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  • Program Overview

    Description of the Mathematics Department

    The Department of Mathematics, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers degree programs leading to the M.A. in Mathematics (Secondary Teacher Option), the M.A. in Mathematics, and the Ph.D. in Mathematics. The mathematics graduate program is currently ranked 15th in the world by Shanghai Rankings, ranked 26th in the US by the U.S. News, while U.S. News ranks the department 10th in the US in Topology and 5th in the US in Geometry.

    The Department’s research and educational missions are considerably enhanced by its close collaboration with the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics and the Institute for Mathematical Sciences. While these two research institutes function as independent entities, their faculty members may, when appropriate, teach courses or supervise students under the department’s auspices.

    Ph.D. Program (with Professional-Option M.A. Track)
    The Mathematics Ph.D. program is internationally prominent and highly reputed, with a very selective admission process. The program prepares the students for a career in mathematical research and university teaching, while the skills learned enable many of the graduates to pursue highly successful careers in financial, software, and other industries.

    Students admitted to the Ph.D. program may also choose to be considered for our Professional Option MA degree. By itself, a Master’s degree of this type qualifies the recipient for many careers, including teaching at the community-college level.

    Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics 7-12
    This is a 42-credit master's program, administered by the School of Professional Development, designed for students who already have a bachelors degree in mathematics or the equivalent, and who wish to teach mathematics in grades 7-12. Individuals interested in this program should refer to the School of Professional Development (SPD) online Bulletin:

    Combined Bachelors/Masters (BS/MAT) in Teaching Mathematics 7-12
    Individuals interested in this program should refer to the School of Professional Development (SPD) online Bulletin:

    The M.A. Program: Secondary Teacher Option
    The Secondary Teacher Option is a 30 credit two-year, part-time program designed for secondary school mathematics teachers who are seeking permanent certification. The nine required courses in the program are given in the evenings and in the summer on a rotating basis; each required course is offered at least once every two and a half years.

  • Admissions

    Admission Requirements of the Mathematics Department of the Ph.D. Program (with Professional-Option M.A. Track)

    In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the minimum requirements for admission to this program are:

    A.   A bachelor’s degree with a major in mathematics, or the equivalent.

    B. Evidence that the student is likely to succeed. This must include three letters of recommendation from mathematicians (usually from present or former teachers). Other evidence submitted should include GRE scores and a personal background essay. The breadth and depth of mathematics courses taken, and performance, in these courses will also be carefully considered.

    C. Non-native speakers of English must demonstrate an adequate command of the English language, as evidenced by an acceptable score on the TOEFL examination. A paper-based score of 550, computer-based score of 213, or an iBT-based score of 90 would be considered minimally satisfactory for this purpose. The TOEFL exam will be waived only for native speakers of English or, in rare cases, for students whose previous education was conducted almost entirely in English.

    D. Acceptance by both the Department of Mathematics and the Graduate School.


    The M.A. Program of the M.A. Program: Secondary Teaching Option

    In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the minimum requirements for admission to this program are:

    A. A bachelor’s degree.

    B. Two years of college-level mathematics, including one year of single variable calculus, one semester of linear algebra, and one additional semester of mathematics beyond single variable calculus.

    C. Provisional New York State Certification for Teaching Mathematics, Grades 7-12.

    D. A grade point average of at least 3.0 in all calculus and post-calculus mathematics courses.

    E. Evidence that the student is likely to succeed: this usually consists of three letters of recommendation from former teachers or supervisors.

    F. Acceptance by both the Department of Mathematics and the Graduate School.

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements of the MA Degree in Mathematics

    In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

    A. Completion of 30 credits in graduate courses approved by the department with a 3.0 overall grade point average.

    B. Passing the comprehensive examination.

    C. A nine-credit minor.

    For students in the Secondary Teacher Option, the 30-credit requirement is ordinarily satisfied by the following courses: MAT 511 Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics, MAT 512 Algebra for Teachers, MAT 513/MAT 514 Analysis for Teachers I-II, MAT 515 Geometry for Teachers, MAT 516 Probability and Statistics for Teachers, MAT 517 Calculators and Computers for Teachers, MAT 518 Seminar in the Uses of Mathematics, MAT 519 Seminar in Mathematics Teaching; and a three-credit elective with a significant mathematical or pedagogical component. The comprehensive examination consists of the final examinations in MAT 512, MAT 513, MAT 514, and MAT 515. The minor requirement is met by the three courses MAT 516, MAT 517, and MAT 518.

    For students in the Professional Option, the courses that satisfy the 30-credit requirement are MAT 530/MAT 531 Topology/Geometry I-II, MAT 534/MAT 535 Algebra I-II, MAT 536 Complex Analysis I, MAT 532 Real Analysis I, MAT 533 Real Analysis II, and MAT 598 Teaching Practicum. Unless specifically exempted by the Director of Graduate Studies, all first year graduate students are required to take the core courses, MAT 530, MAT 531, MAT 534, MAT 535, MAT 536, MAT 532, and MAT 533 during their first-year; this requirement is automatically waived for students who have passed the comprehensive examination.

    In addition, students preparing for the doctoral program ordinarily take MAT 590 Problem Seminar. The comprehensive examination consists of the final examinations in MAT 530, MAT 531, MAT 534, MAT 535, MAT 542, MAT 544, and MAT 550, or the equivalent. The minor program consists of three courses in an allied area such as applied mathematics, statistics, computer science, or theoretical physics.


    Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

    In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the following are required:

    A. Passing the doctoral comprehensive examination.

    B. Passing the doctoral preliminary examination.

    C. Demonstrating proficiency in reading mathematics in two relevant foreign languages, usually French, German or Russian. Non-English-speaking international students can demonstrate their proficiency in one of these languages, in addition to their native language.

    D. Advancement to candidacy.

    E. Writing an acceptable dissertation.

    F. Two consecutive semesters of full-time study.

    Doctoral Comprehensive Examination
    This examination, which is offered twice a year (just before the start of each semester), is designed to test mastery of the fundamentals of mathematics.   This exam is based on the syllabi of the core courses; MAT 530, MAT 531, MAT 534, MAT 535, MAT 542, MAT 544, MAT 550. Students who transfer from graduate programs at other universities may, in some cases, be granted exemption from this requirement.

    Doctoral Preliminary Examination
    This examination is oral. Each student must take this examination no later than 1 ½ years after passing the comprehensive examination or receiving an exemption therefrom. The chairperson and one additional member of the examining committee are chosen by the student; one additional member is chosen by the program.

    Professional Academic Training Program
    All full-time graduate students are required to participate in this program, consisting of supervised teaching/tutoring at the lower undergraduate levels.

  • Facilities

    Facilities of the Mathematics Department

    Since the beginning of the modern department under the leadership of Jim Simons, Stony Brook has been world-renowned as a center of research in geometry broadly interpreted. With the opening of the Institute for Mathematical Sciences, headed by its inaugural director John Milnor,  dynamics emerged as an additional area of excellence. In more recent times, these traditional strengths have broadened, and the department now has multiple active research groups, numerous weekly seminars, and regularly organizes conferences, graduate schools, and other events.

    The distinguished faculty of the mathematics department include 1 Abel prize winner, 2 Fields Medal laureates, 7 members of the National Academy of Science (Mathematics), 16 past speakers of International Congresses of Mathematicians, and recipients of multiple international awards. The current active research areas include algebra, dynamics, representation theory, complex analysis, algebraic geometry, geometric function theory, differential geometry, topology, geometric analysis, mathematical physics, symplectic geometry.

    There are weekly research seminars in differential geometry, dynamics, algebraic geometry, topology, and a departmental colloquium, as well as a professional development seminar and graduate student seminar. The department currently has a research and training (RTG) grant in geometry, interpreted in the broadest possible sense.

    Simons Center for Geometry and Physics

    The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (SCGP), a major international research center located next door to the department has greatly enhanced the scientific life of the department since its opening in 2007. The mathematics faculty of the center also hold appointments and they supervise PhD students in the mathematics department. The center hosts 12 post-docs divided between mathematics and physics. It runs many international workshops in mathematics (not just geometry) and theoretical physics every year, attracting leading researchers from around the world: over 1000 scientists visit each year. In addition, the SCGP and the Math Department run a collaborative research and training program funded by the NSF. The abundant activities of the center are open to the community, the mathematics department, and graduate students are encouraged to attend the talks that are of relevance for their research.

  • Faculty
  • Contact

    Mathematics Department

    Robert Lazarsfeld, Mathematics Building 5-116 (631) 632-8290

    Graduate PhD Program Director
    Samuel Grushevsky, Mathematics Building 3-109 (631) 632-8255

    MA Masters Program Director
    Marco Martens, Mathematics Building Room 4-113 (631) 632-4893 

    Mathematics Education Program Director
    Lisa Berger, Mathematics Building 4-100A (631) 632-8278

    Graduate Administrator
    Christine Gathman  Mathematics Building P-143 (631)632-8250

    Degrees Awarded
    M.A. in Mathematics 7-12; M.A. in Mathematics; Ph.D. in Mathematics


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