Graduate Program

Western Washington University's Mathematics Department welcomes qualified persons to apply for admission to our two-year graduate program leading to a Masters Degree in Mathematics, and for financial support in the form of a Teaching Assistantship.

Below is a brief description of some aspects of the graduate program in mathematics. Full details of admission and graduation requirements can be found in the Mathematics Graduate Student Handbook. Specific course information can be found in the Math Department Course Catalog . More general information concerning graduate programs at Western, including full details of university graduation requirements, fees etc., can be found in the listing for the Graduate School, or in our list of links. For current undergraduates, the Mathematics Department also offers an Accelerated Bachelors-Masters Degree Program.

Our graduate program in mathematics currently has 18 Teaching Assistants receiving full financial support, and 5 self-supporting students. The program is small enough to allow a great deal of personal interaction between students and faculty, but also large enough to be flexible in planning individual programs catering for specific interests in pure math, various applied topics, computer science and/or mathematical physics. Our graduates have been very successful both in the general job market and in getting teaching positions in the community colleges. A number go on to Ph.D. programs at prestigious institutions.

Our program has several notable features.

 1. We have a good mixture of pure and applied math courses, with strengths in analysis, numerical analysis, discrete math and geometry, modeling and optimization, and DEs/PDEs. A student's program can vary from a broad overview of many areas of mathematics to an in-depth study of a particular area of interest via a faculty-directed project and/or thesis. Every student is required to complete such a project.

 2. Since there is no Ph.D. program, much attention is focused on students in the Masters program. Classes are small, hence there is a great deal of individual attention for students and opportunity for a significant amount of interaction between faculty and students. The result is an atmosphere which is friendly and cooperative, rather than intimidating.

 3. Students are required to take a qualifying exam covering calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. A comprehensive knowledge of these topics is essential for teaching at a community college or for future work in mathematics.

 4. The duties of a TA are to teach one section (typically 5 classroom hours and at most 15 additional preparation or grading hours per week) of an elementary mathematics course below the level of calculus, under the supervision of a faculty member, during every quarter of support. New TAs are required to participate in a training program, offered prior to and during the Fall quarter, designed to assist them to be successful teachers. TA teaching is coordinated by a faculty member who prepares the syllabus, coordinates examinations and grading, and provides instructional and administrative support. TA classes are regularly visited by faculty who provide teaching support and quality control. This provides excellent training and experience for future teaching opportunities.

Consider visiting Bellingham to see some of our classes in action, meet some graduate students, find out how they live, what their offices are like, and how they like our program. Out-of-town visitors may stay overnight on campus by prior arrangement.

Applications for Fall entry should generally be made between October and early Spring. We begin awarding TA positions to strong students in February, and typically most positions have been filled by mid-Spring. Priority in recommendations for teaching assistantships will be given to applicants whose applications are complete by the March 1st deadline (see also the Graduate School's website). Sometimes TA positions become available in the middle of an academic year; please inquire for details of such opportunities. For application materials and further information, see the pages of the Graduate School, or our list of links. We require three letters of recommendation as part of your application. Your references should be from people who are familiar with your work in mathematics. Transcripts of all your college level work are also needed. Like all graduate schools, we require that the Graduate Record Exam be completed before admission.

If you have any questions, please email us at or call the Math Department at 360-650-3785.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Graduate Coordinators

Page Updated 04.04.2017