The department offers Ph.D. degrees in both mathematics and statistics as well as M.S. degrees in applied mathematics and statistics. We are committed to excellence in research and teaching in a friendly and diverse academic environment.
Zoi Rapti is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her main research focus is on mathematical biology with applications to infectious diseases. She mostly uses differential equations, both ordinary and partial, and sometimes stochastic models to describe these disease systems. Recently she has become interested in the analysis of epidemic time-series from a data-analytical point of view. She still remembers fondly her time at UMass Amherst.
The applied mathematics and analysis professors and, in particular, my advisor Panos Kevrekidis made those five years at UMass both enjoyable and productive. After visiting other graduate programs in the US, I appreciate even more the small size of the graduate program and the attention graduate students were receiving at the UMass program. Having a private office as a graduate student now seems like a true luxury! Having professors that constantly encourage their students to talk to visitors, attend national conferences, write manuscripts and be willing to write recommendation letters and notes to colleagues on their behalf, had long-lasting effects on my career.
Julie Rana enrolled into our PhD program after graduating from Marlboro College, a small liberal arts college in Vermont. Her thesis "Boundary divisors in the moduli space of stable quintic surfaces", written under supervision of Jenia Tevelev, won the department's distinguished thesis award. Dr. Rana's research interests are in algebraic geometry, which studies shapes defined by polynomial equations using an array of algebraic, topological and analytic techniques. After graduating from UMass and teaching for two years as the Math Fellow at Marlboro College, Dr. Rana held a postdoctoral position at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Lawrence University in Appleton WI, where she lives with her husband and their twins Isha and Akash, who were born while she was a graduate student.
The best part of grad school at UMass was the community of women graduate students and lecturers in the math department. I honestly don't think I would have finished without their support. I also loved the Valley Geometry Seminar and the Geometry Reading Seminar. Although I was lost most of the time (especially for the first couple of years), I was inspired by the talks at VGS, and really appreciated the opportunity to give talks at the reading seminar.
Bright Antwi Boasiako enrolled into our regular MS statistics program in 2016 after completing a BS in Actuarial Science in 2015 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana. He graduated in 2018 and his current position is Actuarial Assistant in New York Life Insurance Company.
One of the things that surprised me the most about the Statistics program at UMass was the welcoming attitude of the faculty, this made it easier to tap into their broad knowledge base and experience. I think it is a thing with the department, everyone I encountered was nice! The program itself has a very strong theoretical foundation of statistics with an opportunity to practice through Statistical Consulting. The consulting bit was extremely helpful. It provided an opportunity to work on real-world problems, and at the same time give back to our community. It was also a great way to learn important soft skills such as communication, professionalism and teamwork through client and team meetings. We were always motivated and empowered to take lead roles in such deliberations. Working in a Life Actuarial role, my training at UMass helps me take a data driven perspective of my day-to-day, in connection with actuarial models, to better understand the mechanics of my job and gain more insight into findings. I feel like I'm my own little consultant at my desk and I owe that to the great work by the faculty and staff at the department!
Holley Friedlander is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dickinson College. She came to UMass after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at the University of Vermont. Her research is in number theory, arithmetic geometry, and combinatorial representation theory.
As a prospective student, I wanted a supportive program with close faculty-student interaction. The wide range of research offerings at UMass relative to the size of the graduate program allowed me to get to know faculty and explore areas through topics courses and seminars prior to choosing a research focus. I continue to reap the benefits of the many opportunities I had as a student to build my professional network, including the entire semester I spent at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM). The teaching assistantship program gave me experience without overloading me with work, and I have no doubt that my work as instructor of record at UMass and involvement with the Undergraduate Math Club (for which I was awarded the Department?s Distinguished Teaching Award) helped me land my first position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College. In the years since graduation, the number theory group, especially my advisor Paul Gunnells, has continued to provide mentorship and support my career.
Boxuan Cui enrolled into our Fifth Year MS statistics program in 2010 after graduating from UMass Amherst with an BS in Mathematics. In 2012, he graduated statistics program with an MS and he is currently Data Science Manager at TripAdvisor. Boxuan has a grateful memory of the two years in the MS Statistics program at UMass Amherst.
The MS Statistics program offers a great blend of theoretical and applicable coursework. Throughout the program, students not only get to understand complex theories, but are also able to apply the knowledge to real-world problems. In addition to the standard statistics courses, I find the cross disciplinary research, independent study and the statistical consulting service extremely helpful in preparing me for my future career. From data analytics to presentation/communication skills, from coding to prototyping solutions, I have acquired most essential skills to succeed as my career progresses. As a fresh graduate, these also opened doors for various interview and networking opportunities. During my study in the program, there were also regular colloquium and seminars. Students were encouraged to attend and participate, so that they can stay up-to-date with the latest research. These meetings also broadened my views and field of interests, so that I could better understand my personal aspiration, and choose relevant courses to further my learnings. To conclude, I am grateful for everything the MS Statistics program had offered me. It was a key to my next journey after academia, and I couldn't feel more fulfilled having graduated from UMass Amherst, and from this program.
The permanent faculty teach most of the graduate courses and provide formal and informal supervision of graduate students' careers. Students also learn a great deal from interacting with each other both in and out of class. The department also has at any time a number of temporary postdoctoral visiting assistant professors. They are usually from one to three years past their Ph.D., and provide a useful bridge between students and areas of current research.
The Department currently has 91 graduate students, of whom approximately 40% are women and half are from outside the U.S. We embrace the diversity of our department and community, see our statement on equity, inclusion and diversity. The UMass chapter of Association for Women in Mathematics provides resources and networking opportunities for women-mathematicians. We actively seek to increase the proportion of women and of minority students. Foreign students with strong mathematical preparation and a good command of spoken English are encouraged to apply.
Life in the Department
The early part of a graduate student's time will be spent on coursework. These courses provide the background necessary for further study in mathematics, and prepare students for the qualifying exams. A diverse group of "topics" courses are offered every year to introduce students to areas in which our faculty are currently working. Students can also take directed reading classes with faculty.
Outside of formal class instruction, there are other ways students can participate in the mathematical life of the department. There are a wide variety of seminars covering the range of pure and applied mathematics and statistics, and students are encouraged to attend them to become more familiar with current research. Talks in the department colloquium are meant for a general mathematical audience, and so are generally more accessible to graduate students, and seminars such as GRASS and Reading Seminar in Algebraic Geometry are specifically aimed at graduate students.
Options and requirements
Mathematics and statistics form separate programs within the department; students are admitted either to one program or the other, and permission is required to change programs. The M.S. in pure mathematics is normally only offered to students on the Ph.D. track; we do not generally admit students whose objective is a masters' in pure mathematics. The applied mathematics M.S. program is formally a separate program, with its own requirements and admissions process. It is possible to apply for both the Ph.D. and M.S. in statistics with the same application.
A complete description of the requirements for each of these degrees can be found in the Graduate Handbook.
More information about graduate options in statistics can be found here.
Information on a fifth year MS in Statistics for Five College students can be found here.
For more information about the applied math master's program, click here.