Graduate Program


Math Graduate Advisor: Tony Shaheen (over the summer, email both Shaheen and the department chair ( with your questions)
Office: ST F317
Phone:(323) 343-2159

Our current catalog (we made major program changes that went into effect in Fall 2020):

2021-2022 Catalog description of the Math MS degree
2021-2022 Catalog descriptions of all MATH courses
Roadmap for catalog

For students who are on previous catalogs:

2020-2021 Catalog description
2019-2020 Catalog description
2018-2019 Catalog description

Graduate Resource Center - Resources from the Graduate Studies Department

Graduate Student Handbook (2018-2019)

NSS College Graduate Programs Website  - Resources from the Graduate Studies Department (including lots of forms)

NSS Graduate Student Handbook

Click on the links on the left for information on the comprehensive exams and thesis options for completing your MS degree.

Thinking about getting a PhD in Math? Check out these links:

Applying to PhD Programs in Mathematics

Preparing for Graduate School

Admission Information

Note: The admission deadline for Fall 2022 is March 15.

General information about admission to graduate studies at Cal State LA can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies. The following provides specific information about admission into the MS in mathematics degree program. For any remaining questions, feel free to contact the Graduate Advisor, or call the Mathematics Department at (323) 343-2150.

How to apply:

  • You can apply for fall or spring semester admission.    
  • To apply, go to Cal State LA graduate admissions, which will link you to the application process through Cal State Apply.   (See the important note below before you apply.)
  • Important: When you apply to the school through Cal State Apply, they will want certain information from you including that you send official transcripts to the admissions office.   In addition to this, the math department requires you to upload unofficial (or official) transcripts at the time of application in Cal State Apply.   These go directly to the math department.    Please make sure to do this step on Cal State Apply so that we can process your application.

Application Deadlines:

  • Application deadlines can be found here.

Admission process

The minimum GPA requirement for admission to the Department is 2.75 in upper division courses in the applicant's major.  The admissions committee especially looks at all the applicant's grades in Mathematics courses.  Students with a Mathematics degree who have a GPA of between 2.5 and 2.74 might be admitted but, if admitted, may be required to take preparatory upper-division mathematics courses (to be specified by the graduate advisor) to strengthen their preparation.  The GPA earned in these courses must be 3.0 or higher. 

For students without an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, we require at the minimum that you have taken at least the following courses, or their equivalents, to be admitted into the program. 

  • MATH 2110 (Calculus I)
  • MATH 2120 (Calculus II)
  • MATH 2130 (Calculus III)
  • MATH 2550 (Introduction to Linear Algebra)
  • MATH 2450 (Foundations of Mathematics I: Discrete Mathematics)
  • MATH 3450 (Foundations of Mathematics II: Mathematical Reasoning) -- or a similar introduction to proofs course or proof based upper-division mathematics course.

Most of the above courses are offered at community colleges in the Los Angeles area.  For example, MATH 2450 above is comparable to MATH 10 (Discrete Structures) at Santa Monica College or MATH 272 (Methods of Discrete Mathematics) at ELAC. 

See the course catalog for more information on these courses.  

Before taking courses counting towards the master's degree students must be in classified graduate status.   Classified means that you are ready to start the 30 semester units of course work that counts towards your MS degree. We now outline below how this process of becoming classified occurs.  In each case, this process involves meeting with the graduate advisor. Talking with the graduate advisor should be your first step once you are admitted conditionally into the program.

In order to attain classified graduate status, students with a Mathematics degree or an equivalent degree must have a minimum B or better grade in each of MATH 4650 – Analysis I, MATH 4550 – Modern Algebra I, and MATH 4570 – Advanced Linear Algebra (or equivalent courses at other institutions).  

If you have an undergraduate degree in mathematics and you meet the grade requirements given in the paragraphs above, then the graduate advisor will map out a course program with you and classify you. If you have an undergraduate degree in mathematics and do not meet the requirements given in the above paragraphs, then the graduate advisor will map out with you how to satisfy these requirements so that you can become classified. In this second case, you may have to take some preparatory classes before becoming classified.

If your background is not “substantially equivalent” to a BA/BS in mathematics, you will be required to take prerequisite undergraduate mathematics courses before becoming classified. The number of prerequisite courses will depend on your undergraduate degree. The prerequisite courses will include, if not already completed, MATH 4650 (Analysis I) and MATH 4550 (Modern Algebra I), and MATH 4570 (Advanced Linear Algebra. The prerequisite courses may take up to a year to complete depending on how many upper-division mathematics courses you took during your undergraduate education.  Note that the prerequisite courses will not count towards your master’s degree; they will be required prerequisite courses to prepare you for the program.  The graduate advisor will determine these prerequisite courses in an initial meeting with the student.

Transfer credit

Post-undergraduate courses taken elsewhere can count toward your MS degree. Such courses count as transfer credit and are limited to a total of 9 semester units, and no more than 6 graduate level units.  You can consult with the graduate advisor to see if courses you have taken, or plan to take, can be transferred to your MS degree.

If, for example, you want to get started on your degree before you are admitted to the university, you can take courses through Open University. Courses taken through Open University can be transferred to your MS degree but are considered transfer credit and are subject to the 9 semester unit limit.

Financial aid

All university financial aid programs are administered by the Center for Student Financial Aid & Scholarships. The Mathematics Department is not involved.

Teaching associates

Many of our graduate students work as Teaching Associates in the department. For detailed information on being a TA, go to the TA Resources page.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduating students will:

  1. Have a broad exposure to advanced mathematics through electives chosen from a wide range of topics including abstract algebra, advanced calculus, geometry, differential equations, linear algebra, probability, number theory, and topology.
  2. Understand and devise proofs of mathematical theorems. This includes understanding the role of definitions, axioms, logic, and particular proof techniques such as proof by induction, proof by contradiction, etc.
  3. Be able to write a coherent, clear article on a mathematical theme, and to present this orally. 
  4. Be able to search the mathematical literature to research a topic of interest. 
  5. Understand and be able to apply basic results of complex analysis including: the relationship between complex analytic functions and harmonic functions, conformal mapping, and applications to Dirichlet problems; Cauchy’s integral formulas and their consequences including the fundamental theorem of algebra; series expansions, classification of singularities, and the application of residue calculus to definite integrals and sums.