MA and MS Programs
Master of Arts in Mathematics
The M.A. is designed primarily for students who wish to enter a Ph.D. program in mathematics. A student's program of study for this degree is usually narrower than the M.S. in scope but more intense in content. Course work for the degree is regarded as preparatory for the Ph.D.
The M.A. degree requires a thesis and 30 approved semester hours of graduate mathematics course work, including the three-credit thesis course, MATH 799. All courses in the student's program must be numbered 700 and above (excluding 7xx-I courses) and must include a one-year sequence in real and complex analysis (MATH 703-704) and one of the one-year sequences in abstract algebra (MATH 701-702) or in the foundations of computational mathematics (MATH 708-709). These courses form the core of the student's program and provide the topics upon which the Masters Comprehensive Examination (Admission to Candidacy) is based; a "master's pass" or "pass" is required.
The thesis for this degree is generally a short monograph (to be bound and delivered to the department), the content of which is drawn from several current research papers, possibly including the student's original contributions, which could lead to topics of suitable depth for a Ph.D. dissertation. The thesis is subject to the approval of the thesis committee, consisting of the major professor and a second reader. The student is invited to present the thesis to the department in a seminar format.
Master of Science in Mathematics
The M.S. degree requires a thesis and 30 approved semester hours of graduate course work, including satisfactory completion of the three-credit thesis course MATH 799, MATH 703, and at least one of MATH 701, 708, and 709. The courses in the student's program should be numbered 700 and higher. However, in special circumstances some 500-level courses, or 7xx-I courses, may be approved for a student's program if the courses supplement 700-level course work. In general, a student's M.S. program should be fairly broad in scope and should include courses of both a pure and applied nature. The M.S. is designed primarily for students who seek broad and intensive preparation for teaching in a junior college or working in industry.
The thesis for this degree is generally a short monograph (to be bound and delivered to the department), the content of which is drawn from several research papers in an area of interest to the student. The thesis is subject to the approval of the thesis committee, consisting of the major professor and a second reader.
Upon conclusion of the program, each M.S. degree candidate either undergoes an oral examination administered by the thesis committee (the "defense", which includes an oral presentation of the thesis and also serves as the Masters Comprehensive Exam), or obtains a pass on the Masters Comprehensive Examination (a "master's pass" on the Admission to Candidacy Examination). Students who follow the second path are invited to present the thesis in a seminar format.
The department offers two degree programs for students who wish to emphasize secondary and junior college mathematics education--the M.A.T. and the M.M. degrees. Courses at the 700-level specifically designed for these programs are designated by the letter I adjoined to the course number.
Applicants who have completed six credit hours in mathematics beyond multivariable calculus (MATH 241 at USC) are preferred, and are more likely to complete either of the two degree programs on a timely basis.
The Master of Mathematics Degree
The Master of Mathematics degree is designed primarily for students who seek a broad, thorough training in mathematics which includes course work specifically designed to meet the needs of secondary-school teachers for whom SC certification is not an issue, and for those intending to teach at the junior/community college level.
The M.M. degree requires 30 approved semester hours of graduate course work, up to 6 hours of which may be outside the departments of mathematics, computer science, and statistics. A core of four courses is required of all students: MATH 701-I, 702-I, 703-I, and 704-I.
In addition, students must include in their program (if similar courses have not been taken previously) a course in geometry (chosen from MATH 531 or 736-I) and a course in linear algebra (MATH 526 or 544). To ensure breadth in the program of study, the remaining course work should include courses in discrete mathematics, number theory, and probability and statistics.
Each candidate for the M.M. degree is required to pass a written Comprehensive Examination, which is based primarily on the four core courses. The examination will consist of two, two-to-three hour written examinations. Students should take the Comprehensive Examination immediately upon completion of the core courses.
The Master of Arts in Teaching
The M.A.T. in mathematics is offered by the Department of Mathematics jointly with the College of Education. This degree program is designed specifically for students who wish to obtain teaching certification in mathematics at the secondary level.
The M.A.T. degree requires 30 approved semester hours of graduate-level course work in mathematics and education (exclusive of directed teaching), no less than 6 and no more than 15 of which may be in education, and at least 15 of which must be in mathematics or statistics. The individual student's program is planned according to that student's background and goals. At least half of the student's course work must be numbered 700 or higher.
Each student's program of study must include at least one course in geometry (chosen from MATH 531 or 736-I), algebraic structures (MATH 701-I), real analysis (MATH 703-I), statistics (STAT 509 or STAT 515-516), and number theory (MATH 780-I). If equivalent courses have already been taken, then appropriate substitutions will be made.
Unless previously taken, the student must also take upper division courses in linear algebra (MATH 526 or 544) and discrete mathematics (MATH 574). Normally theses two courses are taken prior to full admission to the program.
Course work in education must include human growth and development (EDPY 705), foundations of education (EDFN 749), a curriculum course (EDSE 770), two literacy courses (EDRD 731 and EDRD 732), and methods of teaching (EDSE 764).
The student must also complete an 18-semester-hour program of methods and internship in mathematics (EDSE 550, 584, 778A and 778B). Students must apply for admission to the professional program and internship through the College of Education's Office of Student Affairs early in the fall or spring semester prior to the semester of Internship B.
Upon admission to the M.A.T. program, the student is assigned a faculty advisor in mathematics to assist in the development of the mathematics portion of the program. Approval of the candidate's program will be granted by a committee of three faculty members, consisting of the faculty advisor in mathematics, the faculty advisor in education, and a faculty member from either mathematics or education.
Each student must maintain a B average on all graduate-level course work in mathematics and a B average on all graduate-level course work in education.
Candidates for the M.A.T. degree are required to pass a written Comprehensive Examination covering their program of study and emphasizing the theoretical underpinnings of calculus, the basic forms of mathematical reasoning, argumentation, and proof, a repertoire of fundamental examples and counter-examples, problem solving, and insight into how these can inform the teaching of secondary mathematics. Geometric and statistical reasoning will frequently be called upon; students will generally be free to draw on their knowledge of any of analysis, algebra, discrete mathematics, or number theory as they see fit to demonstrate forms of mathematical argumentation and proof.
Professor Jan Yow
Department of Instruction
and Teacher Education
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208