Program of Study for the Master’s program
The curriculum for the Master of Arts in Mathematics has been carefully constructed in order to provide students with a solid foundation in the basic tools and methodologies of their field of choice. Beyond the basic requirements, students—with the assistance of their advisors—can design a tailor-made program, which not only meets their specific needs and interests but is also geared toward their career goals. Throughout the program, students can be assured of continuing and effective mentoring through close contact with their advisors and professors.
The program offers the student three “pathways” or tracks for advanced study in mathematics: pure, interdisciplinary, and statistics. All paths provide both thesis and non-thesis options. The department also offers a five-year program which leads to the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This program allows students to enroll in required graduate courses during their senior year.
I. Base Requirements: All three tracks require at least 30 credit hours, including one or two semesters of the Graduate Research Seminar, MAT 590. Credits must be distributed as follows:
A. Thesis Option: A minimum of 21 credit hours (of which 6 are thesis credits) must be at the graduate level. A program of study must be developed and approved by the student’s advisory committee. Upon completion of the course of study and the thesis, the student must present an oral defense of the thesis.
B. Non-thesis Option: A minimum of 24 credit hours must be at the graduate level. Three written comprehensive examinations must be passed prior to graduation; no oral examinations are required. The comprehensive examinations consist of three parts, consisting of approximately 2/5 upper level undergraduate mathematics (to be taken in the second semester of graduate study), 2/5 core graduate courses from the chosen track, and 1/5 on a specialty. Decisions for retakes are up to the student’s committee.
II. Track Requirements: (All unspecified course work is chosen by the student in consultation with the advisory committee.)
A. Pure Mathematics – All students are required to take the three core classes MAT 523, MAT 527, MAT 563, plus at least two courses from MAT 531, 562, 577, and 524, as 15 of the required credit hours.
B. Interdisciplinary Mathematics – All students are required to take the core classes MAT 523 and MAT 527, as well as one of MAT 562, MAT 563, and MAT 577 as 9 of the required credit hours. Up to 12 of the remaining required credit hours may be taken in one or more other disciplines.
C. Statistics – All students are required to take the core classes MAT 523, MAT 531, and MAT 532 as 9 of the required credit hours. In addition, students are required to take MAT 533 and a course in Linear Statistical Models through a 3-credit special topics course or reading course.
III. Seminar Requirement: All graduate students must successfully give at least two seminar talks. It is suggested that one seminar be given in each of the fall and spring semesters of the second year. As this is a credit-bearing requirement, it is necessary to register. The assigned course number is MAT 590. For students following the thesis option, one credit of MAT 590 is required, and the thesis defense fulfills the second seminar requirement. For students in the non-thesis option, MAT 590 must be taken twice, once for each of the two seminars given. The talks should be prepared in consultation with and under the supervision of the advisor. Students should submit a short advisor-approved abstract to the graduate coordinator at least one week in advance of the seminar day, for inclusion in the announcement. The evaluation will be handled by the advisor in consultation with the members of the student’s advisory committee. A clear statement of the problem should be given with a brief historical sketch. All technical terms, specific to the area of expertise, should be clearly defined before they are used.
Student Advisory Committee
The student advisory committee will consist of the advisor together with at least two members of the graduate faculty. In addition, the graduate coordinator will serve as an ex officio member without the voting rights. The committee should be formed by the end of the first year, and will meet with the student at least once each semester of the second year to get an overview of the student’s progress.
The student should have his/her program plan which would include the courses to be taken as well as the thesis topic, ready for discussion and approval by the student advisory committee by the start of the first semester of the second year of study. Ideally, the thesis should be formatted in LaTeX. The LaTeX class package for UMaine theses is found here. A copy of the thesis will be provided to the graduate coordinator at least one week in advance of the date of the defense. The coordinator will make the thesis available to any member of the faculty for perusal prior to the defense. All public announcements relating to the thesis as well as the seminars will be made by the coordinator.
Admission to the Program
In addition to satisfactory performance of the candidate as an undergraduate, as evidenced by transcripts, letters of recommendation, and G.R.E. scores, the Department requires one semester of real analysis (equivalent to MAT 425) and one semester of abstract algebra (equivalent to MAT 463). Occasionally, students can be admitted with a deficiency in one of these areas if the deficiency is made up in the first year of graduate study. The minimum TOEFL score for non-native English speakers is 550 for admission; 580 is the minimum for an assistantship. Application forms can be obtained from the Graduate School. The due date for applications is typically January 15.
A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships are available. These provide a full tuition waiver and a living stipend. In order to qualify for an assistantship, international students must have a TOEFL score of at least 580 (paper-based), 237 (computer-based) or 92 (internet-based). Teaching assistants are expected to spend approximately 17 hours per week, typically assisting a faculty member with grading, leading groups of undergraduates in recitations, and staffing the Math Lab, an open tutorial center. The decision to renew an assistantship is based on performance in the first year of the student’s program of study.
Courses allowable for Graduate Credit
If the thesis option is chosen, three 400-level courses may be given graduate credit at the discretion of the advisory committee. If the non-thesis option is chosen, only two such courses may be used. Graduate credit will not be given for any course below 400. Normally, any MAT 400 level course listed in the course description section can be taken for graduate credit with the following exceptions: MAT 445, 425, 463.