Program Description

Graduate Program in Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics offers the degree of Master of Arts in Mathematics. The program is designed to accommodate students seeking either a terminal degree or preparation for Ph.D. work at another institution. The degree requirements are flexible and permit both thesis and non-thesis programs of study. Courses and thesis projects are available in both pure and applied mathematics. Faculty research interests include algebra, topology, number theory, combinatorics, differential equations, analysis, operations research, statistics, medical and biological applications, scientific computing and medical engineering.

Questions? Contact Graduate Program Coordinator:

Dr. Ellen Kirkman


Candidates for admissions to the Master of Arts Program in Mathematics should have completed at least thirty three semester hours of mathematics at an accredited college or university. At least fifteen of these hours should require as a prerequisite two semesters of calculus or a semester of linear algebra. Most successful applicants have taken three semesters of calculus (through multi variable calculus), linear algebra, abstract algebra (or modern algebra) and advanced calculus (or other advanced courses in analysis). Applicants who do not have this preparation may be required to take additional preparatory courses


Normally, students devote two years to complete a master’s degree although, occasionally, a student will finish in one year and a summer or in three semesters. We believe that most students gain from the experience of investing two full years. The master of arts degree can be obtained in two distinct ways. The traditional program requires the successful completion of eight courses, four of which are 700 level (i.e., advanced MA degree level) and the preparation and writing of a thesis showing the results of an extended mathematical investigation under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The alternative program does not require a thesis but instead requires the successful completion of twelve courses, five of which are 700 level. As students typically take three courses per semester, only the thesis option allows the possibility of finishing in an academic year plus a summer.

Financial Aid

Almost all of the participants in our program receive substantial aid: a teacher assistantship, a fellowship or full or partial scholarships. Students who receive assistantships or fellowships receive a scholarship plus a living allowance.

Academic Environment

Most of the classes in which graduate students are enrolled have fewer than twelve students. This permits a great deal of personal interaction between the faculty and students. The faculty of the department have diverse interests and are willing to share them with students.

The department sponsors a chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon (a mathematical honor society) as well as a Mathematics Club. The Math Club sponsors both academic and social activities including colloquia, intramural sports teams and picnics.

Numerous computing facilities are available to graduate students. Our graduate teacher assistants receive a laptop computer for their use in supporting our undergraduate courses. The University is highly networked. Each entering student now receives a laptop computer.

The University’s library subscribes to numerous journals and has an extensive collection of back holdings. The library also has a good monograph collection. Interlibrary loan is available.

Where Do Graduates Go After Wake Forest?

Graduates from our undergraduate and graduate programs in mathematics have been very successful. While some have enrolled into highly ranked mathematical Ph.D. programs, others have taken jobs in business (consulting and actuarial), education (both college and secondary education), industry (analysts and various computing activities), or government agencies (National Security Agency). Still others have entered excellent professional programs in medicine, business and law or graduate programs in statistics, biostatistics, or operations research.