who want to transfer to the Ph.D. program upon successful completion of 15 credit hours must fill out a new application through Graduate Admissions.

Students intending to enter the Ph.D. program must have a working ability in modern programming technologies. A student with a deficiency inthis area may be required to take courses at the undergraduate level in computer science.

Applicants for the Ph.D. program must, in addition, submit three lettersof recommendation.

Incoming students are assigned advisers with whom they should consult before each registration period to determine an appropriate course of study. If necessary, students may be required to complete undergraduate course work without receiving graduate credit.

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

  • Three semesters of calculus. (Math 1800, Math 1900 and Math 2000)
  • A course in differential equations (Math 2020)
  • A course in linear algebra. (Math 2450)
  • A course in foundations of mathematics. (Math 3250)
  • An elementary course in probability or statistics. (Math 1320)

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 Requirements

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 selections of the courses numbered 5000 or above need the prior approval of the graduate advisor. 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 . 

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.

Courses Required Hours
MATH 4100 Real Analysis I 3
MATH 4160 Complex Analysis I 3
MATH 4450 Linear Algebra 3
Total Hours 9

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

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.

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.

Any student who intends to apply for financial assistance, in the form of a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship, is required to have three letters of recommendation submitted with the application to the graduate program in Mathematics. Applications for financial assistance should be submitted before February 15 prior to the academic year in which the student expects to begin graduate study. Notifications of awards are generally made March 15, and students awarded financial assistance are expected to return letters of acceptance by April 15.

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.