Going From Another Major To Graduate Studies In Mathematics At FAU


I have received many calls and e-mails over the years from students who wish to go into a graduate program in Mathematics after having completed a baccalaureate in some other discipline. I have also received requests from students who want to start on our Actuarial certificate after having completed a baccalaureate in some other discipline. In this file, I hope to answer some of the standard questions.

I will describe the preparation as if the incoming student needs to start at College Algebra, as this is sometimes the case. If you are starting with more advanced mathematics courses, you can simply find where the suggested list of courses begins for you. An Engineering student might come to us with MAC 2311, MAC 2312, and MAC 2313 completed. That student could start with a subset of the remaining courses listed for Semester 4 and 5: MAS 2103, MAD 2104, MAD 2502, and STA 4442. An Engingeering major who completed a mathematics minor might only have two or three courses to do to finish his or her preparations.

Typically, our graduate advisor will look for grades of B or better in each of three indicator courses:
MAS 4301 Modern Algebra
MAA 4200 Modern Analysis
STA 4442 Probability and Statistics 1

If you are thinking of going to graduate school in Mathematics at a school other than FAU, you should check what they want. Some schools demand a course in Complex Analysis. Some want a course in Topology. There may be other requirements. I also suggest MAD 2502, since many callers were interested in applied mathematics programs such as cryptography which have a heavy use of computational mathematics.

Graduate programs almost always start in the Fall semester. (The MST is an exception.) Students should apply well in advance. I suggest November of the year before. This is less important if you plan to go part-time or only plan to enter the M.S. program. Decisions on graduate assistantships for full-time Ph.D. students start being made in February or March, so if you apply after this, there may be none left. The Graduate College won't process applications after July 1 for the Fall semester − all official documents need to be submitted before this deadline. This includes GRE scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation.

Please be aware that simply meeting the minimum standards does not guaranteer admission to the graduate program.

Sample Preparation Program for Admission to Graduate Program in Mathematics:

Semester 1:
MAC 1105 College Algebra

Semester 2:
MAC 1147 Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry

Semester 3:
MAC 2311 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 1

Semester 4:
MAC 2312 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 2
MAS 2103 Matrix Theory
MAD 2104 Discrete Mathematics
MAD 2502 Introduction to Computational Mathematics

Semester 5:
MAC 2313 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 3
STA 4442 Probability and Statistics 1
MAS 4301 Modern Algebra

Semester 6:
MAA 4200 Modern Analysis

Some manipulation of the suggested program is possible, of course. For example, students who don't want to take as many mathematics courses in each of the later semesters can stretch this part out.

Also, students might take other courses that interest them. For example, a student who plans to do graduate work in Graph Theory would be advised to take the undergraduate courses in Graph Theory, and in Linear Programming and Game Theory. If you have decided on a particular area of interest for graduate school, speak to one of the professors in that area.

My general advice is that a student interested into coming into a graduate program, but lacking the usual undergraduate prerequisites, should register as a degree-seeking student. If the student doesn't get accepted into the graduate program, completing the B.S. or B.A. degree in Mathematics may open some doors. For such a student, we could rewrite the end of the suggested program:

Semester 6:
MAA 4200 Modern Analysis
MAS 4107 Linear Algebra 2
MAA 4402 Introductory Complex Analysis
MAT 4937 Mathematical Problem Solving
MAP 2302 Differential Equations 1

Semester 7:
Five (15 credits) upper division Mathematics courses.

Again, these courses could be mixed in other ways (Semester 6 as given here is too hard), and MAP 2302 could be taken any time after MAC 2312. It might be more sane to stretch these two semesters of five courses to three semesters averaging a little over three courses per semester. Choice of electives is greatly affected by offerings in any given semester. Some required courses are not offered in Summer semester.

A B.S. student would also need to pick up an acceptable Physics or Chemistry course, with lab, sometime earlier in the program. A B.A. student would have two fewer Mathematics electives than a B.S. student. Both programs require a second semester course in a foreign language, or proof of fluency in a foreign language. This may have been covered in the first baccalaureate.

The Actuarial Certificate.

The student would follow much of the preparation listed above, but after MAC 2313 the programs would diverge a little. MAS 4301 and MAA 4200 aren't required, but the student should take several additional Statistics courses, and the Actuarial Mathematics courses MAP 4172 and MAP 4173. And, of course, I suggest doing this as a degree-seeking student. MAP 4172 and MAP 4173 count as upper division mathematics electives.

Sample Preparation Program for Actuarial Science:

Semester 1:
MAC 1105 College Algebra

Semester 2:
MAC 1147 Precalculus Algebra and Trigonometry
ECO 2013 Macroeconomics
ECO 2023 Microeconomics

Semester 3:
MAC 2311 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 1
Finance course (FIN 3403?)

Semester 4:
MAC 2312 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 2
MAS 2103 Matrix Theory
MAD 2502 Introduction to Computational Mathematics
MAP 4173 Actuarial Mathematics 2

Semester 5:
MAC 2313 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 3
STA 4222 Probability and Statistics 1

Semester 6:
STA 4443 Probability and Statistics 2
STA 4234/4202L Applied Statistics 1
STA 4102 Computational Statisctics 1
MAP 4172 Actuarial Mathematics 1

See Mr. Pina early in the program for additional Actuarial Certificate requirements. Passing one or more of the Actuarial Exams while in the certificate program can be helpful in finding internships or employment.

See also the following sites set up by the graduate advisor:

http://www.math.fau.edu/gradprograms/faq.html
http://www.math.fau.edu/gradprograms/apply.html


Last modified August 8, 2014, by S.C. Locke.