The Master of Science in Mathematics requires thirty (30) units of mathematics coursework with an overall program grade point average of 3.0 or higher. 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 Graduate Coordinator. MATH 490 may be counted as part of the twenty-seven (27) 500-level units, with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator. At least twenty-four (24) units toward the degree must be earned at California State University San Marcos; any units not earned in residence at California State University San Marcos must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator. All requirements must be satisfied within five years of initial acceptance into the program.
Two options are available:
- Twenty-four (24) units of non-thesis mathematics coursework, six (6) units of MATH 699, and a Master’s Thesis, or
- Twenty-seven (27) units of non-thesis mathematics coursework, three (3) units of MATH 698, and a comprehensive examination.
Non-thesis mathematics courses must be completed with grade of C (2.0) or higher to be counted toward the degree. As part of their non-thesis mathematics courses, students must satisfy the following breadth requirements by earning a grade of C (2.0) or higher in at least one course in each of the following broad areas:
- Algebra, Number Theory, and Geometry (courses whose numbers fall in the range 520-529. MATH 550 is also approved for this area).
- Analysis and Topology (courses whose numbers fall in the range 530-539, or the range 552-555).
- Discrete, Numerical, Probabilistic and Applied Mathematics (courses whose numbers fall in the range 540-549, or 560-579). The courses 505, 620, 621 have variable content, and may be approved for one of these areas by the Graduate Coordinator.
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 Notice 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 (2.0 or less) in their master’s coursework. Any student earning four (4) or more grades of C or lower (2.0 or less) in mathematics courses may be dropped from the program.
Master's Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement
Students must fulfill the Master’s Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement-Graduate Level concurrent with advancing to candidacy. Please refer to the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement, and the department’s web site for more information regarding this requirement.
Advancement to Candidacy
In addition to concurrently fulfilling the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement, in order to advance to candidacy a student must be classified (that is, have all terms of conditional acceptance satisfied) and be in good standing (not on probation). A student must also complete the departmental advancement to candidacy form with attached study plan listing the courses and culminating experience option (thesis or comprehensive exam) he/she will complete to finish the degree, and the courses that he/she has completed to date. The study plan must include the proposed date of graduation.
A student pursuing the thesis option must have completed at least fifteen (15) non-thesis units toward the degree with a program grade point average of 3.2 or higher. The student must find a thesis advisor and two other faculty members for the thesis committee. He/she must give an oral presentation to the thesis committee describing progress to date and proposing a thesis topic, and attach a short description of the thesis proposal to the advancement to candidacy form (1-3 pages). The student must obtain the signatures of the thesis committee and the Graduate Coordinator on the advancement to candidacy form. A thesis committee member's signature indicates that the proposed work, if completed properly, is sufficient for a Master's thesis. The Graduate Coordinator's signature indicates that (i) the student has met the requirements for advancement to candidacy, (ii) the student's study plan will, if completed properly, satisfy the requirements for the Master's degree, and (iii) the composition of the thesis committee is consistent with departmental and university policy. Any departures from, or changes to, the study plan must be approved by the student's thesis advisor and the Graduate Coordinator. A student pursuing the thesis option must advance to candidacy by the last day of classes of the semester preceding the semester in which he/she plans to graduate. Only students pursuing the thesis option may graduate in the summer semester, and they must get permission from all members of the thesis committee.
A student pursuing the comprehensive exam option must have completed eighteen (18) non-thesis units toward the degree with a program grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The student must include with the study plan short lists of courses on which they would and would not like to be tested. The Graduate Coordinator will appoint a comprehensive exam committee, who will determine the exam content. The student must obtain the signature of the departmental Graduate Coordinator on the advancement to candidacy form. The Graduate Coordinator's signature indicates that (i) the student has met the requirements for advancement to candidacy, and (ii) the student's study plan will, if completed properly, satisfy the requirements for the Master's degree. Any departures from, or changes to, the study plan must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator. A student pursuing the comprehensive exam option must advance to candidacy by the end of Week 11 of the semester preceding the semester in which he/she plans to take the exam.
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 eviences 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.
Guidelines for preparing and officially submitting the thesis are posted on the CSUSM Library Thesis Submission webpage. The final copies of the thesis are to be in the hands of the members of the thesis committee at least three weeks prior to a required oral, public defense of the thesis, which must be held at least one week prior to the end of the regular semester. 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 iknowledge relevant to the undertaking in a conventionally acceptable format.
More detailed information is available on the Comprehensive Exam Policy webpage.