Category Archives: Graduate posts

Requirements for the MA in Mathematics

(Note: the following requirements are for students beginning in Fall 2016 or later; students who arrived before then should consult with the Graduate Chair.)

The MA program in Mathematics at UH Mānoa has two principal components:

  1. Course requirements
  2. Paper and presentation

There are further specific requirements presented below.

Course requirements

For courses offered by the department, click here.

Students must pass 30 credit hours of mathematics courses numbered 400–699 subject to the following conditions:

  • All courses that count towards the 30 credit requirement, or to any of the other requirements below, must be passed with a B– or better.
  • At least 9 credit hours must be from the four core courses: algebra (611), applied mathematics (601), analysis (631), topology (621); and at least six credits must come from 603 or 607, 625, 644, 654 or 655 or 657, and 661.
  • At most 6 credit hours from courses numbered 400–499.
  • At most 6 credit hours can be numbered 649 or 699, unless authorized by the graduate chair. It is expected that the graduate chair will authorize additional courses if they are regular graduate courses that are running with a 649 number, but not otherwise.
  • Courses must be from the mathematics department, unless authorized by the graduate chair in consultation with the student’s advisor. It is expected that the graduate chair will authorize graduate-level courses from other departments that are judged to be relevant to the student’s work, and to have serious mathematical content.
Paper and presentation

To graduate, a student must write a paper on a research topic approved by the Graduate Chair and give a one-hour public presentation followed by an oral examination by the student’s Master’s committee.

Further requirements

Students must complete a graduate seminar requirement by either participating in a graduate-level seminar or by taking a 699 reading course in the mathematics department.

Additional university-wide requirements can be found on the Office of Graduate Education website under Master’s Plan B.

A LaTeX template for dissertations is available to department users.

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Student learning outcomes for graduate programs

Student Learning Outcomes in the PhD Program:
1. Mastery of graduate level mathematics in core areas including at least 2 of analysis, algebra, topology, applied mathematics.
2. Familiarity with the breadth of modern mathematics, by successful completion of a range of advanced courses.
3. Deep knowledge of a specific area of specialization.
4. Ability to accomplish significant mathematical research.
5. Ability to write professional quality mathematics.
6. Ability to present advanced research mathematics to a mathematics audience.
7. Ability to learn advanced mathematics independently.

Student Learning Outcomes in the MA Program:
1. Mastery of graduate level mathematics in core areas including at least 3 of analysis, algebra, topology, applied mathematics.
2. Familiarity with the breadth of modern mathematics, by successful completion of a range of advanced courses.
3. Ability to engage in an independent mathematical project.
4. Ability to communicate mathematics effectively in writing.
5. Ability to present advanced mathematical ideas to a mathematics audience.

Graduate degree timelines

This page provides some information about when you should accomplish various milestones in your degree and what other events must occur along the way. It is for convenience only. Consult with the Graduate Chair to ensure you have all the information you need.

PhD timeline

The typical time to degree for a PhD here is 5 to 6 years and the maximum length of support is set to 6 years. In your first couple of years, you’ll be taking classes and studying to pass your qualifying exams. It’s also a good idea during that time to try to figure out what type of math you might do research in; attending various seminars, talking to more advanced students about what they do, and asking professors about their research are a few ways you can go about accomplishing this. We encourage you to attempt qualifying as exams as soon as you can. Even if you fail, you’ll have a better idea of what they are about. By the end of the fall of your 3rd year, you need to have attempted at least 2 quals and by the end of the fall of your 4th year, you need to have passed 2 quals.

Once you pass your two qualifying exams, your top priority should be to find an adivsor; getting up to speed on the cutting edge of research, and then doing your own, takes a lot of time! Still, finding an advisor is an important decision and, while your interest in their research is a very important factor, personal chemistry should also be considered. If you’ve spent some of your early years talking to some professors, this important step should go more smoothly.

Your advisor will determine the format of your comprehensive exam. You must pass this exam by the end of your 4th year and you only have two tries. Once this is behind you, you can form a ‘thesis committee’.

Then, you do math.

Once you’ve done math, it’s time to write it up. The way in which you go about this will depend a lot on you and your advisor. As you approach completion, make sure to discuss the timing with your advisor and your committee. You should contact the graduate chair at least a month ahead of defending so that they can ensure all the various forms and announcements go out in time.

MA timeline

The typical time to degree for an MA here is 2 to 3 years and the maximum length of support is set to 3 years.

In your first year, you’ll be spending a lot of your time taking classes. As suggested above for PhD candidates, it’s also suggested that you try to figure out in what general area, and with whom, you’ll want to write your MA paper. Attending various seminars, talking to more advanced students about what they do, and talking to professors about what masters projects they might have in mind are a few ways you can go about accomplishing this.

By the end of the fall of your second year, you will need to have chosen an advisor. You will work with them to produce a masters paper and prepare an oral presentation. As you near completion, you should discuss timing with your advisor, form a masters committee, and talk with the graduate chair to ensure all the various forms and announcements go out in time.