Master of Arts – Foundations of Advanced Studies

2018 VISP MA Cohort

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.

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.

Below is the break down of the course requirements:

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Required courses- 6 credits

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

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. All courses offered in Mathematics.

Advanced electives - 12 credits

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 719)
  • Partial Differential Equations (Math 720)
  • 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 Requirements:

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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 must achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in mathematics and cross-listed courses taken while a graduate student.
  • GPA earned while a UW Madison undergraduate or special student does not count toward the MA program 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.

Enrollment Exceptions

  • 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.
  • One semester of 699 is allowed and will count toward degree requirements as long as the research is not related to undergraduate thesis. 
  • Exceptional students who wish to pursue a Master’s thesis will be able to enroll in an individual studies course Math 790 (Master thesis).

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. Students from partner universities 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.