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.

Our graduate program in mathematics currently has 16 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.

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.

Notable features of our program

 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.

 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.

 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.

 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.

For current undergraduates, the Mathematics Department also offers an Accelerated Bachelors-Masters Degree Program.

How to Apply

Apply online through the Graduate School. Applications for Fall entry should generally be made between October and early Spring. Priority in recommendations for teaching assistantships will be given to applicants whose applications are complete by the March 1st deadline. Sometimes TA positions become available in the middle of an academic year; please inquire for details of such opportunities.

Applications Materials

  • Three letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with your work in mathematics
    • Letters of recommendation must come from academic authors, preferably from the institution where the majority of your undergraduate degree was earned, and, if applying for a teaching assistantship, one letter must address your suitability to work as a TA.
  • Transcripts of all your college level work
  • No GRE scores required
  • Personal statement
    • Please describe experiences, interests, and qualifications that are likely to enhance your success in a master's degree in mathematics. If you are applying for a teaching assistantship, please describe experiences and qualifications that have prepared you to work with learners.  We are looking for students whose life experiences and/or previous activities are likely to contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of the department. Any evidence of educational success despite significant obstacles, or proactive actions serving to enhance diversity and inclusion, will strengthen your application.

We will evaluate your academic excellence and preparedness for graduate school and, if applying for a teaching assistantship, your suitability for teaching undergraduates in beginner classes.

Further Information

For full details of admission and graduation requirements, see the Mathematics Graduate Student Handbook.

For general information concerning graduate programs at Western, including forms for prospective and current students, see the Graduate School pages.

For graduate course information, see the Course Catalog.

If you have any questions, please email us at Math.GradProgram@wwu.edu or call the Math Department at 360-650-3785. We look forward to hearing from you!