Combined BS/MA Program
Introduction
The essential feature of the Combined Degree Program is that its
students may use up to 9 credits of coursework taken for their
undergraduate degree to count toward the M.A. degree as
well.
Eligibility
The Mathematics Department offers a combined
B.S./M.A. degree program for students with exceptional ability and
interest in mathematics. Qualified undergraduate mathematics majors are
eligible for
participation in the program. Although each application is reviewed
individually, the following are
the usual requirements for acceptance into this program:
 GPA of at least 3.5
 No more than 15 credits remaining of required
upperlevel mathematics courses toward the B.S. degree
 No more than 6 credits of CORE requirements remaining
for the B.S. degree
 One to three letters of recommendation
 An essay or statement of purpose
 An interview with the Associate Chair for
Undergraduate Studies and the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.
Requirements
The
Math B.S. requirements, Math M.A. and Stat M.A. requirements are
the
usual ones.
There are two options for achieving the M.A.in
Mathematics: the "M.A. with Thesis" option and the "M.A. without
Thesis" option. For detailed information on these, see the description
of M.A. requirements within the Policies
of the
Mathematics Graduate Program and also the
graduate school requirements. We'll describe the main features
here.
Each M.A. option requires 30 units of graduate
credit. In the combined program, in effect this is reduced to 21 units.
For the Math "M.A. with thesis" option, 6 of these units are
dedicated
to the supervised thesis research. The remaining 15 units must be
taken at the 600700 level and at least 12 of these units must be in
mathematics. Finally, at least 6 units must be taken in two fields (3
units each) of mathematics distinct from each other and from the field
in which the thesis is written. The actual thesis must be
approved and the student must pass a final oral examination. Students
in the combined degree program have generally taken the "M.A. with
thesis" option.
The Statistics "M.A. with thesis" option is similar;
click here
for more information. Perhaps the main difference is that there is no
requirement for 6 graduate units to be taken outside Stat.
"M.A. without thesis" option
The "M.A. without thesis" option differs from the "M.A. with thesis"
option as follows. The student writes a satisfactory scholarly paper in
lieu of a thesis. Of the 21 credits remaining after counting the 9
credit overlap, the student must take at least 18 at the 600700 level.
The student must take at least two 600700 level fullyear courses in
mathematics (except that a suitable topics course may be substituted
for the second part of one of these
fullyear courses). Most importantly, the student must pass the
Master's Written Examination, which means passing three qualifying
exams at the Master's level.
Here are the qualifying exams, with the coursework on
which they are based, for the M.A. :
 Algebra (MATH 600,405)
 Analysis (MATH 630,660)
 Logic(MATH 712,713)
 Numerical Analysis (AMSC 666,667)
 Ordinary Differential Equations (MATH 670,671)
 Partial Differential Equations (MATH 673,674)
 Probability (STAT 410, 650),
 Mathematical Statistics (STAT 700701)
 Applied Statistics (STAT 440,450,740)
 Topology (MATH 730, 734)
In some cases the Master's and PhD qualifying exams are different and
in some cases a lower cutoff score on the PhD exam will qualify for the
Master's.
Visit the
graduate program page for full details. The exams are offered in
January and in August.
The Statistics "M.A. without thesis"
option is similar; click here for more information.
The bureaucracy of degree times
To the University, you are an undergraduate or a graduate; the
bureaucratic hive mind, computing various consequences, chooses not to
create a really different category for a student in the combined
program.
So, if you are a student in the combined degree program, you are
required to graduate with the B.S. at some point, and then to be a
graduate student for at least
two academic year semesters.
When you graduate with the B.S., of course you must have
satisfied the B.S. requirements. Satisfaction of the M.A. requirements
is a trickier matter, because the usual M.A. requires those 30 grad
credits to be taken while a grad student. But you might take 600700
level courses before the graduation with B.S., and want to count that
work toward your combined degree.
The University created a policy to deal with this: an undergraduate
is allowed to take up to a total of 12 credits (maximum of 6 credits
per semester) of graduate level courses "for
graduate credit only". Such courses cannot be used to satisfy any part
of the Bachelor's degree requirements, but can be "banked" for later
use to satisfy graduate degree requirements. To bank graduate courses
you need to apply for permission before taking the courses. There is a
form for this called Graduate
Credit Permission Form which you can download
from the Graduate School website. On the same webpage there is a
form called Combined Bachelor's/Master's Form which you use to indicate
the courses (up to 9 credits) from your BS degree which will also be
used for the MA degree. This form should be completed and
approved before you graduate with the BS degree.
All other credits taken toward the graduate degree must
be taken after completion of the Bachelor's Degree.
Example Programs
There is a wide variation in coursework and acceleration among students
pursuing the combined degree option, and the examples below are not at
all exhaustive. In particular, most BS/MA Math students actually take
more than two Math classes in some semesters, and on the other hand
there can be somewhat less fastpaced paths to the combined
degree. All examples assume that 9 credits of courses taken
for the BS degree have been counted towards the MA degree. In the
tables, "thesis" refers to 6 credits of master's thesis
research. Although it is listed for a specific semester,
normally the thesis work would be spread out over at least 2 semesters.
Example 1:
Here a student enters the University
with Advanced Placement credit for Math 140 (Calculus I). It is
compatible with the "M.A. with thesis" option, if the student gets the
B.S. after Year 4, but "banks" one of the two sequences of Year 4 for
graduate credit only.
Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

Year 4 

Year 5 

Fall

Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Math 141 
Math 240 
Math 246 
Math 463 
Math 403 
Math 462 
Math 600 
Math 601 
Math 660 
thesis 

Math 241 
Math 410 
Math 411 
Amsc 466 
Math 405 
Math 630 
Math 631 
Math 730 
Math 734 
Example 2:
Here the student enters the University with AP credit for Math 140 and
Math 141, and takes the special honors sequence Math 340341 (which
covers the courses Math 240,241 and 246 with enrichment). The courses
below could fit an extremely strong student developing an interest in
topology and geometry. The particular course sequence is compatible
with the taking of qualifying exams (analysis, topology and algebra) in
time for graduation, and thus fits into the "M.A. without thesis"
requirements.
Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

Year 4 

Year 5 

Fall

Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Math 340 
Math 341 
Math 410 
Math 411 
Math 630 
Math 631 
Math 660 
Stat 410 
Math 600 
Math 601 


Math 405 
Math 403 
AMSC 466 
Math 463 
Math 730 
Math 734 
Math 740 
Math 742 
Example3:
Here a strong student develops a strong interest in Logic and writes a
masters thesis in Logic.
Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

Year 4 

Year 5 

Fall

Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Math 340 
Math 341 
Math 410 
Math 411 
Math 630 
Math 631 
Math 710 
Math 463 
Math 600 
Math 601 


Math 405 
Math 403 
AMSC 466 
Math 446 
Math 712 
Math 713 
thesis 
Math 660 
Example 4:
Here a strong student writes a masters thesis in Applied Statistics.
Year 1 

Year 2 

Year 3 

Year 4 

Year 5 

Fall

Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall 
Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Fall

Spring 
Math 340 
Math 341 
Math 410 
Math 411 
STAT 410 
STAT 420 
STAT 700 
STAT 701 
STAT 740 
STAT 741 


Math 405 
AMSC 466 
STAT 430 
STAT 440 
STAT 600 
STAT 601 
thesis 
STAT 770 
The examples above don't list all the
courses needed to satisfy degree requirements. For the Math BS/MA, a
student would have to complete the following at the required grade
point levels:
 An approved three course "supporting sequence"
 the University's CORE requirements;
 a total of 141 credits (the B.S. requires 120
credits and the M.A. requires 30; the total is only 141 on account of
the 9 credit overlap allowance)
Timetable and mechanics
An undergraduate math major interested in the joint
Bachelor's/Masters
program should discuss it well in advance with the departmental advisor
(Ida Chan), generally not later than
Spring of the junior year (and preferably sooner, as there are those
considerations of banking courses "for graduate credit only" ahead of
time). At some point the student should submit a formal application to
the program. At this point the department may reject the student, or
issue a conditional acceptance, with a list of conditions for
acceptance. (The graduate school admission process is not controlled by
the department, and will generally take place in the fourth year; a
conditional acceptance meanwhile serves to clarify and formalize the
student's situation.)
During at least the final two semesters of the Bachelor's/Masters
program, the student must be registered as a graduate student in
Mathematics. So, the student must submit an application to the graduate
school in advance of deadlines; for the five year program, this would
generally be done in Fall of the fourth year. Admission to graduate
school in Mathematics requires both University and departmental
approval. The key requirements for University admission are a
Bachelor's degree and an acceptable GPA.
Formal Application
The student's formal application to the combined degree program is a
letter to the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in Mathematics,
and (depending on whether the M.A. is in Math or Stat)
to the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in Mathematics or the
Director of the Statistics Program.
The letter should convey the following information:
 statement of purpose for pursuing the combined
degree
 1 to 3 faculty references
 plan of courses (and thesis, if applicable) for
completion of the degree requirements, with indication of courses which
are to be used "for graduate credit only" and courses which are to be
"double counted."
 date for graduating with the BS
 indication of the thesis advisor or area, if this
has been
decided
Applied Mathematics
Under a separate University policy allowing the development of
individualized combined Bachelor's/Masters programs, it is possible to
earn a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics along with a Masters in Applied Mathematics and
Scientific Computation (AMSC, formerly MAPL).
The interdisciplinary AMSC graduate program requirements are
themselves tailored to individual student interests. Each student's
study plan is developed together with an individually appointed Study
Advisory Committee for approval by the AMSC Graduate Committee.
Students interested in this option should consult the AMSC Director,
in room 3101 in the Mathematics building, at
the earliest opportunity.
For more information, please contact Ida Chan at
(301)
4057582, or ugadvisor
@math.umd.edu.
