The Master of Science Program


The Department of Mathematical Sciences offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. The M.S. degree program is designed to provide students with a solid mathematical background for careers in industry or education, to foster the development of advanced oral and written mathematical communication skills, and to boost mathematical credentials in preparation of doctoral studies. Qualified M.S. students will have opportunities to explore research under the supervision of a faculty member. The program is offered for the M.S. degree concentrations in Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, Statistics, and Teaching of Mathematics. The expected time for completion of the M.S. degree for a full-time student is two years and less in some cases.


The M.S. degree program in the Department of Mathematical Sciences consists of a basic graduate curriculum and more specialized coursework in the chosen concentration. Since the offered M.S. degree concentrations differ from each other, sometimes significantly so, a thorough understanding of the demands and opportunities of each concentration is an essential prerequisite.  Details of the four different concentrations offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences, including required course work, are provided in the current Graduate Catalog. All concentrations have the following characteristics and requirements in common:

  • Satisfactory completion of 33 credit hours of graduate course work in a program approved by the department is required. 
  • Not more than 9 hours of course work at the 6000 level can be applied to the degree. 
  • At least 24 credit hours of course work have to be at the 7000 level or higher. 
  • At least 21 credit hours of course work have to be earned from courses offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
  • Students may not receive credit for the graduate version of a course at the 6000 level if they have credit for the undergraduate version of the course at the 4000 level.
  • A passing grade on a comprehensive examination is required. Typically, students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option.

Thesis Option:

A student identifies a thesis advisor, enrolls in at least three credit hours of MATH 7996 and submits a written thesis acceptable to the student’s advisory committee, followed by a thesis presentation and defense before the advisory committee. The oral defense of the thesis will encompass material contained in the thesis and learned during course work and will count as the comprehensive examination. Up to six credit hours of MATH 7996 can be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Non-Thesis Option:

In the Applied Mathematics and Mathematics concentrations, the comprehensive examination consists of the student preparing and giving a master’s presentation with a short, written summary on the topic of an independent study project, carried out under the guidance of a faculty member. Students are strongly advised to identify suitable faculty members early on. Students wishing to present a project should submit the title and a brief description of the project (one paragraph) to Prof. Gisèle Goldstein by September 30 in the fall semester and January 30 in the spring semester.

In the Statistics and Teaching of Mathematics concentrations, the comprehensive examination for the non-thesis option is a written exam covering various topics of graduate study. Students wishing to take the written comprehensive master’s exam in these concentrations should consult with their advisors who will make the necessary arrangements with Prof. Pei-Kee Lin

Alternative route: A performance on the Applied Statistics or Mathematics Ph.D. qualifying exams deemed satisfactory at the master’s level will be counted as passing the M.S. comprehensive examination for the corresponding Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, or Statistics concentration.

Students need to satisfy all course requirements and academic regulations necessary for the completion of their master’s degrees, according to the University of Memphis Graduate Catalog.


The M.S. degree program in the Department of Mathematical Sciences welcomes students who

  • hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in mathematics or statistics with a minimum GPA of 2.5/4.0,
  • provide letters of recommendation if requested, 
  • provide official GRE scores if requested, and 
  • prove their English language skills by making official language test scores available if they are not native speakers.

Students whose undergraduate major is not in mathematics or statistics will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Detailed admission guidelines and rules are available in the University of Memphis Graduate Catalog

Application and Admission

Admission to our M.S. degree program is on a competitive basis. Applications have to be submitted through the Graduate School web portal. For your application, you are asked to include several important items, so that our admissions committee can decide whether you are ready to proceed with this graduate degree program. Among other things, please make sure that your application contains - at a minimum - the following:

  1. Cover Letter: A cover letter where you provide details about your interest in our master’s program and the particular concentration you have chosen. You can find precise and binding details and requirements for each of our M.S. concentrations in the Graduate Catalog.
  2. Academic Transcripts: Academic transcripts of your undergraduate degree are an important factor in admissions decisions. You may also want to include a separate list of your math or math-related courses with grades received. Your undergraduate GPA must be at least 2.5/4.0 with a major in mathematics or statistics or a math-related field (like engineering, computer science or physics). If it was not in one of these fields, please include a statement how your undergraduate work would be beneficial to your master’s degree program in Mathematical Sciences.
  3. TOEFL or IELTS Scores: TOEFL or IELTS scores are required if your native language is not English. This requirement may be waived if you received your undergraduate degree in the United States.
  4. Application Fee: For an application to be processed by the Graduate School and the Department of Mathematical Sciences, every applicant must pay the application fee.

Please be advised that your application will not be considered unless you take care of items 1-4 above. In addition, depending on your chosen concentration and background, you might be asked to submit:

  1. GRE Scores: The department does not have a predetermined minimum score for the GRE test. GRE scores alone rarely lead to a decision in favor or disfavor of admitting an applicant and hence are often waived except in inconclusive cases. Check the Graduate School website for more information.
  2. Two Letters of Recommendation: For such letters to have an impact, they should come from your former college teachers or other individuals that can speak to your academic preparation or potential.

The admissions committee considers applications once a month from early February through early May and from early September through early December. To ensure a quick and full evaluation of your credentials, your complete application must be received during these times. Applications received outside these times will be considered on a case-by-case basis and might be delayed. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Financial Support and Other Resources

Master’s students are generally not supported financially by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Assistantships, tuition waivers and similar support are reserved for the doctoral program. To check other available sources for financial support, please consult the University’s scholarship page and the awards and fellowship page maintained by the Graduate School.

In the past, several of our graduate students were employed by UMRF Ventures, a university-run company, while working towards their degree. We recommend contacting this company to see if there are openings. Unfortunately, this is typically not an option if you are an international applicant.

More information, including a cost of attendance estimator, is provided on the Graduate School website. The Department of Mathematical Sciences is not able to advise you what financial support you potentially qualify for.

Contact Information

For specific questions about master’s program contents, please contact