Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

Master of Arts - Foundations of Advanced Studies

VISP-MA Students in September 2018

The MA-FAS(Master of Arts - Foundation of Advanced Studies) program helps prepare students for competitive Ph.D. level graduate programs and will enhance their chances for admittance to high-quality graduate schools.  This Master’s program option is structured so that students with basic preparation from their undergraduate institutions can complete it in no more than two years.

Admission Requirements


Program Structure

The program has requirements for 30 graduate credits in Mathematics, including 12 credits in courses numbered 700 and above. There are several required courses, such as advanced analysis and algebra. The electives come from courses covering the diverse mathematical spectrum, from linear algebra, splines and wavelets, linear programming methods, mathematical logic, mathematical biology, complex analysis, fourier analysis, stochastic processes, and more advanced topics.

Required courses 6 credits (3 credits each): These two courses must be taken by all students, except when it is determined by the Director of Graduate Studies that equivalent courses were taken prior to entering the program.

  • Analysis II (Math 522)
  • Modern Algebra II (Math 542)

Basic electives 12 credits (3 credits each): FOUR 500, 600, and 700 level courses in Mathematics may be taken as basic elective courses, including up to three credits of 699. Excludes courses counted toward another requirement. Excludes 521, 522, 541, 542, 551, 607, 681, 682, 691, 692, 698, 790. Click here to learn more about courses offered in Mathematics. 

Advanced electives 12 credits (3 credits each): FOUR 700 level courses in Mathematics listed below may be taken as advanced elective courses. Students must pass at least with a Grade of B or higher. Click here to learn more about courses offered in Mathematics. 

  • Applied Mathematics I (Math 703)
  • Applied Mathematics II (Math 704)
  • Computational Mathematics I (Math 714)
  • Computational Mathematics II (Math 715)
  • Partial Differential Equations (Math 819)
  • Partial Differential Equations (Math 820)
  • Real Analysis I (Math 721)
  • Complex Analysis (Math 722)
  • Real Analysis II (Math 725)
  • Probability Theory I (Math 733)
  • Probability Theory II (Math 734)
  • Algebra I (Math 741)
  • Algebra II (Math 742)
  • Topology I (Math 751)
  • Topology II (Math 752)
  • Differentiable Manifolds (Math 761)
  • Foundations of Mathematics (Math 770)
  • Set Theory (Math 771)
  • Computability Theory (Math 773)
  • Model Theory (Math 776)

Enrollment Permissions/Exceptions

  • Only in exceptional cases may a student count any 800 level courses toward the required courses, basic electives, or advanced electives. This requires approval by the Director of Graduate Studies or the Director VISP-MA, in consultation with the course instructor. 
  • 900 level courses could not be counted as required courses, basic electives, or advanced electives for the MA program. 
  • Students need to obtain permission to waive Math522(Email Betsy Stovall for approval) and Math542(email Tongahai Yang for approval). 
  • Students who would like to take more than one non-math courses need to get permission from the Director of VISP-MA(Tonghai Yang).
  • Exceptional students who wish to pursue a Master's thesis will be able to enroll in an individual studies course Math 790 (Master thesis).

Enrollment Requirements

  • Full-time enrollment: Master students must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits per semester (Fall and Spring) to maintain full-time graduate student standing. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 Math courses per semester (Fall and Spring).
  • Graduate residence minimum: At least 16 credits need to be completed while enrolled as a graduate student, required by the Graduate School. This cannot be waived. Exceptions require prior approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Students from the Visiting International Student Program who have completed some degree requirements at UW-Madison as VISP undergraduates. You may transfer of up to 15 credits from your VISP coursework towards the 30 credits required for the MA degree.
  • Grades: Students must achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in mathematics and cross-listed courses taken while a graduate student. Credits earned while a UW Madison undergraduate or special student do not count toward the GPA.  
  • Time limit: This is a program designed to be completed in no more than two years. In exceptional circumstances, the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Graduate Program Committee, may allow extensions.

Prior Coursework

  • Satisfying Requirements with Prior Graduate Coursework from Other Institutions
    The Math Department may decide to accept graduate coursework completed at another institution (earned post-baccalaureate) toward fulfillment of minimum degree, minimum graduate coursework, and minor credit requirements. This work will not appear on a UW–Madison transcript nor count towards the graduate career GPA. Students need to complete at least 16 grad credits at UW-Madison as the residence credits. Please fill out the Transfer Credit Approval form and submit it to the Program Coordinator ( for your request. 
  • Satisfying Requirements with Coursework from Undergraduate Career at UW–Madison
    For well-prepared advanced students, a student’s program may decide to accept up to seven credits numbered 300 or above of required or elective courses from the undergraduate work completed at UW–Madison towards fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. This work will not appear on the graduate career portion of UW–Madison transcript nor count towards the graduate career GPA. The Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence credit requirement can be satisfied only with courses taken as a graduate student at UW–Madison.
  • Students are NOT allowed to transfer coursework from undergraduate career outside of UW-Madison to the MA-FAS program


Key Contact


Further Information

Currently, we have partnerships with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (, Suzhou University, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China, Beijing Normal University, Shandong University, East China Normal University, Wuhan University, and Nankai University for their students to attend this program. Students participating in these partnerships will have fewer application materials required when applying for the MA program.

The Department of Mathematics cannot provide financial support for the Master's Degree program. Students enrolled in this program may not accept University appointments which grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees, cf. the policy on-campus employment.

It is currently not possible for students to simultaneously enroll in the MA-FAS program and another graduate program.

Back to Graduate Student Handbook index

UW-Madison Department of Mathematics
Van Vleck Hall
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706

(608) 263-3054

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