- Department of Mathematics
- Bachelor of Science
- Master of Science
- How to Apply
- Teaching Assistant (TA)
- Student Learning Outcomes
- List of Past Graduate Students
- Graduate Program Coordinator
- Single-Subject Matter Preparation (SSMP) Program
- Counselors and faculty advisors
- Careers in mathematics
- List of faculty
- Faculty resources
Admission to the program requires an undergraduate major in mathematics or related field (such as computer science), which includes the equivalent of Math 430 Foundations of Analysis with grade of B or better and Math 470 Introduction to Abstract Algebra with grade of B or better. Admission also requires a 2.5 grade point average in the last sixty (60) units attempted at the undergraduate level and a 3.0 grade point average in the last thirty (30) units of the undergraduate major. Students who have deficiencies in admission requirements that can be removed by specified additional preparation may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status, but the units earned to remove these deficiencies may not be used towards the CSUSM Master of Science.All applicants, regardless of citizenship, who do not possess a Bachelor's Degree from a post-secondary institution or in a country where English is the principal language, must take the combined Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE) examination and receive a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL and a minimum 4.5 on the TWE.
Application Due Dates
To receive full consideration for Fall admission, complete applications, including verification of English proficiency (see above), should be received in the department by April 15. However, applications will be accepted until June 30 provided that space is available in the program. To be considered for Spring admission, complete applications should be received in the department by November 15 (but Spring admissions offers will not be made until the State budget is determined).
The Master of Science in Mathematics requires thirty-six (36) units of coursework with an overall of at least 3.0 grade point average. At least twenty-seven (27) of these units must be at the 500-level or above, and any 400-level courses must be approved by the department. No course, or equivalent, which is required for a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at CSUSM can be used to satisfy these requirements. At least thirty (30) units towards the degree must be earned at CSUSM; any units not earned in residence at CSUSM must be approved by the department. All requirements should be satisfied within seven years of initial acceptance into the program.
Two options are available:
- thirty (30) units of non-thesis coursework, six (6) units of Math 699 Thesis, and a Masters Thesis, or
thirty-six (36) units of non-thesis coursework [at least fifteen (15) units of which comprise a concentration in some specialty within mathematics] a masters project, and a comprehensive examination.
Students must complete all conditional admission requirements within the timeframe specified at the time of admission. Failure to do so may result in the student being dropped from the program.
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 may be placed on academic probation by the department. Failure to raise the GPA to 3.0 or higher within one semester may result in the student being placed on administrative probation by the Dean of Graduate Studies, which can lead to academic disqualification. A student whose GPA remains below a 3.0 for two or more consecutive semesters may be dropped from the program.
Students are limited to a total of three (3) grades of C or lower (3.0 or less) in their mathematics coursework. Any student earning four (4) or more grades of C or lower (3.0 or less) in mathematics courses may be dropped from the program.
Advancement to Candidacy
Upon the completion of at least nine (9) units towards the degree, but prior to the completion of eighteen (18) units towards the degree, the student should meet with the program advisor in order to develop a formal program of study for the degree. This formal program is an agreement between the student and the University on the specific plan to be followed in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree. If the student opts for the thesis, then it is the responsibility of the student to obtain the permission of a tenured or tenure-track mathematics faculty member to act as the student's thesis advisor and chair of the student's thesis committee. The student and thesis advisor should recommend to the program advisor the names of two other tenured or tenure-track mathematics faculty to fill out the thesis committee. The plan of study should include courses remaining to be taken, the names of three faculty composing the thesis committee (if opting for the thesis), and the general subject of the thesis or project.
The student is advanced to candidacy for the Master of Science degree upon completion of this plan and completion of eighteen (18) units towards the degree with at least a 3.0 grade point average. Changes in the study plan must be approved by the program advisor and the student's thesis advisor. A student must advance to candidacy before enrolling in Math 699 Thesis, initiating a project, or taking a comprehensive exam.
Thesis or Project Requirements
A thesis is the written result of a systematic study of a significant mathematical problem. It defines, develops, and executes an investigation into a chosen problem area. The motivation, approach, and results of the investigation are communicated in a clear and logical fashion; it is grammatically correct, logically organized, and mathematically sound. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, and thorough documentation. The thesis must be planned, organized, executed, and completed while enrolled in the masters program. It must be a coherent, substantial document, appropriate for six (6) units of graduate coursework. Midway during the thesis work, the student shall make an oral presentation to his or her thesis committee on progress to date.
Guidelines for preparing and officially submitting the thesis can be obtained in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The final copies of the thesis are to be in the hands of the members of the thesis committee at least two weeks prior to a required, oral, public defense of the thesis which must be held at least one week prior to the end of a regular semester.
A project is the written result of a comprehensive analysis of a particular mathematical problem encountered during the coursework of the student. The composite elements are as for a thesis, but the scope is more narrow; much like a term paper. The faculty member in the course in which the problem arose will act as the project advisor, and the project must be approved by the program advisor. Examples of projects are expository reports on one or more existing papers in the literature on some topic, the design and implementation of a solution algorithm for a specific problem, or modest research efforts on a suitable topic. A project must be completed at least four weeks prior to the end of a regular semester. An oral presentation of the project to the faculty of the department is required. The presentation should summarize the analysis in a clear and concise manner.
Both the thesis and the project must demonstrate mathematical skills and general scholarship at a level expected of a professional mathematician. Mathematical skills can be demonstrated by the development of new Mathematics, critical evaluation of existing mathematics, application of existing mathematics to non-mathematical contexts, or development of mathematical models. General scholarship refers to understanding, organizing, and communicating knowledge relevant to the undertaking in a conventionally acceptable format.
A comprehensive examination is a written examination administered during the final semester of the student. It is intended as a culminating experience for the masters degree, and it is used to assess the student's ability to integrate his or her knowledge of mathematics, to think critically and independently, and to demonstrate mastery of the coursework. The problems will reflect the coursework of the student, and student's responses will be evaluated both on the basis of logical correctness as well as on written presentation. The examination will be offered as needed at most once each regular semester, at least four weeks prior to the end of the semester. Students intending to write the exam during a given semester must notify the program advisor before the end of the fourth week of that semester.
A student planning to graduate at the end of a given regular semester must meet with the program advisor by the end of the student's previous regular semester in order to evaluate those plans. All pertinent requirements described above concerning courses, the thesis, the project, and the comprehensive exam must be evaluated during this meeting. Candidates for the degree who attain a grade point average (calculated on work at CSUSM only) of 3.75 or greater may, upon recommendation of the department, graduate with distinction.