M.A. Degree Program & Requirements

About | Learning Outcomes | Requirements | Applying for Graduation

The objectives of the Mathematics M.A. program give students advanced fundamental knowledge in the areas of algebra, analysis, and geometry in order to prepare them for admission in top Ph.D. programs, for work in industry, or for a teaching career at community colleges. Students will possess the ability to solve problems and communicate solutions and concepts clearly and in rigorous mathematical language.

Master's students are expected to complete their degree within two years. Students admitted to the M.A. program may apply to the Mathematics Department to transfer to the Ph.D. program upon passing the required preliminary examinations at the Ph.D. level.

M.A. Learning Outcomes

Mathematics M.A. graduates will demonstrate:

  • PLO1: Mastery of fundamental knowledge in Mathematics (Algebra, Analysis, Geometry).
  • PLO2: Ability to solve problems and communicate solutions in rigorous mathematical language.
 M.A. Requirement PLO1 PLO2
Math 200-210 X X
Math 211-299 X X
Preliminary Examinations A A
Thesis A A

X = Learning outcome is introduced and developed
A = Students demontrate learning outcome and assessment evidence is collected

Specifics of Assessments:
PLO1: All students taking a preliminary exam or submitting a thesis are assessed. Preliminary exam problems that emphasize fundamental knowledge are evaluated. In the case of a master's thesis, the fundamental knowledge used in the thesis work is assessed.

PLO2: All students taking a preliminary exam or submitting a thesis are assessed. Preliminary exam problems are identified that emphasize problem solving ability and rigorous mathematical language. Analytic rubrics with specific standards are applied. In the case of a masters thesis, the parts that use problem solving skills are evaluated along with the clarity of language used.

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M.A. Degree Requirements

  1. Students are required to complete four of the following courses from the three core sequences:
    • MATH 200, Algebra I
    • MATH 201, Algebra II
    • MATH 202, Algebra III
    • MATH 204, Analysis I
    • MATH 205, Analysis II
    • MATH 206, Analysis III
    • MATH 208, Manifolds I
    • MATH 209, Manifolds II
    • MATH 210, Manifolds III
  2. Students are also required to complete five additional courses in mathematics. Courses in a related subject may be substituted by approval from the Graduate Vice Chair.
  3. Additional requirements for the M.A. degree are dependent on the student’s chosen track: the thesis track or the comprehensive examination track.
Thesis Track
Students are required to complete a master’s thesis. A master’s thesis does not have to consist of original research results. At the minimum, it should show mastery of a specific subject area that goes beyond the knowledge taught in the core sequences in algebra, analysis, or geometry. This track is recommended for students that want to transfer into a top Ph.D. program.

The student, in consultation with the Graduate Vice Chair, is responsible for selecting a master’s thesis reading committee. The majority of the membership of a thesis reading committee shall be members of the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate. The Graduate Division must approve the committee.

The Nominations for Master’s Thesis Reading Committee Form must be completed and submitted by the end of the second week of the quarter in which the degree will be granted. The form can be found on the Graduate Division website or can be provided by the Mathematics Department. The form should be turned in to the Graduate Advisor and Program Coordinator for review and submission to the Graduate Division.

More information about thesis submission can be found at the Graduate Division website.

Comprehensive Examination Track
Students are required to obtain a second-level pass on one of three written preliminary examinations: algebra, analysis, or geometry. A second-level pass signifies that the student has a very good understanding of the basic concepts, but not necessarily enough to conduct independent research.

Applying for Graduation

M.A. students must complete the Application for the Master’s Degree form by the appropriate quarter’s deadline listed in the current Academic calendar.

The form can be found on the Graduate Division website or can be provided by the Mathematics Department. The form should be turned in to the Graduate Advisor and Program Coordinator for review and submission to the Graduate Division.

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