Master's Degree Program

Department Information | Master's Degree Information | Financial Assistance | Contact Information

Department Information

The master of science program in mathematics at Cal Poly has approximately twenty students actively involved in studying and teaching. Full-time students usually complete degree requirements in two years. Upon completion of the program, many of our students enter careers in teaching or industry, although several enroll in Ph.D. programs at other universities.

There are 35 tenure-track faculty in the Mathematics Department with varying interests. Faculty interests cover most of the traditional research areas of mathematics, including algebra, analysis, combinatorics, dynamical systems, number theory, ordinary and partial differential equations, operator theory, and topology. We have faculty actively involved in mathematics education and the preparation of mathematics teachers. Other faculty are engaged in developing technology in the classroom. Our graduate classes are always small and our graduate students receive much individual attention.

Master's Degree Information


The general requirements for admission to a graduate program at Cal Poly are a baccalaureate degree and a grade-point average of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. Applicants with majors in other areas or applicants with deficiencies in their undergraduate background may be admitted conditionally.

Applicants must:

  • Complete a California State University Graduate Application
  • Pay the appropriate admission fee
  • Send an official copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Transcripts should be sent to:

    • Admissions Office
      California Polytechnic State University
      San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-003
  • Applicants must also send three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic background. Letters of recommendation should be sent directly to:

    • Graduate Coordinator Mathematics Department
      California Polytechnic State University
      San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0403

There are additional requirements for foreign students. Questions concerning applications from foreign students should be directed to the Cal Poly Admissions Office.

Course Requirements

The Master's Degree program requires students to complete 45 quarter units of 400 and 500 level course work.

  • Required Courses
    Math 520 and Math 521, Applied Analysis I, II
    Math 530 and Math 531 Discrete Math with Applications I, II
    Math 540 and Math 541, Topology I, II
    Math 550 Real Analysis
    Math 560 Field Theory
  • Mathematical Sciences Electives
    Thirteen additional units at the 400 or 500 level as approved by the Graduate Committee

Exam Requirements

Preliminary written examinations are required in the areas of undergraduate analysis and algebra. Comprehensive oral examinations are also required that cover graduate analysis, graduate algebra and a third approved topic. The written examinations are usually completed by the end of the first year and the orals are taken in the last quarter of study.

Graduate Course Offerings

Financial Assistance

A limited number of part-time teaching positions are available to qualified graduate students. This can often be supplemented by assisting in tutorial sessions or working in the Student Services office as a facilitator.

Graduate Teaching Associates are provided with offices, computer equipment and lots of assistance from the staff and faculty.

Contact Information

For more information on our program, contact the Mathematics Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Morgan Sherman, or call 805-756-1676. For more information on CSU graduate programs, visit the CSU Graduate Programs website. For information on applying to Cal Poly, visit the Admissions Office web page.