This document supplements the Montana State University Graduate Catalog on issues pertaining to general admission and degree requirements for all programs of study in the Department of Mathematical Sciences For a detailed description of departmental requirements for each degree, see the Departmental Program website.

1. Applicant Review and Requirements

The prospective graduate student is strongly advised to fill out a Screening and Advising Form to be considered for admission. All applicant requirements - such as GRE scores, language requirements for international students, etc. and deadlines are also listed at the same website.

2. Qualifying Examinations

As a university procedure, this pertains only to Ph.D. students. 

    • Ph.D. in Mathematics: no qualifying exam
    • Ph.D. in Mathematics Education: no qualifying exam
    • Ph.D. in Statistics: requires a qualifying exam*

* The qualifying exam for the  Ph.D. programs in Statistics covers the content of the statistics M.S. core and is administered during the first year of the Ph.D. course work.

3. Selection of an Advisor and Graduate Committee

During the first semester of residence each new student will be advised by a temporary advisory committee. Students should then select a graduate committee during their second semester in the program. Relevant are available electronically. The student's graduate committee is comprised of an advisor (the chairperson of the committee) and other faculty members. An Master's graduate committee typically consists of three faculty members. A Doctoral graduate committee typically consists of five faculty members and a graduate representative from outside the department. The graduate representative is appointed by the Division of Graduate Education. No faculty member is required to accept more students than he or she believes can be handled successfully and the department does not guarantee that a faculty member will be available to serve as an advisor. Each student should plan well in advance to enable him or her to find an acceptable advisor.

4. Graduate Programs of Study

The student, in conference with the advisor and the graduate committee, plans a Program of Study. Except in unusual circumstances, the program should conform to the Program Guidelines for the degree sought. This program must be approved by the head of the department and filed with the College of Graduate Studies. Relevant are available electronically. Master's graduate programsand Doctoral graduate programsmust be filed during the second semester in the program. The filed program lists all major, minor, and supporting courses, and the proposed thesis title, if appropriate. Declaring a minor is optional and supporting courses are required for Ph.D. degrees only. Signatures of the committee members and of the head of the department are required prior to filing the program with the  Division of Graduate Education . Final approval rests with the Graduate Vice Provost. The accepted graduate program constitutes a flexible contract between the student and the university. Changes may be made in the graduate program up to one month prior to the completion of graduation requirements.

5. Course Work

The Division of Graduate Education maintains basic policy for all graduate student course loads:

    • University Credit Requirements for M.S. Degrees
    • University Credit Requirements for Doctoral Degrees
    • University Minimum Credit Requirements for GTA, GRA, Internationals, Housing

To be in good standing, students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA. Any course in which a grade lower than C - has been received must be repeated. Once a course on a graduate program has been completed, it cannot be removed.

Graduate students in statistics or applied mathematics are encouraged to possess knowledge of some area of science, engineering, business, or other area to which statistics/mathematics is applicable. Such students are also encouraged to develop prolific computer skills. Thus, students in statistics or applied mathematics should discuss with their advisor whether their program warrants the inclusion of course work from another disciplines.

Graduate students in statistics or applied mathematics are encouraged to possess knowledge of some area of science, engineering, business, or other area to which statistics/mathematics is applicable. Such students are also encouraged to develop prolific computer skills. Thus, students in statistics or applied mathematics should discuss with their advisor whether their program warrants the inclusion of course work from another disciplines.

Departmental course requirements vary from program to program. The student should consult the Departmental Graduate Program webpage:

Departmental Program Guideline

6. Comprehensive Examinations

The Division of Graduate Education  Policies for M.S. and Doctoral Comprehensive Examinations are:

  • University Regulations for M.S. Comprehensive Examinations
  • University Regulations for Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

Departmental requirements regarding comprehensive examinations vary from program to program. The student should consult the Departmental Graduate Program  webpage: Departmental Program Guideline

7. Foreign Language Requirements

There is no departmental foreign language requirement for a graduate degree.

8. Thesis of Dissertation and Writing Projects

  • Statistics M.S. Writing Requirement: Plan B of the M.S. degree requires no thesis. Nonetheless, written communication is an important component of post-graduate employment. Students choosing the writing project must write a paper that surveys an area of statistics. The area is chosen by the student in consultation with the student's major professor. The work may be directed by the major professor or any other faculty member. The survey paper will organize and illuminate the results from several sources and should include a formal reference list.
  • M.S. Thesis: For Plan A of the M.S. degree an acceptable thesis based on research must be submitted as a part of the major requirements. For statistics students this thesis supplants the M.S. writing requirement described above. Registration in at least 10 credits of "Master's Thesis" courses (MATH/STAT 590) over a minimum of two semesters is expected during those semesters that the student is in residence and engaged in the research for and writing of the thesis. The thesis is written under the supervision of the student's advisor and two other graduate committee members. The student's thesis must be submitted to his/her graduate committee at least two weeks before the time scheduled for the final examination. The student is required to give a thesis defense. One bound copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Department of Mathematical Sciences. An electronic (PDF) version of the thesis must be submitted to the  The Division of Graduate Education.
  • Doctoral Dissertation: A thesis is required of all doctoral degrees. It must embody the results of an extended research by the candidate, be an original contribution to knowledge, and include new material worthy of publication. Registration in at least 18 credits of "Doctoral Thesis" courses (MATH/STAT 690) is required. The thesis is written under the supervision of the student's advisor and two other graduate committee members. The thesis must be submitted to the graduate committee at least four weeks before the time scheduled for the final examination. The final thesis must meet the approval of the department and the  Division of Graduate Education . One bound copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Department of Mathematical Sciences.  An electronic (PDF) version of the thesis must be submitted to the  The Division of Graduate Education.

9. Doctoral Dissertation Defense

This is the required final examination for the Ph.D. or Ed.D. degrees. At the discretion of the committee, it may be written, oral or both. The examination includes, but need not be limited to, an oral defense of the thesis. The student's thesis must be submitted to his/her graduate committee at least four weeks before the time scheduled for the final examination. The thesis defense is given before the final draft of the thesis is made. It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements with his or her advisor and other committee members for the examination. Doctoral final exams are open to the public.

10. Deadlines

General deadlines for Master's students are in the Summary of Procedures for Master's Students while those for Doctoral students are in the Summary of Procedures for Doctoral Students. Specific deadlines, including those for written and oral exams and submission of theses, are given in the Dates and Deadlines section of the College of Graduate Studies Catalog.

 

Updated on: 02/12/2015.