Mathematical Research / Graduate School

Mathematical Research / Graduate School
This fact sheet gives recommended upper level courses that will be particularly useful to students interested in continuing their education in graduate school. About one third of our graduates receive an advanced degree in mathematics or a related field.
The Mathematics Major - Graduate School Concentration
Lower Division Courses
MS 201 - Calculus 1 MS 245 - Linear Algebra
MS 202 - Calculus 2 MS 255 - Logic and Proofs
MS 203 - Calculus 3 Any CS course at the 100 level
Upper Division Courses Any six at the 300 or 400 level
Capstone MS 497-498 - Senior Research
Strongly Recommended Courses
Pure Mathematics Applied Mathematics
MS 301 - Real Analysis I MS 301 - Real Analysis I
MS 305 - Abstract Algebra I MS 316 - Differential Equations
MS 355 - Topology MS 350 - Mathematical Modeling
MS 411 - Complex Analysis MS 392 - Numerical Analysis
CS 101 - Computer Science I
CS 102 - Computer Science II
Other Recommended Courses
Pure Mathematics Applied Mathematics
MS 401 - Real Analysis II MS 371 - Probability
MS 405 - Abstract Algebra II MS 372 - Statistics
MS 316 - Differential Equations MS 351 - Operations Research
MS 392 - Numerical Analysis A Minor
CS 101 - Computer Science I Additional computer science
CS 102 - Computer Science II
A language: French, German, or Russian

Why Graduate School?

There are plenty of careers to choose from after getting a math degree, so why bother going to graduate school? Some fields require it - you are unlikely to find a job in operations research or college teaching with just a Bachelor's degree. Many industrial and government employers prefer that you have additional training, and they'll pay you more for it. Some will even send you to school while you work.


M.S. versus Ph.D.

A master's degree prepares you to teach at a community college, or work in a variety of applied industries. It takes approximately two years of study. You take courses and you may have to write a thesis. A doctoral degree prepares you for research in industry or an academic setting, and for teaching at a four year college or university. It usually takes four to six years, the first few of which are devoted to course work. A major step is passing a candidacy exam, after which you pick an advisor to work with in a specialized field. The last couple years you concentrate on your research which culminates in a dissertation: a paper of original research.


What Graduate School is Like

The best thing about graduate school is that you don't pay them - they pay you! The typical graduate student teaches or helps teach an undergraduate math course. Sometimes there are also research assistantships and grading jobs available. The stipend for this work depends on the school, but is usually about $14,000 to $16,000. It won't make you rich, but it is enough to live on. The typical course load is three classes per term. These classes will be faster and more challenging than the ones in college. The professors will expect you take responsibility for your own learning.


Preparing for Graduate School

You will need a strong foundation in mathematics. You should take as much math as you can, more than the requirements, and preferably a mix of pure and applied topics. This will add to your mathematical knowledge and help you decide which field you might like to specialize in. It will also improve your score on the GRE, the Graduate Record Examination, which is similar to the SAT but a lot harder. A practical knowledge of computer programming is valuable in many graduate courses, so consider some extra computer science. Please refer to the course recommendations above.


Recent Graduates

  • Jennifer Czuprynski, 2001, Iowa State University (Statistics)
  • Heather Garten, 2000, Emory University (mathematics)
  • Jonathan Anderson, 1999, University of Louisville (Actuarial Science)
  • Stephanie Faruzzi, 1998, University of Michigan (Biostatistics)
  • Matt Galati, 1998, Lehigh University (Industrial Engineering)
  • Ciara Caltagirone, 1998, Georgia Tech and Emory University (Biomedical Engineering)