Graduate Admission

We hope that this will answer some of your immediate questions about admission into the MS Program in Mathematics at CSULA. For any remaining questions, feel free to contact the Mathematics Department by calling (323) 343-2150, or by email at

How and when to apply

You apply to join the MS in Mathematics program through CSU Mentor. In addition, the Mathematics Department requires that you submit the following application form directly to the Department. See instructions on the form. 

  • The application form to be submitted to the department of Mathematics is here: DOC or PDF.

CSU Mentor handles applications to all of the California State University campuses. It is the most up-to-date source of information about when you can apply and for which quarters. This information changes as frequently as the university's financial situation changes. You should be able to apply for Fall semester admission between October and March. Example: For Fall 2016 admission, apply between October 1, 2015 and March 15, 2016. These dates are subject to change. Admission into other semester is not certain.

Admission process

The minimum GPA requirement for admission to the Department is 2.75 in upper division courses in the applicant's major.  Students with a Mathematics degree who have a GPA of between 2.5 and 2.74 might be admitted but will be required to take upper division mathematics courses (to be specified  by the graduate advisor) to strengthen their preparation.  The GPA earned in these courses must be 3.0 or higher. 

For students without an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, we require at the minimum that you have taken at least the following courses, or their equivalents, to be admitted into the program. 

  • MATH 2110 (Calculus I)
  • MATH 2120 (Calculus II)
  • MATH 2130 (Calculus III)
  • MATH 2150 (Differential Equations)
  • MATH 2550 (Introduction to Linear Algebra)
  • MATH 2450 (Foundations of Mathematics I: Discrete Mathematics)

The above courses are offered at community colleges in the Los Angeles area.  For example, MATH 2450 above is comparable to MATH 10 (Discrete Structures) at Santa Monica College or MATH 272 (Methods of Discrete Mathematics) at ELAC. 

See the course catalog here for more information on these courses.  

Initially, all students are admitted conditionally. Before taking courses counted towards the master's degree students must be in classified graduate status. In order to attain classified graduate status, students with Mathematics degree or an equivalent degree must have a minimum B or better grade in each of MATH 4650 and MATH 4550 (or equivalent courses at other institutions) for Option 1 (General Mathematics); or a minimum B or better grade in each of MATH 4650 and MATH 4570 (or equivalent courses at other institutions) for Option 2 (Applied Mathematics).  

After being admitted into the program you may have to take prerequisite courses before becoming classified.   Classified means that you are ready to start the 45 units of course work that counts towards your MS degree.  If your background is not “substantially equivalent” to a BA/BS in mathematics, you will be required to take additional undergraduate mathematics courses before becoming classified.  These courses include MATH 4650 and MATH 4550 for Option 1 or MATH 4650 and MATH 4570 for Option 2, with grade requirements as described above.  Students must be able to complete all prerequisite requirements within two semesters of being admitted as a conditionally classified graduate student.   The graduate advisor will determine these prerequisite courses in an initial meeting with the student.

The graduate advisor makes decisions about your conditional/classified status. As a guide to what is expected for classified status, you could look in the catalog and see what math courses are required in our BA and BS programs. At a minimum, you should have passed courses similar to these:

Math 2110, 2120, 2130 - Calculus
Math 2550 - Linear Algebra
Math 2150 - Differential Equations
MATH 2450 - Foundations of Mathematics I: Discrete Math (or a similar proofs class)
Math 3450 – Foundations of Mathematics II: Mathematical Reasoning (or a similar proofs class)
Math 4550 - Modern Algebra I
Math 4650 – Analysis I
plus 20 units of other math courses at 400 level or higher.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the department at (323) 343-2150.

Transfer credit

Courses taken elsewhere can count toward your MS degree. Such courses count as transfer credit and are limited to a total of 9 semester units. Courses taken as prerequisites to the MS degree program do not need to be transferred in and so are not limited this way. You should consult with the graduate advisor to see if courses you have taken, or plan to take, can be transferred to your MS degree.

If, for example, you want to get started on your degree before you are admitted to the university, you can take courses through Open University. Courses taken through Open University can be transferred to your MS degree and but are considered transfer credit and are subject to the 9 semester unit limit.

Financial aid

All university financial aid programs are administered by the Center for Student Financial Services. The Mathematics Department is not involved. For information on financial aid, see or call the Center for Student Financial Services at (323) 343-6260.

Teaching associates

Many of our graduate students work as Teaching Associates in the department.  To be a TA, you need to be a classified graduate student making progress towards the degree (by taking classes, for example), and have passed Math 4950. This 2 unit course does not count towards the MS degree. If you already have teaching experience, the Chair or Associate Chair may waive the Math 4950 requirement. Hiring decisions for a particular semester are made by the middle of the previous semester.

If you wish to apply for a TA position, contact the department by email at

Last updated: Feb. 17, 2016