Skip to main content
Other Mathematics Degrees

Explore the many degree options available in math.

Other Math Degrees Available

In general, graduate students are best advised to focus on one degree objective at a time. However, a candidate for a master’s degree in one major field who wishes to begin work for either a master’s or a doctoral degree in a second field; or a candidate for a doctoral degree who wishes to begin work on a master’s degree in a second field while concurrently completing the doctoral program can petition to do so (approval will not be granted for any combination of concurrent doctorates, including the Ph.D., D.Ed., or D.M.A. degrees). The department or program heads of both majors and the director of Graduate Enrollment Services must approve any such plan. Guidelines for preparation of a proposal for concurrent graduate degrees have been established by Graduate Council. The guidelines and form are available on the Graduate School website at:

A graduate minor may be taken in one of the approved graduate degree programs offered at Penn State. For details on approved programs, click here. A minor at the graduate level must represent curriculum and study that reflect graduate-level concepts and scholarship, with a preponderance of courses at the 500 level.

A student seeking a minor must have the approval of the student's major program of study, the minor program, and the Graduate School. A student may not pursue more than three minors at one time. If a student pursues more than one minor, each minor must have a separate group of courses to support it (i.e., none of the courses may be used concurrently).

A doctoral minor consists of no fewer than 15 graduate credits of integrated or articulated work in one field related to, but different from, that of the major with a preponderance of courses at the 500 level; however, at a minimum, 6 credits must be at the 500 level. Official requests to add a minor to a doctoral candidate's academic record must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services prior to establishing the doctoral committee and prior to scheduling the comprehensive examination.

A master's minor consists of no fewer than 6 credits of integrated or articulated work in one field related to, but different from, that of the major; however, at a minimum, 3 credits must be at the 500 level. Official requests to add a master's minor to a student's academic record must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services at least one semester prior to the semester the student intends to graduate.

Graduate Minor Form

Note: We do not admit new students into the Master's program. New students should apply for the PhD program. Please contact gradstudies@math.psu.edu before applying for a Master's.

The M.A. Degree: Candidates for the M.A. degree must choose between the thesis and the non-thesis options. The options are similar. Both require that the student write a paper on an approved mathematical topic under the direction of a member of the mathematics faculty. Under the thesis option, the paper must contain original work. The student must register for 6 thesis credits and use this time for composition. The resulting thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School which checks it for form, punctuation, etc. Students must also take an oral examination on their work. In the non-thesis option, the paper may be expository in nature. No credit is given for writing the paper and so the student must take 2-3 additional courses. Under this option, the master's paper need not be approved by the Graduate School and no oral examination is required.

Requirements for Degree Programs

The following requirements apply to all degree options.

  • No credit will be given for any course in which a grade of less than B is received.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation for all advanced degrees.

The M.A. Degree Requirements

The following requirement applies to both the thesis and non-thesis options:

  • MATH 405, 441, 470, and 471 are not approved for the Master of Arts degree. MATH 401 and 435 cannot both be counted towards the degree.

M.A. Degree, Thesis Option: (30 course and thesis credits).

  1. Above.
  2. 12 credits of 500-series mathematics courses.
  3. 6 thesis credits (600-series).
  4. Remainder of course credits in approved 400- and 500-series courses.
  5. Final (oral) examination based on thesis and general course work.
  6. Time limitation is six years or a period spanning seven consecutive summers.

M.A. degree, Non-thesis Option: (30 course credits).

  1. Above.
  2. 18 credits of 500-series mathematics courses in an approved program.
  3. Remainder of courses in approved 400- or 500-series courses. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, between 6 and 9 credits of the requirement may be taken in a related area.
  4. A paper on an approved topic in mathematics (no credit).
  5. Time limitation is six years or a period spanning seven consecutive summers.