Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in the program?

The number of students beginning the program varies each year, but is typically between 15 and 20. Since a few students finish early, there are typically around 30-35 students in the program at any given time.

How long does the program take?

Most students, beginning in the fall, will take four semesters and a summer to complete their studies. In the past well-qualified students have completed Masters degrees in as little as one calendar year.

What courses are offered?

A wide range of courses is available for graduate students, in algebra, analysis, topology, geometry, number theory, combinatorics, computational mathematics, probability, and pure and applied statistics. See the course descriptions for details.

What are the requirements to complete the degree?

The requirements for the MA degree are met by selecting either the thesis option or the non-thesis option, and by selecting one of two possible tracks for coursework. If a thesis is written, 30 semester hours of coursework, including MST 791, 792, and at least four additional courses numbered above 700, are required for the MA degree. If a thesis is not written, 36 semester hours of coursework, including at least five courses numbered above 700, are required for the MA degree. MST 791 and 792 cannot be counted as part of this coursework. An advanced course in analysis is required for all students; normally this requirement is met with MST 711. For the pure mathematics track, an advanced course is required in each of algebra and topology; normally this requirement is met with the courses MST 721 and MST 731. For the mathematical statistics track, both MST 658 and MST 667 are required, along with an advanced course in each of probability and linear models; normally this requirement is met with the courses MST 757 and MST 767. The following table summarizes the requirements for the four possible options to obtain the MA in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics:

Math Track/Non-Thesis Math Track/Thesis Stats Track/Non-Thesis Stats Track/Thesis
Required 700-level classes 711, 721,731 711, 721, 731 711, 757, 767 711, 757, 767
Required 600-level classes none none 658, 667 658, 667
Number of Additional 700-level classes Two 3-hour courses One 3-hour course Two 3-hour courses One 3-hour course
Number of Additional classes Seven 3-hour courses Four 3-hour courses Five 3-hour courses Two 3-hour courses
Additional Requirements none 791, 792 none 791, 792
Total Hours Required 36 30 36 30

Will I be able to do research?

Students are encouraged to approach faculty at any time regarding potential projects. Faculty members’ general research interests are described here. Several students in recent years have published the research from their Masters theses in peer reviewed mathematics or statistics journals.

What kinds of research could I do?

Faculty research interests include algebra, topology, number theory, combinatorics, differential equations, analysis, medical and biological applications, and scientific computing; statistical climatology, environmental and ecological statistics, Bayesian modeling and computing, stochastic processes and network analysis, applications of statistics to social sciences and biology. Specifics can be found here.

Will I get paid?

There are funds available to support graduate studies. The department awards assistantships, and full and partial scholarships through the graduate school. During the 2019-2020 academic year the full Teaching Assistant stipend is $15,480. Students who receive a partial scholarship are responsible for the balance of their tuition, which is $8503 for the 2019-2020 academic year. Additionally, students who are not on an assistantship are eligible to work for the Math Center on an hourly basis.

How much work is required to earn my stipend?

No work is required for either a full or partial scholarship. Teaching assistants work an average of 15-18 hours each week.

What extracurricular activities are available in the department?

The Math Club provides numerous extracurricular activities including pizza dinners/meetings, ice cream socials, special career-oriented lectures, problem-solving contests, “game” nights, and interesting student-oriented talks. The mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon also has activities that are open to both members and non-members.

What other resources does the department have?

Through the Math Club or other university funding, students can often be reimbursed for participation in mathematical conferences. Similarly, there are limited research funds available for summer research work.

Graduate students are provided excellent guidance at Wake Forest. The graduate student advisor carefully assists students in selecting courses. Many professors provide individual mentoring of students. Assistance in locating future employment or PhD program entry is provided by faculty members and the university Office of Personal and Career Development.

Where do graduates go after Wake Forest?

Graduates from our undergraduate and graduate programs in mathematics have been very successful. Graduates of our Masters program have gone on to Ph.D. programs in Mathematics, Statistics, Biostatistics, Education, Operations Research, and Computer Science at institutions including:

University of Alabama, Birmingham
University of Alberta
Bryn Mawr

University of California at: Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, and San Diego

Clemson University
Columbia University
University of Connecticut
Duke University
Emory University
Georgia Tech
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
University of Kansas
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
University of Mississippi
University of Nebraska
North Carolina State University
University of North Carolina at: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Greensboro

Notre Dame University

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University
University of South Carolina
Temple University

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tulane University
Tufts University
University of Virginia

Virginia Tech

Graduate students have also taken jobs in actuarial science, statistics, biostatistics, analytics, computing, government security, government contracting, and teaching a college and high school level.

Will I get help preparing for the next step?

Our program is designed to teach ideas that are fundamental to any future study in mathematics. As such, whatever your next step in mathematics is, our courses are useful. The university Office of Personal and Career Development provides assistance with finding and applying for jobs; additionally a career coach, Linda Whited, has recently joined the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences just to help graduate students with career concerns. She can be reached at whitedlm@wfu.edu.

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