The Master of Arts in Mathematics at Saint Louis University is a two-year degree with a focus on pure mathematics. Students must take 10 courses and must complete two year-long sequences of graduate matheamtics. These sequences can be chosen from algebra, analysis, and topology. Students have the option of completing a Master's thesis under the direction of a faculty member.
The Master of Arts in Mathematics requires ten courses in mathematics at the 4000-level or higher. At least seven of the courses must be at the 5000-level or higher. All master’s students must complete at least two 5000-level sequences chosen from algebra, analysis and topology. The typical student’s program is built around a number of year-long sequences from areas including algebra, analysis, and topology. The department typically offers year-long sequences in algebra, analysis, complex variables and probability and statistics at the 4000-level; algebra, analysis, and topology at the 5000-level; and differential geometry at the 6000-level. The department also routinely offers a variety of electives determined by student and faculty interest. Full time students typically take three courses a semester and complete the degree in two years. The first year master’s student usually takes two or three year-long sequences. If a student has not had courses in algebra or analysis at the undergraduate level, then the student usually takes the 4000-level algebra and analysis sequences. This prepares the master’s students to take the 5000-level sequences in algebra, analysis and topology their second year. For students who have had substantial coursework in algebra or analysis at the undergraduate level, some of the 5000-level sequences could be completed in the first year.
In addition to the ten courses in mathematics, master’s students must take a comprehensive oral exam in the final semester of their program. This exam is administered by three faculty members. The exam consists of three parts, one for each of three assessment areas. Assessment areas are chosen by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student. In each part the student gives a ten minute talk on a mathematical topic in that area. Each talk will be followed by a question and answer period. The duration of each of the three parts is about thirty minutes. Master’s students have the option of writing a Master’s thesis. In that case, two of the courses in the second year would be devoted to research for the thesis, and the Master’s oral exam is replaced by an oral defense of the thesis. A master’s student must obtain at least a 3.0 GPA overall. If after the first year the GPA is lower than a 3.0 the teaching assistantship cannot be renewed for the second year. Furthermore a B (or better) must be obtained in each course comprising the two required 5000-level sequences. (A master’s student who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics should maintain a GPA above a 3.0 and should include some A’s.)
A master’s student may receive up to 2 years of support as a teaching assistant. Students making appropriate progress towards the degree in their first year and with a GPA of at least 3.0 will be renewed for their second year.