This is a named option within the Mathematics MA, which is offered for work leading to the PhD.

Information about the requirements and policies for this program can be found in this Guide.


The MA (named option Foundations for Research) is offered for work leading to the PhD. Students may not apply directly for this master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the PhD.

Students may also apply to the MA Named Option in Foundations of Advanced Studies.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 30 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy:
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy:
Other Grade Requirements At least 12 credits from a specified list of 700 courses are required to be passed with grade B or higher.
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

(i) Core Courses:12
Select four of the following:
Methods of Applied Mathematics 1
Methods of Applied Mathematics-2
Methods of Computational Mathematics I
Methods of Computational Mathematics II
A First Course in Real Analysis
Complex Analysis
A Second Course in Real Analysis
Theory of Probability I
Theory of Probability II
Abstract Algebra
Abstract Algebra
Introductory Topology I
Introductory Topology II
Introduction to Ergodic Theory and Dynamics
Differentiable Manifolds
Foundations of Mathematics
Set Theory
Computability Theory
Model Theory
(ii) Four Mathematics courses numbered 600 or above passed with a grade of B or higher 112
(iii) Electives (numbered 500 or above)6
Advanced Computer Science Course
Students must complete an advanced computer science course which involves substantial programming. The advanced computer science requirement can be counted as an elective. Below is a list of advanced computer science courses. Other courses require prior approval of the director of graduate studies. This requirement is waived for Math PhD students, provided two qualifying exams have been passed.
Programming III
Introduction to Programming Languages and Compilers
Introduction to Operating Systems
Database Management Systems: Design and Implementation
Principles of Programming Languages
Methods of Computational Mathematics I
Methods of Computational Mathematics II
Stochastic Programming
Nonlinear Optimization II
Total Credits30

 The graduate advisor may also approve to have courses numbered 500-599 count for this requirement (but typically no introductory courses such as MATH 521 Analysis I, MATH 541 Modern Algebra or MATH 551 Elementary Topology).

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

Students in the MA program are allowed to count no more than 14 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special student at UW–Madison

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

Advisor / Committee

Students are recommended to meet with an advisor.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Students have two years to complete the degree. Extensions have to be approved by the program.

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 


Please visit the Math Department website for a complete list of faculty and instructional academic staff.