Grad school in Math: MA vs. MS

In summary, the speaker has a BS in Math and Physics and is planning on applying to both the math and physics departments at SUNY Stony Brook for graduate school. They are unsure of whether they want to pursue a PhD in math or physics and are also considering applying to the Masters program in Math at Stony Brook. However, they are hesitant about the program being for an MA instead of an MS and are concerned about the potential implications for their academic career and the program possibly being coursework only.
  • #1
I have a BS in Math and Physics, and want to go on to grad school. I am currently planning on applying to SUNY Stony Brook's math department and their physics department (for theoretical physics).

I ultimately want to get my PhD (though whether in math or physics I am not entirely sure--hence why I am currently going to apply to both programs). But I have recently been considering applying to their (stony brook's) Masters program in Math. I noticed, however, that their program is for an MA in math. Why an MA? It gives me a bit of hesitation. I would think it would be an MS.

Honestly, I don't really care what the letters say...I really just want to get onto studying more math. But since I ultimately want to do a PhD, I want to make sure I am not doing a 'watered down' masters or something and ensure that choosing the program doesn't look bad later on in my academic career.

Does anyone think the program being for an MA instead of an MS signifies anything I should be concerned about?
 
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  • #2
might be coursework only. . .
 

What is the difference between a MA and MS in Math?

A MA (Master of Arts) in math typically focuses on theoretical and abstract concepts, while a MS (Master of Science) in math often has a more applied and practical approach. Additionally, a MA may require a thesis or research project, while a MS may have a comprehensive exam or coursework-based requirements.

Which degree is better for pursuing a career in academia?

Both a MA and MS can lead to a career in academia, but a MA may be more suitable for those interested in pursuing a PhD and conducting research, while a MS may be more beneficial for those interested in teaching at the undergraduate level.

Does one degree have more job opportunities than the other?

The job opportunities will ultimately depend on the individual's interests, skills, and experience. However, a MS may have more opportunities in industries such as finance, data analysis, and computer science, while a MA may have more opportunities in research and academia.

Which degree is more time-intensive?

This can vary depending on the specific program and coursework requirements. However, in general, a MA may require more time due to the thesis or research project, while a MS may have a heavier course load.

Can I switch from one degree to the other during my program?

It is possible to switch from a MA to a MS or vice versa, but it will depend on the specific program and its requirements. It may also require additional coursework or a change in research focus. It is important to consult with an advisor before making a decision to switch degrees.

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