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

Applicants will have earned an undergraduate degree in Mathematics or a related field with a strong mathematical component. We expect GRE scores to be submitted with the applications (both General and Math Subject GRE). For admitted international students who are not native speakers, TOEFL scores of 93 and above are required. Prospective students are expected to have taken courses in

  • Linear Algebra (Math 341 or equiv.),
  • Analysis I (Math 521 or equiv.),
  • Modern Algebra I (Math 541 or equiv.), AND
  • Elementary Topology (Math 551 or equiv.).

The deadline to submit your application for Fall admission is December 15th. The deadline to submit all supporting application materials for Fall admission is January 1st.

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 course 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 (3 credits each): These 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 (3 credits each): All other 500 level and all 600 level courses in Mathematics may be taken as elective courses. Currently the following courses are available.

  • Numerical Linear Algebra (Math 513)
  • Numerical Analysis (Math 514)
  • Introduction to Splines and Wavelets (Math 515)
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (Math 519)
  • Linear Programming Methods (Math 525)
  • Probability Theory (Math 531)
  • Algebraic Topology (Math 552)
  • Differential Geometry (Math 561)
  • Elementary Number Theory (Math 567)
  • Mathematical Logic (Math 571)
  • Sequence in Mathematical Biology (Math 605, 606, 608, 609)
  • Analysis of Partial Differential Equations (Math 619)
  • Analysis III (Math 621)
  • Complex Analysis (Math 623)
  • Fourier Analysis (Math 627)
  • Measure and Integration (Math 629)
  • Introduction to Stochastic Processes (Math 632)
  • Introduction to Brownian Motion and Stochastic Calculus (Math 635)
  • Introduction to Error-Correcting Codes (Math 641)

Advanced electives (3 credits each): Only listed 700 level courses in Mathematics may be taken as elective courses. Students must pass at least four of the following core graduate courses with a Grade of B or higher.

  • Applied Mathematics I (Math 703)
  • Applied Mathematics II (Math 704)
  • Computational Mathematics I (Math 714)
  • Computational Mathematics II (Math 715)
  • 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)

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 8 credits per semester (Fall and Spring) to maintain full-time graduate student standing per F-1 immigration regulation. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 Math courses per semester (Fall and Spring).  Note that the Graduate School residency requirement, that at least 16 credits be completed while enrolled as a UW-Madison graduate student, cannot be waived.  Exceptions require prior approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Only in exceptional cases may a student enroll in 800 or 900 level courses. This requires approval by the Director of Graduate Studies or the Director VISP-MA.

Exceptional students who wish to pursue a Master's thesis will be able to enroll in an individual studies course Math 790 (Master thesis).

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.


Further Information

Currently, we have partnerships with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (, Nanjing University, Sun Yat-sen University, Wuhan University and Nankai University for their students to attend this program. Students participating in these partnerships will have the GRE score requirement waived.

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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