Mathematics and Statistics Department

MA - Mathematics

This degree is recommended for future community college teachers and for students who plan to continue toward the PhD in mathematics.

Requirements for Admission

Candidates must meet all the university admissions requirements. Students can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing. If an applicant's preparation for advanced graduate work is considered inadequate to meet the course prerequisites or other departmental requirements, the conditions will include taking preparatory courses to meet these requirements. Such courses will not count as part of the master's degree program requirements.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.

Classified Standing

To enter this program with classified standing, a student must meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division, have completed 18 semester units of upper-division mathematics with a GPA of at least 3.0, and have one to three letters of recommendation submitted on his or her behalf. The coursework must be acceptable toward a bachelor's degree in mathematics and may not be counted toward the MA degree.

Conditionally Classified Standing

A student who meets the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division but does not satisfy the mathematics coursework requirements stated above may be admitted as a conditionally classified student. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. The individual admission letter will explain required terms and conditions for attaining classified standing. After arrival at SJSU, a conditionally accepted student must complete additional coursework to make up the unit deficiency in order to achieve classified status. These make-up units will not be included in the MA degree unit requirement total.

Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy

To advance to candidacy in the MA in Mathematics degree, a student must meet the university candidacy requirements, as stated in this catalog. The university requires that all graduate students complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" for details. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE) website at

Thesis and Writing Project students must have their committees (see below) in place before filing for candidacy.

The student must complete the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy form. This form lists, among other things, all the coursework to be counted toward the master's degree. After the form has been signed by the student's thesis or writing project director (if applicable) and the Graduate Coordinator, it is forwarded to GAPE for final approval. Any subsequent changes to the student's program require approval from GAPE.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

MA - Mathematics Graduation Requirements

Culminating Experience

Students must choose one of three options: The Plan A (Thesis), Plan B (Project), or Plan B (Comprehensive Examination).

Comprehensive Examination (Plan B)

Students who choose this option must pass two written comprehensive examinations. One examination will be in either Algebra (221A/B) or Analysis (131A, 231A/B). The second exam will be in one of the following: Algebra (221A/B), Analysis (231A/B), Number Theory (226), Advanced Matrix Theory (229), Complex Analysis (238), Topology (275A), or Graph Theory (279A).

Specific exam options are chosen by the student.

Students must enroll in MATH 298E for the semester they are taking their comprehensive exams. They will receive credit when both exams are passed. Students who do not pass one or both exams during the semester in which they are enrolled in MATH 298E will receive a grade of "RP" for the course. If all other degree requirements have been completed, students must enroll in MATH 1290R for the following semester or semesters in compliance with the university requirement for continuous enrollment until both exams have been passed.

Thesis (Plan A) or Writing Project (Plan B) Option

A student who selects the Thesis or Project option must find a willing advisor and complete a thesis or writing project under that advisor's supervision. The thesis or writing project must be reviewed and approved by a committee composed of the advisor and two other faculty members chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor. The student must give a public presentation on the thesis or writing project, which is followed by an oral examination (defense) conducted by the committee. Theses must be filed with the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, subject to the rules and deadlines established by the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs.

Thesis students must enroll in MATH 299: Master's Thesis; Writing Project students must enroll in MATH 298: Special Study. Student receive credit when the thesis or writing project is completed, successfully defended, and all committee members have signed off on it. Students who do not complete their theses during the semester in which they are enrolled in MATH 299 (MATH 298 for writing projects) will receive a grade of "RP" for that course. If all other degree requirements have been completed, students must subsequently sign up for MATH 1290R in compliance with university regulations until the thesis/writing project is completed and defended.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements for the Masters33
Core Courses18
MATH 221A. Higher Algebra I3
MATH 221B. Higher Algebra II3
MATH 231A. Real Analysis3
MATH 231B. Functional Analysis3
Complete two courses from:
MATH 229. Advanced Matrix Theory3
MATH 238. Advanced Complex Variables3
MATH 275A. Topology3
MATH 279A. Graph Theory3
Complete two courses from:
MATH 203. Applied Mathematics, Computation, and Statistics Projects3
MATH 211A. Geometry of Projective Spaces3
MATH 213A. Introduction to Smooth Manifolds3
MATH 213B. Introduction to Riemannian Geometry3
MATH 226. Theory of Numbers3
MATH 229. Advanced Matrix Theory3
MATH 233A. Applied Mathematics I3
MATH 234. Advanced Dynamical Systems3
MATH 235. Wavelets and their Applications3
MATH 238. Advanced Complex Variables3
MATH 243A. Advanced Numerical Analysis3
MATH 243B. Advanced Topics in Numerical Analysis3
MATH 243M. Numerical Linear Algebra3
MATH 261A. Regression Theory and Methods3
MATH 263. Stochastic Processes3
MATH 275A. Topology3
MATH 275B. Advanced Topics in Topology3
MATH 279A. Graph Theory3
MATH 279B. Advanced Graph Theory3
MATH 285. Advanced Topics in Mathematics3
MATH 297A. Preparation for Writing Project, Research Project or Thesis3
Additional Electives6
Complete two 100-level or 200-level courses with consent of advisor. Courses may include a maximum of 3 units of MATH 280 and/or MATH 297A.
Courses excluded: MATH 100W, MATH 101, MATH 102, MATH 105, MATH 106, MATH 107A, MATH 107B, MATH 123, MATH 129A, MATH 133A, MATH 201A, MATH 201B, MATH 287.
Culminating Experience3
Complete one option (Plan A Thesis, Plan B Writing Project, or Plan B Comprehensive Exam):
Plan A (Thesis)
MATH 299. Master's Thesis3
Oral Presentation
Oral Defense
Plan B (Writing Project)
MATH 298. Special Study3
Oral Presentation
Oral Defense
Plan B (Comprehensive Exam)
MATH 295E. Mathematics Comprehensive Exam Preparation3
Comprehensive Exam Preparation
Comprehensive Exam

Total Units:33

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 6.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.