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Master of Science in Mathematics

Master of Science in Mathematics

Program description

Emporia State University’s Master of Science in mathematics program is flexible so you can reach your personal goals in the way that will best fit your needs. Our classes are available both on-campus and online, allowing you to decide when and how you take your courses.

The program allows you to select several areas of mathematics you might want to pursue, such as applied mathematics, statistics, algebra or analysis.

Students who complete the M.S. in mathematics program use their degree to obtain academic appointments at community colleges, find employment in business or industry, or continue on to pursue a doctoral degree at another institution.

Degree requirements

Masters of Science in Mathematics

From the courses listed below, students must take

  • MA 701: Mathematical Proofs (if admitted for Fall 2016 or later)
  • Admitted to start ON/AFTER Summer 2019: 6 credit hours in each of the areas of Analysis, Algebra, and Statistics/Applied Mathematics.
  • Admitted to start BEFORE Summer 2019: 6 credit hours in two of the three content areas: Analysis, Algebra, and Statistics/Applied Mathematics; and 3 credit hours in the third content area
  • MA 810 (online or on-campus) or MA 850 (on-campus only)
  • 34 total credit hours (32 credit hours for on-campus thesis students)

Additionally, students must pass their comprehensive exams.



MA 715 Topology 3 hours
MA 734 Complex Variables 3 hours
MA 735 Advanced Calculus I 3 hours
MA 736 Advanced Calculus II 3 hours


MA 728 Vector Spaces 3 hours
MA 740 Number Theory 3 hours
MA 741 Group Theory 3 hours
MA 742 Ring Theory 3 hours
MA 743 Field Theory 3 hours
MA 746 Computational Algebraic Geometry 3 hours

Statistics and Applied Mathematics

MA 532 Mathematical Statistics I 3 hours
MA 731 SAS (available only to on-campus students) 3 hours
MA 732 Categorical Data Analysis 3 hours
MA 733 Mathematical Statistics II 3 hours
MA 738 Applied Differential Equations 3 hours
MA 739 Applied Analysis 3 hours
MA 758 Wavelets 3 hours
MA 760 Numerical Analysis 3 hours
MA 762 Optimization Techniques 3 hours
MA 763 Simulation Techniques 3 hours
MA 764 Regression Analysis 3 hours
MA 765 Numerical Linear Algebra 3 hours

Electives and Other Topics

MA 510 Technology in Mathematics* 3 hours
MA 701 Mathematical Proofs 3 hours
MA 714 Knot Theory 3 hours
MA 721 Projective Geometry 3 hours
MA 722 Non-Euclidean Geometry 3 hours
MA 757 Graph Theory 3 hours
MA 791 Introduction to Mathematical Logic 3 hours
MA 791 Combinatory Logic 3 hours
MA 793 Mathematics in the Common Core Standards* 3 hours
EC 710 Econometrics I 3 hours
EC 711 Econometrics II 3 hours
EC 737 Game Theory 3 hour
MA 810 Seminar in Mathematics** 1 hours
MA 850 Thesis** 1-6 hours

Other Notes

* These courses are considered non-core courses since they are focused on math education. A maximum of 6 credit hours of non-core courses can be applied toward the completion of the M.S. Math program. (None may be applied to the Graduate Certificate program.)

** MA 810 is the course that non-thesis students take when they are ready to give their seminar presentation before graduation. MA 850 is for on-campus thesis students only.

Comprehensive Exams

All students must complete their comprehensive exams according to the following guidelines.

  • Seminar students must take exams from four subjects and pass three of them.
  • Thesis students (only available for on-campus students) must take exams from three subjects and pass two of them.
  • Students must take at least one exam in each of the areas of Algebra, Analysis, and Statistics/Applied Mathematics.
  • Students must choose their subjects and notify the appropriate instructors by the end of the fourth week of the semester in which they are taking the exam and must take the exam itself by the end of the eighth week.
  • If a student does not pass the necessary number of exams, they can make one more attempt that semester. If the student was one subject away from passing, they may retake only the failed subjects; otherwise, the student must retake all subjects. No more than two attempts per semester are allowed.
  • Transfer courses, non-core courses, and MA701 Mathematical Proofs are not eligible subjects for the exams.
  • All exams must be taken at the same time.
  • Students must be enrolled in at least one class in the semester that the exams are attempted.

Admission Requirements

General Information

Applications are submitted to the graduate office. To start on your application, visit Graduate Admissions.

Applicants must submit transcripts of all previous college work to the graduate office.

The deadline for Summer or Fall admission is March 1, and October 1 for Spring admission.

We do not require you to take the GRE.

You may enroll in a course as a non-degree-seeking student while your application is pending. If your application is accepted, that course will apply toward your degree (up to a maximum of 12 credit hours). However, once you decide to enter the program, it is to your advantage to complete the application because there is an additional application fee for enrolling as a non-degree-seeking student.

Recommended Background

Applicants who have completed 24 credit hours of undergraduate mathematics, including at least two semesters of Calculus and at least one course where writing mathematical proofs is a significant part of the content, are viewed favorably.

An undergraduate degree in mathematics, mathematics education, or an area with a significant mathematics requirement is preferred.

In general, success in our programs requires familiarity with the content of the first two semesters of a typical Calculus sequence as well as experience in writing mathematical proofs.


Cost and Financial Aid

For information about tuition and fees, visit Distance Education.

Most courses require exams to be proctored. Students are responsible for finding a suitable proctor and paying any associated fees.

Each year, the Department of Mathematics and Economics employs a number of on-campus graduate students as teaching assistants. These assistants are typically responsible for teaching two courses of undergraduate mathematics each semester. Because assistants are given sole responsibility for their classes, these positions provide valuable experience for those seeking academic employment in the future. In addition to a salary, graduate teaching assistants receive a tuition waiver and pay only the activities fee.

For those students who do not qualify for a graduate teaching assistantship, there is a competitively selected, merit-based scholarship of $500 per semester for first year students.

For further details about the assistantships, please visit Graduate Teaching Assistantships in Mathematics

More information

Questions about the master's degree program or the certificate program should be directed to our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Chad Wiley at

Questions about the application process or about graduate study at ESU in general should be directed to the Graduate Office at or 1-800-950-GRAD.

To apply to the program, go to Graduate Admissions.

To register for courses and to get information about tuition and fees, go to Distance Education.

For information about financial aid, go to Financial Aid.

Emporia State University is a state university in Kansas and is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. You can find more information about ESU's accreditation at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to complete the program completely online?

Yes. We offer a number of online courses each semester, giving students multiple classes to choose from and take.

How do the online courses work?

It varies a bit from course to course, and it is constantly evolving as new technologies become available. Broadly speaking, our classes come in two varieties. Some classes are offered purely online. There are no physical meetings, although most classes include online chats that function similarly to office hours. Instruction in these classes takes a variety of forms, including textbook readings, instructor-made videos, and/or tutorial worksheets. Assignments are collected, graded, and returned on a regular basis. Exams require that the student arrange a proctor. Other classes are offered in a hybrid format. These courses are taught on the ESU campus with regular lectures, which are broadcast online using web conference software. Online students can log in during the class time and participate along with the on-campus students. These lectures are also recorded so that students who cannot log in during class time can catch up later. Otherwise, these classes are the same as the online courses (assignments, exams, etc.).

Can I transfer graduate classes I've taken at another university?

Yes, with restrictions. ESU policy allows students to transfer up to 9 credit hours of graduate courses from other universities. The courses must have been taken for graduate credit, and you must have received a B- or better. Standard mathematics courses will generally transfer with no problems, but courses which are only math-related (such as physics, computer science, or math education courses) must be approved by your advisor and the graduate committee. In addition, at most 6 credit hours of such courses can be applied toward the Master of Science degree. Courses taken more than 7 years prior to graduation may not be applied to the M.S. Math degree. Be sure to take your expected date of completion into account when requesting courses to be transferred.

If I begin the Graduate Certificate program, can I later switch to the M.S. in Mathematics program?

Yes, with restrictions. Up to 12 credit hours from the Graduate Certificate in Mathematics program may be applied towards the M.S. in Mathematics degree. A separate application to the M.S. in Mathematics program is also required.

What kinds of students are in the graduate programs?

We have students from a variety of backgrounds and locations. Originally our program was populated with math teachers in eastern Kansas, and we still have many such students. Now we also have students from all over the U.S. and beyond. We have students with backgrounds in teaching, pure and applied mathematics, engineering, computer science, and other subjects.

Is there opportunity for student interaction?

Definitely. As previously mentioned, most classes include at least one weekly online chat (via web conference software) that allows students to discuss class material, ask questions, and generally interact with the instructor and with each other. Courses also include discussion boards that allow students to ask and answer questions throughout the week.

Is the master's degree a mathematics degree or a mathematics education degree?

The graduate programs we offer are in mathematics, not math education. For the most part, the courses we offer are the standard math courses you would find at most universities. We do offer a small number of classes that are focuses on math education, but only a limited amount of these classes (6 credit hours) can be applied toward the Master of Science degree, and none can be applied toward the Graduate Certificate.

How many courses can I take each semester?

You can take as many as you can handle. Until recently, we often only offered one online course per semester. This is not as limiting as it sounds. Most of our students have full time jobs, and one course a semester is essentially a full load for them. A graduate level mathematics course is a significant time commitment! However, with the expansion of our program, we now offer multiple classes each semester, so it is possible to take two or even three courses in a single semester for those not working.

How long will it take to complete the program?

That depends on how many courses you can handle in a semester. Most of our students choose the non-thesis option, which requires 34 credit hours. That is eleven three-credit-hour courses plus a one-hour project. So, if you are able to take one course during the two regular semesters and two courses in the summer, you could complete the program in less than three years.

Do you still have an active on-campus program?

Yes, we do. Although many of our courses are taken by both off-campus and on-campus students simultaneously, there are still a few courses offered each semester that are only available to on-campus students. In addition, on-campus students are eligible for teaching assistantships that pay a stipend and include a full tuition waiver.

Where can I find more information?

Questions about the master's degree program or the certificate program should be directed to our Graduate Coordinators ( Questions about the application process or about graduate study at ESU in general should be directed to the Graduate Office ( or 1-800-950-GRAD). To apply to the program, go to Graduate Admissions. To register for courses, go to Distance Education. To get information about tuition and fees, go to Distance Education. For information about financial aid, go to Financial Aid. Emporia State University is a state university in Kansas and is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. You can find more information about ESU's accreditation at