Program goal

The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research jointly offer the M.S. in Mathematical Sciences.

The mission of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics is to foster excellence in mathematical research and to offer a strong undergraduate and graduate education that will prepare students for stimulating and rewarding employment, career and lifelong learning opportunities. In addition, the department strives to help all VCU students achieve a level of quantitative literacy and analytical skills enabling them to deal effectively with the quantitative issues that they will encounter throughout their lives.

The program offers maximum flexibility by allowing students, in consultation with their graduate committees, to design a course of study that will best develop competence in those areas most relevant to their scholarly and professional objectives. Students may obtain a designation on their transcripts indicating that their graduate study has emphasized the applied mathematics concentration by completing the requirements that are listed here. A student who has not satisfied the requirements for one of the program concentrations offered, but who has otherwise fulfilled all the requirements for a master’s degree, will be awarded a degree of Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences without any specialization.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will develop creative-thinking skills to apply to mathematical problems and proofs.
  2. Students will be able to analyze mathematical arguments and write their own arguments and proofs.
  3. Students will be able to read and interpret mathematical literature including technical articles within their chosen mathematical subfield.
  4. Students will be able to use technology, including specialized computational and graphics software, to test the validity of certain conjectures, to solve problems, to conduct mathematical experiments and do mathematical research.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S.FallMar 1GRE – general
SpringOct 1TOEFL (international students only)

Special requirements

  • Students should follow priority deadlines for funding consideration.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Thirty credit hours in undergraduate mathematical sciences, computer science or related areas of which at least 18 credit hours must represent upper-level courses
  2. Three letters of recommendation pertaining to the student’s potential ability as a graduate student in mathematical sciences

Provisional admission may be granted when deficiencies exist. These deficiencies must be removed by the end of the first year of residence, or its part-time equivalent, when the student’s application will be re-examined. Courses that are remedial or designed to remove deficiencies will not be accepted for credit hours toward the fulfillment of the course requirements for the master’s degree.

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses and to meet the following requirements.

  1. Credit hour requirements. Students in the M.S. in Mathematical Sciences program are required to earn a minimum of 30 graduate-level credit hours. At least one-half of the credit hours presented for graduation must be at the 600 level or higher.
  2. Other requirements. For the non-thesis option, students must pass a comprehensive exam in the 600-level sequence (six credit hours) in the core and a comprehensive exam in two additional MATH courses (three credit hours each) of their choice.

Curriculum requirements

Thesis option

Concentration core courses
MATH   532Ordinary Differential Equations I 13
MATH   533Partial Differential Equations I 13
Select one of the following:6
Numerical Analysis
and Numerical Solutions for Differential Equations
Ordinary Differential Equations II
and Ordinary Differential Equations III
Additional courses
MATH   690Research Seminar 21-3
MATH   697Directed Research 20-3
MATH   698Thesis (three or six hours)3 or 6
Applied mathematical sciences electives (Choose courses from list one below)6
Mathematical sciences or allied field electives (Choose courses from list two below)6-9
1

If a student previously received credit hours for one or both of these courses or their equivalent(s), then one or two of the other courses mentioned for concentration must be taken as substitute(s) to satisfy the minimum requirement of 15 credit hours of course work in the concentration. 

2

A maximum total of seven credit hours for MATH   690, MATH   697 and MATH   698 may count toward the degree. 

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Non-thesis option

Concentration core courses
MATH   532Ordinary Differential Equations I 13
MATH   533Partial Differential Equations I 13
Select one of the following:6
Numerical Analysis
and Numerical Solutions for Differential Equations
Ordinary Differential Equations II
and Ordinary Differential Equations III
Additional courses
MATH   690Research Seminar 22-5
MATH   697Directed Research 20-3
Applied mathematical sciences electives (Choose courses from list one below)9
Mathematical sciences or allied field electives (Choose courses from list two below)6-9
1

If a student previously received credit hours for one or both of these courses or their equivalent(s), then one or two of the other courses mentioned for concentration must be taken as substitute(s) to satisfy the minimum requirement of 15 credit hours of course work in the concentration. 

2

A maximum total of four credit hours for MATH   690 and MATH   697 may count toward the degree. 

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30


List one: recommended electives in applied mathematical sciences

MATH   511Applied Linear Algebra3
MATH   512Complex Analysis for Applications3
MATH   515Numerical Analysis3
MATH   516Numerical Analysis II3
MATH   534Applied Discrete Dynamical Systems3
MATH   615Numerical Analysis3
MATH   632Ordinary Differential Equations II3
MATH   634Partial Differential Equations3
MATH   640Mathematical Biology I3
MATH   715Numerical Solutions for Differential Equations3
MATH   732Ordinary Differential Equations III3
MATH   740Mathematical Biology II3
STAT/BIOS 513Mathematical Statistics I3
STAT/BIOS 514Mathematical Statistics II3

List two: recommended electives in mathematical sciences or allied field

MATH 500- or 600-level courses except the following:
Algebraic Structures and Functions
Using Technology in the Teaching of Mathematics
Number and Operations
Geometry and Measurement
Functions and Algebra
Statistics and Probability
Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning
Functions and Algebra II
OPER 500- or 600-level courses
STAT 500- or 600-level courses except the following:
Introduction to Social Statistics
Statistical Methods I
Statistics for Social Research

Graduate program director
Angela M. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Associate professor
Email: areynolds2@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-1319

Additional contact
J. Alex McWhorter
Administrative assistant
Email: mcwhorterja@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-6820

Program website: math.vcu.edu

Program email: mathgrad@vcu.edu