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Other mathematics degrees
Explore the many degree options available in math

Other math degrees available

In general, graduate students are best advised to focus on one degree objective at a time. However, a candidate for a master’s degree in one major field who wishes to begin work for either a master’s or a doctoral degree in a second field; or a candidate for a doctoral degree who wishes to begin work on a master’s degree in a second field while concurrently completing the doctoral program can petition to do so (approval will not be granted for any combination of concurrent doctorates, including the Ph.D., D.Ed., or D.M.A. degrees). The department or program heads of both majors and the director of Graduate Enrollment Services must approve any such plan. Guidelines for preparation of a proposal for concurrent graduate degrees have been established by Graduate Council. The guidelines and form are available on the Graduate School website at:

This program is designed for students who are primarily interested in teaching rather than research. In order to qualify for admission to the D.Ed. program, a student must have at least three years teaching experience at the college level. Experience gained as a teaching assistant may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

No credit will be given for any course in which a grade of less than B is received.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation for all advanced degrees.

Requirements

To be admitted to this program, the student must have three years of teaching experience at the college level. Experience gained as a teaching assistant may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

  1. Qualifying Examinations (Departmental requirement). Passage of the qualifying examinations in algebra and analysis. These examinations are subject to the same conditions as discussed in requirement (1) of the Ph.D. program. In particular, students who do not pass both examinations before the beginning of the second year of study may not continue in the program. Entering D.Ed. students who do not pass at least one pre-entrance examination must take at least one of the basic sequences in algebra or analysis.
  2. Course Requirements (Graduate School and Departmental requirement). 90 course and research credits of which at least 30 must be earned at the University Park Campus (see requirement 5 below). 15 credits in educational foundation courses approved by the College of Education (see requirement 7 below). 45 credits of approved mathematics courses, including 24 credits of 500-series courses and 15 credits of 600-series research credits. In order to receive credit for a course, the student must receive a grade of B or better.
  3. Candidacy (Departmental requirement). The Department will recommend candidacy after a student has passed 1 of the 2 qualifying examinations and demonstrated satisfactory progress toward (2) above. Admission to candidacy is conferred by the Graduate School.
  4. Residence Requirement (Graduate School requirement). A minimum of six semesters of full-time graduate study and research (15 credits per semester), or their equivalent in credits (90 credits), of which at least 30 credits must be earned in residence at University Park Campus is required for the D.Ed. dgree. A candidate may register for a maximum of 30 credits of research in absentia, but none of these may count toward the minimum of 30 credits that must be earned at University Park Campus. It is expected that students will register for a minimum of 15 credits of thesis research. The maixmum credit load permitted a student who is employed full time is 6 credits per semester.
  5. Advisers and Doctoral Committees (Graduate School requirement) Consultation or arrangement of the details of the student's semester-by-semester schedule is the function of the adviser. General guidance of a doctoral candidate is the responsibility of a doctoral committee consisting of four or more active members of the Graduate Faculty, which normally includes at least two faculty in the major field and is chaired by the student's adviser. This committee is appointed by the Graduate Dean through the Office of Graduate Programs, upon recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies, soon after the student is admitted to candidacy.
  6. Major Program and Minor Field (Graduate School requirement) The program of study includes a major and either a minor or a group of general studies. A majority of the courses offered in fulfillment of the requirements must be in the major program. A candidate choosing a major outside the fields of professional education (such as mathematics) shall have a minor consisting of no fewer than 15 graduate credits in professional education, as recommended to the dean of the Graduate School early in the major program with the approval of a faculty adviser from the minor area.
  7. Comprehensive Examination (Graduate School and Departmental requirement). The comprehensive examination is scheduled by the Graduate School after the student has passed two qualifying examinations, has satisfied the language requirement, has been admitted to candidacy, and agreed on a thesis adviser and a research program. The comprehensive examination will cover three areas to be chosen by the student from those listed below. It will be based on the contents of the following 400-level series courses in these areas: applied analysis (MATH 411), geometry (MATH 427), logic (MATH 457), number theory (MATH 465), numerical analysis (MATH 455-456), probability and statistics (MATH 414) and topology (MATH 429).
  8. Thesis (Graduate School requirement). Evidence of a high degree of scholarship, competence in scholarly exposition, and ability to select, organize, and apply knowledge must be presented by the candidate in the form of a written thesis. The candidate must demonstrate a capacity for independent thought, as well as ability and originality in the application of educational principles or in the development of a new generalization under scientific controls. A thesis may be based upon a product or project of a professional nature, provided scholarly research is involved. In order to be an acceptable thesis, the professional project must be accompanied by a written discourse demonstrating the nature of the research and including such theories, experiments, and other rational processes as were used in effecting the final result. The topic and outline of the proposed thesis must have the approval of the doctoral committee. A draft of the thesis must be submitted to the doctoral committee a month before the final oral examination.
  9. Final Oral Examination (Graduate School requirement). The final oral examination is primarily a defense of the thesis and is scheduled by the Graduate School at least three months after the date of passing the comprehensive examination and no more than seven years after after admission to candidacy.

A graduate minor may be taken in one of the approved graduate degree programs offered at Penn State. For details on approved programs, click here. A minor at the graduate level must represent curriculum and study that reflect graduate-level concepts and scholarship, with a preponderance of courses at the 500 level.

A student seeking a minor must have the approval of the student's major program of study, the minor program, and the Graduate School. A student may not pursue more than three minors at one time. If a student pursues more than one minor, each minor must have a separate group of courses to support it (i.e., none of the courses may be used concurrently).

A doctoral minor consists of no fewer than 15 graduate credits of integrated or articulated work in one field related to, but different from, that of the major with a preponderance of courses at the 500 level; however, at a minimum, 6 credits must be at the 500 level. Official requests to add a minor to a doctoral candidate's academic record must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services prior to establishing the doctoral committee and prior to scheduling the comprehensive examination.

A master's minor consists of no fewer than 6 credits of integrated or articulated work in one field related to, but different from, that of the major; however, at a minimum, 3 credits must be at the 500 level. Official requests to add a master's minor to a student's academic record must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services at least one semester prior to the semester the student intends to graduate.

Graduate Minor Form

The M.A. Degree: Candidates for the M.A. degree must choose between the thesis and the non-thesis options. The options are similar. Both require that the student write a paper on an approved mathematical topic under the direction of a member of the mathematics faculty. Under the thesis option, the paper must contain original work. The student must register for 6 thesis credits and use this time for composition. The resulting thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School which checks it for form, punctuation, etc. Students must also take an oral examination on their work. In the non-thesis option, the paper may be expository in nature. No credit is given for writing the paper and so the student must take 2-3 additional courses. Under this option, the master's paper need not be approved by the Graduate School and no oral examination is required.

Requirements for Degree Programs

The following requirements apply to all degree options.

  • No credit will be given for any course in which a grade of less than B is received.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation for all advanced degrees.

The M.A. Degree Requirements

The following requirement applies to both the thesis and non-thesis options:

  • MATH 405, 441, 470, and 471 are not approved for the Master of Arts degree. MATH 401 and 435 cannot both be counted towards the degree.

M.A. Degree, Thesis Option: (30 course and thesis credits).

  1. Above.
  2. 12 credits of 500-series mathematics courses.
  3. 6 thesis credits (600-series).
  4. Remainder of course credits in approved 400- and 500-series courses.
  5. Final (oral) examination based on thesis and general course work.
  6. Time limitation is six years or a period spanning seven consecutive summers.

M.A. degree, Non-thesis Option: (30 course credits).

  1. Above.
  2. 18 credits of 500-series mathematics courses in an approved program.
  3. Remainder of courses in approved 400- or 500-series courses. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, between 6 and 9 credits of the requirement may be taken in a related area.
  4. A paper on an approved topic in mathematics (no credit).
  5. Time limitation is six years or a period spanning seven consecutive summers.

The M.Ed. Degree

  1. 18 credits of mathematics courses (including at least four courses at the 500 level). (6 credits may be taken in a related area if approved by the Graduate Studies Committee).
  2. 6 credits of science or additional mathematics courses.
  3. 6 credits of education courses approved by the College of Education.
  4. A paper on an approved topic in mathematics (no credit).
  5. Time limitation is six years or a period spanning seven consecutive summers.