Program Description

Graduate Program in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers the degree of Master of Arts. 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, with a focus on either mathematics (pure or applied) or on statistics. Faculty research interests include algebra, topology, number theory, combinatorics, differential equations, analysis, medical and biological applications, and scientific computing; statistical climatology, environmental and ecological statistics, Bayesian modeling and computing, stochastic processes and network analysis, applications of statistics to social sciences and biology.

Questions? Contact Graduate Program Coordinator:

Dr. Ellen Kirkman


Candidates for admissions to the Master of Arts Program in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics should have completed at least thirty three semester hours of mathematics and statistics 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). Prior experience with computing is helpful but not required, particularly for the statistics track. 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 three semesters or in one year and a summer. We believe that most students gain from the experience of investing two full years. The master of arts degree can be obtained in four distinct ways. Students may choose to do the mathematics track or the statistics track, which have different course requirements. Students may also choose a thesis or non-thesis track. The non-thesis track requires completion of additional coursework while the thesis track requires writing of a thesis showing the results of an extended mathematical or statistical investigation under the guidance of a faculty advisor. As students typically take three courses per semester, only the thesis option allows the possibility of finishing in an academic year plus a summer.

The requirements for the MA degree are met by selecting either the thesis option or the non-thesis option, and by selecting one of two possible tracks for coursework. If a thesis is written, 30 semester hours of coursework, including MST 791, 792, and at least four additional courses numbered above 700, are required for the MA degree. If a thesis is not written, 36 semester hours of coursework, including at least five courses numbered above 700, are required for the MA degree. MST 791 and 792 cannot be counted as part of this coursework. An advanced course in analysis is required for all students; normally this requirement is met with MST 711. For the pure mathematics track, an advanced course is required in each of algebra and topology; normally this requirement is met with the courses MST 721 and MST 731. For the mathematical statistics track, both MST 658 and MST 667 are required, along with an advanced course in each of probability and linear models; normally this requirement is met with the courses MST 757 and MST 767. The following table summarizes the requirements for the four possible options to obtain the MA in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics:

Math Track/Non-Thesis Math Track/Thesis Stats Track/Non-Thesis Stats Track/Thesis
Required 700-level classes 711, 721,731 711, 721, 731 711, 757, 767 711, 757, 767
Required 600-level classes none none 658, 667 658, 667
Number of Additional 700-level classes Two 3-hour courses One 3-hour course Two 3-hour courses One 3-hour course
Number of Additional classes Seven 3-hour courses Four 3-hour courses Five 3-hour courses Two 3-hour courses
Additional Requirements none 791, 792 none 791, 792
Total Hours Required 36 30 36 30

With the approval of the Graduate Committee, graduate courses may be taken in related areas to fulfill requirements; however, no more than 6 such hours may count toward the requirements for either the thesis or non-thesis option. Students desiring to use work taken in the department for graduate teacher certification should consult the Department of Education before applying for candidacy.

Financial Aid

Almost all of the participants in our program receive substantial aid: a teaching assistantship, or a full or partial scholarship. Students who receive assistantships receive a full scholarship plus a living allowance. Students who receive a partial scholarship are responsible for the balance of their tuition, which is $7504 for academic year 2016-2017. Students who do not have an assistantship are eligible to work in the Math Center on an hourly basis.

Academic Environment

There is 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 teaching assistants receive a laptop computer for their use in supporting our undergraduate courses.

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. Graduates of our Masters program have gone on to Ph.D. programs in Mathematics, Statistics, Biostatistics, Education, Operations Research, and Computer Science at institutions including:

University of Alabama, Birmingham
University of Alberta
Bryn Mawr

University of California at: Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, and San Diego

Clemson University
Columbia University
University of Connecticut
Duke University
Emory University
Georgia Tech
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Kansas
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
University of Mississippi
University of Nebraska
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro

Notre Dame University

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University
University of South Carolina
Temple University

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tulane University
Tufts University
University of Virginia

Virginia Tech

Graduate students have also taken jobs in actuarial science, statistics, biostatistics, analytics, computing, government security, government contracting, and teaching a college and high school level.